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Light Meter

edited March 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I have found that if I am in manual mode and ready to take a picture, I can change the light meter to get it back to the center by turning the dial.

My pictures have turned out great along with the lighting.

Is this something I have to do all the time when in manual mode if I see the light meter off, or is there a way to set it?


  • edited March 2015
    When you are in manual mode, the light meter will show what it thinks you should do, but you are free to disobey it. If you're in Auto ISO, the meter will raise ISO to compensate for underexposure, but cannot do anything for overexposure. If you are in manual ISO, you may deviate either way from what the light meter recommends.

    The light meter itself is not being changed, but when you turn the wheel, what you are doing is changing your shutter speed so that the exposure agrees with the light meter. If you push the [+/-] button at the same time as you turn the wheel, it will change the aperture instead of the shutter speed.

    Doing this works very well almost all the time, but in manual mode you will have to do it every time. It's both an advantage and a disadvantage of manual mode, in that it gives you great control at the cost of convenience.

    What you are doing now is, essentially, choosing an aperture and guessing a shutter speed, which you then alter to satisfy the meter. If you want that process to be quicker and more automatic, you can choose Aperture Priority mode. In this, you also choose your aperture and maintain all other controls except one; the shutter speed, which the meter will set automatically.

    If you are generally satisfied with the choices of the meter, then A mode works well. If you need to override the meter in difficult light, or to produce atypical results, then switch back to M mode. But remember that if you want to underexpose to make a scene darker or deepen shadows, you need to switch to manual ISO (a menu choice).

    M mode is especially handy for certain conditions of difficult light such as beaches and snow scenes, where the meter will tend to make the snow dark and a subject within it black. You must overexpose to prevent silhouetting. M mode makes overexposure very easy. Otherwise, though, I find A mode works well and conveniently makes small quick adjustments for changing light.
  • edited March 2015
    I did try it in A mode too and the pictures still turned out good. I just learned about this this weekend. I did think I would have to do this in manual mode all the time and it is a little time consuming and could "miss" the perfect shot.
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