When should I use Matrix, Evaluative or Multi Metering?

Metering  is another of the choices that you need to make when you move from the multi-programme the side of the dial to the clever letter side.   Thankfully, it’s not that hard to use as you might think. The first thing to get your head around is the terminology –  Nikon  calls it matrix metering, Canon calls it evaluative metering,  Sony calls it multi segment.   It’s all the same thing.


In this mode when the camera measures light to judge which aperture and shutter to use it  spreads its measuring over the whole frame. Just how it does this technically varies between cameras – but the important thing is that the entire frame is taken into account. This makes this mode the best mode to use for pictures where everything is equally important – like landscapes.IMG_0236

In this picture the whole frame is pretty much equally important, so we need to get it all exposed properly. This is why people tend to do quite a lot of photoshop on landscapes, to get that lovely sky, perfect grass, smooth water etc in the same picture.  So matrix metering is the right thing to use in this picture – just as well, because this was taken on an iPhone which only does this kind of metering (it’s the path down to Llanberis from Snowdon, by the way).

The nice thing about matrix metering is that it is quite kind and forgiving – it takes quite a lot of extra light to make it change the exposure.   In fact, the whole idea of this kind of metering is to reduce the use of exposure conversation. So it’s quite nice to use the tricky situations like fireworks, where a sudden bright flash my freak about the exposure – this kind of metering is the most stable.


So, if you do mostly landscapes this is the metering mode for you. the bad news is that if you have a subject in the foreground it will not be treated any better or differently to some dim and distant areas of the frame.  So here the Yummy the cockerpoo is slightly over exposed as the camera takes it all as equally important.  We really need to use center weighted metering for this, but that’s another story!

matrix metering example

Yummy up Snowdon