The Phoblographer Explains: How TTL Flash Metering Works


One of the biggest things that makes no sense to me as a strobist photographer is why we don’t have any sort of universal TTL flash metering system. Instead of that, every single camera manufacturer has their own for the sake of being able to compete with one another while delivering flashes that essentially all do the same thing. It’s a hassle for photographers moving from one system to another. To understand this and my reasoning, you need to understand how TTL Flash metering works.

And trust me; it’s a whole lot simpler than you think.

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Review: Mint Camera InstantFlex TL70 2.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Mint Camera InstantFlex TL70 product images (4 of 16)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.5

Personally speaking, film camera reviews like those of the Mint Camera InstantFlex TL70 are the most fun for great reasons–there is no pixel peeping, no RAW file versatility, none of that stuff that people bitch and complain about in forums. Instead, it’s all about the moment and capturing or creating it. Then there are the lenses, the experience, and knowing that the photo you shoot is a one of a kind.

The Mint Camera InstantFlex TL70 2.0 camera’s biggest upgrade is its brighter viewfinder over the predecessor. This is a proper TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera with aperture priority control, exposure compensation, manual focusing, a flash, accessories, and an overall solid build quality. Most importantly for many of us, there are glass elements in the lens. Considering that Instax Mini basically covers a 645 area, this is important.

This can be a tough camera for many of us to learn; but at the same time you’re bound to have fun doing it.

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The Phoblographer Answers: What Metering Mode Should You Generally Use?

ND filters are an essential for many landscape photographers. ND filters are also known as neutral density filters and come in three different types. There is the graduated ND filter, standard ND filter and variable ND filter. Graduated ND filters are very dark on one side and very light on the other side. In between the lightest and darkest areas the glass becomes accordingly darker from the light side. These filters are typically used to photograph proper landscapes.

One of the most common questions that many photographers ask is what metering mode they should be in. It can be confusing to many people and generally, a lot of photographers tend to get their camera in evaluative mode and shoot it in that without batting an eye and adjusting it according to what the camera’s light meter states.

But here’s a little bit of information that can help you out even more.

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Why Don’t We Have a Universal TTL Flash Standard?

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Direct flash Macro tutorial (2 of 3)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

Lots of photographers who are in weddings, photojournalism or even just starting out prefer to use TTL flashes and metering over manual settings. But when they become more advanced, they start to do things manually. Why? Because just like automatic metering, they don’t always trust it. Automatic metering (which is essentially what TTL is) will give you what the flash system thinks you want based on a certain set of parameters.

But like normal exposure settings: metering is metering is metering. F2.8 at ISO 100 and 1/50th is going to soak up the same amount of light no matter what if all given situations are the same. So with that said, why isn’t there a universal standard for TTL flashes yet?

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The Ultimate Guide to the Sunny 16 Rule: Part 2


This blog post was syndicated by Emanuele Faja. It and the images here are being used with permission. Check out Part 1 here.

So, you read Part 1 of the Ultimate guide to the Sunny 16 Rule and you are hungry for more?
That was just the starter, now, onto the main course…

Btw, if you have just landed on this page, you probably want to read Part 1 of this guide first, or even my Exposure 101 Guide before you tackle this article.

You have pretty much all information you need to get started using the Sunny 16 Rule  in Part 1. Part 2 is the advanced course for those who types who want to know everything and want to nail their exposures every time, without using a light meter. This is probably complete overkill for most people, but here we go…

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Review: Fujifilm X Pro 2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X Pro 2 product images review (2 of 12)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

I saw the Fujifilm X Pro 2 for the first time last December, and when I did, the camera took my breath away. There’s just something about Fujifilm’s attention to details, ergonomics, and the feel of them in your hands. Their cameras are incredible, and I’m shocked that they don’t have a larger market share. All of that came to an even greater forefront when the Fujifilm X Pro 2 was announced.

The camera, which is now holding joint flagship positions with the company’s X-T1, will appeal to those of who were trained on rangefinders. It’s also come a far way from the X Pro 1: with the addition of weather sealing, boosts in ISO performance, a 24MP APS-C sensor up from 16MP, an ISO dial, etc.

The answer to the question of whether or not you should upgrade is a sure enough yes, but it may not be a camera for everyone.

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Five Historic Moments Where Photography Became Easier for All

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomo'Instant Wide image scan studio light (1 of 1)

Complaints about photography being easier and for everyone have always been present throughout the art form’s history. There is a theory that as we use technology, we become the technology. What that means is that we start to rely on it much more than our predecessors did. Photography has evolved over the years as technology became better. Today, it’s arguably to a point where everyone is a photographer even though the notion that a professional photographer is still one who makes the majority of their income from creating images.

Here are five big defining moments where photography changed and adapted to the needs of consumers to the point where major disruption happened.

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Xpert Advice: The Art of Using Spot Metering

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Xpert Advice Using Spot Metering (1 of 1)ISO 4001-1250 sec at f - 2.8

There are three different types of metering modes that your camera has. In general, everyone uses and defaults to the evaluative metering setting–but that isn’t always the most useful mode for all situations. The three metering modes that Fujifilm cameras have are:

  • Evaluative: which analyzes an entire scene and makes the best estimation for how the camera should expose the scene.
  • Center-Weighted: which meters the scene based on what’s available around the center.
  • Spot metering: Which meters a specific area of the scene of your choosing.

In many situations, spot metering is a highly desired setting. It’s most popular with portrait photography since when you’re taking a portrait, the most important subject in the photo is often the portrait subject itself.

So why spot metering? One of the best reasons has to do with a very popular portrait technique using natural light: backlighting. Backlighting involves placing the sun or any sort of strong light source behind your subject so that they’re not squinting into the camera. But in the evaluative metering mode, the camera will most likely try to meter for the highlights and darken any sort of shadow detail into obscurity. In manual mode, you’re then going to need to overexpose by at least one stop depending on how strong the backlight is.

When using spot metering, placing the AF point over a subject’s eye or face meters for that area. This way, the subject is perfectly exposed and you can just keep on shooting. Depending on which Fujifilm camera you’re using, you’ll have either a switch to change the metering type or you’ll need to access this through the menu system.

So what about the highlights that are being blown out? The truth of the matter is that anyone that isn’t a photographer won’t sit there looking at the image complaining about the highlights being blown out. All they’ll see is a beautiful portrait; and that’s what matters. The main priority here is that your subject is perfectly exposed. Just keep in mind that not every photo needs to be an HDR image–especially not portraits.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.