A lightmeter...why?!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by cherrypink, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. cherrypink

    cherrypink TPF Noob!

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    Hi, I've noticed that a lot of magazines mention lightmeters. What are they for, why are they necessary if modern cameras are supposedly so good at metering?

    Is there a difference between a lightmeter you'd use indoors and outdoors?

    Can any one recommend one? :roll:
     
  2. dlc

    dlc TPF Noob!

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    Light meters contained in cameras are reflective light meters and are not always accurate. Hand held meters measure incident light which is the most accurate technique. There are also light meters that have spot and flash metering, so they give you more options to refine your exposure. Camera meters are better now than they were years ago and are adequate for general photography, but still not the best.
     
  3. enigma

    enigma TPF Noob!

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    well said. most of the time the one in your camera will be fine, but for the best result use a lightmeter out side the one on the camera.
     
  4. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    keep in mind that incident meters only work if the light falling on you is the same as the light falling on your subject.
     
  5. e_

    e_ TPF Noob!

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    * Hand held meters are often calibrated differently than a TTL (camera) meter - the former using an ASCII Standard of 12.5% compared to the 18% of Kodak grey cards & most cameras

    But that's a whole can-of-worms for another thread...


    * The previous post needs a correction:

    The amount of "light falling on you"/the photographer is not relevant when calculating or metering a subject

    Light falling onto the subject (for incident reading) or bouncing off the subject (for reflective reading) is what's applicable when calculating exposure

    The distinction is important!

    :)

    e_
     
  6. Shutter Bug

    Shutter Bug TPF Noob!

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    I sure wish you'd open that can of worms e_! I'd never heard that before I'm afraid. I know that TTL meters are calibrated toward 18% grey. Are you saying that handheld meters are calibrated toward a lighter standard? I guess I should know this already. Would you mind clearing it up? Thanks!
     
  7. jetwho

    jetwho TPF Noob!

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    no lightmeter is accurate and no lightmeter is inaccurate
    it doesn't matter hand hold or in camera
    you can't compare incident light meter and reflected light meter for accuracy.
    ask Ansel Adams...or read any book about Zone System
     
  8. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    e_ needs to read my post more clearly. i'll go through the effort of elaborating.


    using an incident meter standing with it in your hand will not help you in the least if your subject is not in the same light. meaning, if your subject is a person 50 yards away and you can't very well run up to him/her for various reasons to take a reading and the light falling on him/her is different (shaded, diffused, etc.), then the incidence of light where you are standing is not an accurate reading of your subject.
     
  9. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    AA is dead.

    the 'accuracy' of light meters is, at the end of the day, irrelevant as long as you have calibrated your methods to that light meter.
     
  10. e_

    e_ TPF Noob!

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    ... hello Shutter Bug       :)

    Yes, okay, it's a can worth opening - but not in this thread

    Suffice for now i refer the following URL (but please *note* there are examples of the nude female form near the bottom of page and, beware, this guy talks on even more than i do)

    http://www.bobshell.com/cgi/bobstalk.pl

    Unless you are shooting transparency or digital, the discrepancy can generally be ignored such is the exposure latitude of negative film - although, if you are a "zone" shooter it will be important

    The discrepancy results in your meter "underexposing" - not "overexposing" as you ask

    Someone suggested calibrating your methods to that of your meter...

    I don't recommend that, it would mean a change of technique every time you changed or upgraded your equipment; it's easier to simply calibrate your meter

    My current Sekonic meter "underexposes" by around 6/10 of a stop in relation to my system: if your hand meter does not allow for calibration (and the cheaper ones don't) then simply change the meter's ISO setting when calculating exposure. Here's how:

    Using 100 ISO film and my own meter with its 6/10 underexposure as an example, simply set the meter's ISO at 64 (2/3 of a stop more exposure)

    The simplest way to check if your meter is under/over exposing is to shoot some frames of transparency film, bracket, keep a record of what was done and then study the results

    With digital, it's somewhat more complicated: under/over exposure cannot be accurately determined on the camera's LCD screen - nor for that matter on your computer's monitor; imaging software with a "histogram" function (such as in Photoshop) is required

    I hope that helps for now... (?)

    Cheers!

    :)

    e_

    P.S. i highly recommend Bob Shell's article (link above) ... and i also agree with jetwho, although he expresses it somewhat esoterically and w-aay over my head ;)

    Welcome to the forum, jetwho!
     
     
  11. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    e_ likes to hear himself talk and to give the impression that he has the only correct answers.


    i highly recommend calibrating your flow to your meter. if my film won't produce a zone 1 density on a reported zone 1 metering, either adjusting my film ei or changing my meter calibration works perfectly. perfectly

    come on, e_ , you aren't the only person that knows something. do you have trouble admitting that i'm correct as well?
     

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