Camera Light Meters

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by FortressDVD, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. FortressDVD

    FortressDVD TPF Noob!

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    hello all, new to the board.

    I have a question about the meters built into the camera.. how accurate have you found them to be? I have a Leica R 8 and have shot a lot of black and white using just instinct and the light meter on camera but wondered about your thoughts?

    thanks in advance
     
  2. mrsid99

    mrsid99 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I've a Canon 10D and a Nikon N90s and the light meters on both are very repeatable but they both overexpose slightly.
    I've now learned the correct amount to aim off, it's just a case of remembering that the Nikon is opposite to the Canon.
    BTW, I'm far too lazy to change the calibrations.
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    The results you get with a light meter have a lot to do with how you use it. Learn how the one in your camera does it's job. Or use a grey card.
    All meters are calibrated the same and have pretty much the same accuracy within certain limits. In-camera ones are reasonable but I have a hand-held accurate to 1/10th of a stop. But then most of my cameras don't have light meters.
     
  4. KizaHood

    KizaHood TPF Noob!

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  5. Contra|Brett|

    Contra|Brett| TPF Noob!

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    evaluative (matrix) meters.

    These are generally very accurate as they check ten different zones of your scene against an on board database of exposure information, in order to expose properly. An evaluative meter will probobly pick up on some of the amature mistakes. It is programed to know that if the center of you picture is dark, you probobly want that to be properly exposed, and the background blown out.

    Centerweighted:
    Pretty much like it sounds. It takes the average exposure of what is in the center of the frame and places 60-75 percent of the exposure information on that. Then it takes into account the outer part of the frame.

    Spot (in camera):
    meters a very small section of the frame, 1-2 percent. and places exposure information on that part.

    Center weighted and Spot meters both try to make the scene have the luminence of middle grey.

    If you have alot of white in your scene and you use centerweighted meterint, your exposure will probobly be underexposed, making your whites appear grey. Same thing if you spot meter on something white. Try to use spot meters on things that have the same luminence as middle grey.

    Some people spot meter of thier hand (palm) and add .5 - 1 stop.
     
  6. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    A little tip you might like:

    If you're shooting close-range B&W candid portraits, then a newspaper is a great tool for checking light meter readings - it also doubles as a handy under-chin reflector for those café type shots. Outdoors, use green grass or foliage to check exposure as you're looking for something approximately 28% grey with a low reflective nature.

    Rob
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    When I worked at a camera store we used to pull cameras off the shelf and see what they recommended when we pointed them at a gray card. Even among cameras that were the same model, and supposed to be identical we regularly found differences up to one stop (we didn't move the gray card or change the lighting).

    This is another good example of why film testing needs to be done for each camera. Most of the cameras I use don't have built in meters, so I long ago went to a hand held meter, and to help keep the equipment variables down, I use it with all of my cameras, even the ones that have built-in meters.
     
  8. FortressDVD

    FortressDVD TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses,, i shot a bunch of test photos over the weekend with different films and light settings so we will see how accurate the meter is. I will probably also go to a handheld. Any recommendations on a good hand held meter?
     
  9. FortressDVD

    FortressDVD TPF Noob!

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    just got the test contacts back, and it overexposes at least 2 stops.. so i guess i answered my own question on the on camera meters... lol
     

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