Exposure meter - needed with a DSLR ?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ottor, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What exactly is it, how do you use it, and is it needed with the new digital cameras and their exposure metering within the camera itself?

    tks,..

    r
     
  2. harrison

    harrison TPF Noob!

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    I honestly had never used mine up until about a month ago. After reading a photography book based in the film era, I got the motivation to keep my camera in Manual for a few days and try my hand at doing things the old school way. Its a useful tool, slightly outdated and useless if you keep your camera in an auto mode, but it makes manual mode much quicker. It helped me learn a lot about f-stops and what light combinations produce what effects.
     
  3. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do not have any stand alone light meter. I just use the light meter that build-in with my DSLR. And I believe all of the DSLR has a light meter build-in already. But it is a reflected type. In other words, it uses the reflected light from the object / background to determine the correct exposure.

    And different cameras has different Metering modes. Entry level DSLR usually has less Metering modes. Typical metering modes are Partial, Spot metering or Center-weighted average etc.

    So for me, I really do not need any stand alone light meter.
     
  4. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are shooting in Automatic, Program, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority, you don't really need it. Each of these settings will have some camera logic built into it that will ensure an exposure in the middle of your meter (proper exposure).

    If you are shooting in manual mode, then you do need the meter to see if your settings will give a wanted exposure.
     
  5. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My lowly cheapo superzoom has a light meter display when in manual mode. I assume most if not all dSLRs do as well.

    The exposure compensation display changes to the meter display when going manual. If I dial in -0.7 on exposure compensation and it gives me 1/250 seconds on Aperture priority using f/5.6, then setting 1/250 and f/5.6 in manual will display -0.7 on the display when in manual.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Practically all modern cameras have a built-in "reflected" light meter...that's how the auto modes set the exposure.

    There are still advantages to a hand held meter, but they certainly aren't a requirement.

    There is also this...Understanding Histograms
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The in camera light meter only measures reflected light.

    There are times, particularly when shooting portraiture, when you may want to measure incident light and flash output at the subject.

    In those cases you would need a hand held meter.

    Here's one that could handle the job.
     
  8. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, even in manual mode you can use the light meter built in the camera.
     
  9. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    hot damn, I misread the question. I thought the question was about the meter that is IN the camera, not the external meter that you can use outside the camera

    sorry
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As Big Mike said mostly external meters used today are used for juding exposures with flash. However with histograms, free shooting and in camera meters if you have time to take more than a few shots then I don't think you really need an external meter at all.


    Might be a handy thing for studio and portrait work, but I would not put it to the top of the to get list by any means
     

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