Light meters

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by amara_shadow, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. amara_shadow

    amara_shadow TPF Noob!

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    Does every camera (I have a Minotla X-300s film camera) have a built in light meter? Some people have told me yes, but I can't seem to find one. Anyway, looking at buying a handheld one, are they easy to use? And how can you test for accuracy?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Not all cameras have built in light meters...but probably 99% of cameras made in the last 30 or 40 years do.

    Any camera that has any sort of automatic mode, must have a light meter...otherwise, it wouldn't know what settings to use.

    The light meter in a camera, measures the light 'reflectively'....it's a reflected light meter. That means that it's measuring the light that is reflecting off of the subject...and coming into the camera.

    A hand held meter is very easy to use. Most can be use as reflective light meters, just like the camera. You hold the meter where the camera is, and take a reading toward the subject. Not a whole lot of point to this if your camera has a meter.

    The real advantage is a hand held meter is that you can measure the incident light (if you have an incident meter). This means that you are measuring the light that is falling on the subject, rather than reflecting off of it. To do this, you go to the subject and point back toward the light and/or camera and take a reading. This is important because you are eliminating the reflectivity of the subject from the equation...which would otherwise affect your meter reading.

    Also, when metering for flash/strobe lighting...you need a meter that is capable of that.
     
  3. amara_shadow

    amara_shadow TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your help Mike. Yep, my camera has an auto mode, I just don't know how to read the meter in it......
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Does your camera have a small screen, or does it display info when you look into the view finder?

    Normally, you half press the shutter release button...and that activates the meter. The camera will show you a shutter speed and an aperture value....that is the meter reading.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    It should have a light meter, I think. If I am thinking of the correct model, there will be a wheel in front of the shutter release that changes the shutter speed or sets it to auto. The meter display is a series of LEDs in the viewfinder. When you are in auto, the metered speed is displayed. When you are in manual the selected speed blinks and the metered speed is steady.

    You can check the battery by lightly pressing the shutter release when the camera is switched on. The mode LED (A or M) should light. If it blinks the battery is low, if it doesn't light at all the battery is dead.

    Does the above description fit your camera?

    Best,
    Helen
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    From a bit of research...it appears that your camera may use a series of lights in the viewfinder, to show you the meter readings.

    You would put the camera into auto/aperture priority. Then you would adjust the shutter speed until the lights indicate that you have the correct settings.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Caution... potential stupid question coming... lol

    I know on a manual camera, what you said will work, Mike... but when you put a camera in aperture priority mode, is it not becuase you want to give preference to playing with the aperture, not the shutter as you suggested?
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Yes, with this camera when you are in auto you adjust the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed. There is an AE lock in front of the shutter release.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    That's right.

    The early 'auto exposure' cameras worked this way...which is basically like the modern Aperture priority. First you choose the aperture that you want to use....then the shutter speed to match. In this case, the camera can't automatically adjust the shutter speed, so you adjust it until the camera tell you to stop.
     
  10. amara_shadow

    amara_shadow TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone :) Helen, yes that description does fit my camera - I just can't work out how to read what the meter is telling me. How stupid do I feel right now?!?!?!?!

    Mike - that makes sense...now to work out how to read the meter. I think there is usually a flashing LED and one that sits at the shutter speed it's set at...or something....I'm confusing myself I think.
     
  11. amara_shadow

    amara_shadow TPF Noob!

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    Hold on a sec - am I correct that my camera may only have shutter priority? So I have to set the apeture and it works out the shutter....I haven't discovered any other auto mode....sorry for the questions.
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    Maybe your right...I'm not exactly sure. :scratch:
     

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