Light Meters

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tnvol, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. tnvol

    tnvol TPF Noob!

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    How many of you use hand held external meters instead of your in-camera meters? For those that use them, which ones do you recommend?
     
  2. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    With my digital and slr film cameras I trust the onboard meters. With my MF bodies only one of the three has a metering prism so I also carry a meter when using them. I also do LF and of course no meter at all with it. So I have a Sekonic L508 II. I have had it about 7-8 years or so now and has been very good. No issues at all with it. It is also good for setting up lighting as well (up to 9 lights, I have used with 6). One of the reasons I chose it over some of the other less expensive ones. Very capable meter. The 608 is slightly better with viewfinder shutter speed and f/stop indications when spot metering. But, looking as the side panel has never bothered me while spot metering. The L508 will hold 3 in memory so you can spot a highlight area, an area of shadow, and an average area. Then you can review them or allow it to give you the average of the 3 for the scene.

    Not made or sold new anymore. But a very capable meter.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    I have one, I only really use it for flash metering when I'm setting up my studio lights. It's an old one and it doesn't work very well, so I only use it for set up.

    I prefer to use the '21 century light meter'
    and use THIS TECHNIQUE.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have a Luna Pro F which I use a lot, especially for incident metering. The new digital Sekonic meters are very flashy and sexy, but it's hard to beat the rock-solid brick of a Gossen meter.
     
  5. EhJsNe

    EhJsNe TPF Noob!

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    I use my in camera meter or my own knowledge (depending on what im shooting...if its just family Ill stick it in Program mode and Auto ISO, if its something else, Ill use paerture priority to get close, then manual to adjust from there.

    With my Fm10, I use a weston Master II Exposure meter. The thing is pretty much solid metal...very well built.Its heavy, and not sometimes innacurate (I think the zero coreector is wrong, Ive been to lazy to get a thin enough screwdriver to fix it)
    It mostly accurate, maybe a little brighter or darker than I want...but it read refelcted light...so its not any more or less acurate than your in camera meter...I want to get the ambiet light adaptor thing. (It read the mount of light everywhere...I dont think I used the correct word)
    I wouldnt REALLY recomend it....the shutter speed only goes to 1/1200 (my Fm10 only goes to 1/2000 so I can deal with it) and the max aperture is f/1.5...and the highest ISO it uses is 800...which for film is the highest Id ever really go....any higher and the grain is so bad most the pictures arent worth keeping.
     
  6. tnvol

    tnvol TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses. I'm having a heck of a time getting my new D90 to expose correctly. I've tried adjusting the exposure compensation settings with no luck. My pictures are either blown out or really dark. No middle ground here. I've read my manual cover to cover as well as about everything on the web I can find. I'm beginning to think something is wrong with my camera. I have a pretty good understanding of how to adjust my settings and what everything does but this sucker just doesnt seem to want to take decent pictures. As it stands, my D40 blows this thing out of the water.
     
  7. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Are you spot metering on the wrong parts of the frame (or perhaps spot metering is on and you're expecting it to use evaluative)? If you spot meter on the wrong part of the image (that is, any part you really don't want in zone 5) then you can get some wacky results. I've left my camera on spot metering accidentally a few times; thank goodness I check the LCD on my first few shots of a scene. o_O
     
  8. tnvol

    tnvol TPF Noob!

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    I've tried spot, center weighted, and matrix and it doesnt seem to make a difference. What I think I need is a guide that can tell me some basic setups for certain situations. I have the D90 Setup Guide from Nikon and I set it up according to the Nature, Landscaping and Travel recommended settings and it didnt seem to make a difference. I have to be missing something. I'll figure it out. The good thing is Im learning this camera inside and out. lol I just hope its something I'm doing wrong and not the camera.
     
  9. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Props for learning. Knowing your camera and lenses like the back of your hand will really help when you're shooting (especially when trying to say, spot meter and AF separately on something moving, like dancers or cars, or whatever).

    Have you tried taking the same shot in manual and adjusting either your f-stop or shutter speed in one-third increments? If you can manage a good exposure like that, it might be something's off with the light meter. Not common, but maybe you got a lemon. o_O If you really can't manage a good exposure no matter what, then I'd consider getting it looked at. Note that I mean using a scene that's not very contrasty; a white wall or something like that would do well for testing on.
     
  10. EhJsNe

    EhJsNe TPF Noob!

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    >>"Are you sure about this place?"
    >>"Of course! I know this place like the back of my hand! *looks at back of hand* HEY! Thats new!"
    -Robots, its a cool movie...just finished watching it.
    Just thought I would go off topic a bit...

    Back on topic....maybe your shutter speeds are inacurate or your lens apertures are off....if you cant get it to work....replace it.
    Try shooting in manual! Maybe thatll halp...im not to sure about any camera other than my D70 and Fm10.....I need to get more Nikon-shooting friends....but try that.....
     
  11. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Luna Pro.
     
  12. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    I've got a Sekoninc L-308s which I use primarily for setting up the studio lights or any posed shots where I have the time to use it. I like shooting 125th @ f/8 on my key light, with f/5.6 to f/4 on my fill light. A light meter makes this much easier than set up the lights, take a shot...adjust the lights, take a shot....readjust the lights, take a shot...etc.

    It's not a necessity, but's it's definitely nice having.
     

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