Light Meters

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Johnboy2978, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Oct 21, 2004
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    Southwest Virginia
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    At what point do they become a necessity? I currently only have one alien bee 800 and a sigma dedicated flash that I use at times for lighting the background. I was considering getting another AB800 in the near future. When I originally got the bee, I made a small chart using the guide numbers for various power settings as well as various apertures, and I can get pretty close to what I need to properly expose the shot in 2-3 attempts.

    I realize if I had a meter, I could do this quicker, but like I said, w/ just one light it doesn't take long to zero it in to where it should be. So would a meter benefit me now, and if not, at what point is it necessary? I see that the price ranges from $60-800 on a meter and just not sure it would benefit me at all.

  2. Big Mike

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

    Dec 16, 2003
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    I think that with digital, a meter isn't as necessary as it is with film. I have found that checking the exposure and adjusting can work as well.

    However, a meter can come in handy when you want to set specific ratios. For example, maybe you want a 2:1 ratio, so you would set your main light one stop brighter than your fill. You can also meter your background to see if you are getting enough light (or getting as little as you want etc).

    Also, the meter measures the light, not the subject. The histogram can be harder to judge when you are shooting high key or low key for example...because the background might be a big portion of you image...and you only want to know where the exposure of your subject is.

    Also, a meter is good for this reason when used without flash. You can meter the light falling on a subject without having to worry about the reflectivity of your subject.

    If you have a spot meter, you can measure areas more accurately.

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