spot meters

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by santino, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. santino

    santino TPF Noob!

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    Hi :)

    wanted to ask if spot meters are any good (except for the zone system) ?
    I mean I think that they are good, but are they worth the money they cost? (say I have a normal handheld light meter ;)).

    thanks :D
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Not really. You are better off getting a standard meter - some you can get spot meter adapters for - and a grey card.
     
  3. Jamie R

    Jamie R TPF Noob!

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    Santino,

    A normal light meter (i.e. incidence light meter) isn't going to help you to measure the exposure on a mountain at 100 metres. That's where a 1% (reflectance) meter comes in use; precision and accuracy for spotting the exposure in multiple areas.

    If you shoot landscape or tricky lighting situations, then a dedicated spot-meter (from 5% - 1%) makes the shooting more accurate.

    The cost varies accordingly. A weatherproof, dedicated 1% spotmeter, incidence meter and flashmeter with built in averaging functions for reading is more useful for the photographer shooting often and accurately. For casual work, especially people or objects within walking distance, your incident meter is just great.
     
  4. santino

    santino TPF Noob!

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    thanks guys :thumbsup:

    I have a handheld light meter and was just thinking about spot meters. I think I'll let it go (right now ;)) :D
     
  5. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    This is not actually true. If you know how to use a normal light meter properly you can use it as accurately as a spot - if not more so. Try reading about the Zone system.
    Exposure is merely a matter of relating the luminance range of your subject to the CI curve of your film.
    In practical terms - If you have snow on a mountain half a mile away the EV is exactly the same as for snow by your feet if the sun is shining on both.
     
  6. Jamie R

    Jamie R TPF Noob!

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    " if the sun is shining on both."

    And that's hoping for a lot.

    This is why most landscape photographers use a spotmeter Hertz; it's too big an assumption, and whereas the theory fits beautifully, in practice, it is redundant.

    Good luck with your incident only meter when shooting distant landscapes - you'll need it.
     
  7. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Edward Weston didn't use one and I am pretty sure Ansel Adams didn't either. Or Jem Southam, John Blakemore, and many, many more. So I think the word 'most' should be 'some'. As I said - if you know what you are doing with a lightmeter you don't need a spotmeter.... :wink:
     
  8. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    That should read, if you know how to expose based on the scenes illumination you don't need a meter at all. I doubt Ansel Adams even used a meter. The spot meter is just another tool to understand how a scene is lit. No, it's not required, but it sure is nice.
     
  9. Jamie R

    Jamie R TPF Noob!

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    Are you comparing yourself and most people to Edward Weston &amp; Ansel Adams?

    Let's see those photos then!

    The zone system which some photographers worship is next to redundant in fast changing light.


    Good luck to you too!
     
  10. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I never made a comparison with anyone. I merely pointed out that there have been, and are, a lot of landscape photographers who do not use spotmeters.
    The original question was wether spotmeters were worth the money. My position was, and is, that they are nice toys but not essential given their cost.
     
  11. John Orrell

    John Orrell TPF Noob!

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    Cheaper solution than buying an all-singing-all-dancing spot meter = buy more film and bracket around your current meter's suggested exposure. If the subject or circumstance doesn't give you time to bracket, then you prabably don't have time to mess around with a dedicated hand-held spot meter, either.

    An alternative solution - even if you want to stick to film - is to buy a cheap digicam just for doing test-exposures. Rattle off a few shots with different exposures and see which one looks best on the LCD (better still if the camera has an LCD viewfinder), then replicate that exposure on your film-camera.
     

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