Survey Question: Light Meters

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by selmerdave, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    I'm wondering if people would make a guess (those that use cameras with built-in light meters) what percentage of the time the meter reading given by the camera with the shot composed is the "correct" exposure (or the exposure desired). Thanks.

    Dave
     
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Dave,

    It's entirely dependant on the subject of your shot - what's prompted your question?

    With a standard photo of a couple at a wedding - her white dress, him black suit, the camera's reading will vary considerably depending on whether you're pointing at his black suit, her white dress, their faces etc.

    I like to set the exposure manually by using the camera's light meter on an object which is as near to 28% grey as possible and not shiny - green grass is a classic example of a good thing to meter from at a wedding.

    Modern 35mm neg film is extremely flexible, allowing for significant miscalculation.

    Also with metering, the subject is often lit differently to the background, you'll want to make really sure that you meter from the object you wish to be lit correctly, not the whole scene as an average.

    Try switching your camera to spot, not matrix or multi or 80:20 metering and looking at the readings you get for the subject specifically as a start.

    Rob
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It would equal the same percentage of times your camera is pointed at a scene where the tones average out to middle gray.
     
  4. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    Well, I'm finding that with the exception of extreme cases such as photographing a snow scene, more often than not when I second guess the camera's reading I am in fact wrong and the camera got it right. Obviously I need experience to learn how much to trust it and when to not trust it. From what I have read with all the complications of determining correct exposure I might have thought a basic center-weighted meter would be off more often than my experience is showing me. Thanks for the responses guys.

    Dave
     
  5. Soulreaver

    Soulreaver TPF Noob!

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    Some cameras have matrix metering and they are quite good.
    Trouble is, you dont know quite what its is measuring and if what you thought important in the scene is what the settings the camera decided it will bring out.It might be dark or bright and you lost detail.

    I think I might do some experimentation and take a roll of double pictures, spot meter and matrix, and then decide who is the best :D
    Hope its not ego bruising...
     

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