To buy or not to buy a light meter

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by MRivera, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. MRivera

    MRivera TPF Noob!

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    Hello All,
    I have been reading quite a few things on photography. I came accross to something that say that a light meter will help you in a way to compose better images in relation to advice you what kind of setting to use when you shoot. Now, my question is, being new in photography would i benefit from having one or should i wait until i am used to handle and understand bit more about shutter speed and aperture?
    Thanks.
     
  2. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would defidently say wait until u learn more about the basics.

    I dont use one of them, dont plan on using for for awhile.

    Ive been doing this for like a year now. Not long...
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    For digital, I really don't think you need a light meter unless you do really meticulous studio work or your cameras meter is broken. Light meters are great for ambient readings, your camera's meter is more of an incident and spot meter.

    Light meters are great for film because you can check your lighting ratios and give you an idea of what your image and contrast is going to look like.

    For digital shooting, if you need to be really accurate with your light so you can make sure that the top of your subject is 2 stops brighter then the side, than get one, otherwise its a waste of time and money because you can just chimp it and adjust until you think it looks good.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I wouldn't say it is a waste of money... I certainly have learned a lot from a handheld meter. It also helps with difficult high contrast exposures.

    With that said, I still agree that its fine to stick with the meter in your digital camera. Mine gets most use with cameras that lack metering.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    A light meter can be a great learning tool and can be indispensable in many situations. However, more important than a hand held meter, is knowledge and understanding of light, photography and how meters work.

    Your camera has a built-in 'reflective' light meter...so you don't 'need' a separate one...but it would do you well to learn how to properly use the one that is in your camera.
     
  6. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you have a light meter on your camera, that will do for now. The light meter just adds a confusing extra step for beginners. So get the nuts and bolts down so that the mechanics of photography won't hamper your creativity.
     
  7. jcolman

    jcolman TPF Noob!

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    personally I think getting a light meter is a good idea. It will help you to learn to avoid confusing statements like the one I bolded.

    A light meter is simply a tool that will basically tell you how much light is falling on your subject or being reflected off of it. It will then tell you what your choices of shutter speed / aperture setting are. Then you, as the photographer, can choose which setting will give you the results you're looking for.

    Allowing the meter in your camera to make the choices for you won't help you to learn photography as quickly.
     
  8. MRivera

    MRivera TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone... I think I will wait to get one and concentrate to learn more about my camera and photography.
     
  9. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, if you're not a pro, you'd probably rarely use it, especially with digital. If you decide to get one, though, make sure it's also a flash meter.
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    THink of it this way...

    As you learn your camera and photography at some point in time you will also learn the limitations of your camera's TTL metering. It is at that time you should seriously consider a light meter as a solution or simply learn to work the meter (grey card for example). If that point never arrives and you proceed happily ever after using your camera's meter, you just saved yourself some hard earned cash.
     
  11. Crosby

    Crosby TPF Noob!

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    Well said! Also a good life lesson...:D
     
  12. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here! Here!
     

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