Exposure meters

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Axel, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. Axel

    Axel TPF Noob!

    Jul 19, 2004
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    US East Coast
    I have seen that there are many different exposure meters out there.

    I wonder what advantage they bring comparing to the meters that are built in at least most of the cameras.

    And if there is a good reason to buy one, what should one look for when looking for one? Are there any special features that they ought to have and that makes the difference? There is a wide price range among them and I don't really knwo what the difference between one and another is.

    Could anybody either explain or link to a site that explains it in a rahter easy-to-understand way?


  2. ksmattfish

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

    Aug 25, 2003
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    Lawrence, KS
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    Incident meters measure the light falling on the meter. These often have a white plastic bubble to simulate a 3D object. You would use this meter at your subject.

    Reflective meters measure the light reflecting off of your subject. You would use this kind of meter at your camera. This is the kind of meter that is in your camera. In camera meters come in a variety of styles. Most modern cameras have some sort of multi-segmented or matrix metering, and sometimes a spot metering feature. Older cameras have center weighted or averaging style meters. It's important to know how your in-camera meter works so you know what it is measuring.

    Spot meters are reflective meters that measure a smaller, more specific part of the subject.

    Flash meters are usually incident type, but I suppose they could also be reflective. They meter the super small duration of the flash burst of light, and hold it on the display so that you can read it. Without this feature the flash happens too fast for the meter to react or the photog to read it.

    I use a Sekonic 508, which combines incident, spot, and flash metering in one unit. It was expensive, but cheaper than 3 seperate meters. The main reason I got it is because most of the cameras I use don't have built in meters. 75% of the time I am just using the incident meter, but the spot meter does come in handy for landscape photography, and I've been using the flash meter more often for portraits.

    Unless you can think of a specific situation where your in-camera meter isn't working for you, I'd say that you can probably just stick with it.

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