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Archive 2012 · Light meter
  
 
Gregstx
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p.1 #1 · Light meter


How many of you use a light meter? As opposed to trusting the metering in your camera.


Oct 31, 2012 at 10:40 PM
pstreet
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p.1 #2 · Light meter


I use one so I can duplicate lighting for jobs such as headshots or any photography I may need to duplicate at another time. I certainly trust my brain and a meter more than I trust the metering in my camera.


Nov 01, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Caleb Williams
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p.1 #3 · Light meter


When using strobes or in the studio, nearly always. Sometimes when I've shot tethered, I will make some lighting adjustments without metering and then adjust the camera settings from there.


Nov 01, 2012 at 02:15 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · Light meter


I love my light meter.

It is great for evaluating a scene for dynamic range ... whether that be by virtue of taking reflective spot meter readings (which some cameras can do also) or incident meter readings (cameras cannot do).

That being said ... I use my meter probably less than 10% of the time for my needs. But, even at that, I shoot manual exposure 99% of the time ... which means I don't trust my camera's exposure meter to render a scene the way I want it to be rendered.

Fact is, the camera can only "think" like someone else has programmed it to ... and it is making "assumptions" at what it is looking at, so it can be readily fooled by a variety of scenes. This is where EC (exposure compensation) comes into play ... but I just find it easier (in my style of work) to manually adjust than to play with EC.

IMO ... the light meter is not some "magic tool" that produces great images. But combined with your knowledge, it can help you achieve the magic you desire to produce ... by providing some objective information that you then decide how to interpret and adjust for accordingly. The most obvious advantage (imo) is likely the ability to perform incident meter readings that cameras can't.

To a large degree (skipping technicals), camera metering is predicated upon assuming it is metering an average scene, and that you want a "normal" exposure. If that's what you are looking for, then camera meters can be incredibly handy and efficient ... but I find that most scenes I shoot are anything but average and I have to make decisions that are almost always different from what the camera would have decided.



Nov 01, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Allynb
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p.1 #5 · Light meter


In the studio with strobes.


Nov 25, 2012 at 04:40 AM
John Skinner
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p.1 #6 · Light meter


Never without mine. I've gone through two 758DR's. I dropped one !


Nov 30, 2012 at 02:51 PM
arthurb
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p.1 #7 · Light meter


I have not used a light meter since the 1970s. However, this is about to change as I've just ordered a Sekonic L-308S. This will be a learning curve I'm sure.


Nov 30, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Jonathan Huynh
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p.1 #8 · Light meter


Long ago with Film I used it 100% both outdoor and in studio with full manual control.
Now-a-days with digital LCD on the back every camera and experience, I fine myself less depending on light meter.


Edited on Dec 03, 2012 at 12:13 AM · View previous versions



Dec 03, 2012 at 12:06 AM
 

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scottiet
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p.1 #9 · Light meter


Got one last Christmas for shooting hockey portraits onsite. Takes the guess work out of it and give consistent results. Couldn't go without one now.




Dec 03, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Brit-007
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p.1 #10 · Light meter


Use it always with strobes. I did run tests checking the exposure with the meter and camera on outside shots and in the main I am lucky that the readings were the same.


Dec 11, 2012 at 08:25 PM
keithdunlop
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p.1 #11 · Light meter


I use one all the time. I get far more accurate and consistent results using a meter and shooting on manual rather than letting the camera make exposure decisions. Using a handheld meter is particularly helpful when shooting in strongly back-lit scenes with a camera that does not lock the spot reading to your focus sensor. It makes post-processing a lot quicker too. Even if you're off a bit on your readings, adjusting a batch of images with consistent exposures is far quicker than when everything is all over the map.

I occasionally get strange looks from my clients when at whip my meter out at weddings, but they always get consistent and properly exposed images.



Dec 17, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #12 · Light meter


I think the "do you use a meter" has replaced the "do you use a filter to protect your lens" thread.


Dec 20, 2012 at 03:02 PM
anthonygh
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p.1 #13 · Light meter


I set my studio lighting by eye then do a test shot and ensure the histogram is where I expect it to be. I sometimes double check with a meter reading to confirm....it usually does.

I'm luck in that for years I worked with film...still do sometimes.....and got by nicely with minimal meter readings and maximum reliance on how it looked to me.

I am staggered at the cost of some light meters I have to say.....mine is an ancient Courtenay flashmeter bought for a few pounds off ebay. It measures EVs in 1/3 stops and can be calibrated and was as accurate as a friend's I played with some time back but about 20X cheaper.



Dec 20, 2012 at 04:18 PM
smbisig
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p.1 #14 · Light meter


I always use one when on commercial assignments. I usually take a reading, set the camera and then bracket.


Jan 05, 2013 at 03:59 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #15 · Light meter


Gregstx wrote:
How many of you use a light meter? As opposed to trusting the metering in your camera.


I hang white and black towels on a stand where subject face wiil be.

I select f/stop for desired DOF

I turn on fill light and raise until camera sensor records detail in dark shadows on black towel in playback.

Then I turn on key light and raise until brightest parts of white towel start to trigger the black-out clipping warning and back down power until they don't.

That fits scene range to sensor range and the photo has detail everywhere except specular reflections and black voids. When subject replaces set-up target their black suit and white shirt will have detail and face of any tone will look like it does in person in average indoor lighting.

Then if I want to know the numerical ratio that is fitting scene to my sensor I bring out the trusty L-358 and measure the lights individually, dome down, meter at light. Typically key is about a stop over the fill. I don't need to meter for exposure. It is already optimal with detail everywhere I see it by eye.

Why do it that way? I find it is simple and faster than metering. Back when I metered first per a ratio goal I'd wind up chimping and tweeking to get a full range of detail recorded by the camera.

The portrait ratio convention expresses the reflected ratio seen by the camera computed on the assumption the key light overlaps even fill on a 3D object, based on the incident difference of key vs fill reading as follows:

H:S
1:1 Even fill everwhere on subject (from near lens)
2:0. Key 2x (1 f/stop) brighter than fill
==
3:1 Overlap of key over fill reflects 3x more light from highlight vs. shadows

Since the sensor range of bodies varies the numerical ratio needed to record a full range (e.g, black suit to white shirt) will vary slightly.



Jan 06, 2013 at 01:33 AM
gregSC
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p.1 #16 · Light meter


Just got my first one at Christmas. I LOVE IT!!!

I cannot wait to continue learning more, but so far it has been an tool I cannot believe I ever did without.

Greg



Jan 06, 2013 at 01:48 AM





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