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Light meter for under $180 ??
  
 
arize84
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p.1 #1 · Light meter for under $180 ??


I occasionally use strobes in my shots on manual. I'm looking for a light meter to speed up my metering process. Because I don't strobe often, I don't want to sink a lot of money into this. So I'm hoping to get recommendations for something effective but under $200. I don't need bells & whistles, just something that gets me going quickly without having to take a bunch of test shots.


Nov 19, 2013 at 07:00 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #2 · Light meter for under $180 ??


You can find lots of used flash meters in that price range, but if you want to buy new I would suggest the Sekonic L-308s. It's a bit more than $180, but just fits the under $200 mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dKNAzkeiWA&feature=player_embedded

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/368226-REG/Sekonic_401_309_L_308S_Flashmate_Light_Meter.html

http://www.sekonic.com/products/l-308s/overview.aspx



Nov 19, 2013 at 07:26 PM
arize84
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p.1 #3 · Light meter for under $180 ??


Brian thanks for the recommendation but my understanding is that it only works with setting the shutter. I almost exclusively shoot in aperture priority, so I'm afraid this might not work for me?


BrianO wrote:
You can find lots of used flash meters in that price range, but if you want to buy new I would suggest the Sekonic L-308s. It's a bit more than $180, but just fits the under $200 mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dKNAzkeiWA&feature=player_embedded

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/368226-REG/Sekonic_401_309_L_308S_Flashmate_Light_Meter.html

http://www.sekonic.com/products/l-308s/overview.aspx



Nov 19, 2013 at 07:46 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #4 · Light meter for under $180 ??


arize84 wrote:
...I almost exclusively shoot in aperture priority, so I'm afraid this might not work for me?


Since shutter speed (as long as it's within sync speed for your camera) doesn't affect flash, just set the shutter speed on the meter for your sync speed and take a test pop. If the displayed aperture isn't the one you want, then adjust the power of the flash the number of stops needed to get the desired aperture.

For example, let's say you want your fill light to be 2 stops below your key light, and you're shooting at f/5.6. If you meter the key and it shows f/16 you'll need to dial it down 3 stops. If you then meter your fill and it also reads f/16, you'll need to dial it down 3 stops to f/5.6 plus 2 more to get your desired ratio.

Once you've done it a few times it'll be fast and easy.

(BTW, in case you didn't understand what I meant by "shutter speed doesn't affect flash" -- whether you have your shutter speed set for 1/250 or 1/60 or any other speed at or below sync, the flash pulse is only going to be 1/800 or 1/1600 or whatever your brand of strobe will be, so 100% of the light will reach the shutter regardless of the shutter speed. If you go above sync speed, then only a moving sliver of the sensor is exposed at a time, so flash won't (in general) work.)



Nov 19, 2013 at 07:57 PM
arize84
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p.1 #5 · Light meter for under $180 ??


I understand the shutter speed sync but I have never used a light meter before. So after the 1st shot to establish the shutter speed, will I need to to keep taking test shots as I reduce flash power until I have gotten the desired aperture?


Nov 19, 2013 at 09:23 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



BrianO
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p.1 #6 · Light meter for under $180 ??


arize84 wrote:
...So after the 1st shot to establish the [exposure value], will I need to to keep taking test shots as I reduce flash power until I have gotten the desired aperture?


Depending on the strobes you're using you may be able to change the output in exact f-stop equivalents, in which case you wouldn't need to take more readings. (Maybe one more, just to be sure.)

If your strobes aren't that precise, more meter readings may be needed, at least until you've done it enough to know how each adjustment increment relates to f-stops.

Also, if you're decreasing power you may need to pop the strobe to drain excess power in the capacitor before taking another reading or taking the actual shot. Higher-end strobes with auto-dumping, and strobes or speedlights that use IGBT or thyristor circuits for quenching, don't require that extra step.



Nov 20, 2013 at 02:01 AM
starlights
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p.1 #7 · Light meter for under $180 ??


I dont know if this helps but Paul Buff Cyber Commander has a flash meter built in - its a radio trigger, so you can buy receivers and kill two birds with one stone. Just an idea.


Nov 28, 2013 at 03:46 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #8 · Light meter for under $180 ??


arize84 wrote:
...I almost exclusively shoot in aperture priority...


To revisit this: when using flash/strobe (and in most ambient-lit situations as well, in my opinion) you're better off shooting in Manual mode. You set the shutter speed for the amount of motion you want to capture, and you set the aperture for the depth of field you want. Then -- using a flash meter, the histogram, or whatever method you use -- you set the strobe(s) to give you the amount of light needed to get a proper exposure with those settings at your selected ISO sensitivity.

With the exception of fast-moving subjects in fast-changing lighting, there's really not much reason to let the camera choose the settings when your own creative vision should be doing it.

Aperture priority is risky with strobes, because the camera may select a shutter speed that's above your camera's sync speed. (If you're mixing strobes with bright daylight, for example.) If you're using a dedicated speedlight the camera will sense it and prevent over-sync shutter speeds, but with a strobe that's usually not the case; you need to set the shutter speed to one that will work with the strobe, and that's often slower than the max sync that will work with on-camera flash. (Check your camera's owner's manual.)



Nov 28, 2013 at 04:02 PM
basehorhonda
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p.1 #9 · Light meter for under $180 ??


If your shooting in anything other than manual, dont waste your time with a meter. Your defeating the purpose of the meter by shooting in one of the auto modes.


Dec 02, 2013 at 12:00 AM





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