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What use is a light meter?

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Dena View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dena Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2019 at 20:12
Probably flash, but I use a gray card for that.
 



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skm.sa100 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2019 at 14:26
An interesting discussion. I looked around to see if I could get a light meter. I am looking to setup a home studio and was wondering if a meter could be useful.
They are expensive! I don't need anything fancy and am usually a value-for-money guy.
Any recommendations for me?

Thanks
Sashi
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Photosopher View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2019 at 14:45
I use my light meter like a witch doctor uses a rattle. Around my neck, it acts as a badge of professional expertise. Between shots, I'll often go into the waiting room and wave it madly over the faces of my upcoming clients. In a large circular motion, I'll zero it in to the center of their face and inhale a gasp of delight, taking the opportunity to compliment my subject on their extremely high level of skin reflectivity. I'll say "Look! You're a 1.8, that's a great score. We're going to have a marvelous shoot."...

And we do.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2019 at 15:09
Originally posted by skm.sa100 skm.sa100 wrote:

I don't need anything fancy and am usually a value-for-money guy.
Any recommendations for me?

The Minolta Auto Meter IV F is a good choice that can handle pretty much anything. If you really get into it you can look for accessories, too: telescopic attachments for spot readings, specialized diffusers, a mini-receptor for macro work ...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote AutumnRose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2019 at 04:03
Holy cow, that was hilarious, Clyde! I pictured you doing this, but in my vision you were wearing a safari helmet and jacket. Thanks for the laughs.
Kathi
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Post Options Post Options   Quote trainerKEN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 March 2019 at 20:53
I have a light meter, when I'm shooting with a single light, I don't use it... BUT when I start doing multiple light setups and I want to factor in ratios, that's when a meter is handy. I've watched several video workshops by one of my favorite portraiture photographers, Chris Knight and he highly recommends and after applying what he preaches, I became even more appreciative of the device

Edited by trainerKEN - 24 March 2019 at 20:56
 



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Miranda F View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 09:38
Haven't used one for years, and I have several. All my current cameras have an AEL button which does the trick for me
I'll use the light meter if I take slides with the Miranda F, though, assuming I can find a lens in my collection which doesn't have the iris stuck.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 09:47
Hi Everyone,

I've been looking wt this thread from time to time before commenting but, following a talk at our Camera Club on Friday night by Tony Worobiec FRPS I'm a little more prepared to go on the side of the use of a light meter. He gave a talk on 'Low Light Photography' and it was fascinating - all the images taken were taken during the period post-sunset and pre-dawn and he shared some very useful 'tips' on how to maximize the results from this type of work - especially with the use of a light meter. He explained the use of the light meter for 'cross-over' exposure where one has a very bright part of an image (say, brightly lit buildings) and a darkening/lightning sky; he balances the exposure such that once bother areas have the same relative value that's the point to take the image (tripod mounted of course). He's an extensive publisher so he 'knows his stuff' - he showed more of his American Icons series than the website shows but you get the general idea from this.

So - my feeling is that for certain situations, a light meter might actually be a good idea rather than trusting solely to one's camera to make the 'right' choice.

Best regards, Neil.
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Phil Wood View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 18:25
Originally posted by owenn01 owenn01 wrote:


So - my feeling is that for certain situations, a light meter might actually be a good idea rather than trusting solely to one's camera to make the 'right' choice.


I am prepared to accept that a light meter may have its uses, but do not accept that the only alternative is to trust my camera to make the right choice. I often adjust my camera to over or under expose (based on the camera's reading) or to bracket. And, from time to time, I use spot metering in the camera to assess light levels in different parts of the proposed frame so I can pretend I know what I'm doing when I dial in manual settings. In effect I use the camera as a light meter.

I guess my original question should really have been: what does a light meter do for me that the built in light meter in my cameras cannot do?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 18:59
Originally posted by Phil Wood Phil Wood wrote:

Originally posted by owenn01 owenn01 wrote:


So - my feeling is that for certain situations, a light meter might actually be a good idea rather than trusting solely to one's camera to make the 'right' choice.


I am prepared to accept that a light meter may have its uses, but do not accept that the only alternative is to trust my camera to make the right choice. I often adjust my camera to over or under expose (based on the camera's reading) or to bracket. And, from time to time, I use spot metering in the camera to assess light levels in different parts of the proposed frame so I can pretend I know what I'm doing when I dial in manual settings. In effect I use the camera as a light meter.

I guess my original question should really have been: what does a light meter do for me that the built in light meter in my cameras cannot do?
I agree with you Phil, in most cases the camera meter is all you need, but (depending on the model lightmeter you have) the spot metering beam can be smaller and more accurate than the spot meter in your camera and the other thing it can do (again depending on which meter you have) is measuring the flash strength from one or more strobes.
Mind the bandwidth of others, don't link pictures larger then 1024 wide or 960 pix high, see here
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2019 at 10:25
Re the 'crossover' technique, on film cameras with a built-in lightmeter that doesn't work in low light, when taking time exposures at night I usually took a reading on a bright wall and then allow 3-5 stops depending on where I wanted the tone curve to be.

And before the era of matrix metering, I also habitually took a meter/camera reading on either grass or my hand (allowing 1-2 stops for that with fair skin). Match-needle metering was my favourite in-camera metering because it made the process so easy without needing an AEL button.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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