LOG IN    OR   REGISTER TO FORUMS


Light Meter. Do I really need to use it?

FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 22 Jun 2013 (Saturday) 23:39   
LIST NEARBY THREADS
 
a_roadbiker
Goldmember
a_roadbiker's Avatar
Joined Apr 2010
1,123 posts
Powder Springs, GA
[MORE/SHARE]

Hello friends. For indoor flash photography and portraits, even outdoor stuff, how necessary is it really to use a light meter? Face it, the camera itself has a very good light meter and ETTL does a very good job too. So is a light meter really that important?

Just curious to get a collective opinion.

Jim

Post #1, Jun 22, 2013 23:39:07


Click here to see a list of My Stuff

Visit my flickrexternal link
Like me on Facebookexternal link
www.jmaurophoto.comexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)
Wilt
Wilt is an old fart who has extensive experience with many brands and many formats of cameras, and extensive lighting knowledge of both studio lighting and speedlights
Wilt's Avatar
Joined Aug 2005
33,492 posts
SF Bay area, CA
[MORE/SHARE]

I presume you question the need for a 'hand held light meter' (vs. the metering in your camera).

  • The in-camera meter is a 'reflected light meter' and is going to be subjected to what Kodak calls 'subject failure'...when the object being metered departs from 18% tonality; that is why Exposure Compensation is available -- YOU have to tell the meter that your subject is brighter or darker than 18% tonality!
  • A handheld meter which uses a hemispheric dome is an INCIDENT light meter...it reads the light falling on the scene, and is never prone to 'subject failure' because it does not care nor does it meter light coming FROM the subject, it measures light GOING TO the subject!
  • A handheld meter also may be a FLASH meter, which measures studio light intensity...those are NEVER ETTL compatible lights, and your flash metering ONLY handles ETTL flash.

None of the above are opinions, they are FACTS. Opinions vary about whether you can get away with NOT using a handheld meter. If you do not care about wasting your time, or that of your subjects, you can do just fine without a hand held meter.

Post #2, Jun 23, 2013 01:03:21


You need to give me OK to edit your image and repost!
Canon dSLR system, Olympus OM 35mm system, Bronica ETRSi 645 system, Horseman LS 4x5 system, Metz flashes, Dynalite studio lighting, and too many accessories to mention
Keep POTN alive and well with member support http://photography-on-the.net/forum/donate.p​hp

LOG IN TO REPLY
CoPhotoGuy
Senior Member
Joined Feb 2013
274 posts
[MORE/SHARE]

That depends. I own one but never use it. But then I don't really do studio work. Then again, I'm so used to how my camera meters, light in general and my strobes that I find I don't really need one.

Post #3, Jun 23, 2013 01:13:14




LOG IN TO REPLY
pyrojim
Goldmember
Joined Jan 2010
1,871 posts
San Jose, CA
[MORE/SHARE]

a_roadbiker wrote in post #16056209external link
Hello friends. For indoor flash photography and portraits, even outdoor stuff, how necessary is it really to use a light meter? Face it, the camera itself has a very good light meter and ETTL does a very good job too. So is a light meter really that important?

Just curious to get a collective opinion.

Jim



Jim,

This guy has a pretty slick set up with lights, light meter and camera(duh he is using a lead credo). http://vimeo.com/m/560​27369external link

Basically he fires the flashes from his light meter and sets his camera and starts shooting.

So do you NEED one. I don't know. I don't use one but I'm not this guy... I would if I didn't just spend my tax return on speedotron lights haha.

Post #4, Jun 23, 2013 02:10:44


PhaseOne H25
Camera agnostic

LOG IN TO REPLY
Osiriz
Senior Member
Osiriz's Avatar
Joined Jul 2012
622 posts
Norway
[MORE/SHARE]

My light meter is collecting dust on the shelf.

A tool of the past i.m.o.

Post #5, Jun 23, 2013 05:19:39 as a reply to pyrojim's post 3 hours earlier.




LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)
SkipD
Cream of the Crop
SkipD's Avatar
Joined Dec 2002
19,856 posts
Southeastern WI, USA
[MORE/SHARE]

I use my handheld light meter (a Sekonic L-358) far more than the meters built into my DSLRs.

Post #6, Jun 23, 2013 06:46:44


Skip Douglas
A few cameras and almost 50 years behind them .....
..... but still learning all the time.

LOG IN TO REPLY
vinmunoz
Cream of the Crop
vinmunoz's Avatar
Joined Sep 2010
9,906 posts
California
[MORE/SHARE]

I also bought the sekonic L-358 and never use it. The thing is i always nail my exposure in one or two test shots.

P.S. I almost shoot outdoor with one naked flash and no studio. Maybe I'll use it in the studio.

Post #7, Jun 23, 2013 07:39:46


VINZ - SONY A7R/A6000 | ZEISS FE55mm F1.8 | NIKKOR 135mm F2 AI-S | VIVITAR 35mm F1.9 | SONY FE70-200mm F4 | SIGMA 150MM F2.8 Macro OS for sale
INSTAGRAMexternal link- WEBSITEexternal link - FACEBOOKexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
dmward
Cream of the Crop
Joined Jun 2009
7,127 posts
Metro Chicago
[MORE/SHARE]

This question always seems to get answers in two polarized groups.
What often seems to be missing in the answers are situational qualifiers and experience level of the photographer.

When using speedlites, I often rely on ETTL and because of experience and practice my results are great.
When using studio lights, I always have a hand held meter to get the ratios set between fill, main and accent lights. Then, can use the remote power control feature the system incorporates to adjust the power up and down to very aperture during the session.

Using non-ETTL capable lights outside, on the go, I tend to get the exposure via test shot. This works well because I am using one light, with known output at a specific distance as a fill with the sun.

I guess the answer, for me, is it depends on the circumstances. Just like everything else in my kit. A light meter is a tool that's available to help be get the job done quickly and professionally.

Post #8, Jun 23, 2013 08:45:31


David | digifotografi tutorialsexternal link | dmwfotos websiteexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
a_roadbiker
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
a_roadbiker's Avatar
Joined Apr 2010
1,123 posts
Powder Springs, GA
[MORE/SHARE]

Thanks for the feedback! I have mixed emotions about using one. I can see where it would be beneficial, but I also agree with the comment just above ("The thing is I always nail my exposure in one or two test shots."). I would suggest that dong this probably takes less time than setting up using a light meter.

The reason why I asked is because, although I am not new to photography, I am new to making a business of it and I want to get into portraiture. This could be a type of work in which a meter would be beneficial, but then there the "...one or tow test shots" thing. Anyway, I posted something in a LinkedIn forum about doing this kind of work and asking for lighting suggestions, and this one guy gave me all kinds of sh@#, suggesting that "Just because you bought a bunch of stuff and now you want to take portraits does not make you a professional photographer." Well to that I say, no kidding. He also went on to say that since I am participating in a Pro Photo group that I should already know that I need a light meter. For one, thing I think he has some nerve getting in my face like that, and how does he know whether or not I even have one? All I asked about was the kind of lighting to use: Speedlites or strobes (Alien Bees, et. al.).

Anyway, Like I said, I can see where in some cases a meter would be beneficial, but I can also see it laying around collecting dust too.

Thanks again everyone.

Post #9, Jun 23, 2013 08:51:06


Click here to see a list of My Stuff

Visit my flickrexternal link
Like me on Facebookexternal link
www.jmaurophoto.comexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
vinmunoz
Cream of the Crop
vinmunoz's Avatar
Joined Sep 2010
9,906 posts
California
[MORE/SHARE]

that guy in the Pro Photo Group is rude. I will stay in POTN.

Mine is on the classified: sell thread. I'm not seeing myself put up a studio. I love doing family portrait outdoors.

Post #10, Jun 23, 2013 09:19:51


VINZ - SONY A7R/A6000 | ZEISS FE55mm F1.8 | NIKKOR 135mm F2 AI-S | VIVITAR 35mm F1.9 | SONY FE70-200mm F4 | SIGMA 150MM F2.8 Macro OS for sale
INSTAGRAMexternal link- WEBSITEexternal link - FACEBOOKexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
dmward
Cream of the Crop
Joined Jun 2009
7,127 posts
Metro Chicago
[MORE/SHARE]

As I mentioned, the meter is useful for setting ratios for the lighting scheme.
Whether you use speedlites or monolights depends on the situation. I use both for portraits.

For quick head shots its often easier and quicker to put speedlites into umbrella frame modifiers and use ETTL metering. For other situations it works well to setup monolights with modifiers.

As for the Linked-In poster. Sounds like he needs to remember how he learned the craft. I'm confident he got help at least once from another photographer. He'd have to be a hermit to claim he learned it all by himself. :-)

Post #11, Jun 23, 2013 09:23:28


David | digifotografi tutorialsexternal link | dmwfotos websiteexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)
a_roadbiker
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
a_roadbiker's Avatar
Joined Apr 2010
1,123 posts
Powder Springs, GA
[MORE/SHARE]

I must admit, the POTN crowd is much nicer and more well-informed. Especially when it comes to Canon-specific topics, as well as overall photographic questions.

Thanks!
Jim

Post #12, Jun 23, 2013 10:58:28


Click here to see a list of My Stuff

Visit my flickrexternal link
Like me on Facebookexternal link
www.jmaurophoto.comexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
jcolman
Goldmember
Joined Mar 2008
2,209 posts
North Carolina
[MORE/SHARE]

I rarely use mine anymore. Even for all my off camera lighting, I find that I can adjust my lights by chimping.

Post #13, Jun 23, 2013 12:12:37


www.jimcolmanphotograp​hy.comexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
kouasupra
Goldmember
Joined May 2008
2,607 posts
Fresno/Clovis, CA
[MORE/SHARE]

For all of the folks who aren't using their light meter shoot me a PM on your price. Why let it sit when you can sell it.

Post #14, Jun 23, 2013 12:36:40


1D X | 16-35L II | 24-70L II | 70-200L II | 50L | 85L II | 100L

GEARS

LOG IN TO REPLY
vinmunoz
Cream of the Crop
vinmunoz's Avatar
Joined Sep 2010
9,906 posts
California
[MORE/SHARE]

here's mine in the ads

http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​299094

Post #15, Jun 23, 2013 12:40:45


VINZ - SONY A7R/A6000 | ZEISS FE55mm F1.8 | NIKKOR 135mm F2 AI-S | VIVITAR 35mm F1.9 | SONY FE70-200mm F4 | SIGMA 150MM F2.8 Macro OS for sale
INSTAGRAMexternal link- WEBSITEexternal link - FACEBOOKexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY


LIST NEARBY THREADS
2,118 views & 0 likes for this thread
Light Meter. Do I really need to use it?
FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting



NOT A MEMBER YET? CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO FORUMS

CHANGE BODY TEXT SIZE FOR ALL THREAD PAGES
POWERED BY AMASS 1.0version 1.0
made in Finland
by Pekka Saarinen
for photography-on-the.net


SEND FEEDBACK TO STAFF  |  JUMP TO FORUM...  |  FORUM RULES


Spent 0.00102 for 4 database queries.
PAGE COMPLETED IN 0.02s
724 guests, 505 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 3341, that happened on Dec 11, 2014
Latest registered member is sulina

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: By using this site you agree that some cookies will be stored on your browser. For unlogged users we store one session id cookie. For registered members we store (in addition to login session cookie) only cookies that are essential for required functionality, we do not store any personal tracking data in cookies or other browser's data storage methods.