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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 01 Apr 2018 (Sunday) 07:01
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Who uses a light meter or uses camera

 
TheLaird
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Apr 01, 2018 07:01 |  #1

Was out on a shoot and the pro was using a light meter. He took readings in the light and shade, did some maths, and worked out the best exposure settings. He then showed how to do this a from a gray card.

I have done, thought not always, taken several readings with my camera and worked out a “best” exposure rather than just reviewing the histogram and making an appropriate change. You of course can do this with digital but not with film.

So who is using a light meter, their camera for multiple readings or just setting using the setting the camera says to?


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Naturalist
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Apr 01, 2018 07:26 |  #2

I grew up using a light meter and gray card with my film cameras so today these remain in my bag and I still pull them out periodically. Sometimes the results can be very different from what the camera's reflective meter states.


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Apr 01, 2018 08:49 |  #3

My incident meter has gathered dust since I went digital.
Why Shoot RAW? (external link) takes the worry out of some of the miStaKEs I've made, and 99.99% of the time this method eliminates the need for a external meter for incident readings: Need an exposure crutch?


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Bassat
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Apr 01, 2018 09:01 |  #4

I've been using SLRs with light meters in them for 42 years. Not once have I felt the need for a separate light meter. Though I do bracket some film shots, just to be sure.


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arthurbikemad
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Apr 01, 2018 09:10 |  #5

Ahhhh, where's me popcorn.... :p

I use a meter, L478 and L858.

Always for studio stuff, not always for run of the mill, however I do like to "see" light and gain an understanding of my exposure before I take my shot, as I say not always, camera meter is great but.... I swear by my meter, colour chart and grey card for product shots.

No camera reads flash or incident light, it's a handy device to have in the bag, if things go weird I could grab my meter.




  
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Bassat
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Apr 01, 2018 09:19 |  #6

Educate me, please. What 'goes weird', and how can a meter help where the camera can't?


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Apr 01, 2018 09:31 |  #7

Naturalist wrote in post #18598104 (external link)
I grew up using a light meter and gray card with my film cameras so today these remain in my bag ....

PhotosGuy wrote in post #18598147 (external link)
My incident meter has gathered dust since I went digital. ...

Me as well. I still have my light meter though it's always in my camera drawer these days. I much prefer using a test shot and histogram. So much quicker and more accurate. A light meter will tell you general exposure to use to get a correct exposure but tells you nothing about the separate color channels. I like to know if any of the channels are over/under exposed based on the scene I am shooting. A light meter just can't do that.


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arthurbikemad
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Apr 01, 2018 09:42 |  #8

Bassat wrote in post #18598170 (external link)
Educate me, please. What 'goes weird', and how can a meter help where the camera can't?

Ok, it's a flippant comment but, in short, if I failed to get the correct exposure (studio) with multiple lights I can grab the meter, set and measure the output and pop.

Educated me, how do you set up multiple lights without a meter? For example? :)




  
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bobbyz
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Apr 01, 2018 09:46 |  #9

When using strobes which I do mostly (inside and outside) I always use my meter. Someday cameras will let select the face and show only the histogram for that area. Till them histogram does nothing for me. Same when using multiple strobes. Now after using the external meter for a while, and knowing your strobes, modifiers, you can get to ball park even without using the meter.


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Bassat
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Apr 01, 2018 09:58 |  #10

arthurbikemad wrote in post #18598185 (external link)
Ok, it's a flippant comment but, in short, if I failed to get the correct exposure (studio) with multiple lights I can grab the meter, set and measure the output and pop.

Educated me, how do you set up multiple lights without a meter? For example? :)

Maybe it is just how I work, but the only time I use multiple lights/umbrellas/boxes is for 'product' shots. Nothing is moving, nobody is getting impatient, so I have lots of time to get it right. Trial, error, adjust, repeat until I've got it right. Since I am usually moving things around at the same time, I'm pretty sure a meter wouldn't help. Always willing to learn, though.

My step-dad used light meters all the time. He was a painter, not a photographer. I think it helped him understand what he was trying to capture, though. Pretty much what we're all doing.


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arthurbikemad
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Apr 01, 2018 10:05 |  #11

Bassat wrote in post #18598194 (external link)
Maybe it is just how I work, but the only time I use multiple lights/umbrellas/boxes is for 'product' shots. Nothing is moving, nobody is getting impatient, so I have lots of time to get it right. Trial, error, adjust, repeat until I've got it right. Since I am usually moving things around at the same time, I'm pretty sure a meter wouldn't help. Always willing to learn, though.

My step-dad used light meters all the time. He was a painter, not a photographer. I think it helped him understand what he was trying to capture, though. Pretty much what we're all doing.

I think you have a good point, I find with models/people moving around and meters things can get very confusing, however for a base setting and an idea of what ratio you have with lights the meter can be useful, I don't like to faff around and feel the meter helps with setup times.

Also I have used the memory and spot meter to average out a scene, another feature I find useful in a meter, the 1DX2 also has this ability, I.e you can add several meter points to memory and take an average, perhaps the tech geek in my enjoys the tech and know how, I like to hear how people work, facinates me how photographers and artists work.




  
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Apr 01, 2018 10:24 |  #12

TheLaird wrote in post #18598092 (external link)
...You of course can do this with digital but not with film.

So who is using a light meter, their camera for multiple readings or just setting using the setting the camera says to?

I use film cameras with TTL meter, just as digital. Pointing it two the sky, middle and ground and using middle settings for even exposure.
If light is difficult, I use light meter for film and taking control picture with digital.

But sometimes I just use S16 if I need something particular in the picture to be well exposed. :-)

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Post edited 22 days ago by Wilt. (4 edits in all)
     
Apr 01, 2018 11:24 |  #13

EVERY meter has some limitation or other, so by understanding the meter you will be able to select the best one to use for a given circumstance.
If one understands what one meter vs. another tell you, you will comprehend the limitations of each meter type in a specific situation! Then you will understand which meter works best for that specific situation.

Most times I use a spotmeter, yet other times I understand that Evaluative gives me the smallest range of error in rapidly changing shooting situations.
Sometimes I use a reflected light meter, yet other times I will depend upon an incident light meter.
Sometimes I start with an incident light meter for overall exposure, but then use a spotmeter to measure the shadow and highlight areas for the range of brightness in my scene.
Sometimes, in the studio, I use incident flash meter, but for some other circumstances I use a reflected light spot meter for flash.
The Canon eTTL meter does NOTHING for metering studio flash (unless you are using one of the nTTL capable flash units that came out in recent years...but then there is not guaranteed shot to shot consistency that you get with manually controlled flash)


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Who uses a light meter or uses camera
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