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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 14 Feb 2012 (Tuesday) 13:06
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POLL: "Is a light meter essential in a studio setup?"
Essential, shoudn't take a picture without one.
37
24.7%
Useful, use one most of the time.
73
48.7%
Have one, hardly use it.
9
6%
Don't use them, prefer to chimp.
19
12.7%
Hate them, attack them on sight.
1
0.7%
Whats a light meter?
11
7.3%

150 voters, 150 votes given (1 choice only choices can be voted per member)). VOTING IS FOR MEMBERS ONLY.
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Is a light meter essential in a studio setup?

 
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z-monster
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Feb 17, 2012 17:05 |  #91

Use a light meter? What rubbish nonsense is this?

The human eye is a perfect light meter.


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TaintedTesticle
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Feb 17, 2012 17:08 |  #92
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Feb 17, 2012 17:23 |  #93

TaintedTesticle wrote in post #13916645 (external link)
When you've become one with the camera, anything is possible.

I understand the 5DIII is going to have a hole for an incense stick.


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Digital_zen
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Feb 17, 2012 17:41 |  #94

Measuring incident light levels works to tell you the ratio between one light source and another, BUT as has been pointed out, our subjects are not (always) a grey card. Any one subject or scene will have areas of higher and lower reflectance.
How is measuring the actual light reflected from a subjects head and chin not making sense? I don't even do that, I measure ambient light set my exposure where I want it, then measure flash exposure. All in camera.


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airfrogusmc
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Feb 17, 2012 17:46 |  #95

Digital_zen wrote in post #13916802 (external link)
Measuring incident light levels works to tell you the ratio between one light source and another, BUT as has been pointed out, our subjects are not (always) a grey card. Any one subject or scene will have areas of higher and lower reflectance.
How is measuring the actual light reflected from a subjects head and chin not making sense? I don't even do that, I measure ambient light set my exposure where I want it, then measure flash exposure. All in camera.

In most studio situations the ambient is irrelevant (the ambient lights should be turned off so you can see what the modeling lamps are doing)and all the studio lights should be controlled by metering and setting the strobes and their ratios which are manual by the way ;)




  
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JimAndersson
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Feb 17, 2012 18:26 |  #96

Titus213 wrote in post #13914106 (external link)
If you are using the histogram to determine proper exposure, and the histogram is based on camera presets, perhaps you want your camera set to reflect (no pun intended) the lighting you actually have.

Yes. Hence having the histogram showing the color channels as the sensor registers them (universal white balance) and shooting to the right (ETTR).

sigma pi wrote in post #13914727 (external link)
It sounds like you have a lot more time on your hands than I do.

You keep your lighting the same the whole time I take it?

I'm a hobbyist and have all the time I want. I actually don't do much studio photography at all.




  
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RandyMN
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Feb 17, 2012 18:33 |  #97

Digital_zen wrote in post #13916802 (external link)
Measuring incident light levels works to tell you the ratio between one light source and another, BUT as has been pointed out, our subjects are not (always) a grey card. Any one subject or scene will have areas of higher and lower reflectance.
How is measuring the actual light reflected from a subjects head and chin not making sense? I don't even do that, I measure ambient light set my exposure where I want it, then measure flash exposure. All in camera.

Seems like there is some confusion of incident, reflective, ambient and strobe.
Incident is not measuring reflective light so therefor 18% grey is kind of a meaningless criteria.




  
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Digital_zen
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Feb 17, 2012 18:45 |  #98

What I was saying was, if you measure the incident (light falling on your subject) it doesn't tell you anything about what that light is going to do once it actually reflects (light bouncing off subject) and to what degree it will be reduced from the incident level (due to the fact that most of our subjects are not grey cards). I hope this clears things up.


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Titus213
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Feb 17, 2012 18:51 |  #99

Digital_zen wrote in post #13917077 (external link)
What I was saying was, if you measure the incident (light falling on your subject) it doesn't tell you anything about what that light is going to do once it actually reflects (light bouncing off subject) and to what degree it will be reduced from the incident level (due to the fact that most of our subjects are not grey cards). I hope this clears things up.

And with that, I'm outa here.....


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RandyMN
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Feb 17, 2012 18:52 |  #100

Digital_zen wrote in post #13917077 (external link)
What I was saying was, if you measure the incident (light falling on your subject) it doesn't tell you anything about what that light is going to do once it actually reflects (light bouncing off subject) and to what degree it will be reduced from the incident level (due to the fact that most of our subjects are not grey cards). I hope this clears things up.

That's what eyes are for, but cameras can't see, they only do as they are told. Meters in-camera help the adjust the reflective light, but a hand held meter along with intelligent thinking and seeing just do it more accurately.

Sure, you can move your camera around and take different readings, but it sure is easier with an external meter.

And as to the difference you mentioned between film and digital, my meter has setting for either. Also, I use mine in incident mode, that I do not think you can find on any camera.




  
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RandyMN
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Feb 17, 2012 18:59 |  #101

Digital_zen wrote in post #13917077 (external link)
it doesn't tell you anything about what that light is going to do once it actually reflects (light bouncing off subject) and to what degree it will be reduced from the incident level (due to the fact that most of our subjects are not grey cards). I hope this clears things up.

This sounds so irrelevant! What degree it reflects??? That is what incident light doesn't really care about since it is not being fooled by lesser or higher levels of reflective light.




  
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Digital_zen
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Feb 17, 2012 19:48 |  #102

RandyMN wrote in post #13917143 (external link)
This sounds so irrelevant! What degree it reflects??? That is what incident light doesn't really care about since it is not being fooled by lesser or higher levels of reflective light.


Exactly. The film or sensor does not take a picture of incident light, but reflected light. Measuring reflected light is more accurate as to what the image recording medium will record.


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Digital_zen
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Feb 17, 2012 19:54 |  #103

RandyMN wrote in post #13917110 (external link)
That's what eyes are for, but cameras can't see, they only do as they are told. Meters in-camera help the adjust the reflective light, but a hand held meter along with intelligent thinking and seeing just do it more accurately.

Sure, you can move your camera around and take different readings, but it sure is easier with an external meter.

And as to the difference you mentioned between film and digital, my meter has setting for either. Also, I use mine in incident mode, that I do not think you can find on any camera.

Using one's eyes are what I have been talking about. I don't see how its any easier to use two devices to do a job that can be done by one. How can your meter have two settings, one for film one for digital, when digital two different cameras don't even have a standard ISO equivalent?
I think it feels more accurate to use a handheld,...but like I said originally, today, aside from huge complex setups, are mostly for show.
All this being said I do plan on getting a handheld meter, you know, for show.
What a lively discussion! I know that no one likes to be called out for doing things that are redundant just to further mystify our craft, and make it seem as if what we do is so complex that no one else can do it, this hopefully makes it easier for those writing the checks to add that extra zero...


You will find no more zen at the top of a mountain, than the zen that you bring there with you.

~zen proverb~

  
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airfrogusmc
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Feb 17, 2012 19:55 |  #104

Digital_zen wrote in post #13917300 (external link)
Exactly. The film or sensor does not take a picture of incident light, but reflected light. Measuring reflected light is more accurate as to what the image recording medium will record.

Only if the object reflecting the light is 18% gray because thats the way the meter in your camera sees everything no matter what the reflectance. ;)

Then throw in the different reflectance of different colors so those things can all fool the meter.




  
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RandyMN
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Feb 17, 2012 19:55 |  #105

Digital_zen wrote in post #13917300 (external link)
Exactly. The film or sensor does not take a picture of incident light, but reflected light. Measuring reflected light is more accurate as to what the image recording medium will record.

Reflective light is only a reflection of the source (INCIDENT), Therefore I'd say incident is more accurate since reflective errors are omitted.

Sensors use light, period! Incident or reflective are just our ways of measuring it. Camera meters as well as any reflective meter gets fooled by high and low reflective values...

Sensors don't really care how you metered your light, they are just going to respond to the amount of light you let in. This brings me back to my original point of which method of metering is more accurate.




  
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Is a light meter essential in a studio setup?
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