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Author Topic: Thinking of buying a Light Meter  (Read 4998 times)

Policar

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #30 on: September 10, 2013, 11:28:45 AM »
talking out my ass... hmm. well, i think you're talking out your ass. my shutter that's probably older than you are, probably 1.5X as old, doesn't have any hard stops for shutter speed, or aperture.  i'm sure it would work just fine somewhere in between for aperture values,( i doubt shutter speeds), but that's about as accurate as you'd be. somewhere in between one stop and another.
 i don't shoot much velvia, but i haven't had a problem with exposure when i do. i mostly run provia and astia.

seems the meter companies played their cards very well during the transition to digital, to bad kodak and many others didn't.

 anyone want to tell me i haven't watched BTS videos from true pros using all sorts of light meters all over a studio only to use a take an "instant" to see where they really are, only to find that they are way off. now days we should do this the other way around? ha!

Don Haines, thank you.

I wrote that most large format shutters don't have hard stops on the aperture and you can set an in-between stop by eye, allowing you to adjust more precisely than full stops. Your argument against that was that your large format shutter doesn't have hard stops and you set in-between stops by eye, allowing you to adjust more precisely than by the full stop? Uhh.... Wait, so I'm right but you still disagree?

Few lenses have precise markings between stops. You can easily guess by eye on the shutter accurate to about a third of a stop and you have theoretically unlimited adjustment without hard stops. So uhh... how does that make your large format shutter precise only to the stop? It has UNLIMITED adjustment between stops, limited only to how precisely you can guess placement (which is pretty precise).

So what the hell is your argument again?

Just sit back and think for a second. You're making no sense. You have NO IDEA what you're talking about.

Also, stop talking about shooting Velvia if you've never shot it. It does have less latitude than Provia and Astia, and higher color saturation and resolution. And fwiw, yes a point and shoot is an accurate enough meter for most slide films BUT IT'S STILL A METER! In a pinch you could use a grey card and a point and shoot and have a very accurate incident meter, too, it's just slower and somewhat less precise than an external one. Still a meter.

Every set I've been on the DP has used a meter extensively and the gaffer will always carry a meter, too. For motion picture work they're almost necessary. Any Hollywood set will have a DP and a gaffer with a meter and camera ops will often carry them, too. As for stills: do you think Gursky meters? Crewdson? OF COURSE THEY DO! By claiming meters are unnecessary you're just insulting people who actually know what they're doing.

Can you get by without one? Sure, in some instances. In others you can fake it by using other gear (a point and shoot's internal meter for instance). No one is arguing against this.

Do you need an external meter if you're not lighting externally and shooting exclusively digitally? Of course not. Photojournalists have always used in-camera meters, same as digital photojournalists do today. Some will benefit from them, some won't. Can you fudge shooting large format with a point and shoot? Sure, plenty of people do. But having one gives you more precision and much more speed. Just because you're not working at the level of craft that benefits from metering doesn't mean others are. If I need a spot meter to see how hot a highlight is or an incident meter to shape a light or I'm resetting a set up after tearing it down I'm a lot better off with my Sekonic than with guessing and checking.

Please stop giving bad, ignorant advice to those who are trying to learn and improve their craft.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 11:39:21 AM by Policar »

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #30 on: September 10, 2013, 11:28:45 AM »

Don Haines

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #31 on: September 10, 2013, 12:05:37 PM »
talking out my ass... hmm. well, i think you're talking out your ass. my shutter that's probably older than you are, probably 1.5X as old, doesn't have any hard stops for shutter speed, or aperture.  i'm sure it would work just fine somewhere in between for aperture values,( i doubt shutter speeds), but that's about as accurate as you'd be. somewhere in between one stop and another.
 i don't shoot much velvia, but i haven't had a problem with exposure when i do. i mostly run provia and astia.

seems the meter companies played their cards very well during the transition to digital, to bad kodak and many others didn't.

 anyone want to tell me i haven't watched BTS videos from true pros using all sorts of light meters all over a studio only to use a take an "instant" to see where they really are, only to find that they are way off. now days we should do this the other way around? ha!

Don Haines, thank you.

When I shot film, every shot was set up with a light meter, except for my trusty OM-1. I had used it enough to know how much to compensate for various lighting conditions by eye, but I bracketed shots when I was not sure and whenever I got confused, out came the light meter. I should have used it more because there were lots of shots over the years that I thought I got, yet did not compensate enough for. If you are shooting film, I could not do without a light meter.

Since going digital, I don't use my light meter, I find the metering of digital SLR's so good compared to the OM1 that there really isn't a need for it anymore. Change to live view, adjust the camera settings, and you see the answer now. It is a lot more convenient (at least for me), than having a separate piece of kit to do the metering.

I don't shoot video very much.... Just enough to know to avoid automatic exposures... I will leave it up to those who know more to comment on if a light meter is needed, but for me, I rely on live-view to get it right.

Digital gives you instant feedback. You know NOW! If the settings are right.... You have in-camera bracketing, zebras, and histograms. We had none of that with film.... The best you could hope for was to have a one-hour processing shack beside you.... Just does not cut it for live action....
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paul13walnut5

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2013, 12:09:32 PM »
Histograms won't always do it.

Especially if a subject is supposed to be very dark or very bright (High ISO and High DR don't change what the correct expsoure is)

LCD live views won't always do it, as the monitors don't usually have great contrast, aren't that well calibrated and not every camera has the ability to switch off live view exposure simulation (try and use a lensbaby or tilt-shift on a rebel and you'll have lots of fun fun fun)

The need for off camera metering may have diminished for the general market, now that everybody can afford a 5D3 and is therefore a professional in waiting, but the folk who always needed them still do, and some of the folk who think they don't should get a loan of one to see the difference between metering for the light and metering for the subject, whether you shoot on digital, APS-C, 135 / leica / minature or medium format.

As I said earlier, 99% of hobbyists don't need one, no matter how good they think they are.  But their photography would probably be a lot better if they borrowed one and really got to grips with exposure.

I'm actually thinking of buying one again, just a cheapie, as 10 stop screw in filters are a pain in the arth.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2013, 12:13:38 PM »


I don't shoot video very much.... Just enough to know to avoid automatic exposures... I will leave it up to those who know more to comment on if a light meter is needed, but for me, I rely on live-view to get it right.


I don't tend to use a light meter for setting the video exposure, but I do use one for setting up bigger light rigs, helps with ratios on a subject, helps even out kickers and set lights so everything is uniform where it needs to be, and the correct ratios when it needs to be different.  Coloured gels can really confuse the eye and the camera, it's handy to have a colour blind exposure meter to make sure luma is where it's supposed to be at for a given part of a scene, or for a fill vs key etc.

Don Haines

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2013, 12:24:39 PM »


I don't shoot video very much.... Just enough to know to avoid automatic exposures... I will leave it up to those who know more to comment on if a light meter is needed, but for me, I rely on live-view to get it right.


I don't tend to use a light meter for setting the video exposure, but I do use one for setting up bigger light rigs, helps with ratios on a subject, helps even out kickers and set lights so everything is uniform where it needs to be, and the correct ratios when it needs to be different.  Coloured gels can really confuse the eye and the camera, it's handy to have a colour blind exposure meter to make sure luma is where it's supposed to be at for a given part of a scene, or for a fill vs key etc.
That's far beyond my skills and equipment.... But I can certainly understand why you need one with external lights... And particularly gel filters... Kudos to those who can set things up well under such difficult conditions...

Edit - and that holds for stills with external lighting too
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 12:39:13 PM by Don Haines »
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Sporgon

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #35 on: September 10, 2013, 12:36:32 PM »
Histograms won't always do it.


This is true. Histograms are not infallible in so much as they require the photographer to recognise where the photographed scene lies between light and dark. If you photographed a dark scene and exposed to have a histogram's bulk predominately in the middle you're going to be over exposed, for instance.

Encouraging people to try exposing by incident light reading is good advice. No, it's not critically necessary anymore, but it is a good tool for learning if nothing else, and you can pick old ones up off e bay for about £30. Just check it against your cameras meter on a grey card before using to make sure it is still accurate.

eml58

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2013, 09:57:25 PM »
Sekonic have a $50 back discount offer currently running on the Sekonic L478D & L478DR, probably as good a time as any to buy a Light meter if you were going to, I have the 478DR, works a treat, has a 5 degree Spot meter arrangement as against a 1 degree. Not a bad price.
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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2013, 09:57:25 PM »

Don Haines

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2013, 02:14:54 PM »
talking out my ass... hmm. well, i think you're talking out your ass. my shutter that's probably older than you are, probably 1.5X as old, doesn't have any hard stops for shutter speed, or aperture.  i'm sure it would work just fine somewhere in between for aperture values,( i doubt shutter speeds), but that's about as accurate as you'd be. somewhere in between one stop and another.
 i don't shoot much velvia, but i haven't had a problem with exposure when i do. i mostly run provia and astia.

seems the meter companies played their cards very well during the transition to digital, to bad kodak and many others didn't.

 anyone want to tell me i haven't watched BTS videos from true pros using all sorts of light meters all over a studio only to use a take an "instant" to see where they really are, only to find that they are way off. now days we should do this the other way around? ha!

Don Haines, thank you.

I did not say they were not needed, I said they were a lot less needed. For simple setups, the on camera metering is so good now that most people will get away without one.... Remember, most people will be shooting with no external lights, and if they do use a flash, it is a pop-up flash.

If you are dealing with multiple flashes.... Get a light meter. If you are dealing with studio lighting, get one.  The on camera metering is not designed for those conditions... Yes, you can go by trial and error to adjust your settings and digital gives you instant feedback, but the more complex your setup is, the more time it will take, and eventually you start guessing what to do instead of knowing what to do.
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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2013, 02:14:54 PM »