September 22, 2014, 08:21:57 AM

Author Topic: Thinking of buying a Light Meter  (Read 6441 times)

Coolhandchuck

  • Power Shot G16
  • **
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« on: September 06, 2013, 06:21:06 AM »
Thinking about buying a Light Meter and I'm wondering what are some of the features I need to look for? Thanks for the help.
Canon 6D, Canon 50 1.8, Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC, Tamron 70-200 2.8 VC, Sigma 50mm 1.4

canon rumors FORUM

Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« on: September 06, 2013, 06:21:06 AM »

paul13walnut5

  • Guest
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 09:03:23 AM »
backlit LCD

Flash synching mode (optical)
Flash synching mode (wired if you use wired heads)

EV mode

Exposure settings mode

Incident mode reflected mode

Spot mode (sometimes requires an attachment)

Meter compensation

I had a polaris shepherd that did all of this and was pretty inexpensive and gave me good results.  It also ran off a double A battery, be careful of fancy lithium types which may be expensive and hard to find these days.

AcutancePhotography

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 697
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 11:39:08 AM »
Thinking about buying a Light Meter and I'm wondering what are some of the features I need to look for? Thanks for the help.

Well, a light meter is a tool.  Nothing more, nothing less.  What is it that you want to light-meter-tool to do?

Do you want the narrow focus of a 1 degree spot meter?
Are you interested in incident light reading?
Do you plan on using this light meter to help you with flash/strobe photography?
For flash/strobe metering do you want to use a wired connection or wireless?
Are you going to be working zone systems where you want to spot meter several areas in your scene and then generate a scene brightness value?
Do you just want another meter to confirm what your in-camera meter indicates?
Do you wish to do your exposure calculations in EVs and your camera displays stops?

A separate light meter can do these things.  Very expensive ones can do all of them, less expensive ones can do some of them.  Which of these capablities are important to you?

If I were spending YOUR money, then the IKAN MK 350 is only $2,000.   ;D

If I were spending MY money, I would want to pick a light meter that does only what I need it to do and only pay for that functionality.

I use a 20 year old Sekonic 308.  It does everything I need it to do other than spot metering.  If I get to a position where I need spot metering, I would consider upgrading.  But honestly, if you won't be using spot metering, don't buy a spot meter.

Like everything else in photography, there is no best... only what is best for you.

Find out what you need and purchase accordingly.   

There are several reviews on the Internets Tubes, but from an accuracy point of view, they are all pretty good.  The only differences are in the different metering capabilities.

Good luck with it. 
I shoot with a Camera Obscura with an optical device attached that refracts and transmits light

Zv

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1237
    • View Profile
    • Zeeography (flickr)
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 12:26:35 PM »
I still don't really understand what a light meter does vs the meter in camera. Why wouldn't you just take a picture and look at the histogram then readjust? How does the meter know what you want to do? Doesn't it just meter for 18% gray?  ???
5D II | 17-40L | 24-105L | 70-200 f4L IS | 135L | SY 14 2.8 | Sigma 50 1.4

EOS M | 11-22 IS STM | 22 STM | FD 50 1.4

paul13walnut5

  • Guest
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 01:07:47 PM »
A meter lets you determine the dr in a scene
A meter helps you measure lighting ratios
A meter helps you set up a studio flash manually
A meter can measure fir incident light, a camera meter alnost exclusively measures reflected light, reflected by shades and textures assumed to be matte assumed to be 18% gray but usually aren't

99% of hobby photographers, even very serious very capable hobby photographers have no real need for a light meter.

If you can appreciate the difference between light that falls on a subject snd light thats reflected from a subject then you can probably appreciate the need that some people need for a light meter, even if you are unlikely to need one yourself,
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 09:34:28 PM by paul13walnut5 »

Policar

  • 7D
  • *****
  • Posts: 407
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 01:17:11 PM »
A meter lets you determine the dr in a scene
A meter helps you measure lighting ratios
A meter helps you set up a studio flash manually
A meter can measure fir incident light, a camera meter alnost exclusively measures reflected light, reflected by shades and textures assumed to be matte assumed to be 18% gray but usually aren't

99% of hobby photographers, even very serious very capable hobby photographers have no real need for a light meter.

If you can appreciate the difference between light that falls on a subject snd light thats reflected from a subject then tou can probably sppreciate the need that some people need for a light, even if you are unlikely to need one yourself,

I think most hobby photographers have some need for a light meter (anyone who shoots 4x5 needs one for sure!), but I think to some extent that anyone who wants to wait on light or modify light (strobes) should really consider one whereas someone who just wants to shoot what's there and get the best exposure should use the in-camera meter, as they are so good and you have instant feedback anyway.

Features depend on what you need. I have the 758-Cine, but most serious landscape photographers use a Pentax Digital Spotmeter and most serious videographers use Spectra meters, which are considered more accurate as incident meters than Sekonic.

I love the 758-Cine, but am easily impressed. :)

emag

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 317
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 01:51:24 PM »
99% of hobby photographers, even very serious very capable hobby photographers have no real need for a light meter.

I'm in that 99% group and I have to agree.  I can chimp my exposure and flash settings.  My most used (and useful to me) accessory is a Color Checker Passport.  I actually have an old light meter but haven't used it in very many years.  I think the last time was when I still used film.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 01:51:24 PM »

leGreve

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 191
  • Full time photographer and film maker omnifilm.dk
    • View Profile
    • leGreve Photography
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 02:31:39 PM »
Hey! I thought about doing that too....... then I came to my senses.

The light metre, although very valuable when you have to build up a scene in a movie from the bottom while controlling exposure, is not really needed for a modern day hobby photographer. Heck, I don't know a single serious professional commercial photographer who does. I haven't used one since photography school year 1......

And you know what, one of the worlds best cinematographers have again and again stated that he never uses a metre. He uses his eyes. That person is Roger Deakins...

Save your money, let your modern day dslr do the work and learn to use your eye and your histogram. Or... you could even buy a small monitor with waveform monitor built in... that would be way more useful than a meter to me.
5D III -  Zeiss Otus 55mm 1.4 ~ 24-70 2.8L II ~ 70-200 2.8L II IS USM ~ 100 2.8L IS USM Macro ~ 16-35 2.8L II ~ Canon Extender 2x III

Aglet

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 988
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2013, 02:47:24 PM »
99% of hobby photographers, even very serious very capable hobby photographers have no real need for a light meter.
I've got a pair of higher end older Sekonics.  They're wonderful.
They spend most of their life in a drawer, with the battery removed - cuz it seems to run down if I leave it installed.
Occasionally use them for setting up complex strobe lighting or as a comparison tool when I need to check my camera metering.

Policar

  • 7D
  • *****
  • Posts: 407
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2013, 03:35:42 PM »
And you know what, one of the worlds best cinematographers have again and again stated that he never uses a metre. He uses his eyes. That person is Roger Deakins...

Can you find a source for this? From what I understand he meters regularly, and at the very least metered for years and years until he outgrew the need. There are plenty of photos of him using a meter, and he appears to carry a meter with him everywhere.

Also if you have to get to his level to not need a meter, well, there are maybe ten people at the world at that level.

risc32

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 471
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2013, 04:37:26 PM »
just now i arrived at the canon rumors homepage and noticed an ad for lightmeters. i thought, why would anyone buy a light meter? then scrolled down to see that someone is asking for lightmeter advise. in 2013, why would anyone want a lightmeter? before you get all film on me, i know all about film. well, i don't know "all" about it, but i can and do use full manual film cameras. i don't need no stinking lightmeter...

Policar

  • 7D
  • *****
  • Posts: 407
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2013, 05:48:32 PM »
just now i arrived at the canon rumors homepage and noticed an ad for lightmeters. i thought, why would anyone buy a light meter? then scrolled down to see that someone is asking for lightmeter advise. in 2013, why would anyone want a lightmeter? before you get all film on me, i know all about film. well, i don't know "all" about it, but i can and do use full manual film cameras. i don't need no stinking lightmeter...

Do those film cameras have light meters built in? Then do you need one... it's just built into the camera.

I use my meter for video and 4x5 film primarily. I'd argue that it's useful when using strobes, too. For snapshots, obviously not so much.

scottkinfw

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 758
    • View Profile
    • kasden.smug.com
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2013, 06:11:08 PM »
That reminds me, I better get the battery out of my meter before it corrodes.

sek
sek Cameras: 5D III, 5D II, EOS M  Lenses:  24-70 2.8 II IS, 24-105 f4L, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 300 f4L IS, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8 Flashes: 580 EX II600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2013, 06:11:08 PM »

Dantana

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 124
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2013, 06:33:56 PM »
That's an interesting bunch of responses.

Of course you don't "need" a light meter. On the side of the viewfinder of an old TLR that I have it has settings to use for "sunny" and "in the shade."

If you get the results you are looking for with the meter built into your camera, then maybe you don't need an external meter.

But, there are plenty of places where it's useful to have a handheld meter, especially an incident meter. To know how much light is actually falling on something, not just the processor's idea of what a proper exposure should be. To check different areas of a scene to know what your ratios are coming out at. I can think of a lot of reasons why to use one.

That being said, my old (and I mean really really old, like doesn't need a battery old) Sekonic doesn't usually come out. But when I need it, it's there.
6D, 20 2.8, 35 2.0, 40 2.8, 85 1.8, 200 2.8L, 24-105 4L, 2x III, Speedlite 430EX II, Rokinon 14 2.8

Lawliet

  • 7D
  • *****
  • Posts: 402
    • View Profile
Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2013, 07:40:54 PM »
in 2013, why would anyone want a lightmeter?

Mine tells me what each light I use contributes to the final image, if each part of the set gets the intended amount of light, not just whether there are some areas that  happen to reflect a certain amount of light - either as planned or by at least two errors accidently canceling each other out. And allows to keep the exposure consistant and spot on without having the model go through all the changes and even poses.
OTOH I wouldn't miss the built in meter, good thing that the 600EX-RT actually is allowed to use its metering cell instead of relying on E-TTL ;)

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2013, 07:40:54 PM »