August 02, 2014, 12:54:43 AM

Author Topic: Thinking of buying a Light Meter  (Read 6055 times)

risc32

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2013, 09:00:35 PM »
no, when i mean full manual i mean FULL MANUAL. as in, no batteries or solar powered thingymabobs they used to use. manual film loading/advancing/rewinding/unloading, manual aperture adjustment, manual shutter cocking, manual shutter speed settings, no ISO settings, no AF, and the HDR functions are broken(i kid.)  i either use a little point and shoot and do some math in my head to get where i want( not hard, but trickier than you might think. not everything works in 1/2 or 1/3rd stops), or i use "the force".

besides, I've watched enough behind the scenes and making of type stuff from famous pros running around using lightmeters, and checking all manner of crap. looking very professional then you watch them fire a few polaroids at the settings that they came up with, only for it to be way off.  with an LCD screen, and RGB histogram on a little point and shot, i need a lightmeter?
  lightmeters, i just don't get it.

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2013, 09:00:35 PM »

eml58

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2013, 09:33:13 PM »
Well it's becoming clear that People either like them, or hate them.

My view would be that if your going to be doing a reasonable amount of multi/Flash/Strobe work, in particular in a Studio situation where you need to balance light between strobes, you probably could use the help.

As Paulwalnut mentioned, if you appreciate the difference between "incident" and "reflective" light, then you may well find that metering for "incident" light could help your Photography.

It would help just to look on the internet & research the use of meters, there's a tonne of useful, and useless info out there, then look for a meter that you feel will fill the slot for yourself.

I have a couple, the Sekonic L-758DR, which has a 1 degree spot reading ability, and the Sekonic L-478DR which has a 5 degree spot reading ability, but is smaller and touch screen.

Do you "need" a meter ?? No, the metering done in most newer Cameras does a pretty good job, to a degree, if you want to be able to balance the exposure better, then a meter is a tool that can help but not replace your Camera meter & Histogram.

Do I use my meters a lot, not really, but I'm an unapologetic "gear" nut, plus I work on the principal, better to have it & not need it, than to need it and not have it. I generally do take at least 1 of the meters with me wherever I go on a trip for Photography, due to the view mentioned, and I'll often find that the meter does get used and has helped with difficult exposure set ups, Snow, Sunrise/sunset, fill flash etc.

Wish you luck in your decision making.
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Policar

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2013, 11:43:20 PM »
no, when i mean full manual i mean FULL MANUAL. as in, no batteries or solar powered thingymabobs they used to use. manual film loading/advancing/rewinding/unloading, manual aperture adjustment, manual shutter cocking, manual shutter speed settings, no ISO settings, no AF, and the HDR functions are broken(i kid.)  i either use a little point and shoot and do some math in my head to get where i want( not hard, but trickier than you might think. not everything works in 1/2 or 1/3rd stops), or i use "the force".

besides, I've watched enough behind the scenes and making of type stuff from famous pros running around using lightmeters, and checking all manner of crap. looking very professional then you watch them fire a few polaroids at the settings that they came up with, only for it to be way off.  with an LCD screen, and RGB histogram on a little point and shot, i need a lightmeter?
  lightmeters, i just don't get it.

Have you ever shot 4x5 slides or motion picture film?

If not, I can see why you wouldn't get it.

That's neither an insult nor a compliment. I know very good photographers and gaffers who used spotmeters until they no longer needed to (or only use incident meters in rare cases as back ups); I also know that point-and-shoots are loaded with C41 with huge exposure latitude and that everything DOES work in stops, no matter how you measure them or guess them. :)

Once you need it, you need it. And that the original poster is even asking means he might. "I don't need it because I'm amazing; here's a vague description of the gear I use" isn't helpful, but congrats on being amazing.

Oh, and do I carry a meter and point it at something to keep people off my back when I want to be left alone? All the time. But it's still a valid use!
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 11:46:51 PM by Policar »

Jim O

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2013, 09:24:48 AM »
I have a  Sekonic L-608 that I still use occasionally (more like rarely) for complex situations.

I used it extensively with low DR films like Velvia, and that's primarily why I got it. For getting the shot right with film the first time a good light meter was cost effective, especially when traveling. I don't know if I'd get one today for what I do.
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Coolhandchuck

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2013, 10:10:15 AM »
I'm a still photographer and the video I take, I use my iPhone so a light meter will be strictly for stills. How do meters fire strobes?
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risc32

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2013, 10:36:37 AM »
yes i shoot 4x5, and 6x9 and 35mm and others.  i almost never shoot print film as i much prefer slides. point and shoots loaded with c41? well i don't know anything about that, when i said point and shoots, i was talking about a P&S digital pocket cam. Also, when i said that not everything works in 1/2 or 1/3rd stops, i should have made this clearer. you see my 6x9 for example has a shutter that works in full stops, and aperture settings in 1/2 stops. my 4x5's shutter works in full stops, and the aperture adjustments are also full stops. except between f5.6 and f4. it jumps from 5.6 to f4.5. so you see when i get a reading from my P&S digital and i have to transfer those settings, it gets jumbled. you don't have to be "rainman" to do it, but just a bit harder than you might think.
  oh, i'm not amazing, not at all. I've seen loads of work right here that i would be very proud to call my own. that would be cool though.

CharlieB

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2013, 10:39:09 AM »
Light meters.... lots to choose from.

I've used almost every kind of meter there is.  Minolta, Pentax, Sekonic, even old Weston meters.

Here's what I've found most useful in an all-round meter.

Forget all the averaging and storage and multi-exposure nonesense.  Its nonsense!

Get a meter with a big dome, not a little pinky sized dome.  Incident readings do half your ambient light work, and 99 percent of your flash work.  Big domes just work better.   Make sure your meter can do flash and ambient light and that it has a standard synch connection.   All the rest is icing on the cake.

Minolta meters have been bulletproof for me.  Only used now, but fetching higher prices used, as they are super rugged and are consistent.   I'm using a 4F Minolta right now, and it... works.  Does not have 1/3 stop only 1/2 stop settings.  Big deal.  Also ISO goes to 4000 I think.   Doesn't bother me, as most of my metering is for studio flash.

And thats that.  Big dome, flash with synch.  Sekonic, Minolta (or Konica or the folks that took over production for them), or Gossen.   Used, in good shape (with return privs) is a good way to go.   B&H or other good retailers always have meters in stock used, and have good return policies (and good vetting of used equipment... I've never had a problem with B&H's grading).

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2013, 10:39:09 AM »

paul13walnut5

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2013, 12:14:54 PM »
I'm a still photographer and the video I take, I use my iPhone so a light meter will be strictly for stills. How do meters fire strobes?

My Polaris had a PC socket on it for use in tripping cabled studio flash.  By PC I mean the Prontor / Compar concentric circle socket, not personal computer.

zim

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2013, 02:20:58 PM »
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.

That it's a Weston Master..... Still don't know where my Dad's went to.... still gutted  :'(

(only joking about the first part incase anyone takes offence!)

Lawliet

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2013, 02:34:05 PM »
How do meters fire strobes?

The mentioned sync socket is one way(& my least favorite), sometimes radio is an option, for Sekonic meters you can get pocket wizard transmitters for example. Or you approach the job from the other side, have the strobes trigger the meter.

eli452

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2013, 03:58:10 PM »
"99% of hobby photographers, even very serious very capable hobby photographers have no real need for a light meter."

And I'm one of them. I know that a light meter is very good at complex scenes and at spot metering outdoors.
But all the very good advice given above do not say anything about the excitement of buying a new piece of hardware. I'll be the first to admit an addiction to the blood rush of a new purchase, a new toy to learn and play with. It is your money, if you think you will enjoy it go ahead. 8)
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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2013, 04:19:02 PM »
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.

That it's a Weston Master..... Still don't know where my Dad's went to.... still gutted  :'(

(only joking about the first part incase anyone takes offence!)

Oy ! I still use a Western Master V. Measuring light by incident method can put me straight on the money in certain situations without having to take multiple shots, but as others have stated it is no longer essential as it was with slide film. Suggest the OP gets one off e bay and gives it a go before spending much.

Policar

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2013, 05:00:04 PM »
yes i shoot 4x5, and 6x9 and 35mm and others.  i almost never shoot print film as i much prefer slides. point and shoots loaded with c41? well i don't know anything about that, when i said point and shoots, i was talking about a P&S digital pocket cam. Also, when i said that not everything works in 1/2 or 1/3rd stops, i should have made this clearer. you see my 6x9 for example has a shutter that works in full stops, and aperture settings in 1/2 stops. my 4x5's shutter works in full stops, and the aperture adjustments are also full stops. except between f5.6 and f4. it jumps from 5.6 to f4.5. so you see when i get a reading from my P&S digital and i have to transfer those settings, it gets jumbled. you don't have to be "rainman" to do it, but just a bit harder than you might think.
  oh, i'm not amazing, not at all. I've seen loads of work right here that i would be very proud to call my own. that would be cool though.

Copal shutters don't have hard stops on the aperture, though the timing is indeed in hard stops (and bulb). You're talking out your ass if you claim you can't adjust large format shutters more precisely than one stop. There are no hard stops on copal shutters and long exposures can be done with bulb.

Also, no one can shoot 4x5 slides without a meter and get consistent exposures. It's near-impossible, at least without some sort of help; velvia for instance has +/- 1/3 stops of latitude. If you're using a point and shoot as the basis for your exposures (I misread what you wrote before -- I thought you wrote you were using a P&S without a meter, not that you were using one AS a meter), you're still using its internal meter, and it's a much less meaningful reading than a proper spot metering, though it works crudely, yes. You're STILL using a meter, though, just a worse one.

It's fine that you're doing this if it works for you, but there are better and more reliable ways to get the same (or better) results.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 05:31:19 PM by Policar »

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2013, 05:00:04 PM »

Don Haines

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2013, 08:24:01 PM »
In the good old days when you pressed the shutter it cost you a dollar or two, or five, or even $10 in film depending on which format you're using. It was very important to get the exposure right. Meters were indispensable. You had to wait until the film was processed to know if you got it right.

In the digital world, take the shot, look at the screen, look at the histogram, look at the zebras, or whatever works for you. You instantly know if you got the shot and if not, can adjust accordingly, and try again..... Or you can turn on bracketing...

It makes light meters a lot less needed in the digital world.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 08:54:27 PM by Don Haines »
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risc32

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2013, 10:55:19 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.

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Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2013, 10:55:19 PM »