November 28, 2014, 11:07:39 PM

Author Topic: Who uses a handheld light meter?  (Read 6091 times)

Elbows

  • Power Shot G7X
  • **
  • Posts: 16
    • View Profile
Who uses a handheld light meter?
« on: October 02, 2012, 06:41:45 AM »
I'd be interested to hear your opinions on whether you think a light meter is a worthwhile accessory for landscape photography, particularly one measuring reflected (or spot) metering.

I was thinking of purchasing the Sekonic L-758DR. The video below makes what seems a good case for it's use, but then it would as it's produced for/by Sekonic. It's one of many videos from Sekonic.

Just to pre-empt the obvious question (that I also had) "why don't you simply use the camera's spot meter?", one answer appears to be that you can use the meter to take multiple spot readings and the Sekonic will average them out for you.
It also allows you to 'profile' your DSLR's sensor so you know it's dynamic range and will show the exposure range with reference to your camera's capabilities.

http://youtu.be/UpZVPSRSf6U

All opinions gratefully received. Thank you.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 07:37:21 AM by Elbows »

canon rumors FORUM

Who uses a handheld light meter?
« on: October 02, 2012, 06:41:45 AM »

Hillsilly

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 792
    • View Profile
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2012, 07:27:01 AM »
Guilty.  But I only use it with my film cameras.  My RB67 doesn't have a built in light meter.  And while the meter in my Mamiya 6 is ok, I still occassionally find a light meter to be a good reality check - especially when using flash.

With my DSLR, I find the preview from the LCD and histogram more than sufficient.

Perhaps I'm getting lazy, but as there is no direct financial cost with taking digital photos, I'm quite happy to snap away until I've got the exposure I want.  And bracketing isn't necessarily a bad option as it can give you post production possibilities.
Camera Obscura

Danielle

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 137
    • View Profile
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2012, 07:34:09 AM »
Actually, I have an RB67 too hence my reason for one. I've had it for years.

However there are times I purposely want to meter ambient light as opposed to reflected even with digital where I can just chimp. But at least I use it.

If your working with off camera flash, then well, that's obvious. Light meter comes out.

pwp

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1618
    • View Profile
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2012, 07:56:06 AM »
I still use a Sekonic flash meter, but more for quickly getting ratios correct in multi light setups.
But if I inadvertently leave the Sekonic in the studio when I do a location shoot, I don't particularly miss it.

-PW

webexpert

  • Guest
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2012, 07:58:36 AM »
I believe that it is an expensive equipment justified only if you do setup scenes or studio photos with large differences in light and when bracketing is not a solution (due to subject movement) . I tend to have with me a grey card in case that I want to photograph something very dark or light (i.e.snow) but I when I am outdoors, usually I find something grey to photometer i.e. a large stone, some clothes).

leadphoto

  • SX60 HS
  • **
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2012, 08:00:41 AM »
I use the L358 with the pocket wizard adapter.  I find it extremely use full for light set ups.  I also use it for when wedding ceremonies end up with the bride and groom in shadows under a tree and the rest of the ceremony under full sun.  Its very useful when scouting locations with mixed lighting and/or low light and can quickly jot those numbers down instead of getting lots of gear out.

mws

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 182
    • View Profile
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 08:07:05 AM »
I have no experience using them for landscape. I do use a L358 for my Fuji GW690, I have also found myself using it for multi light flash set ups. Even old used meters are quite expensive on eBay.

Do you know anyone who has one? Maybe you can borrow it for a while and see if it helps.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 08:07:05 AM »

Elbows

  • Power Shot G7X
  • **
  • Posts: 16
    • View Profile
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 08:24:54 AM »
Thanks for all your replies so far.

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who could lend me one. I don't do studio work with lights, but maybe I will in the future...

I like the comment about scouting locations, that's a good idea thanks :)

Hillsilly

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 792
    • View Profile
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 08:52:06 AM »
Maybe look at the second hand market.  If you can do some simple maths, then the older Pentax and Minolta spot meters are well regarded.

Nearly every serious photography book I read advocates a spot meter and the zone system or similar including sketching the scene and pencilling in all of the readings to determine the exposure and look that you are seeking.  To me, it seems overly complex and cumbersome....but then, my failure to do this consistently (and my fear of snakes!) might explain why I'm not a world reknown landscape photographer.  I suspect that one of the main benefits of using a light meter is that it makes you think more about what you are doing.  That alone might lead to better photographs. 

Actually, I have an RB67 too hence my reason for one....

You've never been tempted by the metered prism finder?
Camera Obscura

Immaculens

  • Guest
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 09:11:25 AM »
got a Polaris Flash Meter a few wks ago and still learning it... the web is chuck full of Seconic videos but few Polaris... the instruction manual is... weak. But it has the features I need and the price was right and the quality is there.

RLPhoto

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 3526
  • Gear doesn't matter, Just a Matter of Convenience.
    • View Profile
    • My Portfolio
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 10:24:40 AM »
I'd be interested to hear your opinions on whether you think a light meter is a worthwhile accessory for landscape photography, particularly one measuring reflected (or spot) metering.

I was thinking of purchasing the Sekonic L-758DR. The video below makes what seems a good case for it's use, but then it would as it's produced for/by Sekonic. It's one of many videos from Sekonic.

Just to pre-empt the obvious question (that I also had) "why don't you simply use the camera's spot meter?", one answer appears to be that you can use the meter to take multiple spot readings and the Sekonic will average them out for you.
It also allows you to 'profile' your DSLR's sensor so you know it's dynamic range and will show the exposure range with reference to your camera's capabilities.

http://youtu.be/UpZVPSRSf6U

All opinions gratefully received. Thank you.

If I still shot MF or Large Format Film, I always had my Light meter.

Now with digital, I prefer a RGB histogram. It works for me. Why bother with a light meter?

Plato the Wise

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 10:28:21 AM »
I have a spot meter and use it at times. I used to shoot with a Hasselblad 501 and it had no meter so it was a necessity. It is actually very useful for managing scene brightness and allows the photographer to control the exposure the way they envision the lightest and darkest points of a photo with a high level of accuracy.

This is especially important if you are photographing landscapes or architecture in the early mornings or evenings and use split ND filters.

Tayvin

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 43
    • View Profile
    • Tayvin Knight Photo
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2012, 10:37:52 AM »
I still use my Sekonic 608 to figure out lighting ratios on set.  It's also a great way to buy time if you have a lot of clients watching you and you're trying to solve a problem.  Clients love light meters  8)

Strangely enough, I use my 5D II as a meter when I'm shooting MF film.  It works perfectly.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2012, 10:37:52 AM »

Studio1930

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 234
    • View Profile
    • Studio 1930
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2012, 12:17:09 PM »
Like a million others here, I have the L358 and I use it for ambient readings and not reflective.  I don't shoot landscapes so I prefer not to meter reflective unless I am simply using the meter in camera.  If I break out the L358 (did this a few days ago for a studio portrait) then it is to setup lights rather than check distant reflective light.

I would think the in camera meter would be just a good and quicker unless your camera doesn't have one (or isn't reliable).  Tayvin is right though, clients love light meters.  You quickly become "professional" in their eyes.   :P

-Darrin
Studio 1930
www.studio1930.com

Zv

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1311
    • View Profile
    • Zeeography (flickr)
Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2012, 12:22:14 PM »
I've never used one, though I am curious. It seems like an unnecessary step, and an extra thing to carry round. Doesn't it just try and expose for 18% grey? Not everything is 18% grey you know. Isn't that why we have Lightroom anyway, to fix slight exposure probs? Or am I in jpeg territory? uh oh!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 12:23:59 PM by Zv »
6D | 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

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Who uses a handheld light meter?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2012, 12:22:14 PM »