close

Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

light meters

Discussion in 'Through-the-Lens Club' started by MrsKitty, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

    Messages:
    18,802
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    >^..^<
    OK, I think I need to pick up a light meter.

    Suggestions as to brands, models, and so on?

    I keep underexposing with the AE-1 and while I love the effect for certain things, I am not a fan of it for every thing I do!

    Help!
     
  2. Fred

    Fred Lifetime Member Millennium Member

    Messages:
    2,031
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 1998
    Location:
    CA
    Don't know if you're looking for a reflective or incident lght meter, so tough to recommend. Personally I use a Sekonic L-358 incident/flash meter along with my camera meter, and love its versatility. On the other hand, if you want to save some money, do a test with your AE-1, and if it consistently underexposes by a certain amount, just use exposure compensation to correct.
     

  3. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

    Messages:
    18,802
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    >^..^<
    I am not sure if it is me or the camera...

    I can alter it with PS somewhat but I would rather get what I want out of the camera. I need to pick up one of those cheatsheets that gives you f/stops and exposures and try following the formulas maybe?

    I have no idea which kind I would need. The more I learn, the more confused I get. At least I am having fun :rofl:
     
  4. Hokie

    Hokie NRA Member

    Messages:
    515
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    VA
    remember when using the cameras light meter the subject well effect the reading and you may need to adjust

    http://www.photo.net/learn/making-photographs/exposure

    [snip]
    When using a reflected light meter, the most important source of error is that the subject's reflectance may not match the meter's assumption about the subject's reflectance. Suppose that you're taking individual portraits of Alex and Mia (at right). You measure the light being reflected off Alex's white fur and set the camera to whatever the meter recommends. Repeating the image with Mia as the subject you find that much less light is reflected by her black and brown fur. So the reflected light meter recommends a wider aperture or a slower shutter speed than it did for Alex.

    Does this make sense? With negative film, perhaps. Mia is darker and if you want to get her tones into the linear portion of the film's curve you'll need a longer exposure. But consider that if you'd used an incident light meter it would have recommended the same exposure for both dogs. After all, the same amount of light was falling on them. If you'd used color slide film and the incident meter's recommendation you'd get one slide with a white dog in it and one slide with a black dog in it. What if you'd used the reflected meter's recommendation with the slide film? You'd get two slides exposed with an identical amount of light and therefore both would be the same shade.

    Exactly what shade do you get when you follow a reflective meter's recommendation? 18% gray. This is a tone midway between 0% gray (white) and 100% gray (black). Reflected meters are calibrated to assume that the average scene is 18% gray. The reflected meter couldn't know that Alex is a white dog and that Mia is a black dog. When you pointed it at Alex it assumed that the day had gotten brighter. When you pointed it at Mia it assumed that the sky had become cloudier.

    Is this 18% gray assumption reasonable? If you take portraits of Caucasian people and meter off their facial skin you'll probably find that your slides come out a bit too dark. Typical Caucasian skin is about 1/2 f-stop lighter than 18% gray. So the reflected meter thinks that the subject is lit somewhat brighter than in reality.
    [snip]
     
  5. noway

    noway

    Messages:
    8,735
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2000
    Location:
    Davie "Cowboy" , FL
    i second sekonic lightmeters I have 2 308 that have worked flawlessly for over 4 years now. My second and pricey option would be a LM from Minolta
     
  6. Donner

    Donner

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Moving south to the Hub City
    If you just want one to check your Ae-1 exposures against i'd go with Fred's idea and get a gray card and a couple of camera's and see what readings they give you under the same lighting conditions. It'd give you an idea where your Canon is compared to the other cameras.

    If you think you are ever going to get into working with studio strobes, you might consider getting a good flash meter. Digital has made it easier to work with strobes because you can just look at it, but if you are using film, you'll have to have a flash meter to work out your ratios.

    I love my sekonic (358 i think), and i find myself using it for all kinds of situations when my camera meter is giving mixed readings. You might end up spending more, but meters that have a spot meter built in are great, great things, especially if your camera can't spot meter. My boss still uses his a lot whenever he pulls out his Hasselblad.
     
  7. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    I had Minolta III for a long time, then I carelessly left it on the roof of my car and then took off on the freeway :brickwall: . I then replaced it with the same Minolta III (I loved that meter). When I had a period of not doing any photography, I carefully stored it away. Now I can't find it. :steamed:
     
  8. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

    Messages:
    18,802
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    >^..^<
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    It is with my missing earrings that I cannot find anywhere :supergrin:
     
  9. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

    Messages:
    18,802
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    >^..^<
    I don't really care for flash. In fact, I rarely use it.

    My problem is underexposing on bright sunny days. I know it is *me* and not the camera because I have nailed a few shots as they should be. Maybe I just need to play with it more until I am comfortable with it. That may be the problem itself.
     
  10. Donner

    Donner

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Moving south to the Hub City
    What setting do you shoot in? If you're using either Shutter priority or Aperture priority your camera could be reading the wrong thing. I.E. if your subject is in bright sunlight, but there is deep shade behind the subject, your camera could be taking both into account and underexposing the subject.

    It's like trying to meter off of a white jersey at a night football game, or off of snow. I usually just hold up my hand and go from there. Most skin tones are a stop or two away from 18 percent gray. The best thing to do is figure out what you are exposing for, what the exposure should be and then entering those setting into your camera on manual. (sorry if you already know all this).

    When i teach basic black and white photography, i have to remind my students that the camera's light meter only gives you a good starting point, it's up to you to figure out what your camera is metering and what you are trying to expose for in the shot.
     
  11. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Absolutely. That's why I love incident light meters, so I can measure light without worrying what it bounced off. That way I can pretty much determine where the highlights are (I hate burned holes) and decide what to do.

    In practice, I will frequently try to find a reasonably "18% gray" object and measure that through the camera. Not an exact science, but it helps.
     
  12. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

    Messages:
    18,802
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    >^..^<
    It is a Canon AE-1. I have two choices: on and off :supergrin:

    Seriously, it is manual all the way. I don't use the AE option or whatever they call it.
     
  13. noway

    noway

    Messages:
    8,735
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2000
    Location:
    Davie "Cowboy" , FL
    Or you can use the sunny exposure rule and go from their and extrapulate a stop more or less.

    If it's a picture worth taking, the same line you hear in the CCW forum applys;

    "It's worth shooting twice" ;)

    So bracket the shot with 1 or 1/2 stop less and more from what your camera LM reads.
     
  14. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

    Messages:
    18,802
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    >^..^<
    Depending on what it is, I may shoot it seven or eight times. Slightly varying the exposure/f/stop/angle each time.

    I got spoiled by digital and now I want to learn the REAL way to do things :supergrin:
     
  15. Donner

    Donner

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Moving south to the Hub City
    If you REALLY want to learn the right way, work with Slide film. That stuff doesn't give you any latitude for exposure errors. It's not cheap or easy to get processed (depending on where you live), but it looks AMAZING, if you ask me.

    If i'm remembering my Ae-1 correctly, the camera's light meter tells you what aperture to use based on your shutter speed. If i'm right then you just need to meter for what you want to expose for and then ignore your light meter when you take the picture.

    What i mean is if you are shooting someone wearing a white shirt, meter off your hand or their face so you get the right exposure and then don't mess with it when you go to take the picture, even if the meter tells you something different when you are pointing it at your subject.

    Lots of people also forget you can set your aperture between the 'clicks.' Even on the manual cameras you can set your aperture in 1/3 or 1/2 stops, you just have to move the aperture ring slightly so that it doesn't come to rest in the next groove. That might help you have a bit more control.

    Are you processing your film yourself or paying someone else to do it?
     
  16. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

    Messages:
    18,802
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    >^..^<
    Slide film is out. Nobody anywhere near me processes it.

    For now I am relying on Eckerd to process my film. I know, they aren't the best but they do the best here. Also, they do not auto-adjust "for" me. When I am sure I know the camera and can differentiate between me screwing up shooting vs. processing, I will be doing my own B&W to begin with.
     
  17. noway

    noway

    Messages:
    8,735
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2000
    Location:
    Davie "Cowboy" , FL
    {Slide film is out. Nobody anywhere near me processes it.}

    Not down here. What do you mean out, as in walmart/eckerd/walgreens? E-6 films are about $5.50 unmounted or $7.00 mounted ( 35mm ) and right at $4.50 for 120. Every professional lab proccess E6 films and have a half-day turn around if you get it in before the proccess hours.

    I perfer true B&W myself and it has an larger tonal ranges and less suspectible to exposure within 1-3stops plus or minus for the most part.
     
  18. spober

    spober

    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    wendel n.c.
    i have a sektronic 358 and like it alot.i still like and use my old analog gossen luna pro.just havce to use those green 1.3 volt murcury free batteries avalable at most photo stores.the alk 1.5 just wont give consistant readings.
     
  19. General Sherman

    General Sherman

    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Location:
    Dunwoody, near Atlanta, Georgia USA
    What happened to the Wesson meters?
     
  20. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

    Messages:
    18,802
    Likes Received:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    >^..^<
    The closest pro lab to me is at least two hours away, probably three. The pros I know in this area are using labs in the Raliegh/Durham area.

    The only "retail" place I take film is Eckerd because I tell the girl there that I do not want ANY adjustments made and she doesn't "correct" them for me. I then get my pics on CD and a few of the prints. I would use Sam's and just have them burned to CD and no prints but closest Sam's is 45 minutes away. I like to see what I shot as soon as possible before I forget what I did.

    Soon, I hope to be doing my own b/w. I have to get the basement corner claimed and order some chemicals. I learned that a good friend who used to work for the paper here did some time in the darkroom there once. I am going to talk him into helping me the first day as he has some experience. I am familiar with the processing but just not comfortable doing it alone. Just fear of the unknown, nothing more.