Handheld Light Meters

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Stephen Manaton, May 8, 2005.

  1. As i am new to using a Digital Slr,i was wondering if to buy a light
    meter,so when i am using the camera in one of the manual modes A,S,M,P mode
    the meter wil select the correct Apeture and Shutter speed,does the meter
    work only on close subjects,or if shooting a scene in the distance can it
    read that,also what type of meter do i need and what prise should i pay
    thankyou Stephen.
    Stephen Manaton, May 8, 2005
    #1
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  2. Stephen Manaton

    Guest

    They can be found on ebay for not very much.
    Why don't you just take a reading with the camera on A or S to get a
    starting point?
    I suspect your cameras metering will be more accurate anyway.
    DonB
    Stephen Manaton wrote:
    > As i am new to using a Digital Slr,i was wondering if to buy a light
    > meter,so when i am using the camera in one of the manual modes

    A,S,M,P mode
    > the meter wil select the correct Apeture and Shutter speed,does the

    meter
    > work only on close subjects,or if shooting a scene in the distance

    can it
    > read that,also what type of meter do i need and what prise should i

    pay
    > thankyou Stephen.
    , May 8, 2005
    #2
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  3. Stephen Manaton

    teflon Guest

    A meter doesn't know what a "close subject" is. All it knows is an amount of
    light is hitting the sensor. Unless you are using studio lights, I wouldn't
    bother getting one. Just trust the camera and adjust the exposure as and
    when necessary.
    teflon, May 8, 2005
    #3
  4. Stephen Manaton

    Roy Guest

    "Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    news:d5lqq7$nif$...
    > As i am new to using a Digital Slr,i was wondering if to buy a light
    > meter,so when i am using the camera in one of the manual modes A,S,M,P
    > mode
    > the meter wil select the correct Apeture and Shutter speed,does the meter
    > work only on close subjects,or if shooting a scene in the distance can it
    > read that,also what type of meter do i need and what prise should i pay
    > thankyou Stephen.
    >
    >


    Hi there.

    Hand held meters are quite handy to have, but just like camera meters, you
    need to know how to use them, and since you are already having problems with
    the camera, I would suggest you put off getting one meantime.

    I suspect that you could make very good use of a book on basic photography,
    which you could use as a sort of reference manual. I also think another
    read at the D70 handbook would not go amiss.

    A, S, P, are not manual modes, they are Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority
    and Program, which are all Auto Modes, and will give correct exposure
    without any input from the photographer, but they do allow the photographer
    to make changes to the "Camera Chosen" exposure settings.

    Roy G
    Roy, May 8, 2005
    #4
  5. Stephen Manaton

    Sheldon Guest

    "Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    news:d5lqq7$nif$...
    > As i am new to using a Digital Slr,i was wondering if to buy a light
    > meter,so when i am using the camera in one of the manual modes A,S,M,P
    > mode
    > the meter wil select the correct Apeture and Shutter speed,does the meter
    > work only on close subjects,or if shooting a scene in the distance can it
    > read that,also what type of meter do i need and what prise should i pay
    > thankyou Stephen.
    >

    A hand-held meter is handy, but even in manual mode the camera's meter will
    usually still work as long as you use the newer CPU lenses. The only
    difference is that you have to adjust the shutter speed and aperture to zero
    the built-in meter. The camera will automatically meter in A,S and P modes.
    None of these modes are truly manual.

    In manual mode you can always guess, using some basic rules, and use the LCD
    on the back to review and adjust your exposures.
    Sheldon, May 9, 2005
    #5
  6. "Stephen Manaton" <> writes:

    > As i am new to using a Digital Slr,i was wondering if to buy a light
    > meter,so when i am using the camera in one of the manual modes
    > A,S,M,P mode the meter wil select the correct Apeture and Shutter
    > speed,does the meter work only on close subjects,or if shooting a
    > scene in the distance can it read that,also what type of meter do i
    > need and what prise should i pay


    I don't find an external light meter particularly useful when working
    with my DSLR (though I own two meters, from my film days). If you
    don't already have one, and don't have habits adopted from years of
    working that way, I'd say there are better ways to spend your money on
    photo equipment today. (So, please, don't anybody accuse me of
    calling them "useless" or anything stupid like that, okay?)

    Your camera already has a light meter in it. In manual mode, it will
    display how far from "correct" the exposure is with the current
    settings. There are some arguments for why certain types of external
    light meters are better than the built-in ones; however, when you
    couple the built-in one with the ability to shoot a test picture and
    examine it on the LCD, and with the DSLRs I know to get the histogram
    for the exposure displayed, I think all the arguments for separate
    meters for use with DSLRs go away. (They're still quite useful with a
    4x5 view camera, I know. They may well be useful with a digital
    scanning back on such a camera as well.)

    At the very least, learn to really understand the light meter in your
    camera and how to use it. If you reach a spot where you understand
    that, and know how a separate meter would help you take better photos,
    then by all means go for it. And report back here, I at least would
    learn something from such a report, I suspect.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 9, 2005
    #6
  7. Stephen Manaton

    Backbone Guest

    A light meter may come in handy for time laps, landscape or studio photography
    or perhaps your a student and your class requires one for your studies - if your
    camera was made after the early eighties then you won't need a light meter -
    your camera is equipped with a good light meter - A Sekonic Light meter would be
    the way to go - I like and use the Sekonic 608, a wireless gem <grin>
    --
    There are no words that can be heard unless someone listens....
    Remove *flaps* to reply

    "Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    news:d5lqq7$nif$...
    > As i am new to using a Digital Slr,i was wondering if to buy a light
    > meter,so when i am using the camera in one of the manual modes A,S,M,P mode
    > the meter wil select the correct Apeture and Shutter speed,does the meter
    > work only on close subjects,or if shooting a scene in the distance can it
    > read that,also what type of meter do i need and what prise should i pay
    > thankyou Stephen.
    >
    >
    Backbone, May 9, 2005
    #7
  8. Stephen Manaton

    Paul Mitchum Guest

    Stephen Manaton <> wrote:

    > As i am new to using a Digital Slr,i was wondering if to buy a light
    > meter,so when i am using the camera in one of the manual modes A,S,M,P
    > mode the meter wil select the correct Apeture and Shutter speed,does the
    > meter work only on close subjects,or if shooting a scene in the distance
    > can it read that,also what type of meter do i need and what prise should i
    > pay


    First, find out how to meter a scene. Here's a good entry into the
    topic: <http://www.normankoren.com/zonesystem.html>

    Then find out what kind of metering you can do with your camera before
    buying a hand-held meter. You might find that you're happy with what
    you've got.
    Paul Mitchum, May 9, 2005
    #8
  9. Stephen Manaton

    Guest

    In message <-b.net>,
    David Dyer-Bennet <> wrote:

    >I think all the arguments for separate
    >meters for use with DSLRs go away.


    Well, you can do a couple of things with a separate meter that you can't
    do well with (some) DSLRs.

    You can meter for the brightest highlight that you want to keep detail
    in, and expose so that it is, say 3 stops above middle grey, when you
    have a 1 or 2 degree spotmeter.

    An ambient light meter may also be a little more accurate than using a
    grey card, especially one that is a bit glossy, when you are doing lots
    of shooting in high-contrast scenes. If you know that everything is
    matte (diffusely reflective), then there is really no content more than
    2.33 stops above middle grey, and you can set manual exposure such that
    max-reflective white matte is 3 stops above middle grey, and just keep
    shooting away (this will result in exposures that are probably +1 stop
    over what the camera would read with a grey card, at least on the
    Canons. So, when you shoot like this, ISO 100 is really 50, if you're
    shooting RAW.

    Of course, you need to know how your camera works re exposure, and this
    information is not exactly made public by manufacturers.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , May 13, 2005
    #9
  10. Stephen Manaton

    Backbone Guest

    > Canons. So, when you shoot like this, ISO 100 is really 50, if you're
    > shooting RAW.


    if that were true then setting canon at iso 50 would be 0 when shooting RAW
    LOL -- give me a break!! Hahahaha
    Backbone, May 13, 2005
    #10
  11. Stephen Manaton

    Guest

    In message <>,
    "Backbone" <> wrote:

    >> Canons. So, when you shoot like this, ISO 100 is really 50, if you're
    >> shooting RAW.


    >if that were true then setting canon at iso 50 would be 0 when shooting RAW
    > LOL -- give me a break!! Hahahaha


    Maybe you should go to the library and borrow Sesame Street videos on
    the difference between division and subtraction!

    Anyway, the Canons that have "ISO 50" as an explicit camera feature are
    just doing exactly what I just said, although they may be losing the
    least significant bit.

    This is not a joke; if you want highlights like reversal film, the
    stated ISO is close. If you want slide-like dynamic range in the
    highlights, you can shoot metered at half the stated ISO, and the
    quality is better than shooting at the stated ISO.

    In other words, if you want slide-like headroom, you'll get a better
    image with the camera set to ISO 200, but exposing for ISO 100, than you
    will setting the camera to ISO 100 and exposing for the same. It will
    only be greatly advantageous in the shadows, or if you want to expand
    the contrast in the midtones and highlights.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , May 13, 2005
    #11
  12. Stephen Manaton

    Backbone Guest

    > >> Canons. So, when you shoot like this, ISO 100 is really 50, if you're
    > >> shooting RAW.

    >
    > >if that were true then setting canon at iso 50 would be 0 when shooting RAW
    > > LOL -- give me a break!! Hahahaha

    >
    > Maybe you should go to the library and borrow Sesame Street videos on
    > the difference between division and subtraction!


    What library? and what is Sasame Street Videos - never heard of such a thing -
    is that a new type sesame sead drink or??

    > Anyway, the Canons that have "ISO 50" as an explicit camera feature are
    > just doing exactly what I just said, although they may be losing the
    > least significant bit.
    >
    > This is not a joke; if you want highlights like reversal film, the
    > stated ISO is close. If you want slide-like dynamic range in the
    > highlights, you can shoot metered at half the stated ISO, and the
    > quality is better than shooting at the stated ISO.
    >
    > In other words, if you want slide-like headroom, you'll get a better
    > image with the camera set to ISO 200, but exposing for ISO 100, than you
    > will setting the camera to ISO 100 and exposing for the same. It will
    > only be greatly advantageous in the shadows, or if you want to expand
    > the contrast in the midtones and highlights.


    Perhaps - but a stated setting of iso 100 is not like iso 50. the only time that
    I might use iso 50 is when there is too much light!
    In the day light I primarily shoot at iso 100 - 400 I do allot of action shot
    i.e. I use a canon 1D Mark II! that has iso setting ranges from 50 to 3200
    <grin>

    some of my photos are posted at news:alt.binaries.photos.original !
    Backbone, May 13, 2005
    #12
  13. Stephen Manaton

    Roy Guest

    "Backbone" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >> >> Canons. So, when you shoot like this, ISO 100 is really 50, if you're
    >> >> shooting RAW.

    >>
    >> >if that were true then setting canon at iso 50 would be 0 when shooting
    >> >RAW
    >> > LOL -- give me a break!! Hahahaha

    >>
    >> Maybe you should go to the library and borrow Sesame Street videos on
    >> the difference between division and subtraction!

    >
    > What library? and what is Sasame Street Videos - never heard of such a
    > thing -
    > is that a new type sesame sead drink or??
    >
    > > Anyway, the Canons that have "ISO 50" as an explicit camera feature are
    >> just doing exactly what I just said, although they may be losing the
    >> least significant bit.
    >>
    >> This is not a joke; if you want highlights like reversal film, the
    >> stated ISO is close. If you want slide-like dynamic range in the
    >> highlights, you can shoot metered at half the stated ISO, and the
    >> quality is better than shooting at the stated ISO.
    >>
    >> In other words, if you want slide-like headroom, you'll get a better
    >> image with the camera set to ISO 200, but exposing for ISO 100, than you
    >> will setting the camera to ISO 100 and exposing for the same. It will
    >> only be greatly advantageous in the shadows, or if you want to expand
    >> the contrast in the midtones and highlights.

    >
    > Perhaps - but a stated setting of iso 100 is not like iso 50. the only
    > time that
    > I might use iso 50 is when there is too much light!
    > In the day light I primarily shoot at iso 100 - 400 I do allot of action
    > shot
    > i.e. I use a canon 1D Mark II! that has iso setting ranges from 50 to 3200
    > <grin>
    >
    > some of my photos are posted at news:alt.binaries.photos.original !
    >
    >


    Hi there.

    This little argument is getting just a bit silly, if you don't mind me
    saying so.

    Was it Ansel Adams who invented the "Zone" system?
    That system advocates changing the ISO by a factor which depends on the
    contrast of the lighting and the subject.

    There is nothing set in stone about ISO numbers, unless you happen to be a
    Film manufacturer.

    There is no ONE correct exposure for any scene.

    It all depends on what result, you the photographer, wants to achieve.

    So if you wish to set your camera to expose for what the meter thinks is
    correct at ISO 100, and actually set your camera to ISO 200, then feel free
    to do so. You will get the result you want and that will, by definition, be
    the Correct Exposure.

    Serious Photographers always used to have their own ideas about what ISO to
    set for each kind of Slide Film, and it was rarely the one printed on the
    box.

    Roy G
    Roy, May 13, 2005
    #13
  14. On Fri, 13 May 2005 15:12:52 GMT, "Roy"
    <> wrote:
    snipped
    >Was it Ansel Adams who invented the "Zone" system?
    >That system advocates changing the ISO by a factor which depends on the
    >contrast of the lighting and the subject.


    He did but it had it's roots in the work of Edward Weston and was
    promulgated by Minor White.

    http://www.normankoren.com/zonesystem.html

    There have been over the years special modifications to light meter
    just of use with the zone system.


    ********************************************************

    "A nice man is a man of nasty ideas."

    _Introductions to History of the Reformation_
    Jonathan Swift
    1667-1745
    John A. Stovall, May 13, 2005
    #14
  15. Stephen Manaton

    Guest

    In message <>,
    "Backbone" <> wrote:

    >Perhaps - but a stated setting of iso 100 is not like iso 50. the only time that
    >I might use iso 50 is when there is too much light!
    >In the day light I primarily shoot at iso 100 - 400 I do allot of action shot
    >i.e. I use a canon 1D Mark II! that has iso setting ranges from 50 to 3200
    ><grin>


    Not really; its "ISO 50" is just like I said; ISO 100 amplification with
    the RAW numbers halved.

    The 1DmkII can't do ISO 50 any more than the 10D, DRebel, or 20D can!
    It's all just camera-setting semantics.

    In fact, you may get a *better* quality ISO 50 on the 1DmkII with "ISO
    100" and +1 EC, in RAW mode, than with its "ISO 50" (JPEG is another
    story).

    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    , May 14, 2005
    #15
  16. Stephen Manaton

    Roger Guest

    On Sun, 8 May 2005 20:54:54 +0100, "Stephen Manaton"
    <> wrote:

    >As i am new to using a Digital Slr,i was wondering if to buy a light
    >meter,so when i am using the camera in one of the manual modes A,S,M,P mode
    >the meter wil select the correct Apeture and Shutter speed,does the meter
    >work only on close subjects,or if shooting a scene in the distance can it
    >read that,also what type of meter do i need and what prise should i pay
    >thankyou Stephen.


    Stephen,

    Your post begs the question "Do you know what an in-camera meter
    does?" I use a hand held meter often, but I use the meters in my
    cameras (film and digital) much more. The metering/exposure system in
    a camera is something that must be learned well to make "learned or
    artistic" adjustments in the exposure the camera chooses/suggests. I
    would look at some tutorials on basic exposure control. If you have a
    digital SLR, it should be capable controlling the exposure from
    everything to point and shoot to fully manual, user-adjusted exposure
    control.

    BTW: the A,S,P modes are not manual modes. The camera still determines
    the exposure that is "correct" by it's program, in whatever mode -
    center-weighted, spot or multi-element/matrix mode it happens to be
    selected.

    Manual mode still has some exposure bias according to the cw, spot or
    matrix mode selected.

    You'll do fine once you understand these differences. The manual that
    comes with the camera begins to talk about the mechanics of the
    adjustment - and how to set the modes. There are many web tutorials
    and library books that discuss the elements of exposure determination.

    Good Luck
    Roger
    Roger, May 17, 2005
    #16
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