Light Meters

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Stephen Manaton, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.
     
    Stephen Manaton, Jul 30, 2005
    #1
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  2. "Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    news:dcgmkg$j92$...
    > Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    > meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    > settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    > light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    > buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.


    I think one would be worthwhile for studio photography.
     
    Charles Schuler, Jul 30, 2005
    #2
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  3. On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 16:17:49 -0400, "Charles Schuler"
    <> wrote:

    >
    >"Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    >news:dcgmkg$j92$...
    >> Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    >> meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    >> settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    >> light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    >> buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.

    >
    >I think one would be worthwhile for studio photography.
    >


    A light meter us worthwhile under all conditions. A light meter can
    do far more than a camera meter can when it comes to using a zone
    system for exposures.

    http://photography.cicada.com/zs/quicktour/
     
    John A. Stovall, Jul 30, 2005
    #3
  4. Stephen Manaton

    ftran999 Guest

    "Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    news:dcgmkg$j92$...
    > Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    > meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    > settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    > light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    > buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.
    >
    >


    I believe the advantage of an incident (i.e. measures light FALLING on the
    subject) meter is that it is not biased by very bright or dark subjects like
    a reflective (measures light Bouncing off subject) such as those found in
    cameras. However, in camera meters today are so advanced you may not need a
    handheld meter in most cases.
     
    ftran999, Jul 30, 2005
    #4
  5. Stephen Manaton

    wavelength Guest

    In amatuer cases, most cameras have spot selection metering that would
    suffice instead of dynamic or zone system.

    Most cameras now are very advance on this, and you need to be taking
    some extreme condition lighting shots to really worry about this.

    You'd use a light meter to take EXACT readings at the point of your
    main subject, and it would tell you what you should set your camera up
    to properly expose it.

    Given the advent of digital, you can just take a few different shots of
    the same subject for free anyways. So just move the f/ and exposure up
    a down a little until you get what you want, then delete the rest.

    I'd say that light meters are most important when you're using
    expensive film, like medium or large format. They're still useful for
    smaller, but not REALLY neccessary.
     
    wavelength, Jul 30, 2005
    #5
  6. wavelength wrote:
    > In amatuer cases, most cameras have spot selection metering that would
    > suffice instead of dynamic or zone system.
    >
    > Most cameras now are very advance on this, and you need to be taking
    > some extreme condition lighting shots to really worry about this.
    >
    > You'd use a light meter to take EXACT readings at the point of your
    > main subject, and it would tell you what you should set your camera up
    > to properly expose it.
    >
    > Given the advent of digital, you can just take a few different shots of
    > the same subject for free anyways. So just move the f/ and exposure up
    > a down a little until you get what you want, then delete the rest.
    >
    > I'd say that light meters are most important when you're using
    > expensive film, like medium or large format. They're still useful for
    > smaller, but not REALLY neccessary.
    >

    Here is an example of a situation where you could not
    use an incident light meter (the bear would have you for lunch if
    you didn't drown first, and even then he might have you for lunch).
    It is also an example of when you don't get a second chance or you
    miss the action:

    http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries/gallery.bear/web/brown_bear.c09.07.2004.JZ3F0862.b-700.html
    (click next and previous to see other examples).

    There are many many situations where an incident light meter will
    not work, including grand scenics where the scene is too far away,
    to action where you can't get into the action (from wildlife, to
    birds in flight to sports, etc).

    A digital camera with its histogram is a great light meter and better
    than a spot meter (effectively thousands of spot meters). I have used
    a digital camera as my lightmeter for my large format (4x5) camera
    for years. I get fewer wrong exposures than I ever did with
    a light meter.

    Roger
     
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Jul 30, 2005
    #6
  7. On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 21:06:47 +0100, Stephen Manaton wrote:

    > Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    > meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    > settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    > light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    > buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.


    It really depends on you. If all your metering experience has been with
    only in-camera meters, whether a digital camera or film, and you have
    never learned and have no experience with the basics of metering or the
    theory of how light meters work, then a hand-held meter will be of little
    use or advantage at this time. More than likely, it will be a disaster.
    And you will have wasted you money.

    That said, the in-camera meter of digital cameras, even though a
    reflective type with its inheirent caveats, has hundreds of years of
    metering experience contained in its metering interpolation code to
    determine the optimum exposure 95% of time.

    Film camera meters are a lot less accurate. They're only "correct" about
    65% of the time. This is because they don't have a computer brain
    analyzing the readings, and "recognizing" and correcting difficult
    metering situations.

    Now, if you need to read flash, you're going to need a hand-held and
    training.

    And FWIW, the DigiPro F is a nice little meter. I have a Luna-Star F
    (not the F2) myself and love it, but rarely use it for any of my digital
    "available light" work. A quick check of the LCD will tell me if I have a
    good exposure.

    Stefan
     
    stefan patric, Jul 31, 2005
    #7
  8. "Stephen Manaton" <> writes:

    > Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    > meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    > settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    > light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    > buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.


    They're much less important these days when working in digital.
    Shooting some test shots and seeing how they work, and examining the
    histogram display, gives you much more detailed and accurate
    information than a light meter. I wouldn't be particularly looking to
    buy a light meter at this point myself.
    --
    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/> Much of which is still down
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jul 31, 2005
    #8
  9. "Charles Schuler" <> writes:

    > "Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    > news:dcgmkg$j92$...
    > > Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    > > meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    > > settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    > > light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    > > buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.

    >
    > I think one would be worthwhile for studio photography.


    I used to use a flash meter with my studio strobes, but I haven't
    since I started shooting digitally. I get much more detailed and
    accurate information out of my camera than I did out of my meter.
    --
    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/> Much of which is still down
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jul 31, 2005
    #9
  10. Stephen Manaton

    Chris Brown Guest

    In article <>,
    ftran999 <> wrote:
    >
    >I believe the advantage of an incident (i.e. measures light FALLING on the
    >subject) meter is that it is not biased by very bright or dark subjects like
    >a reflective (measures light Bouncing off subject) such as those found in
    >cameras.


    Here's a useful tip, although how well it works depends on your skin colour,
    so YMMV. Stand at the camera and face the subject. Hold your hand out in
    front of you, with your palm facing you, and point your light meter at it.

    If the illumination at the camera is the same as the illumination at the
    subject, this pretty much gives the same exposure value that an incident
    meter would give. If the illumination is different, it won't work, but it
    has proven a very useful technique for me on occasion. YMMV.
     
    Chris Brown, Jul 31, 2005
    #10
  11. David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    > "Charles Schuler" <> writes:
    >
    >
    >>"Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    >>news:dcgmkg$j92$...
    >>
    >>>Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    >>>meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    >>>settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    >>>light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    >>>buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.

    >>
    >>I think one would be worthwhile for studio photography.

    >
    >
    > I used to use a flash meter with my studio strobes, but I haven't
    > since I started shooting digitally. I get much more detailed and
    > accurate information out of my camera than I did out of my meter.


    David, are you saying your camera has some sort of flash meter? I know
    they have TTL flash exposure metering for their dedicated flashes, but I
    didn't think that extended to studio strobes. How does it work?

    Gary Eickmeier
     
    Gary Eickmeier, Jul 31, 2005
    #11
  12. David Dyer-Bennet wrote:

    > "Stephen Manaton" <> writes:
    >
    >
    >>Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    >>meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    >>settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    >>light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    >>buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.

    >
    >
    > They're much less important these days when working in digital.
    > Shooting some test shots and seeing how they work, and examining the
    > histogram display, gives you much more detailed and accurate
    > information than a light meter. I wouldn't be particularly looking to
    > buy a light meter at this point myself.


    Spot on. I did a test, reading incident and reflected using a separate
    meter, and also using the Expodisc with digital camera as an incident
    meter, and finally using the camera's normal reflected reading. The
    camera's reading was most accurate every time. I think this is partly
    due to the limited dynamic range of digital. The camera knows what it is
    seeing, and must get the exposure right or the picture will be out of
    tolerance. The fine adjustments due to reading the histogram are a bonus
    you can't get with a meter.

    I think we got away with light meters in the past because of film's
    great latitude. I'm not sure we could even dare to shoot digital "blind"
    by just using a separate meter and never looking at the LCD the way we
    used to with film. And with studio strobes, a flash meter will get you
    in the ballpark, but I bet you will still check your histograms!

    GAry Eickmeier
     
    Gary Eickmeier, Jul 31, 2005
    #12
  13. Gary Eickmeier <> writes:

    > David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    > > "Charles Schuler" <> writes:
    > >
    > >> "Stephen Manaton" <> wrote in message
    > >> news:dcgmkg$j92$...
    > >>
    > >>>Could someone please tell me if there is any advantage to using a light
    > >>>meter like a Gossen Digi Pro F. And would it help in selecting the correct
    > >>>settings as opposed to what the camera would select,any body that uses a
    > >>>light meter can you let me know what the advantages are as i don,t want to
    > >>>buy a meter if it is not really needed many thanks for any help.
    > >>
    > >> I think one would be worthwhile for studio photography.

    > > I used to use a flash meter with my studio strobes, but I haven't
    > > since I started shooting digitally. I get much more detailed and
    > > accurate information out of my camera than I did out of my meter.

    >
    > David, are you saying your camera has some sort of flash meter? I know
    > they have TTL flash exposure metering for their dedicated flashes, but
    > I didn't think that extended to studio strobes. How does it work?


    No. I shoot test photos, and examine them (and *use the histogram*).
    I've still got a meter (that handles flash, too) that lives in the
    camera bag, but I find no reason to take it out these days.
    --
    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/> Much of which is still down
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jul 31, 2005
    #13
  14. Chris Brown <_uce_please.com> writes:

    > In article <>,
    > ftran999 <> wrote:
    > >
    > >I believe the advantage of an incident (i.e. measures light FALLING on the
    > >subject) meter is that it is not biased by very bright or dark subjects like
    > >a reflective (measures light Bouncing off subject) such as those found in
    > >cameras.

    >
    > Here's a useful tip, although how well it works depends on your skin colour,
    > so YMMV. Stand at the camera and face the subject. Hold your hand out in
    > front of you, with your palm facing you, and point your light meter at it.
    >
    > If the illumination at the camera is the same as the illumination at the
    > subject, this pretty much gives the same exposure value that an incident
    > meter would give. If the illumination is different, it won't work, but it
    > has proven a very useful technique for me on occasion. YMMV.


    Close, but it gives one stop underexposure (zone VI, not zone V)
    --
    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/> Much of which is still down
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jul 31, 2005
    #14
  15. Gary Eickmeier wrote:

    > Spot on. I did a test, reading incident and reflected using a separate
    > meter, and also using the Expodisc with digital camera as an incident
    > meter, and finally using the camera's normal reflected reading. The
    > camera's reading was most accurate every time. I think this is partly
    > due to the limited dynamic range of digital. The camera knows what it is
    > seeing, and must get the exposure right or the picture will be out of
    > tolerance. The fine adjustments due to reading the histogram are a bonus
    > you can't get with a meter.
    >
    > I think we got away with light meters in the past because of film's
    > great latitude. I'm not sure we could even dare to shoot digital "blind"
    > by just using a separate meter and never looking at the LCD the way we
    > used to with film. And with studio strobes, a flash meter will get you
    > in the ballpark, but I bet you will still check your histograms!


    (second posting try-first try had an error)

    I wonder how long the myth of digital cameras have a more limited dynamic
    range will persist? Even lowly P&S cameras have greater dynamic range
    than film. For example, see:

    Dynamic Range and Transfer Functions of Digital Images
    and Comparison to Film:
    http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/dynamicrange2

    The Signal-to-Noise of Digital Camera images
    and Comparison to Film:
    http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/digital.signal.to.noise

    Digital cameras have higher dynamic range. Don't confuse blown
    highlights with dynamic range problems. Blown highlights are
    a metering problem. Digital must be exposed differently than film,
    just like slide film must be exposed differently than print film.

    Roger
    Photos, other digital info at: http://www.clarkvision.com
     
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Aug 1, 2005
    #15
  16. Stephen Manaton

    Guest

    Gary Eickmeier <> writes:

    > David Dyer-Bennet wrote:


    >> I used to use a flash meter with my studio strobes, but I haven't
    >> since I started shooting digitally. I get much more detailed and
    >> accurate information out of my camera than I did out of my meter.


    > David, are you saying your camera has some sort of flash meter? I
    > know they have TTL flash exposure metering for their dedicated
    > flashes, but I didn't think that extended to studio strobes. How
    > does it work?


    His camera has about 6 million flash meters incorperated...

    --
    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
     
    , Aug 1, 2005
    #16
  17. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark) wrote:

    > I wonder how long the myth of digital cameras have a more limited dynamic
    > range will persist? Even lowly P&S cameras have greater dynamic range
    > than film. For example, see:
    >
    > Dynamic Range and Transfer Functions of Digital Images
    > and Comparison to Film:
    > http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/dynamicrange2
    >
    > The Signal-to-Noise of Digital Camera images
    > and Comparison to Film:
    > http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/digital.signal.to.noise
    >
    > Digital cameras have higher dynamic range. Don't confuse blown
    > highlights with dynamic range problems. Blown highlights are
    > a metering problem. Digital must be exposed differently than film,
    > just like slide film must be exposed differently than print film.


    Yes, and slide film has a lower dynamic range than negative as well.

    GAry Eickmeier
     
    Gary Eickmeier, Aug 2, 2005
    #17
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