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Light Meters

Discussion in 'Photographic Guides' started by 46223, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. 46223

    46223 Part of the furniture

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    I've thought about getting myself a hand held light meter to use with my Canon DSLR.
    Does anybody on here use one?
    Are they better than the camera's built in light meter?
    The cheapest Sekonic in the local camera shop is about £150, so are they worth the money?
    I've been reading up about reflective and incident light, but have not yet seen the light!
    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. John Webb

    John Webb Member

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    I haven't used an independent light-meter for years, either with my last 35mm SLR film camera or with my present DSLR. With the film camera I got to know that in certain situations a certain amount of over or under exposure would give me what I wanted, helped by the inbuilt meter showing the degree of exposure from the optimum it thought right. With the DSLR and the choices of built-in metering modes (not that I use many of them other than the 'standard' mode) I haven't seen any need for a separate meter at all. Particularly for static objects, you can see instantly with a DSLR if the exposure was correct or not, and reshoot if need be.

    There still may be a role for a light-meter in portraiture to assist in getting the right light balance from different angles or when photographing objects for record purposes in a museum or the like.
     
  3. 46223

    46223 Part of the furniture

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    Thanks for your comments. I suppose it is easier now with digital to be able to see the result after shooting and re-shoot
    if need be. But in some situations it has to be right first time....as we all know to our cost! I'll have to delve into it a little more before I decide what to do.
     
  4. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    With a digital camera I would recommend shooting in RAW if possible. You'll be surprised how far off you can be on exposure and still rescue a good image from the result.
    Combining experience with modern camera meter systems works for me.
     
  5. BillyReopening

    BillyReopening Active Member

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    https://www.flickr.com/photos/robinpengilley/sets/72157648247947133/

    This album was (just) rescued from the brink by editing the RAW files - Spamcan your right on with that advice! - Experience helps too, my newer pictures are (imho) much better than my first DSLR efforts just by learning whats possible and how to get good light in all conditions.
     
  6. 46223

    46223 Part of the furniture

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    Yes, I always shoot RAW. I just thought a hand held meter would fine tune the exposure. But perhaps I'd be better off
    relying on experience and photoshop elements. Thanks again for the comments guys.
     
  7. bakabung

    bakabung Well-Known Member

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    The last time I used a separate light meter was when England won the World Cup. RAW and Lightroom every time. Auto bracketing used occasionally.
     
  8. Standard 4MT

    Standard 4MT Member

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    I agree shooting in RAW format allows you to edit your results so much easier, if you have access to Photoshop you can delve much deeper, than with most other programs available today. I'm still using Photoshop V8 Full, but it still very good until I can afford to upgrade again.
    I make frequent use of a light meter, depending on what I'm shooting of course, for portraits getting reflective readings off of the skin really can make a difference. I still use a Minolta Auto Meter III and have all the extras and fittings you can possibly want for all occasions. Meter on my Digital cameras isn't to bad, larger frame require meter, (Nikon D3, Nikon 810 & trusty still used Hasselblad, and 5"x4" Monorail camera) but you can still improve shots if working in difficult and contrasting environments. Don't general shoot on a Auto meter settings, check the white balance, and do some spot metering and you can't go far wrong.
    A decent light meter can be worth its weight in gold, just ensure its accurate, have it calibrated if dropped etc, and can give far better results than built in meters, but can also cost quite a lot of money. Several of the best makers no longer produce meters which is most unfortunate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015

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