better reading less or almost no light :)

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by k.hendrik, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. k.hendrik

    k.hendrik Subscriber

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    Hi,
    I would love to have better results in reading (very)low lights. Own a Sekonic L-398A and I'm not satisfied. Like to make portraits/still-life in low-available light.
    thanks.
     
  2. frank

    frank Subscriber

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  3. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Checked the spec of the 398a. EV4 for incident and EV9 for reflected it's not sensitive in low light. A more sensitive meter might help.
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Definitely a more-sensitive meter is called for, e.g. a Pentax DSM will get you down to EV1 reliably. That's probably about as dark as most people would go when shooting portraits on film (EI1600, f/1.4, 1/15s = EV1).

    However if you're shooting at night (well below EV0) then there are basically NO instant-reading meters that will give you an accurate result. You need a meter with extremely high sensitivity, high quality large-aperture optics and the ability to integrate light over a duration of several seconds. It's called a "cheap DSLR" and they can be cheaper than a good spot-meter!

    Consider a night exposure I did recently; it called for ISO f/8 30 minutes, which is about EV-5. That's 6 stops less light than even a good spot-meter can reliably take a reading from, which makes it basically impossible to directly meter. However by setting my DSLR to f/1.4 ISO3200 and taking a few handheld test exposures (motion-smeared but who cares?), I discovered that 1.6s gave a decent result. Convert the change in aperture and ISO (multiply by 1024 in my case) and you get the meter reading that you want. Even better, you can look at the histogram on the screen and see that the distribution of tones is what you want to see, etc. Once I added a correction for reciprocity failure, I got a perfect exposure on a chrome. Pity my composition sucked :wink:
     
  5. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    My sekonic 758DR goes from EV1-EV24 so upgrade your sekonic?

    Also I agree sometimes you just have to use a "fancy Polaroid" to check :smile:


    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    EV 1 over EV4 gives you three stops, which is nice but let's be honest: it's not going to solve k.hendrick's problem. I, too, find it odd, that $500+ light meters have less range than smart phone cameras, it's not like we expect sharp high res images from light meters ...

    One note to k.hendrick: don't forget about reciprocity failure, even if a perfect light meter tells you "5 minutes exposure at F/4" this will most likely not give you good results.
     
  7. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Expensive light meter isn't all that sensitive although something like the sekonic 308 can measure to EV0 ISO 100. They are accurate and that's what needed. Portraiture at illumination less than EV0?? I doubt that.
     
  8. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    From the link in my post:
    -5 EV

    Profisix Lunasix F Lunalite
    Type Null pointer hand held exposure meter
    Introduction 1977 1981
    Sensor SBC (Silicon Blue Cell)
    Measurement Ambient & Flash* Ambient
    Sensitivity -5 to +24 LV -1 to +17 LV +1 to +17 LV
    Display -3 to +3 EV Pointer 3 LED
    Film Speed ISO 0.8 to 100,000
    Aperture f 0.7 to f 128
    Time 1/4,000s to 8 hours
    Power 9v Battery
    Dimensions 120 x 44 x 70mm
    Weight 250g 195g 170g
     
  9. k.hendrik

    k.hendrik Subscriber

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    Thanks all ! as usually the solution is staring into my face: my D200 :smile: rather heavy but I start with this and after that maybe the Profisix.
     
  10. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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  11. k.hendrik

    k.hendrik Subscriber

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  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Gossen Lunasix Pro
     
  13. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    That isn't a spot meter, not really all that useful for long exposures when you're standing on a bridge trying to expose for a light 8 streets away... or the water down below etc...
     
  14. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    I enjoy night shoting but it is very frustrating with my Pentax SM, the reading doesn't lock so I can read the very faint scale even when using the built nite lite.

    But my go to meter for night work is my Gossen Luna. Pro SBC. It locks the needle, zero meter style so I can use a headlamp to take my readings off the dial.

    BTW if my old memory serves me well, this was rated as one of the most sensitive on the streets.
     
  15. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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  16. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    That said, Edward Weston exposed for more that a day to get one of his famous shell photo.
     
  17. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Lunapro SBC is the best for ultra low light. Besides, it only needs a standard 9 volt battery rather than an exotic, hard to find one.