Digital Camera as Light Meter?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by dancqu, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've an Olympus C 2040. It has lots of bells and
    whistles including programable bracketing and a
    Zoom f 1.8 lens. I've worked with it some as a
    spot meter in real time; no bracketed series.
    IIRC, the spot is tighter than 5 degrees.

    Are there any takeing their digitals as fully
    functional light meters? Dan
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I know this subject has been discussed at great length, you may want to do a search.

    Dave
     
  3. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Sounds possible

    I believe that a d*****l camera has more utility as a light meter than a light meter has as a d*****l camera. Not only that but when the d*****l camera is one year old and having been superceded by three generations it well retains itis usefulness as a paperweight.
     
  4. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    In my opinion it is not worth the effort. Get a Pentax digital spot meter (or other but the Pentax is as simple as can be). It's easier to use, probably cheaper, and probably will retain its' value better.
     
  5. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I used to use my Olympus as a light meter, but when I compared with my Pentax digital spotmeter, the oly indicated 2 stops more exp. necessary.
     
  6. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    Dan,

    If you're happy with it, keep using it. It's cheaper to use something you already have than to go chasing magic bullets.

    I don't have digital camera, but I see no reason not to continue as you are. I'd be tempted to take it further and use the histogram feature to guide your exposure, especially if you shoot trannies.

    Cheers,
     
  7. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Digital camera light meters do not meter the same way that a dedicated light meter does because digital sensors respond differently to light than film. And aren't we all glad for that.

    Get a second hand light meter. It will serve your photography better and longer than a digital camera.
     
  8. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I primarily use a hand help spot meter, with my Nikon N80 as a backup meter. The only real use I have found for a digital camera is to take pictures of signs, etc. - that way I don't have to take extensive notes about what I am shooting.
     
  9. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    Neither type of meter responds to light in the same way as film does. That doesn't mean you can't work with a digital camera as a light meter- it just means you need to be aware of its limitations (just as you do with a conventional meter).

    If Dan already has a digital camera and is using it successfully as a light meter, he should continue to do so. Why should he spend more on a meter when he's already got one that is doing the job for him? When his digicam finally dies, he might consider getting a conventional meter (but then again, he might just get another digicam ....)

    Cheers,
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Yes, the histogram feature. As I said I've used the camera
    as a real time spot meter. Reading that small back of camera
    screen and metering at the same time was difficult.

    At the time I was not even considering the auto-bracketing
    feature. I've now boned up and will be dusting the camera off.
    I've a choice of three or five sequential shots with .3, .6 or
    1.0 brackets. After the shoot I'll have all the exposure
    information and view recorded and available.

    If it works well I'll think of the C-2040 as light meter which
    records a picture. The C-2040 includes averageing, spot,
    and multi-point spot integration. Dan
     
  11. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I sort of agree with you. If it works why change it. But I think it could work a lot better with a dedicated spot meter from my past experience. I tried using my digital and my film SLR as a meter for large format and got fine results. It wasn't as quick, zone placements (in b&w and color) were not as intuitive, shutter speed and fstop combos were somewhat difficult to calculate, and it proved a distraction in the field. This was all apperent to me after I got the spot meter, which was mainly purchased to decrease the bulk I was hauling. So I still think it would pay to try out a dedicated meter before settling on using the digicam. If after that the digicam is still in the running then use it - it isn't costing anything (which is a major point).
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Just works does'nt cut it in my book. I've a Sekonic L-228
    which I like. It works But is slow, uses mercury batteries,
    has an eight degree 'spot', and the view is not all it
    could be.

    I've an AEIII, an eye level finder/meter, for my ETRSi which
    is a pain in the neck when placed at less than eye level.
    I made the camera usable by puting that finder in the
    drawer, installing the rotary, and using off camera
    metering. If I'd gone 6 x 6 and a waist level I'd
    have saved money and be packing lighter.

    I think a narrow field meter a good idea. Most of them have
    too many bells and whistles. The L-228 fills the bill but
    like I said, But. An update of same basic type meter
    is what I'd like. The L-228 is very compact. Dan
     
  13. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    Okay Dan, I didn't realise you weren't happy with what you've got. By all means, seek out a real spot meter for your needs: it will be easier to use than a digital camera.

    Go with a real spot meter (Pentax?), or if your needs are more varied, I thoroughly recommend the Gossen Starlight.

    Cheers,