hand held meter and camera does not agree???

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by stradibarrius, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I decided to shoot some slide film in my Nikon F100 I wanted to be careful with the exposure so I took an incident reading with my hand held and also a reading through my F-100 The F100 was 2.5 stops more exposure than my hand held. I went and got my Nikon D300 and it was exactly the same as the hand held so I tried my Nikon F4 and it was the same as my F100...

    I know the hand held is right on based on all of the shots I have taken with my RB67 and my 4x5.

    Any ideas what may be going on????
     
  2. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    Retry your test but this time use your hand-held meter in the reflective mode, not incident. The meters' in your Nikon's are all reflective so this will put all the meters on the same operating level. Find some neutral surface, preferably in the shade, meter away, and see what you get.

    Jim B.
     
  3. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    If you used the same lens on both the F100 and D300, then the metering is fine based on the amount of coverage of the lens. The incident reading most likely is accounting for a larger area, hence more light.
     
  4. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    With all the devices, try metering off something even in tone, consistently lit and filling the metering area. For example a shaded plain wall, or even the palm of your hand. See what happens when they are all "looking" at exactly the same thing in the same light.

    Differences may be due to different matrix-metering in the various Nikons and incident versus handheld results from the lightmeter?

    Edit: And as per the post above, use the same lens when metering with each of the Nikons!
     
  5. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Hand held and camera metering very rarely coincide. If you can get a sheet of light grey card and put it in a bright area, but away from direct light. Check the camera meter in the three settings spot centre and matrix, they should all be the same. Then the hand held meter in the same way without casing a shadow on the card and the reading should be very close tho the camera reading.

    One thing to mention is the lens used on the camera should be a prime lens not a zoom. Or a zoom lens with a constant apperture. Bear in mind the hand held meter will not have to read the light levels though multiple thicknesses of glass, which, although almost certainly multicoated will reduce the light levels by perhaps up to half a stop.
     
  6. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Set the handheld to reflective not incident and check both against a grey card. Did you really expect an incident reading to coincide with a reflected reading?

    Also, digital cameras are not calibrated to ISO numbers, don't use one for metering a scene which will be photographed on film - especially transparency film.
     
  7. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    This is why I use the same handheld spotmeter for everything, even if I'm just toting a Nikon.
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If a reflected light meter reading agrees with an incidental one there's something wrong, because the light falling on a subject can't be the same, as the light reflected off it, they have different paremeters, your comparing apples with bananas.
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Ben- not necessarily true- what if the subject happens to have the same reflectance as 18% gray? Then the incident and reflected meter would read the same.
     
  10. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Not in my experience Scott, I've never seen them agree, It's dark here at the moment, but I'll test this in the morning.
     
  11. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Well, regardless of what Ben's results turn up, the important point to take away is there is a real difference in HOW an incident meter and a reflected meter derive a result. An incident meter measures the intensity of the light falling on the subject; the reflected meter tells you the reflective value of the subject(s) in the scene. An incident reading, if taken correctly, will always result in an "accurate" exposure, because it measures the light in the scene. What it doesn't do is tell you how bright or dark the subject you want to photograph is, and what is the contrast range of the scene. The incident reading won't tell you that you want to intentionally overexpose the scene to put detail back into your shadows because most of your subject is in shadow, and will render with little or no detail if exposed "normally". That knowledge comes with a combination of experience and/or a spot meter.
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Meters also drift due to certain variables. An internal meter in a camera might not be the same later
    as when it was new. Also be aware that even doing something as simple as changing a focus screen
    in an SLR can skew the readings. The most important point is consistency. If you have to, you can
    offset your ASA setting a little to compensate in relation to your other meters. But I suspect it's
    easier to get a basic handheld meter recalibrated than something inside a camera no long in production. I keep on hand a brand-new Pentax digital spotmeter just to check the ones I actually
    use (and as a reserve when one of them finally wears out). They only need recalibration about every ten years, and I get it done in Hollwood for about a hundred bucks.
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The lightness darkness of the background within a reflected meters angle of acceptance will effect the reading greatly, an incidental reading takes no account of the background only the light incidental on the subject,which is why they differ.
     
  14. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Unless you were taking a picture of you hand, I'd be surprised if you got the same reading.
     
  15. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Ben - take a meter reading off a gray card at the location of the subject with a reflected meter. Take another reading with an incident meter, aimed properly (in the position of the subject, pointing at the camera, held vertically, etc etc). They'd better darned well agree! That's what they're supposed to do! As I said in my longer spiel that you quoted, an incident reading will not take into account the overall tonality of the scene or what you want to do with that - using the reading from an incident meter will place the tones of the scene where they ARE, not where you want them to be. You can interpret that with a reflected meter, by reading the subject brightness range, and then setting the meter to render what you want middle gray to be, or you can skip a step and just meter the thing you want to be middle gray, and set the camera accordingly.
     
  16. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I have never had an issue with any of these cameras giving me the wrong exposure. The only reason I used the incident meter was because I was shooting slide film. Of course I expected there to be some difference in the meters but not 2.5 stops! The scene was a product shot light with two photo spots through white umbrellas so the scene was lit consistently.
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Did you take a picture on the slide film at the incidental light reading ?, and if you did what was it expose like ?.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Did you take a picture on the slide film at the incidental light reading ?, and if you did what was it exposed like ?, because I strongly suspect it would be O.K. http://www.sekonic.com/Classroom/MeteringTechniques/IncidentvsReflected.aspx
    Look at difference in the tones in the backgrounds of the reflected meter reading of the plates, and the difference in the readings, and compare these with the incidental readings and results , this is why you are getting different readings.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2012
  19. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    Did you have a filter on the camera lens?
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    2.5 stops is about right ...