I will continue to be a slave to a light meter.
I will continue to be a slave to a light meter.
I try to think in EV. It's not too hard to guess an EV for a particular ISO based on stops down from sunny/16.
Low light is hard, but I guess that's just a matter of experience. That I would approach by having a guess at it at EV100 (which is the same thing as LV, an absolute measure of amount of light) based on previous experiences and converting to EV at whatever ISO. That's a factor like EV400 = EV100 + 2).
The biggest thing for me was working out how to do the calculation from EV to actual exposure quickly. It's easy enough.
Start with 2, then add the number of aperture stops past f/2 you want(ie. f/16 is +6EV compared to f/2. You just have to memorise these, but there are only 6 maybe 7 values). Then whatever is left is the shutter speed in the closest power of two. (ie. 1sec = 1/2^0, so +0EV, 1/60 =~ 1/2^6, so +6EV). Powers of two are pretty easy.
So to get EV100 = 15, (sunny 16), you go 2 + 6 (for f/16) + 7 (1/125sec).
If you are shooting a scene at ISO1600 that is say -3EV from sunny 16 you say, sunny 16 is EV1600=19 (EV100+4). So I want 16. Which is 2+6 (f/16)+8(1/250s)
Easy. You can do the shutter speed and aperature around the other way if you want to say pick a particular speed for whatever reason. Say you want to open up as wide as you can using the last example and 1/1000 is the fastest shutter speed you have. 16 = 2+10(1/1000s)+4 (f/8).
The other thing that really helped getting my head around this is simply realising that an EV value is actually around the wrong way from what it sounds. It's called exposure value, and is referring to how much exposure you give the film, but it is actually less exposure the bigger the number. I try to think of it as 'degree of attenuation'. It's sort of seems to be measuring the amount of light, but this becomes nonsense when you start talking about EV100 vs EV400. It's not amount of light. It's amount of attenuation that light gets before it hits the film. An EV number always means exactly the same shutter speed/aperature irrespective of the ISO value it's for. So once you know what those are, or can get there quickly, the thought process gets much faster.
This is probably quite basic, but it's really helping me to get quicker at doing this without a meter. It doesn't take me long now from guessing the light to actually setting up the camera to take the shot. As for guessing the light correctly or making sure the photo was worth taking in the first place, still working on that :)
I am in the camp of "Whatever works".
Awareness of the light is not tied to the use or non-use of a light meter, but resides in the eye of the beholder. For me, this awareness has come about by seeing, exposing a sheet of film to that light, and then transferring the light to paper. I find a meter handy for the second step, not so directly important for the first or last steps.
its much easier to take the little paper that came with the film
or look in the film box ... see if it it is cloudy, partly cloudy
sunny, or whatever and do what the box says ...
i am always amazed at how complicated people make things ...
but then again YMMV
First, don't accuse me of being something I am not. I am NOT a CPA because, unlike for lawyers, passing the Exam in not sufficient. You have to work for a CPA for two years. I have not! (Who wants someone that is 62 even if he feels that he will live for another 40 years?)
Now, all of you have provided sensible input. I will admit that having a light meter present is one of the most comfortable things on earth to have. To add to this, Diapositivo stresses that the eye is adaptable and I certainly agree. In fact, my point was to challenge that (in ths case) 'negative adaptablility' with reason and experience. Many of you say or infer that low light, especially, is 'hard' to determine. This is entirely true and a valid assessment.
My 'system' is, in fact, the extant EV system simply expressed my way. Long ago I memorized the simple numerical equivalences of aperture and shutter speeds. Thus, it becomes easier for me to think of 1/500 as simply '9' and an aperture of f8 as '6' rather than with employing the more cumbersome standard way. In fact, my cameras and lenses are marked that way with neat stickers. If I know that a scene demands '11' for exposure, judging by the film used and the light available, I can provide a multitude of exposures varying the shutter and aperture, so long as the total is '11'. That, I feel, is easier than reading an instruction sheet that limits to discrete examples (ie, f5.6 with 1/60). This is all based upon the brain challenging the 'adaptability' of the eye. Of course most of you will assess an ISO 100 film to be a sunny rule '15'. My assessment at '14' is simply my way of imparting more shadow detail onto the film at the tiny expense of SLIGHTLY reducing highlight separation.
This is different than using a meter, of course, but even while using a meter we can utilize the EV system. I love this system because it reduces the dilemma of proper exposure to a simple whole number (or, possibly, if you are fussy, a whole number with at fraction, like 10 1/2).
Chan Tran wrote: "The second part you assign a light value to a condition for example full sun EV15 etc.. This part replaces the meter but one can elect to use this or not. One can use a meter to get the EV reading off the meter. However, I am like Cliveh that when I look at the scene I tend to intutively thought of an exposure in term or shutter speed and aperture combination rather than an ev number. And thus may need to those back to EV number mentally if I need to."
Yes, Chan Tran, assigning a light value to a light CONDITION is what my post is all about. Most of us already know that the EV system exists. Hassleblad used to use just that system and so did, I think, Rollei. What I am driving at here is in attaining the ability to discern light value DESPITE the fact that (Diapositivo) the "eye is adaptable". Surmounting this obstacle becomes, I stress, a real mental achievement, even though with readily available light meters the 'value' of this achievement is (properly) challenged on this thread. To derive this achievement (I am still learning) you have to employ insight, pragmatism, and also, sometimes a practical judgment of the surroundings.
This vociferous challenging of the value of this 'achievement' is understandable in the same way that an escalator is deemed an 'improvement' (where in many aspects it is NOT, with regards to human health). I am forcing all of you to dissect the real meaning and impetus of 'improvement' here and I think that that is a worthwhile 'cause'. In essence, what I say is that there is a certain comfort in knowing light and not being wholly and persistently dependant upon being told what it is. And whether or not we actually attain the ability to 'learn light' to the extent necessary to give us confidence, we still learn a lot. I am NOT saying that you must abandone meters and do what I say to do. I don't, for sure. But I do take time with film to challenge myself and to simply see how correct I have been. It is actually fun to do.
Even then, light meters do not KNOW what they are being pointed at: in the SAME light a black cat in a dark surrounding should, theoretically, demand the SAME exposure as a white cat in a light surrounding. After all, the (incident) light is the same in both cases. The reflective meter will state the relative exposures quite differently because that meter is so 'stupid' that it will think that anything that it is pointed to is 'medium grey'. We are supposed to know that we must correct that faulty reading, so the mental effort is not eliminatied with meters either.
And before anyone dares infer that I am not stupid I wish to remind all, again, that I cannot even do a damn crossword puzzle! - David Lyga
I like EV... especially when the shutter is marked in EV.
I also like elipsises (gosh, I hope that is the proper plural of "elipsis")... but I prefer mine with three dots, not four or five. :laugh:
I don't hunt game by firing blindly into the woods, either.