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  1. #1
    jp80874's Avatar
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    What are the better light meters for very low level light?

    I have been exploring low light, long exposures in a rocks and roots thread http://www.apug.org/forums/forum48/28835-b-w-rocks-roots-exposure-separation-questions.html and discovered that either I’m not using my light meter correctly (expose for the shadow detail you want) or I should have another meter for l-o-n-g exposures. I use a Sekonic 508 Zone Master, set for reflected light, aso 64 or ½ of FP4 plus. The longest exposure it will show at f45.9 is 8 minutes. In darker scenes it says “E.u” which the manual says means "E.u" “(Exposure under) appears when the combination of shutter speed and aperture is not possible for the measured light level.” With reciprocity on FP4 plus this is probably 24-30 minutes.

    Is this the best I can hope for in a light meter or are there designs that work better than this in low light? My guess is that I am probably into trial and error exposures, but I thought I would ask if there is a better way?

    Thanks,

    John Powers

  2. #2
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    In a low light situation I usually take a reading that I can get, and just do the math from there.

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    jd callow's Avatar
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    Luna Pro's are the best for low light in my experience. They are also pretty cheap.

    *

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    I had a Minolta which was much better than anything else I have since encountered for low light. Worst - Pentax with Zone VI mod....

  5. #5
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    Luna Pro's are the best for low light in my experience. They are also pretty cheap.
    Thanks Jon.
    I see they give exposures up to 8 hours. That is a bit better than my 8 minutes.
    I had a Lunasix in college 1959-64. Pretty good stuff.

    John Powers

  6. #6
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    As mrcallow indicates the Gossen Luna Pros are thought to be good for long exposure. I no longer have mine. However, for very long exposures, you may start to get into reciprocity failure problems which are more evident and more problem in color, particularly transparencies.

    For really long exposures you may also wish to consider a guide like the Black Cat.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  7. #7

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    Although it's long discontinued, Quantum Calculite XP is the most sensitive light meter I've used, seen, heard, or read. I have one, which is a simple incident/reflective meter. The lowest is -7EV at ASA100 in incident meter mode.

    I do nightscape photography, and with long exposure time, bracketing is impractical, so my suggestion is to make best metering and make sure exposure isn't too far before thinking about bracketing. (which is a good thing if time permits, just in case film gets scratched, etc.)

  8. #8
    Lee L's Avatar
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    John,

    The instructions for my Luna Pro F specifiy EV -8 to EV 24, but no ISO parameters mentioned. Perhaps we can get together and try it out under practical circumstances. I PM'ed you earlier today about your pre-exposure question and meeting up.

    Lee

  9. #9
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    AFAIK - the Lunasix3 is supposed to be much better than the 'pro. And pretty much the most sensitive in the gossen line owing to the fact that it uses a selenium cell and not a SBC (silicon)... but that's assuming I don't have the cell types backwards in memory. I'm pretty sure of that though.

  10. #10

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    When the sun goes down, the only meter that works for me is my D2x. I don't know about Canon or the others, but Nikon SLRs (F5, F6, or Dxx) have great meters and serve the purpose fairly well. With the digitals, you can also do test shots, which has saved me from wasting lot of 11-bucks-a-sheet 8x10 Velvia.

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