If you have a light meter you can at last get rid of your Iphone.
By that logic the best literature is a comic book
Originally Posted by cliveh
That's just, like, my opinion, man...
yep , the walking dead is pertty amazing
Originally Posted by JBrunner
This made me laugh, thanks for the zinger.
Originally Posted by cliveh
One other advantage with some meters ( I use a Minolta Autometer IIIf) over a digital camera is they allow you to quickly average three readings. I don't know if any digital cameras do this.
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The Olympus OM3 and OM4 allow one to average (I think) up to 8 readings. Still too much stuff to take into the field though, I do have a '3 which with a 200mm lens makes quite a useful spotmeter.
Originally Posted by Alan Klein
Properly using a light meter is always superior to using a DSLR for various reasons.
Originally Posted by rawhead
First reason: the ISO sensitive characteristics of film are not exactly comparable to the ISO sensitive characteristics of digital sensors. They are the results of a different set of parameters reading. The two are broadly comparable, but not really exactly comparable. Using a DSLR is sensible if you have not alternatives and will bring you quite in the ballpark, but it's not the "real thing".
Second reason: when you use a DSLR to measure an exposure the camera will actually probably take the picture. Each camera has a certain "mistake" in aperture and shutter speed (real value somehow different from theoretical one). By using a real camera (as in using a DSLR) you are using the entire "system", including the deviances from theoretical values of all elements of that system. Your film camera will have its own deviances, but they will not be superposable to your digital camera. More specifically, if you are using a zoom lens with variable aperture that will greatly influence the reading, you don't easily know the exact "f/value" of a zoom at a certain focal position. The camera meter compensates.
Second reason, variant b: your camera might be using some form of "matrix" metering (or "pattern" metering): you don't know exactly which areas the camera based its measurement on. (That applies to using any SLR as a light meter).
Third reason: the characteristics of the boundaries in shadows and high lights in let's say slide film and digital capture are very different:
Highlights: gradual less-than-proportional fading into white for slides; abrupt burning in digital;
Shadows: gradual less-than-proportional fading into black for slides; increasing levels of noise and decreasing levels of detail (increasingly "muddy" appearance) for digital. Not easy to explain, but the visual effect is different. Not easy to choose equivalent "cut points".
Besides, digital boundaries are not easy to judge even using histograms. Typically histograms are drawn based on in-camera JPEG not on what would be possible with raw files. Moreover, if you have single highlights which are going to be burned (let's say streetlights during a nocturne shots) histograms become useless.
Histograms are used with digital cameras for the "expose to the right" strategy:
That is not applicable to film. The "expose to the right" equivalent with film is reading the highest significant (detail wanted) highlights with a 1° spot meter, and "placing" around 2.33 or 2.5 exposure values above middle grey. (the highest you place it the more you will place it inside the "foot" of the slide film, thus losing detail).
Histograms will not give you that value mainly because you don't know where, in the histogram, is your "highest significant highlight" and where are all the highlights that can be burned (let's say street lamps at night).
If you use negative film, supposing you need to really exploit all the huge dynamic range (an architecture shot of an interior with an intelligible scene outside for instance) the DSLR simulation is going to completely deceive you regarding your real possibilities with negative film because the dynamic range of any digital camera is always much narrower than a colour negative film.
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/free-digital-camera.htm (check the bathroom image: even with a fill-in flash, the sky with any digital camera in such an image would certainly be burned white).
The day a woman is doing the work is the day that will produce more consistent, good results... (I know you were writing to avoid gender bias, and should be applauded for that, I just couldn't resist adding a witty remark)...
Originally Posted by rawhead
I would guess once you have learned, you will prefer to use and carry a single light meter. In many cases you will apply the trusted light meter settings to the camera (of any kind). Sometimes you will just let the camera shoot because you are in a hurry. And sometimes you won't need to use the light meter because you will just know.
Why use a light meter: somebody persuade me.
I read all of the OP's responses and some of the other posters, I have a few things to comment on. I tend to babble so I'll try and make key points instead so this might actually be read.
FLASH - don't discount that you will never use it. If you do any kind of portraiture or nudes, you certainly will invariably need flash if you are going to improve on and "create and mold" light rather than just read what's there...
BE PREPARED - my 5D Mk II got wet from hurricane sandy and I had to send it for repair. I needed my Sekonic 756DR(or whatever the numbers are) for my flash settings or I would have had to cancel shoots. If nothing else keep the Minolta, it has the most options overall and is probably the one you will get the most from, and in the movie industry I hear nothing but sorrow over how great minoltas were, though they now hail the Sekonic the same way, but still miss the Minolta, use the rest of the money on equipment you will use now and by the time you need a meter for flash (which I don't think that Minolta can do?) you will want to buy something newer than the other two anyway.
NIGHT - I have 2 Sekonic meters, one is from like the 50's the original Studio Delux and the newly acquired 7xxDR and neither can meter as far as my 5D Mk 2 by a long shot... I don't actually understand EV admittedly, but I know that my Sekonic won't go past 8 seconds and my 5D goes to 30...
THE FUTUTRE - similar to you my original Sekonic Studio Delux I got while buying a bunch of old gear and played with it for a day, then put it in a box for 2 years while I learned more and one day discovered that I needed it because I was noticing I was over exposing my digital images because the back of the 5D was telling me that the image looked good but at home on the computer I had blown out highlights. The meter on incident mode with a model tells you a lot more about how the light is hitting her skin than your eyes can descern from looking at the back of the camera.
POLAROID - I can feel the grumbling as people here tend to get ornery about the "D" word... Your method is just like PRO's did back I'm the day when they checked with a Polaroid... Which also wasn't EXACTLY the same as the film would show just as digital isn't the same as film in exposure, you just have to learn your system and know when to adjust and by how much. Same with film, every 400ASA film will not expose exactly the same, you will learn your film and adjust accordingly too.
SPOT - can be invaluable to a night time long exposure if there is even one bright thing out there that you want to have NOT overblown.
MORE FUTURE - you never know what you'll discover later, I really didn't think at 12 years old that I would ever need this viewfinder thing my dad had in his camera kit, nor this external flash thing that would flash when my on camera flash would go off. I just now at the age of 30 got a rangefinder that needed the viewfinder lines that were on the thing and I'm glad I kept it. I'm still looking for that flash thing, I JUST found a use for it and I'm kicking myself that I can't find it, it was a cheap, square plastic flash only, it didn't connect to anything (no flash sync cable or flash foot) and only took one AA battery, it reacted to other flashes going off to trigger it, it was tiny though and in my fine art project I'm currently working on, it would be the PERFECT thing, they don't make them anymore and were so utterly useless I'm sure almost all were thrown out years ago... Point is, keep at least one because you never know when you might need one. There's a reason almost any pro photographer has one.
ADVANCEMENT IN LEARNING - I too used to use the back of my digital for exposure, now as I've grown, the only thing I sweat about is if I forget my meter. Given all the gear you've amassed the past year (of which I'm very jealous of your 4x5's as I have everything but the body, perhaps when you move to 8x10 you'll remember me hehe) you may advance very quickly and find use for the meter very soon. But three is silly... Keep the Minolta, ditch the others for gear upgrades/film
Hope some of that was valuable and good luck!
The Important Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic
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I see what you are saying. This makes a lot of sense.
Originally Posted by StoneNYC
Though I never used Polaroid except as an end in itself... I read enough instructions that start out in parentheses "except for Polaroid you..." to know it reacted differently to light and that for exposure purposes you had to treat it "more" like transparency film than negative film.