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  1. #81
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    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!


    ~Stone

    The Important Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  2. #82
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    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
    I see what you are saying. This makes a lot of sense.

    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.

  3. #83

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    I must say, the Polaroid comment is very good, one I hadn't thought about, but like Bill says, makes a lot of sense. I've seen it in action. I wonder if people (and I'm not calling any names here) who are adamantly against the kind of workflow I outlined WRT digital cameras are/were also against the use of Polaroids for figuring out the correct exposure (although I guess even then, where Polas came in handy the most was in a studio setup with tons of lights & flash action were also on the table, and may not be as applicable in field photography scenarios, which is what I'm really all about).

    Again, I can't thank everybody who is contributing to this thread enough. Even if I don't respond to every post, I'm reading it and trying my best to absorb it.

    I've already started carrying around the Luna Pro on my shoots :-)

  4. #84
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Why use a light meter: somebody persuade me.

    Thanks guys, I think the really knowledgeable photogs would set up their lights, set what they assumed the correct settings were, take a Polaroid, adjust, take another... Maybe started out with a meter, but not always... Heck outside on a normal day, with enough experience who needs anything but the camera.

    But that's part of what the OP might be missing.

    When you have a fully digital workflow, you forget about learning to eyeball a scene and remember previous settings because you just snap a pic and adjust, but with no real sense of what you might get before the click and check.

    You learn a lot from going slower, making every shot count because you can't see what's happening till its developed.

    Experiment... Leave the digital at home, just take the meter, see if you can get good and consistent resultant and you might learn something too.

    Good luck!


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  5. #85
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Old commercial guys liked me used Polaroid, yes, but we certainly didn't base our exposures off of it. It served several purposes, mostly for client cooing and composition discussions. I never once based an exposure off of it, nor do I know any contemporary who did. I suppose it may have provided some validation of an exposure, if one felt like doing the math, but it was different enough that mostly you spent time explaining that the actual trans wouldn't look like the Polaroid.

    I could see a d cam used as a Polaroid, what I can't see is basing exposure on something with about three stops of latitude when your exposure on film could fall anywhere in that three stops or more and still be more appropriate to what you might want. That's possibly giving up an awful lot of printing range. Its like looking at the possibilities through a crack. I can't explain it better than that.

  6. #86
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    With studio lights I always meter the set and it works well, no Polariod required.

    Polaroids or chimping can help me catch problems like remotes or sync devices that aren't working right but that's not the only way to skin that cat, it's not a necessity.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #87

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    You write that in present tense, Mark. Are you still using Polaroid products successfully? I would have epected all you wrote to be past tense... except the chimping part.

  8. #88
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Very little, but yes some Fuji instant on occasion on the old RB67. As Jason said its mostly for having a conversation with the sitter, not about exposure.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  9. #89
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    Old commercial guys liked me used Polaroid, yes, but we certainly didn't base our exposures off of it. It served several purposes, mostly for client cooing and composition discussions. I never once based an exposure off of it.
    This also makes a lot of sense...

    Without trusting the exposure, you can check all kinds of things. The lights are in the right place, no unfortunate shadows... Have a chance to catch things that you can see in the photograph that shouldn't be there, like backdrops in the wrong place. Just "see" if the picture has a chance to work at all.

  10. #90
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    This also makes a lot of sense...

    Without trusting the exposure, you can check all kinds of things. The lights are in the right place, no unfortunate shadows... Have a chance to catch things that you can see in the photograph that shouldn't be there, like backdrops in the wrong place. Just "see" if the picture has a chance to work at all.
    Yes, exactly right.

    I think what is missing here is a photographers interpretation of a particular emulsion. I don't expose any two emulsions the same way, even if they have the same box speed. If you are really going for it, you need to know your film, and accurately predict its behavior, so above all I need an impartial tool. A histogram or image from a chip with a different response than the emulsion isn't impartial, in fact it's likely to be wrong. Luckily, the film can forgive this, but you will never get back what isn't there, which is the likely case, to my thinking.

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