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  1. #1
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Metering low-light cityscapes.

    I am quite interested to photography monuments that are lit by artificial light.

    What meter do you guys for this scenario?

    One thing is for sure, that built-in meters are either insensitive or gives wrong exposure values or I cannot able to see the meter needle at all.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  2. #2
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Assuming your'e standing a long ways away from the monument, your in-camera meter will indeed be mostly useless because the well lit areas are so small compared to the overall darkness of the scene at that distance.

    This is where a spot meter comes in handy. Or, you could go up close and meter a swath of light with your in-camera meter (filling the whole viewfinder) and then step back to your preferred viewpoint and apply that setting; keeping in mind where you want the area that you metered to fall on your film's scale of greys.

    As for viewing in-camera meters in low light, usually match needles, many cameras have a exposure lock button that will hold the needle in place, and then you can adjust your viewfinder so that you can see the value against a well lit area.

    Alternatively, the exposures needed at night aren't apt to change that significantly within a given scenario and you might be able to find a good exposure and stick with it, adjusting when your judgment/experience tells you to.

  3. #3
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Look up 'The Ultimate Exposure Guide' by Fred Parker, I recall, on the web. A bit long winded, but the tables at the end are worth thier weight in gold in these situations.

    I have copied the info into Excel, and print them out to stick on the back of every camera I use that has no meter, and keep extras in the metered cameras kits for just this sort of situation.
    my real name, imagine that.

  4. #4
    Toffle's Avatar
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    This is where the Black Cat Exposure Guide really comes in handy. This is ideal for selecting scenes under various lighting conditions. You should, of course, bracket, but with the Black Cat, if you judge your scene correctly, you will get a printable negative.
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


  5. #5
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  6. #6
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    I've done some night shooting recently and had much success taking a reading using a hand-held incident meter while standing under a representative street light near my house. I use that as a baseline (it metered at roughly 4 sec. @ f/4.5 using EI 100). If I'm shooting a cityscape and want the street light illumination to be properly exposed, I go with that exposure (plus some for reciprocity). If I want to open up the shadows between or beyond the street lights, I extend my exposure time, if I want darker shadows....etc.

    Not all street lights are the same intensity, but I'm not worried about being too exacting under these conditions. If I were shooting a parking lot with lots of mercury vapor lamps I might meter that scene specifically.

    Jonathan

  7. #7
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Light meter ... phooey!

    I have used this for decades [with earlier versions] with great results:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2604955/jiffy

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  8. #8
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Would it be heresy to suggest a small belt worn digital camera as you light meter to give you start reading and then be able to preview the shot and adjust the film cameras settings accordingly in manual mode?

  9. #9
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    Light meter ... phooey!

    I have used this for decades [with earlier versions] with great results:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2604955/jiffy

    Steve
    Do I need to have a permission to use this exposure calculator?
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  10. #10

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    The thing is the person who will scan the film, if that is not you, may have the autocorrection on and this will think that the image is underexposed and maybe try to “save” it by turning the brightness up and introducing grey-blacks and a lot of grain and noise.

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