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Thread: DSLR Metering?

  1. #11
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    It will help as a rough guide to exposure. It will not help in fine-tuning the exposure because the shadows and highlights response of film is different from that of digital.

    For difficult situations - a high contrast scene where you have to correctly place the highlights or the shadows - a spot light meter, or an incident light meter, correctly used, will give you error-proof results while a DSLR will give you a guidance which will not guarantee the final result or will not optimize the exposure: for instance, you might close exposure until your DSLR tells you that no highlight clip occurs, if you use that exposure, you are going to block some shadows "more" than you would have by following another exposure method. Your film, slide film included, has a wider highlights range before falling into pure white so you can "open" your exposure more than what is suggested by your DSLR.

    In general the best way to expose with a digital camera is ETTR ("expose to the right", open as much as you can before highlight clipping) which is the roughly equivalent method to "highlight placing" with a spot meter when using slides, but the two media having different clipping points the exposure between the two is not replicable.

    To sum it up: for generic exposure (you let the camera let the averaging) it should work, no more no less than measuring with a film SLR (FSRL). For "fine tuning" I would not use a DSLR as a light meter. I wouldn't use it as a "polaroid" as well because in high-contrast situations I would end up always wasting some useful stretch of the characteristic curve on the highlights.
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  2. #12
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    I believe the D60 has spot metering capability. Not sure why that wouldn't work reasonably well.

  3. #13

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    It should work fine as a spotmeter. Use a relatively long lens on the DSLR to make the spot smaller. You would need some mental calibration.

  4. #14
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    A DSLR can work, but if you do closeup where there's bellows extension, your DSLR won't calculate the compensation.

  5. #15
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    1. Light is light, the meter which I have used for studio shooting on 4x5 film is the same meter which I also use for digital SLR. Digital SLR makers have set up their cameras to faithfully perform so that ISO 100 in digital is ISO 100 in classical film characteristics.
    My Minolta Autometer VI incident light metering matches the result of metering an 18% gray card with my Minolta Spotmeter F matches the metering of the same gray card with my Canon dSLR.
    2. If you mount your dSLR on your 4x5 camera, you will NOT record anything like your 4x5 film will (90x120mm of image), you will end up with 23.6 x 15.8 mm section of the 90x120mm 4x5 frame; if you can see enough to judge overall exposure you will have gotten lucky.

    You might as well simply shoot a photo with the D60 (not rigged to mount on the 4x5 rear standard) and use those settings to shoot the equivalent photo with your 4x5. Better yet, go buy yourself an incident light meter which is not fooled by subject/scene brightness which is not 18% tonality.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    A DSLR can work, but if you do closeup where there's bellows extension, your DSLR won't calculate the compensation.
    A hand held spot meter won't calculate bellow extension either.

  7. #17
    daleeman's Avatar
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    Nice thing is, no matter how you meter it, YOU are the final authority of how you desire to compose and expose to fit your vision of the subject.

  8. #18
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    I have tried this before with multiple hand-held meters compared to multiple makes and models of DSLR - specifically a Sekonic 308 and 408, Minolta AutoMeter IV, and Minolta SpotMeter M and Spotmeter F against an Olympus E1, a Canon 30D, Nikon D60, and Canon 5D mk 1. Lighting was studio strobes. The cameras were set to the flash meter reading in Manual exposure mode, with the ISO of the camera set to the same ISO as used by the flash meter. In every case, there was a deviation from proper exposure (either over or under, to varying degrees, as viewed on the camera LCD and on downloaded files viewed at 100% on a calibrated monitor) on the DSLRs when using the meter reading from the hand-held meter. All cameras were set to the lowest ISO available (in most cases ISO 100, in some cases ISO 200). All hand-held meters were calibrated to give the same result under identical controlled lighting conditions. I don't remember which camera was further off the meter reading, or by how much. In some cases it was as little as 1/3 stop, which is close enough for negative film work, and in some cases it was over 1 stop (IIRC the Olympus E1 was the one that was off by more than 1 stop, and since it is largely a dead system, probably irrelevant to everyone today). My point still stands though - a DSLR is not a good match for metering film exposures. The best match is a properly used hand-held meter. If you KNOW the bias of your DSLR and can remember to compensate for it, then it will work. The thing that bugs me about DSLRs is that ISO no longer means ISO - an International Standard... ISO 100 on a Nikon D800 will deviate from ISO 100 on a Canon 5D which will deviate from a Pentax, a Sony, and a Leica. If it isn't consistent, it isn't a standard anymore. They ought to just call it Slowest, Slower, Slow, Medium, Medium Fast, etc, all the way up to Ludicrous Speed.

  9. #19

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    I would simply use the DSLR as a spot meter and not using its sensor to test exposure. It can be done but because digital is different from film especially negative film, it would be much more difficult.

  10. #20
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    Thanks for all of the responses! as of right now i cant buy a light meter, my grandfather might have an old one laying around but im not sure. lets forget that the ISOs are not proportional/do not match up. if i meter the scene with my D60, can i pull the exact exposure that i like(shutter speed, f/stop, and what not) and use that same thing on my 4x5? the speeds and aperture will not change even though it is a larger format? i just have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that even though a 2.4 190mm SLR lens is so much bigger, it lets in just as much light as a 2.4 190mm large format lens

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