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  1. #1

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    To meter or not to meter...

    I've recently acquired a camera with no built-in light meter. For my first few shots, I used a light meter app on my iPhone (I don't have an external meter that works), but then I decided to go without and shoot a couple frames outdoors using "Sunny 16" minus a few EV to account for clouds and shade. It's a rather liberating experience, but I'm not sure if I'd want to commit an exposure table to memory and just go from that...

    Some things to consider:
    - I'm shooting color negative film (or C-41 B&W) in 35mm, so i've got a lot of latitude. I'd not dream about going without a light meter shooting chromes
    - Mostly I'd be doing spontaneous street-type shooting. Again, I'd absolutely use a meter for critical work, landscapes, larger-format stuff, etc

    Anyone else shoot meterless on a regular basis? Would there be enough latitude in C-41 films to just "wing it" and still get good (not expecting perfect) results?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by cajuncc View Post
    I've recently acquired a camera with no built-in light meter. For my first few shots, I used a light meter app on my iPhone (I don't have an external meter that works), but then I decided to go without and shoot a couple frames outdoors using "Sunny 16" minus a few EV to account for clouds and shade. It's a rather liberating experience, but I'm not sure if I'd want to commit an exposure table to memory and just go from that...

    Some things to consider:
    - I'm shooting color negative film (or C-41 B&W) in 35mm, so i've got a lot of latitude. I'd not dream about going without a light meter shooting chromes
    - Mostly I'd be doing spontaneous street-type shooting. Again, I'd absolutely use a meter for critical work, landscapes, larger-format stuff, etc

    Anyone else shoot meterless on a regular basis? Would there be enough latitude in C-41 films to just "wing it" and still get good (not expecting perfect) results?
    I would shoot without a meter most of the time if the camera doesn't have a meter or the meter is broken or needs mercury battery. Yes commit an exposure table to your memory. It doesn't have to be elaborate. I got good result doing so at least for color negative film doing so gave me better result than the Nikon F5 matrix meter.

  3. #3

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    I agree... it is liberating to shoot without a meter. I say go for it! Especially if you are not shooting for a client. This is an awesome way to get good at evaluating lighting. You may want to take some notes about what you are doing...

  4. #4
    cjbecker's Avatar
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    I don't use one, minus crital work. Unless I'm getting the tripod and everything out I don't use one. I'm shooting all medium format also. Took a trip for 3 weeks traveling india and had one with me in my bag but never cared to use it. That was when I started to trust my internal meter. I now normally win arguments with a meter.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbecker View Post
    I don't use one, minus crital work. Unless I'm getting the tripod and everything out I don't use one. I'm shooting all medium format also. Took a trip for 3 weeks traveling india and had one with me in my bag but never cared to use it. That was when I started to trust my internal meter. I now normally win arguments with a meter.
    love it

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by cajuncc View Post
    Anyone else shoot meterless on a regular basis? Would there be enough latitude in C-41 films to just "wing it" and still get good (not expecting perfect) results?
    Yes, and yes. Go for it, and enjoy!

  7. #7

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    Yes, I own a nice VC II meter, but generally don't use it. I find with C41, you've got buckets of room to make mistakes, just err on the side of over exposure.

    When I first shot without a meter, yes, it's a liberating experience, and also I was shocked that when I got my negs back from the lab, they tended to be *better* exposed than with a meter. I guess it's because the meter just measures light, but has no concept of bright skies, or dark shadows. So I can see a dark corner, and think "I'll give this one a lot of exposure" a meter does not. I like my little VC II meter, but it's basically clueless, and you have to use it knowing that it's clueless.

  8. #8
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Shooting negatives exclusively, I typically just do my metering and settings once for any given lighting situation and then go shooting. If you know where the limits of your film are this even works for a lot of critical work too.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

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

  9. #9
    fotch's Avatar
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    A meter is like any measuring device. Rulers, levels, micrometers, thermometers, scales, etc. Use depends on outcome. If the outcome is important and time permits using a measuring device, I would use. JMHO
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  10. #10

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    I shot a roll of CHS25 (which doesn't have huge latitude) and a roll of Etkar in my canonet without any metering. I created a cheat (EI estimations by observing shadows, light sources etc.). Not a single shot was lost - and I've noticed that I payed attention to the most important thing in photography - quality of light. Something i don't instinctively do when shooting TTL metering cameras.

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