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  1. #1
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Any reason to prefer a spot meter over a 35mm body that has one built in.

    I was planning to carry my N90s with my 4x5 camera to use as a spot meter. But I also have the opportunity to pick up a Minolta Spot meter II. But the weight saving doesn't look like it's going to be much, so is there any compelling reason to prefer a dedicated meter over a 35mm body?

    Thanks,
    -anupam

  2. #2
    Sportera's Avatar
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    I just prefer working with a hand-held meter. To me carrying an SLR would be awkward to meter with. You don't have to spend a great deal on a meter either. I use a Gossen Multi Pro Ive had for 10 years with a variable angle attachment. Its never failed me, Ive drooled over the digital spots but I ask myself everytime, do you really need this? Can you use what you already have? (I hear that thought in my head, strangley it sounds like my wife!)

    Try the Slr metering for awhile, then buy a meter if you need one.

  3. #3
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Well, also since I don't have a full LF kit right now, I'll probably carry the 24mm and the 105 macro with the N90s for stuff that the LF might not be able to handle. So, unless there is a compelling advantage to the handeld meter, it doesn't make sense for me until I can get a couple more LF lenses.

    -Anupam

  4. #4
    roteague's Avatar
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    Anupam,

    I sometimes use a Nikon F5 as a meter, but only in those cases where the light is changing too fast to use a spot metering technique. However, the spot meter remains my primary meter.

    The primary reason I use a spot meter over the F5, is that generally the F5 meter uses a built-in algorithm to determine correct exposure; this is based upon the cameras internal database. While this may work for the majority of the time, there are cases where I really need a spot meter. This is because I may wish to use a split neutral density filter to balance the exposure, rather than use a average meter reading. A spot meter simply makes it easier to determine where to place this filter.

    The other reason I use the spot meter is simply because I don't always want to carry the F5. I've found in the past that sometimes it is easier to start shooting with the F5 than go through the hassle of setting up a LF camera. By not taking the F5, I don't succumb as easily to that temptation. I've gotten much better over the years at placing my primary emphasis on the LF camera, but I still don't always carry the F5.

    In other words, it is better to become proficient using the spot meter, and only use the 35mm as a backup.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  5. #5
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    In other words, it is better to become proficient using the spot meter, and only use the 35mm as a backup.
    I only use the spot meter on my N90s as I am most comfortable with it. Only one of my lenses is AF but even with it I never use matrix metering.

    So my question is not about matrix metering vs. spot metering but about spot meter in a 35mm body or a handheld spot meter.

    -A

  6. #6
    roteague's Avatar
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    The Nikon spot meter uses 1.5% of the image area of the viewfinder. This may or may not be too big of an area for proper spot metering, depending upon what type of film you shoot, and the length of your lenses. For most of my work, I find it too much - I mosty use a 1 degree metering mode, with my spotmeter. FWIW, I see no real reason to shoot my F5 in anything other than matrix mode - the F5 is the type of camera I use for fast work, and with the limited exposure latitude of transparency film, it would be too easy to get the wrong exposure using spot metering.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  7. #7
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    I think part of this comes down to how much kit do you want to carry.

    I have both a (heavy) F5 and a (lightweight) N75 (and too many other Nikons - but that's another story). I'm guessing the N90 is closer to the latter than former in being a lightweight, plastic body.

    So, I am guessing that Anupam wants to limit his kit in terms of carrying the 4x5 and only the N90 w/o also carrying a spot light meter.

    In that case, given Robert's cautions, Anupam is probably okay. Using the N90 won't be as "perfect" as an external spot light meter but will probably be an acceptable compromise to lighten his kit and provide for including 35mm capability.

  8. #8
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    If you put a telephoto or zoom (say the 70 - 300) on the Nikon, the 1.5 per cent would be a pretty small area at say 300 mm wouldn't it?

    I was using my F80 as a meter for my 4X5, bought a Gossen Luna Pro F (not a spot meter) off ebay and believe it's not calibrated right, so I'm going back to using the F80's meter until I find out if I'm throwing good money after bad by trying to get the Luna Pro repaired.

    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    The Nikon spot meter uses 1.5% of the image area of the viewfinder.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

  9. #9

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    Dear Anupam,

    A true spot meter has a known constant angle and (usually) an I.R.E. (Institute of Radio Engineers) scale or highlight/shadow indices; as far as I recall, the Minolta has the latter and is one of the easiest-to-use spot meters I have ever encountered (I own four and have tried most of the others on the market -- bear in mind what I do for a living). I find spot meters so infinitely more convenient than in-camera 'spot' meters that I would not even consider using the latter as a meter for another camera.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)

  10. #10

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    Three reasons. Firstly size/weight/convenience or whatever label you want to put on it. To get even close to replicating a spotmeter with a known 1 degree facility you'd have to carry/fit the slr with a long lens. Personally I'd rather carry another lens or two for my main system.

    Second, accuracy. I want to use a small spot to guage how relatively small details of the photograph will turn out at my chosen exposure.

    Third flexibility. For me, how a potential scene meters and whether I can hope to generate the effect I want is an important part of whether to photograph. I want to be able to make that decision without opening the bag or setting up a camera and so the hand-held meter stays in my pocket when I'm in an area where photography is a real possibility.

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