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  1. #1

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    Really low light metering, is it possible?

    The other night I was in the mountains and came outside to my car and found a nice moonlit scene.


    What are the capabilities of light metering? I know with my built in meters on my 35mm cameras, it will only meter as low as 1/4 sec.

    So, are there any meters that can meter night scenes?

  2. #2
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Spectra Candella, but there are some others that read dimmer...Somebody will tell us what they are in just a few minutes.....
    That's just, like, my opinion, man...

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammy View Post
    ... So, are there any meters that can meter night scenes?
    g'day hammy
    it is possible to use the camera's meter by changing the ISO to it's highest setting then doing the math to get back to the actual ISO of the film in use

    don't forget reciprocity failure

    err on the side of over exposure

  4. #4
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    A Gossen Profisix (Luna-Pro-something outside Europe) will meter down to Ev -8 at ISO 100. That's about an hour at f/4 before taking reciprocity failure into account. A Sekonic L-508 with a Minolta Booster II attached is two stops more sensitive than that. Whether you really need to meter down to that level is a different matter. I never bothered in full moonlight: Kodachrome 64 at f/4 for ten minutes, or so.

    Ray, does changing the film speed setting on a meter make it any more sensitive?

    Best,
    Helen

  5. #5
    Matthew Gorringe's Avatar
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    It's good to know there are some meters available that can do it but I haven't bothered for night time stuff.

    Similarly to Helen I've just picked one film, one F stop and the experimented with time until there was good density on the negative. For me it's Delta 400 in Xtol 1:2, f16, and between 8 and 12 minutes for a scene with good artificial light. I think 20min+ might be good for moonlight.

  6. #6

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    The Olympus OM-2 and 4 will take exposures up to 2 minutes on auto and seem to do it fairly accurately if you bias to allow for reciprocity failure. Sadly they only go down to 1 sec on manual.

    David

  7. #7

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    Google on the "Ultimate Exposure Calculator".

    It's a spreadsheet with exposures far down into the negative EV numbers. I think the lowest it goes is a summer night scene lit only by starlight. Which is different from a winter scene lit by starlight reflecting on snow... Which is different from a moonlit night scene, etc.

    I've shot as far / slow as a moonlit winter scene, and found the UEC to be accurate.

  8. #8

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    The Pentax LX will also meter down to EV -6.5 in Auto (aperture priority) mode.

  9. #9

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    You can boost the effective sensitivity of a meter by almost 3 stops by metering a white card in the same way you would use a grey card, and applying a correction.

    Though I would do some tests on any meter not designed for low light work. linearity tends to suffer at the extremes.
    I feel, therefore I photograph.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen B View Post
    A Sekonic L-508 with a Minolta Booster II attached is two stops more sensitive than that.
    Helen - I've got a Booster II for my Minolta FLashmeter IV. Are you saying to simply point the booster at the scene and take a reading? Which attachment would you recommend? ANd I seem to remember there is a dial on the booster - where should that be set?

    Kirk

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