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  1. #1

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    Because of a recent thread about meters I have been obsessing about my meter's accuracy and metering technique. With all the inherent inaccuracies of metering and metering technique I am wondering about how many of you worry about half stop differences in different meters or in my case a reported half stop difference between my Seckonic L508 in spot vs. incident mode. I personally don't experience problems with B&W but I suppose it could be a problem with transparencies.

    In trying to see if my meter has a problem I started thinking about the problems of how to check against a standard, and we have 12% vs. 18% gray as a standard. Then of course different light cell's response to different light wavelengths. Also there is technique, such as angle of gray card or incident dome to light source and in spot mode which green grass or other surface is truly representative of 18% gray (or 12% gray depending on the meter). Which shadow is spot metered for detail and the film and development you are using. I guess we should also consider what printing method you use, contact, condenser, diffusion. To further complicate this we have new MC lenses vs. old single or uncoated lenses that may actually flare enough to effectively preflash the film. I could go on about bellows extensions etc. and I am sure you can add more variables.

    With all of the above either separately or cumulatively it is no wonder everyone seems to arrive at their own metering technique and EI for different film/dev. combinations and therefore the common advise to test for yourself with your equipment and your technique.

    So my question, do you obsess about absolute accuracy of your meter/meters (if there is such a thing) or like me have you developed a "system" with your equipment and technique that works for you and you don't sweat the half stops.

    Bob

  2. #2

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    I don't "sweat" the half stops, I just make sure that my exposures are more accurate than that. I primarily use transparency film, and half a stop is outside of my tolerances.

    I wouldn't be unduly concerned about a meter that wasn't perfectly accurate, as long as it was consistent. It would be useful as long as I tested it and knew how to compensate. The meters that I've seen, though, all have been quite accurate.

    I think, too, that exposure can be very subjective. Often, correct use of the meter may indicate a certain exposure, but I know that I will adjust the exposure based on the situation.

    Incidentally (ha&#33, my metering improved markedly once I started exposing QuickLoads, which cost me $4.00 to $5.00 each.

    I'm happy with my own system, which I've developed (ha&#33 after much practice.

  3. #3

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    I don't sweat it. Another factor you could add in for variability is the variation from one batch of film to the next. All I can say is, if you use something like Velvia which "wants" a narrower range of "correct" exposures, then bracket. But the qualifier here is that I shoot mostly black and white film and color print film, which are pretty forgiving. Like Prime said, even if your meter was off, that's OK so long as you have an idea how far off it is. Most are pretty darn close. Plus if you are using a spotmeter and zone system, what you see as Zone III may be different from what I see as Zone III.

  4. #4

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    Glad to read some agreement with my attitude, but I still have the feeling that many would not tolerate the half stop.

    Steve, your point about how we each see what is zone III is well taken and to underscore it over in the thread "Shadow Detail" Les is advocating using zone IV instead of III. In his total system it must work.

    If we could take apart several different peoples "systems" it would be interesting to see where the compensating +/- are to arrive at the same result.

  5. #5

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    I start by considering what shadow detail I want to have at Zone III. then I look at what highlight I think should be at Zone VII. This way I can quickly size up the overall scene brightness range. Once that is done, I then see what might look good as Zone V (trees or grass) or a Zone VI to Zone VI-and-a-half or so (peoples faces). But for me, it is easiest to "see" and judge the extremes (III and VII). Anything in between for me is a judgement call. Sometimes when in doubt, I will shoot one sheet as recommended by the spotmeter, and a second one as indicated by an incident meter, unless both give me the same exposure reading. Generally, I can then print to either a grade 2 or grade 3 paper.

  6. #6

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (SteveGangi @ Dec 14 2002, 07:38 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>But for me, it is easiest to "see" and judge the extremes (III and VII). &nbsp;Anything in between for me is a judgement call. &nbsp;Sometimes when in doubt, I will shoot one sheet as recommended by the spotmeter, and a second one as indicated by an incident meter, unless both give me the same exposure reading. &nbsp;.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
    Pretty much sums up my approach but it still leaves the question of precise meter readings when so much judgement comes into the equation. You (and I) make a judgement about anything in between but also judge what is a III shadow. My III shadow may not be the same as yours but may be the same as what Les calls a IV (or not). If you are using say HP5 have you rated it at 400, 320, 200? Just with those two factors we could have a couple of full stops of judgement (from experience?) to offset a half stop of possible meter difference.

    I was looking for someone that does require absolute meter precision but I guess no one does.

    Bob

  7. #7

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    Are you guys saying I should dump my Weston II meter?
    art is about managing compromise

  8. #8

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    You mean the Model 735 Master 2? Keep it. I have 2 of them myself.
    To answer the previous question about film rating, I use the film at the Ilford suggested speed of 400 and develop at their sugested times. I probably could rate it at 320, but have not yet done it. It seemed to me that everyone had their own personal EI for every film, their own special times, and their own "special sauce". I decided to keep it simple. I might be more particular if my income depended on photography but even so, there are just so many variables and unknowns to foul up any data I might collect and I had to wonder if it was worth the effort for me.

  9. #9

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    Only thing that matters is if you&#39;re happy with the results. The thing about figuring out what works for you is we all do things differently. No way the film companies could check everything we might do.

    Does your Master II read ASA or weston ? Mine reads the weston system. The IV I have is rated for ASA.

  10. #10

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    Mine both read Weston.

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