Originally Posted by petefox
An incident meter when used properly should at least give a good starting point for exposure. Remember, with an incident meter, the dome must be incident to the light source and in the same lighting conditions as the subject. If not, your exposure will be incorrect. If the dome and meter position follow the aforementioned conditions, generally B&W film will have enough latitude to cover your error.
The more your experience with the meter and working with incident light the better and more consistent your results. I have an old Minolta Flash Meter III which I use for incident readings on occasion. I shoot primarily transparencies and for me, I prefer the use of a 1 degree spot meter. I then try to find the range of the exposure for the objects and the portions of the scene to be included in the image and determine the proper exposure accordingly.
With enough experience, in most instances however, the incident meter or either an averaging reflected or a reflected spot meter can all be used successfully to at least give a good starting point for exposure.
Good luck with the meter and welcome to APUG.
Rich, I'm beginning to think you have the same kit I do. I've got the Minota Flash Meter III as well - I've also got the ground glass attachment for it.
Here is an article that will shed a bit more light on the subject for you:
Originally Posted by roteague
It does seem that way doesn't it. I too have the booster to meter off the ground glass. Of course, you can also do that but perhaps with a bit more difficulty with a spot meter as well.
Ah, all this metering chit chat... throw that junk away. Look outside, throw a few blades of grass in the air, watch them fall, squint a bit (try squatting while you do this - looks more impressive that way), listen to the wind, make framing shapes with your hands for a few minutes, then take the apperture ring and apply the same amount of movements as it did to open your high school locker, pick a shutter speed that you think looks creative and shoot. You are now an artist, and if anyone asks you what and why you're doing these things, look down your nose at them make a "pfft!" sound and turn away waving your hand dsimissively
Jokes aside - I found that a reflective meter (one you point at things) was easier for me to learn. Has anyone else found that the principle of its operation just sort of translates more directly to what you camera is doing (as in: capturing reflected light).?? I also find that you can always use a reflective meter (excpet I suppose if you want to measure actual flash), but 3/4 of what I shoot can't be approached closely enough to use an incident meter. Is it just me, or has anyone else found this to be true?
You don't necessarily have to get close to your subject in order to meter, you just need to have the same amount/quality of light falling where you are metering from.
Originally Posted by gnashings
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You see, while I am NOT at all questioning the truth and accuracy of that statement... I sincerely question MY ability to determine the sameness of said light. For a guy of my limited know how, that is kind of why I need a meter in the first place!
Originally Posted by roteague
For something that looks dead simple, metering is amazingly complicated. Fortunately a lot of approximations are possible because photography is very flexible and not anything like as critical as some people like to pretend.
First, there's the question of 'keying' exposure to the highlights (or brightest areas) or the shadows (or darkest areas).
With color slide or digital, exposure must be keyed to the highlights, because if it isn't, these will 'blow' to a featureless white. An incident light meter is ideal for slides and digital because the incident dome provides an artificial highlight. Indeed the old name for these meters was 'artificial highlight'.
But because the exposure is keyed to the highlighs, anything that is too dark will record as a featureless black. This doesn't matter with slides -- anything is better than large areas of blown highlight -- but with negatives it means you lose shadow detail if the brightness range of the subject is more than about 7 stops. This is unusual but it can happen, especially on a bright sunny day or when shooting interiors.
Now, it is difficult or impossible to 'blow' highlights in a negative (they can always be recovered via appropriate burning-in at the printing stage) so with negative (mono or colour), exposure should be keyed to the darkest tone in which you want texture. Ideally you therefore need a limited area reading of this area BUT, as already noted, because the meter is calibrated to deliver a mid-grey you need to modify your reading and give 2-1/3 stops LESS exposure (this seems counter-intuitive but it works if you think it through).
Limited-area metering is too complicated to go into here -- I once wrote an entire book on exposiure, called Perfect Exposure (reissued in paperback in 2004, details on www.rogerandfrances.com) -- so for negatives the best advice for a beginner is to favour the darker areas of the subject, i.e. point the meter cell towards the subject from the camera position, towards the darker areas rather than the lighter ones, usually angling it down slightly to avoid reading too much sky. This will usually give you enough shadow detail.
You may later revise your technique on the basis of experience (and, I hope, reading my book or some of the modules in the Photo School on the same website) but this is a good start.
Be wary of the '18% grey' myth (there's a free module about this in the Photo School on the website too). Overall reflectivity of 'typical' scenes as determined by the original Kodak research is 12-13 per cent, not 18 per cent.
Eighteen per cent is a Munsell mid-grey, that is to say, if faced with a series of cards from the brightest while available to the darkest black available, most people will pick 18 per cent as a mid-tone. No ISO speed criterion is based on 18 per cent grey and it is of much more limited use in metering than many people would have you believe.
The first commercially successful spot meter, the SEI Photometer which still enjoys a cult following today, didn't even have a 'mid point' index because such an index was substantially useless before people started carrying grey cards around with them: it had only indices for brightest highlight with texture (reversal metering) and shadow detail (negative metering).
The main reasons 18% grey cards work for many people are (a) the flexibility of silver halide photography as noted above and (b) the fact that many of them re-rate their films a lot lower than the true ISO speed. ISO speeds are a repeatable and usually accurate standard, but this is not the same as saying they are ideal for all types of photography or metering. On a sunny day, I will set a broad-area reflected-light meter 2/3 stop slower than the ISO speed to get good shadow detail -- but with a spot meter, with a shadow value 2-1/3 stops below the mid point, I'll use the full ISO speed.
Sorry for a long and possibly confusing post but it's as well at the start of your metering career, as it were, to realize three things:
1 There's a lot of myth and misunderstanding in metering
2 This doesn't necessarily matter much because the system is very flexible
3 With negatives, there is enormous latitude for overexposure, often several stops, but there is far less latitude for underexposure, especially on a sunny day where even 1/2 stop may result in loss of shadow detail depending on the metering technique.
Last edited by Roger Hicks; 05-25-2006 at 04:33 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I thought the point of the 18% card was when you tilt it the card become 13%.
With a few more posts to this thread, we'll be able to confirm that the number of explanations of "proper metering" is equal to the number of photographers in the room, plus at least one.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
Originally Posted by Nick Zentena
More of a work-around than a point, I'd have thought.