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  1. #11

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    I got a cheap Polaris flash meter many, many years ago and hardly used it until I got back into photography.

    It was after I started getting into the studio flash stuff I finally put the cash down for a "real" Seconic meter. The old ones are great and very, very useful, however, I like my Seconic's features better. I have not compared actual photos using both meters, but I can imagine they would be similar......it's just that the Seconic is maybe easier at setting up multiple strobes to exacting levels. It would have been beyond my abilities (at the time) to figure that out with the old Polaris....

    Bob E.
    Nikon F5, Nikon F4S, Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N90, Nikon N80, Nikon N75, Mamiya 645 Pro, Mamiya Press Super 23, Yashica Lynx 14e, Yashica Electro GSN, Yashica 124G, Yashica D

  2. #12
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    The idea of using studio lights and not investing in a flash meter is beyond my comprehension. Sure, it can be done...but why?
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. In velit arcu, consequat at, interdum sit amet, consequat in, quam.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by trythis View Post
    I will second the flash meter. Luna Pro F or Luna Six F, same thing I think.
    If you consider getting a flash meter please be aware that virtually all will NOT give you an accurate reading with Hand-held types of flash. They are designed for studio units whose flash duration and power are quite different to to a Metz (except for when you use a hand-held flash on manual at full power). Also the Metz's inbuilt auto exposure settings generally work by curtailing the burst of flash to a duration that is too short for most flash meters to accurately respond to.

    The best solutions are:
    • Calculate the distance from flash to ceiling and ceiling to subject and use this as you base distance when manually calculating the effective GN at the position of the subject. For a typical UK living room with white ceiling and light walls you can factor in (as a rule of thumb) a reflectance of 80%. For larger rooms and/or darker walls (such as dark wood panelling in a pub) you can factor in (as a rule of thumb) a reflectance of 50%.
    • Purchase an on camera sensor accessory for the Metz. I used to have ones for my Metz 45 and Matz 60 that controlled the automatic settings of both flashes but, and very importantly, the sensor is attached to the camera so it can work effectively with bounce or off camera flash.
    • Use the two flash method whereby you bounce a Metz 60 on full power off the ceiling and combine this with a Metz 45 at full power pointed directly at the subject. You only calculate the Metz 45 to subject distance to get your exposure and ignore the Metz 60 as this will simply act to soften the harshness of the Metz 45 on it's own.


    Best of luck with your experiments.

    David
    www.dsallen.de
    D.S. Allen, fotograf.

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  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    This is why they invented flash meters--to introduce another variable and earn some money out of your pocket. In the end, your guess is about as good as anybody else's. Then, that's why they invented digital cameras, so you could shot it, look on the back of your camera while everybody in the picture was still there, and either delete it or shoot another. When it's all done and you get a "good print" you see for yourself bounce light off a ceiling is a bad idea. A better idea is to drag your shutter as much as you can hand-hold, and bring up the direct flash as little as you can get away with. Generally for that, the little dial on the back of the flash works out pretty well, on the Japanese flashes I've ever used. Sunpak 611 user for 37 years speaking here.
    When I was doing a fair amount of product photography, using 4x5 and 120 transparency film, I found a flashmeter to be indespensable, and that my best guess was worth it's weight in gold.

  5. #15

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    SNIP

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    This is why they invented flash meters--to introduce another variable and earn some money out of your pocket. In the end, your guess is about as good as anybody else's.
    never heard that one before

    SNIP
    Quote Originally Posted by David Allen View Post
    If you consider getting a flash meter please be aware that virtually all will NOT give you an accurate reading with Hand-held types of flash.
    or that either ...

    my old battery eating minolta has never given me a wrong reading .. (monoblocks, lumdeyne, and a variety of on camera sunpaks, speed lights ).

    i guess YMMV ??
    im empty, good luck

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    SNIP



    never heard that one before

    SNIP


    or that either ...

    my old battery eating minolta has never given me a wrong reading .. (monoblocks, lumdeyne, and a variety of on camera sunpaks, speed lights ).

    i guess YMMV ??
    When I first got a Sekonic flash meter, I found it very unpredictable when testing the auto settings on my Metz with transparency film but accurate when using the Metz on full power. I went to the Hasselblad offices (they were the importer of Metz flash guns in those days) to ask about the phenomenon. The Metz engineer explained that the peak in the output curve of a hand-held flash - when set to one of it's auto settings - was curtailed by the sensor quenching the output when sufficient illumination had been delivered and, therefore, varied greatly from the output curves of all of the professional flash systems (Broncolor, Multiblitz, Bowens, etc). As flash meters were designed to suit the output characteristics of said studio flashes, that is why they gave inaccurate readings with hand-held flashes set to an automatic setting but correct readings when the hand-held meter was set to manual.

    Perhaps more recent flash meters are better at this? - I do not know as I rarely use flash these days and, when I do, I always use them on manual setting.

    Bests,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
    D.S. Allen, fotograf.

    Neue 3D Ausstellung/New 3D exhibition: www.german-fine-arts.com/berlin.html
    Neue Fotos/New Photos: http://shop.german-fine-arts.com/d-s-allen.html
    Vita/CV: www.german-fine-arts.com/allen.php

  7. #17

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    hi david

    thanks for the explanation !
    i had never heard of this before ..
    maybe i have just been lucky ?

    i never use flash these days either,
    unless ... i have to use it.

    john
    im empty, good luck

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Allen View Post
    When I first got a Sekonic flash meter, I found it very unpredictable when testing the auto settings on my Metz with transparency film but accurate when using the Metz on full power. I went to the Hasselblad offices (they were the importer of Metz flash guns in those days) to ask about the phenomenon. The Metz engineer explained that the peak in the output curve of a hand-held flash - when set to one of it's auto settings - was curtailed by the sensor quenching the output when sufficient illumination had been delivered and, therefore, varied greatly from the output curves of all of the professional flash systems (Broncolor, Multiblitz, Bowens, etc). As flash meters were designed to suit the output characteristics of said studio flashes, that is why they gave inaccurate readings with hand-held flashes set to an automatic setting but correct readings when the hand-held meter was set to manual.

    Perhaps more recent flash meters are better at this? - I do not know as I rarely use flash these days and, when I do, I always use them on manual setting.

    Bests,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
    David,
    I just conducted this test with my Minolta Autometer Vf, with Metz 54MZ flash. I first took a photo with ambient light to establish density of 18% grey card under ambient metering, to compare against flash (you can see my ambient light was quite uneven in intensity and white balance). I then put the Metz 54MZ into Manual flash mode, and set power levels to 1/256, 1/64, 1/16 and 1/4, metering with the flashmeter and then taking a shot with the meter suggested settings. Lastly, I put the flash into ETTL mode on my Canon dSLR, as another density reference of flash under ETTL control. Here is the result.



    You can see that the 1/256 power level meter suggestion resulted in total underexposure. But the 1/64, 1/16, and 1/4 power levels resulted in the meter's suggestion being about 1EV bright. Finally, the ETTL flash control's density was close to that of the ambient metering. I do not have flash duration information for 1/256, 1/64, or 1/16, but Metz user manual says 1/4 power has 1/1400 flash duration. I surmise that 1/16 has 1/2800 duration, 1/64 has 1/5600 duration, 1/256 has 1/10000 duration. Metz specifications state the 54MZ has 1/200 - 1/20000 duration.

    Manual power durations are no different than Auto quench in that both are simply shorter duration than full power, one is preset (Manual) while the other is curtailed at time of exposure (Auto). dSLR ETTL is similar in concept to Manual... the camera commands a predetermined amount of light from the flash, after the preflash is metered before the shutter is open. Here is the result of ETTL (left) vs. Auto mode, lens and flash set for f/8 (right) and flash meter says to use f/5.6 +0.5EV
    Last edited by wiltw; 11-05-2013 at 11:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #19

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    I've experimented with my Sekonic. Flash meters seem to have an accuracy cutoff point with regard to flash duration. Anybody who decides to get a flash meter should experiment to find out where that point is. Until you do know this point, stick with full power (duration) on the flash. Because once you go past that accuracy point, a flash meter is a big fat nothing. Above that line and they're pretty in good shape for the most part.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jstraw View Post
    The idea of using studio lights and not investing in a flash meter is beyond my comprehension. Sure, it can be done...but why?
    Why? Because if nobody bothered with a flashmeter, everybody would have to bracket - and that means Kodak might still be making E6 films! Even if not, the incredible film consumption of the bracketers would likely have prevented some or all of Kodak's financial woes.

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