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  1. #21
    gnashings's Avatar
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    I think the one pitfall tha must be warned against, especially that the originator of this thread calls himself a "newbie", is the whole gadget trap.

    I am a beginner myself, and I get cought up in the chase after that elusive piece of equipment that I absolutely need (being a typical photographer, and a gear junkie doesn't help... ) - but the fact is, you NEED the following:

    I) a decent, reliable body
    II) as good a lens as you can afford (read: if its between a spot meter and a nicer lens - buy the glass)
    III) a bunch of film

    Everything else ranges from nice-to-have to completely needless (although most things are on the nice-to-have list... )

    As far as one beginner to another, specific spot meter advice - if I was to buy one or the other, I would by a spot meter. Simplky because it is easier to get the spot to to the job of a wider meter, than to do the reverse.

    But with a little ingenuity and imagination (like finding comparable surfaces you can get right next to, using grey cards, your hands, etc...) you can really common-sense your way to excelent exposures.

    Oh, one more thing - with a spot meter you lose one excuse for why that photo didn't turn out... the fault is all yours - which it usually is anyway

  2. #22

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    Some personal sentiments and thoughts. Spot meters are very tricky to master. You need to be careful of the color it is pointed at, take into account the distance to subject, the flare contributed by the meter, it subseptibility to IR light. For a skilled user they offer the capabilty to evalute a scene very well. Incident meters are easily used. They leave you without any real evaluation of the contrast of individual elements of the scene. Perhaps their biggest failure is that they have no response to flare whatsoever. You may be certain that your camera, lens and film will be affected by flare.

    Now we come to your question: How important is a spot meter when using a 35mm camera and a 6x6 camera? Well are you going to devote an entire roll to each scene and develop accordingly? Are you going to record this information scene by scene? Are you just going to use a single development time for the entire roll? With all due respect to Mr. Mclean I will suggest that either a spot or incident meter used with the skill borne of experience can serve you equally well. Using either one of them in a half-assed fashion will give you a silver based migraine.

  3. #23

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    I use a Minolta Spotmeter F to photograph wildlife. I can take a very accurate exposure measurement of animals sitting in trees in the shade or backlit in Flash mode, something that would be very difficult with a lightmeter covering a wider angle. It is also, as several people pointed out, very useful for Zone System exposures. Other than that, its use is limited.
    Photos are made four inches behind the camera

  4. #24
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    For 35mm and medium format I use a Minolta III incident meter. In fact I use it for LF too in addition to the spot meter. I just use the spot to determine SBR or for really tricky lighting situations.
    www.ericrose.com
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    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

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  5. #25
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    I normally use a hand held incident/reflective light meter, the camera’s built-in center-weighted reflective light meter, or the camera’s built-in matrix (also called zone, evaluative, or multiple pattern averaging) reflective light meter.

    However, when I am shooting theatre or some other stage performance, I find the spot meter (hand held or built-in) invaluable for measuring the changing stage light levels.

  6. #26
    roteague's Avatar
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    I use a spot meter for all my large format stuff, but I just use the built in meter on my F5 for all my 35mm stuff - it works fine (I shoot only transparencies in 35mm).
    Robert M. Teague
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    "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. #27

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    I picked up a 7.5/15.0 degree spotmeter attachment for the Luna Pros for $20.00 on eBay.
    It came with a nice black leather case. You can find good analog Soligor 1.0 degree meters fairly easily also. You can ad a Zone scale to the barrel for $3.00. And what's really good news, you can get on a waiting list for a genuine Zone VI Modified Digital Pentax Spotmeter. The wait is about 6 months but who couldn't put aside $20.00 a month for half a year? Contrary to rumors, Pentax is still building their famous spotmeters but can't keep up with demand. If you're going to REALLY implement the Zone System (or the variants thereof), you should use a 1.0 degree spotmeter.

  8. #28
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    All depends on what you're trying to accomplish. I seldom carry any kind of meter for my folders, and use whatever's built in when I use a camera that has one (and none of them are one degree). I only routinely carry a meter when using my plate cameras, and that's a Gossen Sixtomat that was used when I bought it, near enough to 35 years ago; definitely NOT one degree (more like sixty!). I'm pretty happy with my images, overall; my eyeball exposures routinely produce negatives that print easily and well (now that I'm able to print them, I can make that statement!).
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  9. #29
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    An incident meter handles most situations quite well, and for most motives the camera meter works fine too. After a while you will learn to see how light is distributed in the motif and then you will learn how to meter and how much to compensate. If you use a camerameter I would suggest using it in one of the simple modes such as "average" or "x% center". The reason is simply to learn how to correct the readings yourself, and not let the camera try to understand how the motif is. Afterall your brain is a lot smarter than the meter.

    I don't see why a spotmeter is more important for LF than MF or SF, except that smaller format cameras often have fairly good built-in meters (at least the "new" ones).

    I must admit though that I have a spotmeter myself and that it can be handy in some difficult situations. Typical situations are high-contrast motifs and motifs where powerful lightsources are directed towards you (the sun, backlit scene). My meter has incident, 5 degree and 1 degree spot. One of the useful things about it is that I can measure motifcontrast - for those purposes 1 degree spot is really great and you learn a lot about how light is distributed in a motif. It can also be nice when you're using films such as Agfa Scala ... if you first block the shadows.. which can be done by underexposing only one stop.. argh! (but the perfect exposure... mmm!)

    Another recommendation is to only use the one separate meter if you have one. The reason is simply that different cameras have different meters and different ways to "understand" a motif. Also, some meters always underexpose slightly, som always overexpose etc. So, why not use one meter to rule them all!

    Anyways.. I don't find it difficult to expose correctly. It may of course have something to do that in my first two years with a camera I only used a rangefinder with a builtin average meter and that it forced me to learn.

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