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  1. #1
    snegron's Avatar
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    Light Meter For Landscapes?

    I have always been confused when it comes to hand held light meters. I would like to know what is the most appropriate handheld meter for landscape photography, reflective, incident, or spot? Also, if I were walking down a city street with a meterless camera and I spot an object across the street that I want to photograph, which would be the meter to use? My objective is that I am trying to get a meter reading without walking away from the camera. If I am 25 feet away or more from the subject and I can't walk up to the subject to get a reading, which meter can I use, reflective, incident, or spot? If I were to get a meter that had all three functions, which setting would I use for the landscape or object across the street, reflective, incident, or spot?

  2. #2
    roteague's Avatar
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    Assuming you are working with transparencies, a 1 or 3 degree spot meter is what you would need. For B&W, there are other people that have better answers than I do.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "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

  3. #3
    naturephoto1's Avatar
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    As Robert said for transparencies a spot meter is often preferred. I use a 1 degree spot meter. It will take a little learning and understanding how to use this kind of meter however. But, results will start to become very consistent. With transparencies we normally read for the highlights and correct.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  4. #4
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    An intelligently used spot meter is ideal. With any reflected light meter, if you can't get close to the subject, a reading of an object with the same light value works well. For most outdoors photography an incident meter also works. They were sometimes used in movie making so the scene, not the subject, would be consistantly exposed. Learning how to use whatever meter you have is more important than upgrading equipment.

  5. #5
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    Incident meters are, by design, averaging meters, measuring the light falling on the subject. The measurement will always be an average to some degree. Spot meters measure the light reflecting from a specific places within the subject. Spot meters are more difficult to learn to use effectively, but give far more information, once mastered. Color or B&W makes no difference.

  6. #6

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    I am poor, and cant afford a light meter, so i use some guys "Ultimate Exposure Calculator" It works great, and costs 0 dollars.

    Google The ultimate exposure calculator for details.


    nlochner
    Where is the art in digital photography?..

  7. #7
    juan's Avatar
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    What Jim says is correct - you need to learn to properly use whatever meter you have. I used a spot meter for more than 20-years in landscape photography - mostly B&W, but some transparancy. I measured the low values for B&W and the highs for transparancies.

    I'm now using an incident meter by the Phil Davis method - measuring the shadow EV for exposure and comparing that to the sunlight EV to determine development. This method seems to clutter my mind less.

    Each method is valid, although I think a regular wide-field reflected light meter gives the least useful information.
    juan

  8. #8
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    For such situations,experience is more valuable than a meter.
    Remember exposures in similar situations from the past and use them.
    Also, knowing and practicing the "Sunny 16" rule has worked for a lot of people for a lot of years. One just has to be able to recognize one and two stop shadows in order to adjust exposure.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  9. #9
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel
    For such situations,experience is more valuable than a meter.
    Remember exposures in similar situations from the past and use them.
    Also, knowing and practicing the "Sunny 16" rule has worked for a lot of people for a lot of years. One just has to be able to recognize one and two stop shadows in order to adjust exposure.
    Perhaps with B&W, but I sure wouldn't want to do that for color transparencies.

    To expand on what Rich said above, a good spot meter would be used to meter the highlights and the shadows to see if they fall outside the range of what color transparencies will hold; if the range is too great, consider using either a split neutral density filter to hold back the highlights or let the shadows go dark. Others have stressed how important it is to learn how to properly use a spot meter. I would strive to always use a spot meter, and while you are learning the process, you might use a regular 35mm camera meter as a sanity check. But, you shouldn't get in the habit of using one as your regular meter, since they tend to average the readings.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "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

  10. #10

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    Both work just fine. I use both for color and BW negative and color transparency. But you have to realize that where I live and photograph, plus what I tend to photograph means I never really have extremes in lighting. On those rare times when I am faced with extremes I resort to my 5 degree spotmeter attachment.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

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