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  1. #41
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennychoo View Post
    I agree with everyone
    Neither do I.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    Incident readings aren't useful for the zone system though.
    Actually, not true.
    When you're able to work close to your subject, (as in portraiture), placing your domed meter at various positions around your subject, w/dome facing camera, (especially in shadow areas), will always give better exposure readings, zone system or not.
    Incident trumps reflective (even one degree spot), every time. Spot meters main usefulness is for distant subjects where incident is impractical or impossible.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc B. View Post
    Incident trumps reflective (even one degree spot), every time.
    No, not true at all.

    The main issue here is reflectivity of the subject. If you are photographing e.g. a metallic object then incident metering can give completely incorrect exposures.

    And the zone system can be adapted to any metering technique... or no meter at all.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post

    The main issue here is reflectivity of the subject.
    Keith, please stay on point.
    The OP is talking about portraiture, and so am I.

  5. #45
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    Well I don't buy your generalization for portraiture either. What if your subject has big gold teeth?



    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heidia View Post
    Okay, I understand why you would use the spot meter and zone system for bw. Especially with landscapes and architecture, for example. I understand that. But, if I am taking a very close up portrait, do I really need to use spot/zone for the skin tone? Why wouldn't an incident meter work the same in this instance? I mean, you are so close, you are certain to be in the same light, unlike far away landscapes. Thoughts?

    An incident reading measures light falling on the overall scene from one or more light sources. The problem is that it omits the actual reflected light and does not provide the opportunity to evaluate selective areas of the subject. If the subject is in bright light and shadow, incident will not provide any clue as to tonal range or luminance. Even if you average both extremes, what will the result be do you think? So a more critical method is multi-spot and averaging of the subject which analyses the subject's range of luminances (shadow/highlight) — and this is important if shooting transparency; this is where metering skill is critical in balancing competing illumination by selective analyses. Subject and lighting will also suggest what method you employ.

    In studio portraiture, the lighting is often (but not exclusively) very carefully controlled with neither very bright nor very dark areas. Portraits in such conditions can be handled by two ways: incident, by balancing dominant light, and shadow, then averaging; or spot: midtone first (and lock-in), highlight, shadow, average. Either method will require compensation if the subject is very dark or very light (again, you can introduce low- or high-key lighting — the possibilities are endless).

    Advanced metering application does require a lot of practice and practical exposues, but once mastered will become second nature. In a professional studio practice it's essential that you work fast and fluently, visualising the result. Of course many people will have their own tried and tested methodologies to pass on and many again take old methods and rrefine them to their own specifics. I suggest you go through all the methods that you can garner with whatever apparatus you are using (LF would require additional work with bellows) and critically assess the results. Experience is a great teacher.


    Keith: That is quite a striking — if slightly menacing image — reminiscent of the feared James Bond arch-villains!! It's also a very good example of a subject I would spot meter.

  7. #47
    Athiril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    The cases where incident light metering might not give you what you expected is with pure white or pure black objects. Incident light metering abstracts totally from the reflectivity of the subject, but if let's say the subject is very very white, such a reading might place your subject in a zone of the characteristic curve of the film where you don't have much texture.

    So when using incident reading with a "milk white" subject, you would close a bit more than what suggested by your light meter. That's probably more true with small format than with MF or LF where film retains more details in the extremes "zones".

    That said, with skin tones incident light metering is the best thing because you don't have to worry about the skin tone of the subject: any skin tone will be rendered well.

    On the other hand, if it's a model in a wedding dress you are taking pictures of, or with a pure white hat, than, as said above, some caution might be used and some compensation applied.

    Fabrizio

    PS As ever when talking about precise exposure, what above is mainly true with slide film. If using negative, and especially B&W negative, you have ample overexposure room and you dodge/burn as appropriate during the printing stage.
    err incident metering will give the same reading regardless if the object is black or white or grey.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    I have never worked in a studio, but I know from experience that Lee knows what he's talking about.

    And, incident metering works all the time, regardless of what the lighting is. The key is to meter at the object, pointing the dome to the camera lens opening general direction. The idea is that your meter should see the light that your camera lens is photographing.

    It doesn't matter if the object is very bright, very dark, or if it's all mid-tones; the tones will be rendered correctly if you meter this way.
    Towards the light source(s) individually, then decide if you wish to expose for key light or whatever. That'll give lighting ratio/contrast ratio between midtones, rather than spot on a white object in the shade, spot on a black object in sun etc.. or vice versa.

    Towards the camera is an amalgamation and isn't giving midtones for midtones in X light.

  9. #49

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    There is a lot of differentiation being stated between artificial studio lighting and natural lighting. However, while the physical facts of each lead to certain qualities and situations that become commonly associated with each, in the end light is light, and metering theory is the same for both.

    No matter where you are, your light can either be direct (e.g. sun or lamp on face), reflected (e.g. bounce back of light from the environment and sky, bounce umbrella, or bounce card), diffused direct (overcast day or softbox), or diffused reflected (not super common in nature, but the flattest light you can get, and also the hardest to work with IMO; examples would be a bounce umbrella shot through diffusion - or a "beauty dish" when used with the diffusion over the reflector - or reflected sunlight from the environment and sky coming through curtains).

    In almost every single photographic situation, you are going to have at least two of these types of light in the picture, illuminating different parts of the subject with different qualities and different intensities. (Exceptions would be things like a single light studio setup with steps taken to eliminate all bounce, or shooting someone illuminated by a "stream" of light coming into a totally dark building that provides no reflection of the light whatsoever.) There are almost always a main light and a fill light, whether you are outdoors or not. A subject shot on an overcast day is primarily illuminated by direct diffused light from the clouds – the world's largest softbox. But it is also being illuminated by reflected light from everything around it: ground, sky, buildings, trees, etc. A subject shot in open shade is primarily being lit by reflected sky light. But it is also being lit by that sky light bouncing off of the ground or other nearby objects. A subject shot in hard, direct sun is not only being illuminated by the sun, but by reflected light from the surroundings and the sky. It is just the same in studio, only it is more obvious to the untrained eye; the fact that multiple sources are illuminating the subject is painfully obvious in the studio. But this doesn't mean that the same thing is not going on in nature.

    So, the statement that metering the main light is only useful in studio does not make sense. There are multiple sources of illumination, usually of some difference in intensity, in nearly every shot. You just have to realize it even though it is harder to do than in studio.

    The other thing is that I have heard it stated that an incident meter averages what the camera sees. But the meter is completely independent of the camera; that is why you are using it and why it is such a great tool! An incident meter averages what it is pointed at, not what the camera sees. There are 180 degrees around its dome; you choose how to best use those 180 degrees depending on the situation.

    Don't get me wrong; it does average. But only what it is pointed at; it doesn't have to be used to average main and fill all the time. Do you want to average all the light coming from the main source? Do you want to average all the light coming from a secondary source? Or do you want to split the difference? The answer is that it depends. Incident meters are simply used to measure light falling onto the meter's dome, wherever you choose to point it, not just to meter the light falling on a plane parallel to the film plane. Aside from making sure that what you are metering is visible in the frame (for purposes of practicing common sense) this has nothing to do with that your camera sees.

    Not wanting to average the whole picture based on the light falling on a subject plane that runs parallel to the film is part of the reason why we use incident meters. Yet many feel that doing just this is going to benefit them in every situation. It just doesn't make sense to take a tool capable of such precise and creative control and use it in such a loose and broad manner as a matter of course. It kind of negates a lot of the purpose of using the tool in the first place. It's like getting a Toyota Prius and driving it like a maniac just because it won't cost you that much in gas. You get that car to use as little gas as possible, not to cheapen the costs of your aggressive driving. Doing the latter is to waste the capabilities of the car, and to make things worse for yourself.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 03-30-2011 at 03:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  10. #50
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Great thoughts 2F/2F.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Ana´s Nin

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