# Metering- reflectivity vs tone? (i.e. black objects in shadow)

• 08-21-2013, 11:53 AM
GarageBoy
Metering- reflectivity vs tone? (i.e. black objects in shadow)
I know meters are tuned for midtones and thus, something darker than midtone will reflect less light and lead to overexposure and vice versa and you thus compensate accordingly

I also know that according to Zone system techniques, that you can place highlights in approx +2 for slide (meter highlights and open 2 stops) and the darkest part you want details in (shadows) in -2 (meter shadows and close down 2)

But what happens if that highlight is dark toned (if that makes sense? i.e. black detail being rim or edge lit)
• 08-21-2013, 12:57 PM
jp498
Use an incident meter and it won't matter what tone your subject is; (just measure the light rather than reflectivity)
• 08-21-2013, 02:37 PM
markbarendt
GarageBoy you have identified the biggest challenge with reflective metering.

Black is dark whether in full sun or shade so if you meter from a black subject then you would open up the camera. Meter from white close the camera some.

The more challenging question is how much, not all blacks, or whites, are created equal and 2 is not always the answer.
• 08-21-2013, 02:50 PM
benjiboy
Quote:

Originally Posted by markbarendt
GarageBoy you have identified the biggest challenge with reflective metering.

Black is dark whether in full sun or shade so if you meter from a black subject then you would open up the camera. Meter from white close the camera some.

The more challenging question is how much, not all blacks, or whites, are created equal and 2 is not always the answer.

If you compare by metering the black subject with an 18% Grey Card in the same light it gives you a pretty good idea how much to compensate.
• 08-21-2013, 03:55 PM
markbarendt
Quote:

Originally Posted by benjiboy
If you compare by metering the black subject with an 18% Grey Card in the same light it gives you a pretty good idea how much to compensate.

Sure, but if you have and are using a reference point in the scene to correct/check your exposure offset, a grey card or whatever, then the offset to shadow or highlight becomes irrelevant.
• 08-21-2013, 05:12 PM
jeffreyg
GarageBoy and others who may not be familiar with it,
A frequent APUG forum contributor Ralph Lambrecht has coauthored a book "Way Beyond Monochrome" that is a comprehensive reference on black and white photography and well worth adding to your library. Among all the detailed information, you can find how to build a zone dial.(pages 468-469)

http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
• 08-21-2013, 10:37 PM
MattKing
You take your reflected light reading from the area you are interested in, and then adjust the exposure to give you the tone you are looking for.

The challenge may be actually limiting the area read to what you want to evaluate.
• 08-22-2013, 06:13 PM
Poisson Du Jour
Spot meters are reflective meters, but their narrow angle of view (typically 1° to 5°) means they are excellent for isolating specific areas — as Matt King said in his second sentence, "actually limiting the area read to what you want to evaluate", or put another way, analysing all principal luminances, in the first instance not assuming the scene presented before you or the meter is "average".
• 09-17-2013, 10:50 AM
GarageBoy
Thanks, I think I just need to get a spot meter and experiment
The 40deg reflective attachment on the Flash Meter IV is not selective enough and I think it simply averages