Quote Originally Posted by mingaun View Post
Hi Marc,

So you are saying that exposure characteristics for film and digital are different. Would that also imply that exposure of film is the more accurate one resembling the raw light data from a good light meter?

Coming from a pure digital background and only using matrix metering all my life i am trying to convince myself that something is not right about me using a point and shoot as a meter reading. I dont mind buying a good light meter but i need more help to explain the shortcomings of my P&S meter. Can someone show me some practical situation where a light meter will be better?

Or should i just keep doing what i am doing now until i find by experience that a light meter is better?

Matrix metering was made for film. Slide film specifically. There was no room for fudging exposure problems with slide film because the original is the finished product. B&W negative film is more forgiving, though it's still helpful to be accurate and most importantly consistent in how things are exposed.

The exposure characteristics are different for film and digital, and between films. If you meter for a normal 18% gray, it will be the same thing on digital or on different films. If you have a 2% gray in the same image, it might be gray on film and blown out on digital, or right on digital and too dark on film. The how the ends of the ranges of light and dark are captured differs between films, digital, and even film/developer combinations. I use different developers to get this they way I want on film. Other people use the zone system.

A spot meter is an interesting and sometimes useful item, but I don't think it's a necessity to carry with a small 35mm camera. A small incident meter is the typical instrument that would be used with a traditional non-metered 35mm camera. I use a sekonic L208. It is as small as the old meters, but a lot lighter. I keep it in my pocket or in my camera case. I can also wear it around my neck if I want to appear to be someone special. It can go on the camera too, but the shoe mount didn't fit my cameras that tightly. There are many choices for incident meters and checking the search here will elaborate. Incident meters don't remove the problem presented in the prior paragraph. They do work differently than in-camera reflective meters though, in that things like backlighting don't even have to be calculated; just turn the meter the other way for that situation. It's also easy to adjust settings like film speed, aperture, and see how it affect shutter speed. Easy compared to a digital camera that wasn't meant to be used manually or at lower isos.