Quote Originally Posted by stradibarrius View Post
I am trying once again to copy Keith's "pasta" shot. It is simple but it caught my eye and I felt like trying to duplicate the tone and contrast he captured.

I set my lights and RB67 and pulled out my meter. The difference between the rel=reflective and incident is about 1-1/3 stops...Is it normal for the two types of reading to be different?
Which will or should be more accurate?
Or maybe the question should be when there is a discrepancy which would you choose?
It is very normal for the readings to be that different.

However, try comparing two incident meters and see what you get. The only variation you get should come from the fact that different manufacturers use different values for a mid tone.

Incident meters tell you the "correct normal exposure", based on the light. In-camera reflected meters tell you the exposure that will average everything to a mid tone, based on the composition. Do you ever really want the latter when you have the option of the former?

Simply put, if you are exposing directly off of your meter, in-camera reflected meters are only "right" in one situation: A situation in which every tone in the composition averages to a mid tone (metering patterns considered). Incident meters, on the other hand, are always "right".

In-camera reflected metering is a compromise, plain and simple. It is only worth doing when no other method is available, IMHO. Of course there are situations when no other method is available, and the in-camera meter might be better than no meter at all, and certainly better than missing a shot...however, in-camera reflected meters must constantly be adjusted from the recommended exposure based on your experience and judgment, just to get a good exposure at all. IMO, directly-read in-camera meters are the number one hindrance to most people obtaining properly exposed film. To me, it is an utter shame that beginners are taught with in-camera meters, and then taught all sorts of rules of thumb, various erroneous information about film and light meters and exposure, and other dances just to get decently exposed film.

For a still life, I can't think of a single reason to ever use an in-camera meter.