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04-19-2013, 12:11 PM   #1
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The final piece of the puzzle? The end of the upgrade? The uquitious meter question.

So I took delivery of the final piece of kit for my current upgrade and I'm set. Maybe. Maybe not. This upgrade has been mostly about learning portable lighting technique for low light outdoor landscape and "light painting" work where there is a mix of speedlight and ambient light. I want to learn how to intuit lighting ratios in order to work fast; the window of opportunity at dusk and dawn is small. It seems to me the best way to learn this is using a light meter that can read incident, reflected, ambient, flash, and has the ability to spot.

When comparing features and prices, the Polaris SPD500 keeps coming up in my searches for both new and used light meters as the most versatile budget flash meter. There aren't a lot if used ones on the market in spite of their having been on the market for quite awhile (people are keeping them?) but, when comparing cost and features, a new Polaris appears to be more versatile and cost effective than most older "higher end" meters. The 5 degree spot meter seems the only weakness and I don't know what degree the spot metering on my K30 is for double checking. The problem I'm running into is there are comparatively few reviews

I'm inclined to think the SPD500 will serve my stated purposes purpose with the knowledge that I may, at some point need to purchase used, a dedicated 1 degree spot meter The final cost would still be less than a higher end "all-in-one" unit and I'm given to understand that a dedicated spot meter is better than one incorporated into an all-in-one unit. As usual there are so many questions.

Thanks

04-19-2013, 01:02 PM   #2
dms
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Assuming you are using film--for a spot meter a small DSLR (e.g., Kx) an telephoto lens will likely be cheaper and more versatile than a spot meter. I suggest a smallish l A lens (e.g., 135mm)--or a 200mm takumar f5.6 [not an A or even a K lens but very small, cheap, and good--likely $300 for Kx and 200mm f5.6). BTW I find with incident meter I find I need to increase exposure 1 stop on my Kx and K20D. So some experimenting between film and digital is in order. But that was always the case in using a meter and film/camera.
04-19-2013, 01:22 PM   #3
dms
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BTW I recall Ken Rockwell had a piece on this. www.kenrockwell.com/tech/meters-digicam.htm0

Also there is some discussion on internet about Rockwell's advice--some of it seemed confused.. Basically Rockwell is saying you can us it as a spot meter--and it does give you more info.
04-19-2013, 03:02 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
BTW I recall Ken Rockwell had a piece on this. www.kenrockwell.com/tech/meters-digicam.htm0

Also there is some discussion on internet about Rockwell's advice--some of it seemed confused.. Basically Rockwell is saying you can us it as a spot meter--and it does give you more info.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems this is no good for use with strobes or any kind of flash.


I bought a Minolta IV on CL and later added both a 5 and 10 degree spot attachment from eBay. I paid somewhere around $125 for everything. Doesn't mean it's the right kit for you, but it works for me.

One advantage of my light meter is it's still available new from Kenko, so the accessories are readily available as well. I checked it against a friend's new Sekonic and they both measured exactly the same.

04-19-2013, 03:24 PM   #5
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I haven't found a way to use the internal camera meter as a flash meter. Unless someone knows a trick, your new tool might be useful for that.
04-19-2013, 05:03 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rob22315 Quote
I haven't found a way to use the internal camera meter as a flash meter. Unless someone knows a trick, your new tool might be useful for that.
Yup. I'm wondering if using the camera's spot meter would be better than one that is part of a meter. Don't know what math would be entailed in using two meters instead of one.
04-19-2013, 08:58 PM   #7
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For mixing ambient with flash you would probably be better served by an incident meter. People look at me like I'm crazy, but I bought a used Skeonic 758 for $400 US, and I think it's probably the best investment in camera gear I've ever made. I shoot film and it's a godsend, but even with digital, I prefer the dead on accuracy of my incident meter to using the camera's histogram. Of course the 758 is expensive new, but the 358 is pretty affordable, especially used, and they're easy to find. I think you can even get a spot meter attachment for the 358 and the new 478.

One of the coolest features about Sekonic meters when mixing flash with ambient, is you can set up you light(s) to a desired output level, fire one test flash, and the meter will show you the percentage of flash-to-ambient. If it's not what you want, you just turn the jog wheel on the meter to adjust the shutter speed until you find the ratio you want. The meter recalculates without having to take multiple shots, just one test flash. Dial it in on your camera and you're off and shooting, I can literally do it in about 6 seconds, and get a perfect balance every time.
04-19-2013, 11:19 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I bought a Minolta IV on CL and later added both a 5 and 10 degree spot attachment from eBay. I paid somewhere around $125 for everything. Doesn't mean it's the right kit for you, but it works for me.
$125 for everything is a great price. Last month I sold a Minolta AutoMeter IV F on FleaBay for $122, and a Minolta Auto Meter IV F with 5 Viewfinder Attachment for $212. Before listing on FleaBay, I listed the Minolta AutoMeter IV F here at $90 shipped but noone took it.

I got a Minolta Flash Meter IV with 5 degree spot attachment for $100 from CL, still don't know how to use all of its functions yet.

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