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03-16-2016, 10:54 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Bob, I'm not sure how much Pentax improved the metering from my 645 to your 645N, but I can tell you that my 645 has always been fooled to a fault with highlights, mostly in backlit or landscapes situations, and if I don't compensate or correct for it, my exposures are often anywhere from -1 to -3EV underexposed. As a precaution, for negs, I either bracket or shoot +1EV or set the ISO half the number. With slide film, I prefer some underexposure, so if I don't bracket, I'll just shoot it at the recommended ISO at normal exposure.

The best would be using an incident light meter as you've chosen unless you can go with the Sunny 16 rule or are using strobes as your main source.
I haven't shot enough film through my 645N yet to figure that out. Only one roll of Ektar 100. I've done some shooting in a local botanical garden and the pix cam out pretty nicely exposed; at least I could spruce them up in Lightroom pretty easily.

I keep waiting for a sunny day in the mountains here, so I can shoot the snowy peaks, but it's been overcast for it seems like months (Hey, this is Oregon!), I figure the contrasty conditions of snow, sky, and shadow will really test the internal meter out.

Below is my very first exposure with it. Lovely camera, though, I've got some Velvia in it now and am anxious to see how it does with transparency film.

I still haven't pulled the trigger on that Sekonic L-3085 yet. $150 bothers me, tightwad that I am. I wonder if there are comparable meters priced a little less.

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Last edited by Flylooper; 03-16-2016 at 11:00 AM.
03-16-2016, 11:29 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flylooper Quote
I still haven't pulled the trigger on that Sekonic L-3085 yet. $150 bothers me, tightwad that I am. I wonder if there are comparable meters priced a little less.
Back in the 80's and 90's, I'd spend $400 for a meter like that Sekonic, and even the analog Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III Meter, a classic for most college students majoring in film or photography, is nearly $200.

My only suggestion for less than $150 would be a light meter app for a smart phone. Pocket Light Meter is a free app (or $1 if for ad free) for the iPhone and I'm sure there is more than one option for Android. A dedicated meter is still better, but a free app is not a bad place to start.
03-16-2016, 12:44 PM   #18
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Used Sekonic L398 studio meter is inexpensive, and so long as not very low light, it's fine. Quite robust and selenium cell so no batteries. Not very good for reflected light reading--but excellent for incident readings.
03-16-2016, 02:34 PM   #19
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If you don't need flash metering, the Gossen Profisix, also known as the Luna Pro SBC, might suit you. It has a silicon blue cell, and reads either incident or reflected light. It is designed so that a reading taken in very dim light can be read with a flashlight without affecting the reading. According to camera wiki it will read down to - EV 5, for comparison the Pentax LX reads down to - EV 6. Uses an ordinary 9 volt alkaline battery. Mine cost me about $50. used in excellent condition, complete with leather case.

There are a number of system accessories, if you can find them. Here's the wiki

03-16-2016, 03:00 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flylooper Quote
Sekonic L-3085
Wow that's pretty high tech... I'm still using one of these to check light reading in difficult situations.

Sangamo Weston Light Meter Weston Master V reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
03-16-2016, 03:08 PM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flylooper Quote
I still haven't pulled the trigger on that Sekonic L-3085 yet. $150 bothers me, tightwad that I am. I wonder if there are comparable meters priced a little less.
I hear this from a lot of people. A light meter just isn't as sexy or exciting of a purchase as a new lens or new camera body. I think I spent $425 on my 758-DR (used), and although I didn't relish the thought of parting with that much money at the time, looking back now I consider it some of the best money I've ever spent on a piece of photo gear.

If you look around photography forums you'll see a lot of threads asking "Do I need a light meter?", and what they are really asking is "Can't I get by without one?". Well the answer is, yes, of course, but that's the wrong question to be asking. I think the right question is "Will a light meter improve my photography?", and the answer to that question really depends on the type of subjects you shoot. If you shoot landscapes, particularly on negative film, and you want to have better tonal control then a spot meter and some training in the Zone System will definitely help. If you shoot portraits, then a flash meter will help you understand lighting ratios in a way that your histogram cannot. If you shoot product shots or food, when colors and exposure have to be dead on or the client will not be happy, you will benefit greatly from the objectivity of an incident meter. But if you're a street shooter, or a photo journalist, or a sport or wildlife shooter, no, exposure isn't your primary concern, it's capturing the moment, and your camera's internal meter will do that well enough on it's own.

Let's face it, film has gotten expensive. Even modern digital cameras with their advanced multi segment metering are still prone to reflective errors, the difference is on digital, the mistakes are free to reshoot, and you know it immediately if your exposure is off. Film cameras that are 20, 30, even 40 years old or more have less sophisticated metering systems, and so you really want to know you've got it in the can the first time around. A light meter, used properly, can give you that security, so I think of a light meter as a wise investment that can quickly pay for itself rather than some unnecessary expense to be avoided if possible. Of course no tool works correctly when used improperly, and in a lot of the arguments I see against light meters, the author is misusing the tool and then proclaiming "See? It doesn't work." Well yeah, of course.

My advice: learn if and how a light meter will address problems in the way you shoot. Learn the proper technique for using it, and determine if you'll be able to fit that in with your shooting style. Decide how much, if anything, the improvement is worth to you, and what your budget will allow. And finally, research options that are available on both the new and used markets and make your decision.

Last edited by maxfield_photo; 03-16-2016 at 03:19 PM.
03-21-2016, 02:25 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Back in the 80's and 90's, I'd spend $400 for a meter like that Sekonic, and even the analog Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III Meter, a classic for most college students majoring in film or photography, is nearly $200.

My only suggestion for less than $150 would be a light meter app for a smart phone. Pocket Light Meter is a free app (or $1 if for ad free) for the iPhone and I'm sure there is more than one option for Android. A dedicated meter is still better, but a free app is not a bad place to start.
Alex, I'm shooting film! Therefore I don't have a smart phone. Just dumb ones. [Just kidding. ]

---------- Post added 03-21-16 at 02:28 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by maxfield_photo Quote
I hear this from a lot of people. A light meter just isn't as sexy or exciting of a purchase as a new lens or new camera body. I think I spent $425 on my 758-DR (used), and although I didn't relish the thought of parting with that much money at the time, looking back now I consider it some of the best money I've ever spent on a piece of photo gear.

If you look around photography forums you'll see a lot of threads asking "Do I need a light meter?", and what they are really asking is "Can't I get by without one?". Well the answer is, yes, of course, but that's the wrong question to be asking. I think the right question is "Will a light meter improve my photography?", and the answer to that question really depends on the type of subjects you shoot. If you shoot landscapes, particularly on negative film, and you want to have better tonal control then a spot meter and some training in the Zone System will definitely help. If you shoot portraits, then a flash meter will help you understand lighting ratios in a way that your histogram cannot. If you shoot product shots or food, when colors and exposure have to be dead on or the client will not be happy, you will benefit greatly from the objectivity of an incident meter. But if you're a street shooter, or a photo journalist, or a sport or wildlife shooter, no, exposure isn't your primary concern, it's capturing the moment, and your camera's internal meter will do that well enough on it's own.

Let's face it, film has gotten expensive. Even modern digital cameras with their advanced multi segment metering are still prone to reflective errors, the difference is on digital, the mistakes are free to reshoot, and you know it immediately if your exposure is off. Film cameras that are 20, 30, even 40 years old or more have less sophisticated metering systems, and so you really want to know you've got it in the can the first time around. A light meter, used properly, can give you that security, so I think of a light meter as a wise investment that can quickly pay for itself rather than some unnecessary expense to be avoided if possible. Of course no tool works correctly when used improperly, and in a lot of the arguments I see against light meters, the author is misusing the tool and then proclaiming "See? It doesn't work." Well yeah, of course.

My advice: learn if and how a light meter will address problems in the way you shoot. Learn the proper technique for using it, and determine if you'll be able to fit that in with your shooting style. Decide how much, if anything, the improvement is worth to you, and what your budget will allow. And finally, research options that are available on both the new and used markets and make your decision.
Very good points, which is why I'm convinced I could improve my exposures with a good meter. Frankly. at this point the Sekonic is looking better and better. I may pull the trigger when I finished posting this!

03-21-2016, 04:52 PM   #23
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I don't know if you're shooting print film or slide film, but I've had varying results. For prints, all of my hand-held meters did well. But for slides, when you need to split hairs, my incident meter was vastly better than my reflected light meter or my spot meter. For me, the only thing better was the in-camera meter. Are you planning on printing from your negatives/slides? Or are you going to scan them and post-process them digitally?
03-21-2016, 06:41 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I don't know if you're shooting print film or slide film, but I've had varying results. For prints, all of my hand-held meters did well. But for slides, when you need to split hairs, my incident meter was vastly better than my reflected light meter or my spot meter. For me, the only thing better was the in-camera meter. Are you planning on printing from your negatives/slides? Or are you going to scan them and post-process them digitally?
Actually, what I'm doing is to give my exposed film to a very well known and well respected photo shop (Dot Dotson's in Eugene, for any Oregonians out there) and have them develop the film. Then I scan the negs on a pretty good Canon flat bed scanner, and then play with it in Light Room and Photoshop. I've had pretty good results from that scheme.

The point of using a light meter is just get a better "first pass" while using negative film. IOW, you get one shot at every opportunity while shooting film. (Well, unless bracketing a shot with all kinds of different f-stops and shutter speeds.) I'm just getting back into film as a kind of exercise in playing with the most basic variables in making a photograph: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and focus. For me. it's like picking up where I left off 40 years ago!

Thanks to all these post-shooting computer apps, a lot of errors can be cleaned up; but heck, I figure you need to start with a good shot to begin with, right?

(BTW, I'm shooting some Velvia just to see how it works. I have NO experience with transparency film at all. Well, except for, like, 1969! Yeah, I'm an old coot! God, how I miss Kodak! Ektachrome was miraculous.)
03-22-2016, 05:56 PM - 1 Like   #25
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In my experience the eye can be easily fooled, so a good exposure meter can be a valuable tool.
But even when properly used meter readings are just a guide, and only one part of the equation.
Film, camera and lens settings etc., lighting conditions and desired effect must all be factored in.

Chris
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