Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
06-28-2007, 06:51 AM   #1
Inactive Account




Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: James City County, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 322
Hand held light meters

I have done a search on light meters on the site but have found very little info. Maybe I am just not getting IT, but does anyone use a light meter (hand held) when in manual mode? When I shot film many moons ago, I had a seperate light meter which helped me to obtain better photos. Is this a thing of the past?

If using a hand held meter is still done, and anyone on this site uses one, I would like to know which brand/model you have and why you picked that one to use. I would like to use the manual mode more often but my instincts for settings are not all that good.

Thanks - Gary

06-28-2007, 07:08 AM   #2
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jfdavis58's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: 13 S 0357397-3884316
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 886
QuoteOriginally posted by squarerigger Quote
I have done a search on light meters on the site but have found very little info. Maybe I am just not getting IT, but does anyone use a light meter (hand held) when in manual mode? When I shot film many moons ago, I had a seperate light meter which helped me to obtain better photos. Is this a thing of the past?

If using a hand held meter is still done, and anyone on this site uses one, I would like to know which brand/model you have and why you picked that one to use. I would like to use the manual mode more often but my instincts for settings are not all that good.

Thanks - Gary
I have three: a Gossen Digisix because it's stealthy. Two Sekonics: 508 and 558 because of their flash and spot capabilities among many other features. And light color temperature meter too, if it matters.

At least one hand held light meter is in my carry bag at all times; sometimes two.

As to using it: about 40% of the time regardless of exposure mode.
06-28-2007, 07:26 AM   #3
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Chester, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,420
QuoteOriginally posted by jfdavis58 Quote
As to using it: about 40% of the time regardless of exposure mode.
How do you physically use them? Do you have your camera on a tripod? Do you only use them for certain situations? Do you keep the light meter attached to your wrist?

I'd certainly like to use a better meter with my M42 lenses, but I just can't wrap my head around how I would regularly use one with only two hands.
06-28-2007, 08:42 AM   #4
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jfdavis58's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: 13 S 0357397-3884316
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 886
QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
How do you physically use them? Do you have your camera on a tripod? Do you only use them for certain situations? Do you keep the light meter attached to your wrist?

I'd certainly like to use a better meter with my M42 lenses, but I just can't wrap my head around how I would regularly use one with only two hands.

All meters came/come with long looping lanyards; they hang around my neck. And I usually use a neck-strap on my camera as well. I have one of those back-o-the-hand grip straps and this requires an ambidextrous ability with the light meter held or operated in the left hand. The Digisix has a hotshoe adapter so it can be mounted on camera.

I have the most trouble with backlight situations. Where possible I dial-up the dome on the meter, walk over to the subject, point the dome back to where I will shoot from and take a reading. This would be incident metering. Usually I have a few steps to get back into position and this is time to think, dial-in corrections or settings, etc. The lanyard catches the meter.

It's easier on the neck if the camera is on a tripod or both are on tripods. Especially when spot metering. The older Sekonic is a 1 to 4 degree spot, the newer unit is a tight 1 degree spot. Let the camera dangle, set it down, keep it mounted, whatever--even hand it to a friend---not a stranger! From the shooting spot, put the meters viewing scope to the eye, aim and take a reading or two or three or... Basic spot reflective metering--very much like the spot metering in camera. But with all the meter extras like averaging, ratios, multi speed, flash etc.

The hand held meter is especially useful for two special circumstances: mixed/multiple lighting and specular reflections.

Back when I shot gym sports I actually mapped the court lighting. Hotspots and dim areas got charted on a diagram. If you see a player repeatedly running through a hotspot, you could 'set-up' for the next pass and get a good shot-often without a flash! I could use the dim areas by repositioning my shooting location to put them into the background ( a real kick to solving DoF problems) or just avoid them entirely.

The specular highlight thing is very similar. Signage-traffic signs, emergency exit signs, glass or metal or reflective surfaces get a once over just to 'be sure'. It's often not possible to simply recompose to exclude such objects, but you can usually find a better angle that minimizes the glare effects. Or enhaces it for artistic effect.

Both of the Sekonics do averaging and ratios. If you followed along with the Strobist website then you know about the mainlight, supplimental/second light concept for contrast control. The light domes on the meter rotate 270 degrees and it will take a reflected reading thru the dome with the dome up or down. A couple of quick point/meter readings at each light, then one back toward the camera and you get the ratio and the average setting to dial into the camera. If the ratio isn't to your liking, you move the subjects until it is.

The range of wrist motion and the dome swivel is much easier to manage than pointing a bulky camera at each light and then subject and then calculating all the variables in ones head.

The Hand Exposure Meter Book by Silverman, Zuckerman and Shell is probably the bible on the subject of hand held meters. There are also some excellent metering examples given in Beyond the Zone System by Davis (not related). Hicks and Schultz (who also have a web presence) used the hand held meter extensively in Perfect Exposure from Theory to Practice and did the added favor of listing those reading with nearly every photo in the book. Peterson (of Understanding Exposure and Learning to See Creatively) flip-flops between his in-camera meter and a hand held. The Amherst media paperbacks, especially Wacker's Master Posing Guide and Hurter's Portrait Photographers Handbook use hand held meters and show a few lighting setups that are real world-i.e exisiting home type lights.

06-28-2007, 08:51 AM   #5
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Chester, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,420
Thanks a lot, John. This is what I was looking for.

--Sean
06-28-2007, 09:14 AM   #6
Inactive Account




Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: James City County, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 322
Original Poster
Thank you John and Sean. I for the life of me am unable to remember the meter I owned in the 1960's but I figure it was a spot meter. Anyway, I think I will do some studying on the subject and purchase a new meter to help me when in manual. The last camera I owned before my K10D was a Nikon FM. While it had a built in meter I always tried to get a meter reading with my hand held to get the results I wanted. And Sean, I carried the meter around my neck and usually slung my camera out of the way or left it wherever I was going to shoot from.
06-28-2007, 11:51 AM   #7
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Virginia Beach VA USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,364
Hi John,
Welcome back. I've been considering the Sekonic L358. Mostly for studio flash, but also for general out door lighting. Do you know anything about this model?
Thanks

06-28-2007, 12:42 PM   #8
Inactive Account




Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: James City County, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 322
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Hi John,
Welcome back. I've been considering the Sekonic L358. Mostly for studio flash, but also for general out door lighting. Do you know anything about this model?
Thanks
I have been looking at that model also along with the Gossen Digipro F. The Gossen is a few more $ but I am leaning to it at present. I will be interested in commentsa on both models.
06-28-2007, 02:41 PM   #9
roy
Inactive Account
roy's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: D/FW area, Tx.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,712
i use to use a meter in the '70s but with the instant preview we have available now i find ''my type '' of shooting doesn't require it because there is no waste of film or processing fees. i'll probably take flak for this post.
06-28-2007, 03:03 PM   #10
Veteran Member
wlachan's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Canada
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,625
I used to have Sekonic L328 which died eventually. Then Minolta IV F, great meter, better made then Sekonic but not pocketable so eventually traded it for the L380II, and now L308S for the iso & 1/3 stops display. But the truth is I have almost never used any light meter since I switched to digital. I just took a quick shot then do a M setting and all set and ready.
06-28-2007, 03:06 PM   #11
roy
Inactive Account
roy's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: D/FW area, Tx.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,712
QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
I used to have Sekonic L328 which died eventually. Then Minolta IV F, great meter, better made then Sekonic but not pocketable so eventually traded it for the L380II, and now L308S for the iso & 1/3 stops display. But the truth is I have almost never used any light meter since I switched to digital. I just took a quick shot then do a M setting and all set and ready.
exactly....
06-28-2007, 03:07 PM   #12
Inactive Account




Join Date: May 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 42
QuoteOriginally posted by roy Quote
i use to use a meter in the '70s but with the instant preview we have available now i find ''my type '' of shooting doesn't require it because there is no waste of film or processing fees. i'll probably take flak for this post.
I don't see any reason you should take flack for doing what works for you. I don't use a hand held meter for the vast majority of digital shots because I can check exposure quickly by looking at a histogram. I would judge my K10D's pattern metering to be very accurate in the vast majority of the cases.

On the other hand, when using film (medium and large format) I use a hand held meter 95-99 percent of the time. I've used a Sekonic L-308 for years as an incident, reflective and flash meter. It's not as sophisticated as some of the meters mentioned above but it is small, light and accurate. I think it is about $189 new from B&H.

Nobody should have to apologize or take flack for doing whatever works for them. After all, we don't all do the same kind of photography.
06-28-2007, 03:56 PM   #13
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Göteborg, Sweden
Posts: 810
QuoteOriginally posted by jfdavis58 Quote
I have three: a Gossen Digisix because it's stealthy.
Welcome back!

I have a Gossen Digiflash on order. I understand it to be the Digisix with the added flash reading capability. TTL flash metering doesn't seem to come back. Other reasons to buy it is the size, the watch and the thermometer...

It's cheap and I hope it works well. I guess you find the Digisix to be OK for casual use?

regards,
06-28-2007, 07:05 PM   #14
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jfdavis58's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: 13 S 0357397-3884316
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 886
QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Hi John,
Welcome back. I've been considering the Sekonic L358. Mostly for studio flash, but also for general out door lighting. Do you know anything about this model?
Thanks
Thanks! Fun to be back.

A couple locals tried to convince me that the 358 would do what I need; they were probably correct. I used one in a friends studio to do some product shots. All the Sekonics have about the same basic control layout and function. The 358 is a solid performer, well built and comfortable in the hand or pocket. It did everything I needed.

The manuals were on the Sekonic website (PDFs) I'd down load one and check the spec pages to make sure it covered your needs.
06-28-2007, 07:17 PM   #15
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jfdavis58's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: 13 S 0357397-3884316
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 886
QuoteOriginally posted by Jonas B Quote
Welcome back!

I have a Gossen Digiflash on order. I understand it to be the Digisix with the added flash reading capability. TTL flash metering doesn't seem to come back. Other reasons to buy it is the size, the watch and the thermometer...

It's cheap and I hope it works well. I guess you find the Digisix to be OK for casual use?

regards,
The Digisix, both models, are stealthy little performers. I've been lusting to add the flash unit to my kit for a couple years. It's about the size of a pocketwatch. Do a google search for "Exposure Value". Near the top of those results will be a site that lists an EV chart for a 50MM f1.4 lens. A little practice with the meter and that chart will really fix exposure theory in somebodies mind!

I use my Digisix at party type events. Peoples homes, places like Chuck-E-Cheese, church halls. It's fast: point it, press the button, spin the dial. Poeple hardly notice. Set the camera and shoot. Bringing a camera to the eye, ready to pop is a big advantage at these events: real smiles, spontaneous outbursts all caught for everyones embarrassment years from now!

Like I said it fits a pocket easily, but I've also stuffed it up a shirtsleeve with the strap around my wrist. Falls out with the hand down; stay ready with the camera up. I also use it on a TLR (Yashica); right from the hotshoe. That camera has a working meter, but it's old and can be finicky. The digisix is a great blend of old and new.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
hand, hand held light, light, meter, meters, mode, site, tripod
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
67 -vs- 645N hand held Matus Pentax Medium Format 2 06-03-2010 04:46 PM
Hand held spot meters? NaClH2O Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 4 08-24-2009 08:31 AM
Flash - Hand Held Sailor Post Your Photos! 1 12-22-2008 09:23 PM
Hand Held Meter mysterick Photographic Technique 6 12-09-2008 04:15 AM
Need for hand-held light meters? Ash Pentax DSLR Discussion 14 05-16-2007 05:08 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:33 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top