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05-14-2012, 07:25 AM   #1
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Handheld Light Meter

I just picked up a Pentax H1 from a church sale for $5.00 and was so excited to start using it. The only thing I do not know how to do is use a light meter. All other SLR manual cameras I have used have an internal meter. I downloaded a light meter onto my iphone, but I am not sure how to use it. It looks like you point the phone at what you want to take a picture of and it has boxes for Time, Aperture, and ISO. I do not know how this relates to how I should set my camera for the picture. Geesh, I am all over the place here. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!

05-14-2012, 09:48 AM   #2
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One word that may help Incident meter. The phone app is going to give a reading of the average amount of light as it come from the subject. However, if a portion of the subject is bright than the rest. The reading may be a little off. I've noticed an app that does a good job of giving a spot meter reading. This helps to single out areas for more accurate readings. Also, look into Sunny 16... a handy short cut to getting exposures without a meter.

I'm sure others will chime in with tons more details, but I hope this gets you started.

H1 nice camera... Honeywell version and the Asahi Pentax is the S1.
05-14-2012, 09:55 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lisa Marie Quote
I just picked up a Pentax H1 from a church sale for $5.00 and was so excited to start using it. The only thing I do not know how to do is use a light meter. All other SLR manual cameras I have used have an internal meter. I downloaded a light meter onto my iphone, but I am not sure how to use it. It looks like you point the phone at what you want to take a picture of and it has boxes for Time, Aperture, and ISO. I do not know how this relates to how I should set my camera for the picture. Geesh, I am all over the place here. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!
I don't know what light meter app you downloaded to your phone. For that matter, I don't have a smart phone.

However, I am familiar with film and the H1. Unlike a digital camera, the ISO film speed is fixed for the entire roll of film. Let's assume that you're using ISO 200 film. Somewhere in your light meter app, there must be a way to enter that value.

Once you've done that, then, yes, you point the phone's lens in the general direction that you wish to photograph. Again, I don't know the app you're using, but a light meter generally works by giving you a range of shutter speed/aperture combinations.

Exposure is controlled by four things: ambient light level, film/sensor sensitivity (ISO), shutter speed and aperture. For any given combination of ambient light and ISO, there are, theoretically, an infinite number of shutter/aperture combinations that will yield a "proper" exposure. In practice, there are five or six useable combinations, which make the problem manageable.

Shutter speed on you H1 are arranged so the each speed is twice that of the one below and half that of the one above. The speeds are 1 second, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500. There's another, unmarked, click stop on the dial. That is 1/1000. On the H1's more expensive cousin, the H3, that stop is marked and was guaranteed by Honeywell to be accurate. On the H1, it was not marked and not guaranteed to be accurate, but it is there.

Likewise, the aperture values on most lenses are marked such that each value lets twice the light as the "stop" below and half the light as the one above. For example, f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f16, f/22, f/32. The higher numbers are smaller openings and allow less light through. F/8 allows half the light as f/5.6, but twice that of f/11.

Knowing this, the range of exposures shown on the light meter begins to make sense. If, for the given light conditions and film you're using, 1/125 at f/8 is shown to be a "proper" exposure, then 1/250 at f/5.6, 1/60 at f/11, 1/500 at f/4 will all give virtually identical exposures.

Which of the "proper" exposures you choose is up to you and depends on other factors. For example, if you're shooting sports or a running animal, you probably want to choose the faster shutter speed to freeze the motion. Conversely, if you're shooting a landscape, you may want the smaller aperture, to maximise depth of field.

There's also a rule of thumb called the "Sunny 16 Rule", which says that a proper exposure will be the reciprocal of the ISO speed at f/16 on a bright, sunny day at noon. In other words, if you're using ISO 200 film, set the shutter speed as close to 1/200 as you can (1/250 on the H1) and the aperture at f/16. The latitude of the film, especially print film, will allow for small discrepencies.

There's a very good book out there called "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson that does a very good job of explaining and illustrating this. Larger public libraries often have a copy, or you can buy it for about $20 on Amazon.

Good luck and have fun.
05-14-2012, 06:15 PM   #4
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There are a number of iPhone and I suppose Android light meter apps. Yes, they allow ISO to entered into the app. I use one called Pocket Light Meter. Not only does it read incident light, any portion of the scene can be tapped on the iPHone screen and the app will give the appropriate shutter and aperture settings. Either of those settings are also easily changed.

05-14-2012, 06:43 PM   #5
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Are certain Pocket Light Meter has a reflected light metering feature? That would most likely require the use of an external light-gathering device. I would be glad to hear about it if this feature is present.

In my opinion, the most simple way to get an accurate exposure using a reflected meter is to place a grey card in the light you wish to read, and point the grey card at it. I did this for 8 years with my K1000, and I still do it when I shoot film or when I want to use automatic metering, which is rare. I carry the grey card in my back pocket and use it when necessary.
05-14-2012, 07:56 PM   #6
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Before you get too far along and spend money on film and processing, you might ask someone with some experience with film cameras to check over the camera and see if it appears to be operating correctly. Many of us don't function as well as we did 50 years ago; it's the same with cameras.

Paul
05-15-2012, 10:58 PM   #7
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Those descriptions like light coming from the subject or viewing the scene on the screen, tap anywhere on the scene to meter are how a reflected light metering is obtained, all in camera light meter is reflected light meter. Incident light meter measures the light that's falling on the subject, where you would walk up to the subject, point the light meter to the light source to obtain a reading. An incident light meter would have a white dome that would slide or screw over the photo cell to obtain a diffused and uniform reading.

QuoteQuote:
...It looks like you point the phone at what you want to take a picture of and it has boxes for Time, Aperture, and ISO. I do not know how this relates to how I should set my camera for the picture...
Aperture and ISO, you should know by now, which leave Time=Shutter speed. Just dial in these three values on your H1 and trip the shutter, that's it.
05-16-2012, 07:53 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by fuent104 Quote
Are certain Pocket Light Meter has a reflected light metering feature? That would most likely require the use of an external light-gathering device. I would be glad to hear about it if this feature is present.

In my opinion, the most simple way to get an accurate exposure using a reflected meter is to place a grey card in the light you wish to read, and point the grey card at it. I did this for 8 years with my K1000, and I still do it when I shoot film or when I want to use automatic metering, which is rare. I carry the grey card in my back pocket and use it when necessary.
The meter is switchable between the front and back cameras. Using the front facing camera you get a usable reflected light meter. You can also use a card as you suggest with the back facing camera.

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