Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
04-25-2013, 01:41 PM   #1
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lometa, TX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 399
spot meter

I'm a beginner and wondering what is a spot meter used for ?

04-25-2013, 02:26 PM   #2

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,139
Do you mean a handhold spot meter or one of the metering modes in a camera?

A handhold one-degree spot meter ( like the Pentax Spotmeter V and Pentax Digital Spotmeter) measures the reflected light falling in its one-degree circle thereby giving you the the middle gray exposure value of selected areas of a scene. That is, instead of averaging all the reflected or incident light visible to a meter, it measures a small, selective area that you are pointing it at. Similarly with one built into a camera.

I doubt anyone would really use one for their digital camera but they are more popular with large format film and people practicing the "zone system" of metering. But you can use it for any film format. With experience, they beat an average meter hands down because it has a human brain connected to it and isn't fooled by scenes that otherwise give average meters a difficult time. And they can tell you a lot more information than an average meter.
04-25-2013, 02:41 PM   #3

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Frankfurt am Main
Posts: 1,095
It is very difficult to explain if you are really a beginner, as even experienced photographers (and some professionals) had problems to make the most of it.

It does what the name implies: measuring the light for a certain spot instead of a bigger area. Depending of your camera/lens combination and the mode you are using, modern DSLRs offer spot metering without a special spot meter.

Generally, one can say it is a tool which can help an experienced photographer to get the best out of a picture in respect to exposure and dynamic range. In the digital age, it has lost some of its importance - you can shoot in raw, and you can try HDR. With these possibilities you can cover a lot of what needed to be done in a much more complicated way in the past.

With film (specially B/W) you had a lot of means to influence the outcome: exposure time and aperture, development time, temperature, chemicals, different paper, exposure times and partly shaddowing when magnifying/printing.
With a spot meter, you could measure the light of the different parts of a scenery, and allow for a strategy how to get all the shaddows an lights correctly in the end result. In photographic literature, you can find lots of tables and algorithms.

Keep in mind that, in pre-digital age, you would see the result only much later; often without the possibility to repeat your shot.
But even in the old times, it was mainly used for studio work.

If you want to know more, google for ZONE SYSTEM.
04-25-2013, 03:17 PM   #4
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lometa, TX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 399
Original Poster
I got it, Thank You very much for your time. I also went and did some other research and found the 18% gray scale reflection ect. I do appreciate your time and effort. I actually should have researched better before I questioned the forum.

04-27-2013, 12:54 AM   #5
Moderator PEG Judges
Loyal Site Supporter
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 33,097
QuoteOriginally posted by marquis1955 Quote
spot meter used for ?
The short simple answer, is to measure an exposure level on a very precise area of an potential image.

Often where a critical subject element is, that needs to be rendered and exposed perfectly.

  • 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!
camera, meter, pentax help, photography, spot
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pentax Spot Meter III lats Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 4 11-15-2009 09:38 AM
Zone system Spot Meter pacerr Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 3 10-08-2009 01:04 PM
For Sale - Sold: Soligor Spot Sensor II Zone VI Meter KmountShooter Sold Items 2 06-23-2009 08:08 PM
Spot Meter CarlCanary Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 5 02-16-2008 08:06 PM
Spot meter re-alignment HOW-TO wlachan Pentax DSLR Discussion 4 12-05-2007 07:57 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:13 PM. | See also:, 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?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]