Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
02-03-2014, 01:02 PM   #1
Junior Member




Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 51
Light meter

Just wondering if I would get use from a hand held light meter or if the one in my Kx is sufficient? I got one as a gift and I don't know if I should try it out, or possibly hurt the giver's feelings by returning it.

02-03-2014, 01:26 PM   #2
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 32,662
If it can measure incident light i.e. light falling on the camera, give it a try as most cameras are working on reflected light off the subject.
02-03-2014, 01:26 PM   #3
Inactive Account




Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,720
Which one did you get?

If it is capable of flash it can be great for setting up off camera flash.

For standard light the light meter in the camera is sufficient. However, a handheld meter can be a great learning tool and let you dissect the lighting of a scene before you pick up the camera.
02-03-2014, 02:27 PM   #4
Senior Member




Join Date: Aug 2013
Photos: Albums
Posts: 112
I have a decades old Gossen Luna Pro SBC and an even older Luna pro. Both are accurate and in the case of the SBC, read the exposure better than my Pentax K100DS or Nikon. They have been great learning tools and also allow me to use cameras that have no meter with great success. By all means, give your meter a thorough workout and I think you will be pleased!

02-03-2014, 03:10 PM   #5
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,415
As noted above, a hand-held meter may be more appropriate for many subjects than the one built into your camera. To summarize the points made above and maybe add a few:
  • If it supports incident measurement (measures the light striking the subject), that allows for a much better estimate of exposure for many difficult subjects such as birds in flight, snow/beach scenes and many other cases where even the best in-camera meter will yield poor exposure
  • If it supports flash metering, you will be far ahead for setups using multiple off-camera flashes
  • Many hand-held meters feature very high sensitivity (-10 EV or lower) and are superior for low-light metering
  • If you are able to meter close to the subject, a hand-held meter can be used to measure the reflected light off the various parts of the subject and allow you to place exposure to that suit your visualization of the final image
In short, it can be a valuable tool.


Steve
02-03-2014, 06:29 PM   #6
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Oklahoma USA
Posts: 1,502
QuoteOriginally posted by TraciA Quote
Just wondering if I would get use from a hand held light meter or if the one in my Kx is sufficient? I got one as a gift and I don't know if I should try it out, or possibly hurt the giver's feelings by returning it.
You should state what model the meter is. I've had a couple of exposure meters, include a Sekonic L398 reflected/incident, but have never had a flash meter. Honestly I never benefited from the incident capability, and for reflective readings cameras are almost always better, except possibly for spot meters that let you preview the area being measured.

A flash meter and/or incident meter could be useful for studio lighting, if you're interested in that.

In terms of typical uses, my experience has been that it's faster and easier to trust the camera meter, check the histogram, and adjust accordingly, than to carry and use an external meter.
02-04-2014, 12:27 AM   #7
Veteran Member
adwb's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bristol UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,632
Regardless of brand I would suggest you have a look at the Seconic website Sekonic > Classroom > Webinars where three are loads of videos on using metered outdoor for ambient and flash as well as studio lighting and showing the advantages to using a meter vs the built in camera one
02-04-2014, 04:19 AM   #8
Junior Member
Robot camera's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Posts: 27
I agree completely with those who have said that a meter with an incident light mode is most useful. Just walking around with it and observing the reading will teach you much. For example, take a reading from by your window, then move back into the room, taking readings as you go and keeping the meter pointed at the window.(AKA your light source) If the meter only takes reflected light readings, then measure off your hand.

At every place you take a reading from the window, turn the meter in the opposite direction and take another reading. Observe how many stops difference there is at each position between the two readings. Take notes as you go.

You will find that there is a discrepancy between the readings the camera gives you and the readings that the meter gives you. This is quite normal. You may find that a simple adjustment of the meter's ISO setting , or ASA if it is an old meter, will calibrate one to the other. Remember that the meter always takes in the same angle of view, unlike the meter in your camera.

When I used Minolta manual focus cameras I found that setting the camera's ASA dial to a third of a stop higher than the film speed gave me better exposures on slide film. At the speed on the film box I found that lots of exposures were 'thin', just a little overexposed. I think the cameras were calibrated more for colour negative film. It's often said that black and white negative film is best exposed with the camera's meter set to a stop more than the rated speed, to compensate for the way cameras with TTL metering are calibrated. It seems to work. By the way, my K20D is set to give plus half a stop exposure compensation at all times with AF lenses, but with the two Adaptall 2 lenses I have no compensation is necessary. Works for me.

02-04-2014, 05:05 AM   #9
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2013
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 181
QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
If it can measure incident light i.e. light falling on the camera, give it a try as most cameras are working on reflected light off the subject.
Incident light is light falling on the subject with the meter pointing towards the camera I think. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.
02-04-2014, 10:32 AM   #10
Veteran Member
FrankC's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 318
I checked out the specs on the K-X and it does have spot metering. Because the K-X has spot metering, you may find that a hand-held meter that only measures incident and reflective light to be somewhat useless. However, this greatly depends on your ability to properly meter with the in-camera spot meter. This means understanding the concepts of reflective values and how the meter translates what it sees into an exposure. For me, I started off in film where I used the Zone System to place values within certain zones which varied somewhat depending on the latitude of the film I was using. If you understand the limits of your specific camera (the limits differ from each model), that is to say you understand how many stops of below/above middle gray your sensor can record detail, then you certainly can live without ever having to use a hand-held light meter. I own a Minolta Flash Meter IV and haven't used it in years. Mainly because I'm no longer doing studio work where I absolutely needed a flash meter. I'm no longer shooting large format where a hand-held meter was a necessity since there's no in-camera meter. And, I'm using a camera with a spot meter.
With that said, a hand-held meter can be a valuable tool if used correctly - similarly it can also produce faulty readings if used incorrectly. With just the press of a button you get an exposure - it's very quick and the results are usually spot on. Many pros who use top-of-the-line DLSRs with built-in spot meters still use hand-held light meters to get an incident reading. For them, a light meter is invaluable in fast-paced shooting situations such as shooting baseball games where you don't have the time to contemplate zones and reflective values let alone the possibility of making an error in the process.

So do you keep it or return it? It's pretty much up to you and how you like to shoot and the capabilities of the meter. I would suggest that if you're still learning the basics of photography, then return it and learn the equipment that you already have. Your K-X's spot meter is plenty good to get perfect exposures if you know what you're doing. The less you depend on gadgets to do things for you, the better of a photographer you'll be in the long run.
02-04-2014, 01:27 PM   #11
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 32,662
QuoteOriginally posted by geoffw Quote
Incident light is light falling on the subject with the meter pointing towards the camera I think
No your quite correct, I'm thinking about bride & groom senerio, you know white dress and black suit where incident gives you a better exposure reading and I'm typing something totally different.

My excuse is I'm old.
02-04-2014, 06:46 PM   #12
Junior Member




Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 51
Original Poster
Thanks for all your input! I haven't made it through all the replies yet!
The light meter is a Sekonic Flashmate L0308S.
02-04-2014, 07:15 PM   #13
New Member




Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 16
If nothing else, using a meter has helped me slow down and take more time with my pictures. I say learn to use it and analyze the info it gives you.
02-05-2014, 04:05 AM   #14
Junior Member
Robot camera's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Posts: 27
QuoteOriginally posted by Robot camera Quote
You will find that there is a discrepancy between the readings the camera gives you and the readings that the meter gives you. This is quite normal. You may find that a simple adjustment of the meter's ISO setting , or ASA if it is an old meter, will calibrate one to the other. Remember that the meter always takes in the same angle of view, unlike the meter in your camera.
When I said this I should have made it clear that the separate meter and the camera meter may disagree because the metering methods are not quite the same, not because one is not accurate. The camera takes more account of the middle of the view,(centre weighted) or in matrix mode takes a more considered view. The meter takes a general reading of what it can see, whether of reflected or of incident light. which can be very helpful. The difference can be, er, enlightening.

Now I know what it is, I would say keep the meter. I think that you will find that it doesn't get used often, but when it is used, it is invaluable.
02-05-2014, 08:46 AM   #15
Veteran Member
FrankC's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 318
After reviewing the specifications for your L308S, if it was me, I'd exchange it for a better model. This is only based on the way I shoot, what I shoot and what I personally would want out of a hand-held meter.


The main reasons are:
1. No spot meter
2. Exposure reading only go to as long as 60 seconds. Many other meters can give exposures up to 30 minutes! Want to do night photography? Want to use ND filters? Using ND filters can easily get you shutter speeds well beyond 60 seconds.
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!
light, light meter, meter
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Does Anyone Know Anything About This Light Meter? photographyguy74 Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 8 12-12-2013 01:38 PM
Light Meter? idave2000 Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12 12-05-2012 10:15 AM
How to meter if you don't have a light meter? LFLee Pentax Medium Format 25 02-09-2012 11:45 AM
Light meter recommendations? heatherslightbox Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11 05-26-2009 09:00 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:36 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