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03-08-2020, 03:57 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
*By "more or less no meter" I mean: the camera has a working meter, but I only put 1.5v batteries instead of the ones which are older, expensive, and with lower voltage, so my meter would only kick in at many stops off.
Coupl'a tips:

Every meter deserves to be 'calibrated' to your personal uses and to your other meters (TTL or not). Compare northern blue sky or 'grey-wall' readings and adjust any necessary 'off-set' by tweaking the ISO/ASA setting. Keep notes.

When you're shooting outdoors and/or the scene covers a large area with static lighting conditions there's no reason to micro-manage exposure. Establish a base line exposure and simply check it if/when there's a noticeable change in the light. (Yeah, ya gotta pay attention to the light.)

Consider a lightmeter a crutch for learning to expose intuitively.


The histogram display solves the problem of calculating exposure. Turn it on for instant review if you need absolute, shot-to-shot accuracy; or just to verify a 'sunny-sixteen' questimate. Unlike film, you have instant re-do at hand if you miss it the first time. If it was a one-time event ya should'a been prepared before it happened.

Post-processing today can salvage a lot of just-barely-missed-it moments.

Some of the most famous photographs ever taken are all about the timely image captured, not the accuracy of the exposure. Study pre-TTL-metering sports and combat photography.

Learn to use your TTL-metered DSLR as a mobile exposure meter to verify your best guess for keeping a usable exposure setting in the camera as you move about and/or the subject or the light changes.

03-08-2020, 04:04 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
Film speed set right? Or is it set to the film in another camera?
I got to admit, this is a biggie...with me, it is even hard to remember what film is in the camera at times.

QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
Is the aperture the meter giving me really for the shutter speed I set?
It should be. This is where null meters with the big dials come on to their own. One can tell, literally at a glance, the full range of aperture/shutter combinations that will work.

QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
Is that even a shutter speed I should be using here?
...or is that even an aperture one would use for the intended distance and framing? Figuring which is more important is part of the fun.

QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
And I only have to remember to set the film speed once
The cool part is that you only need to set shutter and aperture once as well, until either the subject or the light changes. One need not be "married" to the meter, whether built-in or not.


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03-08-2020, 04:55 PM   #18
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I started using a hand held light meter in '68 when I bought my first 'good' camera, a meter less Pentax S1a. I have a near 70 year old Leica RF ...no meter...a Mamiya medium format, TLR, a Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta B med. format, etc. They don't have internal light meters and I've always used one of my three hand held light meters. All are Sekonic, two don't use batteries, one does and that's the one that I can't get a new battery for.

When I hand hold a meter, I have the neck loop around my neck, usually store it in a shirt or jacket pocket and meter when I'm taking a pix. I used to carry a small gray card, but don't bother anymore. The whole process becomes second nature...meter...adjust camera settings...push shutter release.

I've even used my hand held meter with my K5 and K1...set it on manual, go through the above routine. If anybody sees me doing this , nowadays they probably wonder what the heck I'm doing as very few use a hand held meter anymore. In the past 10 years, other than me, I've seen one person use a hand held meter. She was an elderly lady, using a Rollieflex taking pix of flowers in a public garden.
03-08-2020, 06:17 PM   #19
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As has been mentioned, the normal M6 has a meter, TTL only refers to flash. Also mentioned, the electronics in the TTL can't be repaired. Less important, but of interest to Leicaphiles is that the shutter speed dial is bigger and goes the opposite way.

I bought a beaten up M4 a while ago, sunny 16 is only really a problem in low or subdued light. Likewise in heavy back lit situations that would confuse most meters anyway.

03-08-2020, 07:52 PM   #20
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I shoot a lot of different film cameras. None of them have a light meter and I take lots of pictures too. So the film experience doesn't mean using a built in light meter. In fact, a human selected middle grey can add a more personal touch to pictures than a machine deciding where you really want that middle grey placed.
03-09-2020, 01:12 AM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
I grew up during the transition of analogue to digital, and fortunately (or unfortunately) never learned/needed to use a light meter. Now I shoot almost 50/50 digital to analogue with an MX or ME Super, both with built-in light meters. However, I’m looking at getting a Leica M6, and I’m really failing to justify the price hike of the TTL model over the regular. I know there’s a litany of light meter apps, but it just seems like it defeats the purpose of photography, As well as being a bit cumbersome pulling out your phone, checking the light, putting your phone away, compose your shot, rinse and repeat. Advice? Thoughts?

Imaginary. No, there is nothing defeating or cumbersome about pulling out a light meter and taking full and confident control of the scene and prevailing lighting situation, which is what MF and LF photographers have been doing for many, many years. It is, however, self-defeating to expect perfectly beautiful results on the first outing. Light meters require a fairly comprehensive baseline grounding to understanding how they read and what it means -- spot meters are at another level altogether. I am not, and never have been, a fan of "light meter apps" for phones, because you simply do not know what the baseline average of the "gray" is: it's a computational figure rather than established metric specific to a receptive cell. In most Sekonic pro-level meters, the baseline grey varies across two options commonly available (incident and reflected spot): 12.6% for incident and 16.2% for reflected spot. No big deal in practice, but it will put avowed gospel followers of the hallowed "18% grey" in a decent spin...

Onboard meters in cameras (particularly vanilla variety CW TTL metering) are responsible for stuffing up the exposure of Velvia 50 (slide film) in 99.5% of the examinations I have seen of exposure errors. Now, when I see accomplished users of incident/spot/multispot/duplex (handheld) meters in use with medium format and large format, the exposures literally are to die for. Why is that? Because a handheld meter in skilled, experienced hands can most certainly steal the thunder of the "best" onboard camera meters, be they evaluative/multipattern/3D...whatever, or the everyman sausage roll variety of TTL CWA. Critically, the larger the format, the easier it is to meter separately.
03-09-2020, 06:14 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
After year of shooting in Photo Arts, I was so used to light sources I could guesstimate an exposure, and was right such a high percentage of the time I stopped even checking.

That being said, if I could go back, I'd buy the Spotmatic instead of the SV. The biggest take away being, TTL is more accurate than even a spot meter. It knows exactly what you're dealing with.
I live in Michigan, and our weather is shot out like powerball numbers: “cloudy, sunny, rainy, cloudy, snowy” and that’s just one day. There have been a few instances where I have been able to guess the settings right, but it’s rare.

The separate light meter vs TTL accuracy makes sense. But, what about a hot/cold show mounted meter? Does parallax light metering exist?
03-09-2020, 08:42 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
I live in Michigan, and our weather is shot out like powerball numbers: “cloudy, sunny, rainy, cloudy, snowy” and that’s just one day. There have been a few instances where I have been able to guess the settings right, but it’s rare.

The separate light meter vs TTL accuracy makes sense. But, what about a hot/cold show mounted meter? Does parallax light metering exist?
The typical parallax between the hot shoe and the lens axis is only 2-3 inches. Unless you have a situation where the lighting (not the subject matter) is totally different over those 2-3 inches*, there's no need for parallax correction.

The idea that you might need parallax correction -- that a subtle change in framing requires a noticeable change in exposure highlights the failings of TTL metering. TTL metering of subjects really is a substandard way of setting exposure -- it's actually not that accurate at all. TTL metering will horribly over-expose a black cat on a black couch and under-expose a white hat on a snow field. Likewise the typical TTL meter will change the exposure depending on the percentage of sky in the image -- which is simply wrong!

A standalone incident light meter is much more accurate (with the only minor tweak being the transmittance of the lens). Incident light metering won't be fooled by dark subjects, bright subjects, or the amount of sky in the image.


*Forest-floor macro is probably the only place this could happen -- the camera lens might be looking at a tiny dapple of sun while the hotshoe meter looks the shadow (or vice versa).

03-09-2020, 09:20 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
ow, when I see accomplished users of incident/spot/multispot/duplex (handheld) meters in use with medium format and large format, the exposures literally are to die for.
It's not the meter being used. It's the fact that they've learned to interpret what the meter is telling them. With the EV controls on a TTL meter, you can do the same. Learn to interpret based on circumstances. -2 for a sunset, +2 for backlit in snow. Etc. etc. The idea that you can't expose appropriately with a TTL meter is nonsense.


I wore out my Lunasix 3, although it lasted me 30 years, buy the time it was done, so was my need for a hand held meter.

Being able to chimp and check exposures with histograms was the last straw.

These days, the only excuse for using a hand held meter is your camera doesn't have one built in.

Last edited by normhead; 03-09-2020 at 09:28 AM.
03-09-2020, 10:30 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
It's not the meter being used. It's the fact that they've learned to interpret what the meter is telling them. With the EV controls on a TTL meter, you can do the same. Learn to interpret based on circumstances. -2 for a sunset, +2 for backlit in snow. Etc. etc. The idea that you can't expose appropriately with a TTL meter is nonsense.


I wore out my Lunasix 3, although it lasted me 30 years, buy the time it was done, so was my need for a hand held meter.

Being able to chimp and check exposures with histograms was the last straw.

These days, the only excuse for using a hand held meter is your camera doesn't have one built in.
No one said you can't use TTL, but it's a kludge. All that faffing about with +/- EV compensation for white snow, black dance theatre backgrounds, dark shrubs, and bright clouds is the photographer trying to correct for the errors made by the TTL system. EV compensation is the photographer's attempt to estimate the incident light from a reflected light meter reading off something of roughly-known reflectance.

People with a lot of photographic experience know that the TTL meter is sometimes wrong, know when its likely to be wrong, know the reflectances of different materials, and know how to correct the TTL measurement of reflected light to get a proper exposure based on the incident light.

It's the beginner who thinks that their camera's TTL meter is the voice of the gods who becomes mislead and wonders why they got gray snow, gloomy beaches, and blown-out clouds and ballerinas. Some of them switch to spot metering and get even crazier results because no one ever told them what TTL metering was doing and why it can make mistakes.

That said, modern TTL meters have gotten a lot better through the use of matrix sensors and clever algorithms that often automagically correct for scenes that are not the proverbial middle gray. At one level, that's great for a lot of shooting. At another level, it reinforces that idea that the TTL meter is always right. It's now right a lot more often but it's still wrong sometimes and the automagical EV compensation inside the matrix reading algorithm makes it a bit harder to know how much manual EV compensation to add.

Chimping, live view, and histograms are certainly one modern solution although that won't help the OP who's talking about film cameras such as the Leica M6.
03-09-2020, 10:55 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
I grew up during the transition of analogue to digital, and fortunately (or unfortunately) never learned/needed to use a light meter. Now I shoot almost 50/50 digital to analogue with an MX or ME Super, both with built-in light meters. However, I’m looking at getting a Leica M6, and I’m really failing to justify the price hike of the TTL model over the regular. I know there’s a litany of light meter apps, but it just seems like it defeats the purpose of photography, As well as being a bit cumbersome pulling out your phone, checking the light, putting your phone away, compose your shot, rinse and repeat. Advice? Thoughts?
I only check the light meter maybe once or twice during a shoot, and I find it works better metering off the subject, rather than as an 'averaging' meter. I have a very old, cheap sekonic L-188 light meter that is adequate in broad daylight, not so much for anything else. I have checked a smartphone app against it (in a $50 phone, if that tells you anything), they both give the same readings most of the time, and are equally useless in low light situations.


Fast color film has the most exposure latitude, and is very forgiving of 'off' exposures by at least a couple of stops, so you'll have fewer unusable shots. It's helpful to decide up front in high-contrast situations whether you'd rather preserve shadow or highlight detail.
03-09-2020, 12:33 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
But, what about a hot/cold show mounted meter? Does parallax light metering exist?
Attaching to the accessory shoe is mostly for the convenience of having the camera and meter together when shooting. Yes, some shoe-mounted meters can take a reading with the camera to the eye, but mostly measurements are done near the subject with the camera and meter at waist level. Angle of measurement is usually 30° (conical).


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03-09-2020, 01:31 PM   #28
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The Leica hot-shoe meters (MR & MR4) were made for the FOV of a 90mm lens. So used with a 50 this was basically center-weighted. It also meant you could push the VF frame-preview to the 90mm setting and see the area covered by the meter. I believe the Voigtlander VC II meter has the same idea.
The Leicaflex SL used "selective area metering" - a sharply defined central circle matching the center microprism circle in the VF. Very useful in selecting a portion of the scene to meter as 18% grey.
The Leica M5 had a meter cell covering about 5% swing in front of the shutter for spot metering, also matching a defined circle in the VF. It is my favorite metering pattern. Interestingly, the 1960 Pentax Spot-Matic prototype also swung a small meter cell out to the center of the focusing screen to meter a visible spot. But of course it had to swing out of the way for a clear view of the scene.
Leica M6 and later have a painted spot on the shutter curtain for metering, but is isn't as sharply defined as the M5, and functions more like center-weighted.
Canon SLRs (FT and later) used a rectangular patch in the VF to show the metering area. Not as selective as a spot, but it also worked well for me.
But as other mentioned, you can get good results with any metering method if you understand what it is measuring and what's important in the scene.
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