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03-09-2019, 01:32 AM   #1
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Ambiant light meter on Pentax cameras

Having a standalone light meter (Sekonic) that i use for metering with manual flash and also sometimes outdoors. Wouldn't it be a great idea that some next Pentax camera models would also feature an ambiant light meter, in addition to TTL metering in order to improve exposure settings?

03-09-2019, 01:49 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Having a standalone light meter (Sekonic) that i use for metering with manual flash and also sometimes outdoors. Wouldn't it be a great idea that some next Pentax camera models would also feature an ambiant light meter, in addition to TTL metering in order to improve exposure settings?

I agree completely. I almost always incident meter with my Sekonic L-308S and only use the camera's through-the-lens meter on rare occasions for spot metering. So I've often thought that a built-in incident meter would be a great idea. They could build it into the pentaprism cover that currently houses the flash -- or even offer it as an add-on item that clips into the hot shoe.

I'm being serious here. I genuinely think it's a great idea.
03-09-2019, 02:43 AM   #3
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With digital sensors and instant histograms, the need for a light meter is even less prominent than 10 years ago.
In order to balance light, you still need a handheld device.
03-09-2019, 03:25 AM   #4
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Having an ambient meter on the camera could be awkward if you have the camera on a tripod and framed for your scene. Physically moving the camera to your subject to take a reading if the light changes would be a right pain. Same goes for a studio set-up if you want to change the flash output.

03-09-2019, 03:53 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Having an ambient meter on the camera could be awkward if you have the camera on a tripod and framed for your scene. Physically moving the camera to your subject to take a reading if the light changes would be a right pain. Same goes for a studio set-up if you want to change the flash output.

That's true. I'd always want to have my handheld meter in the bag as well, but for much of the time I really do think that a built-in incident meter would work for me personally. Probably not enough of a market for it to ever happen though.
03-09-2019, 04:25 AM   #6
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There's something about the idea of setting up to take a shot of a product, still-life, macro, portrait etc taking an incident reading, dialling it into the camera and getting the exposure right. But how useful is it now days ? I ask as I'm, genuinely, interested.

When I take product shot - and it would the same for any incident suitable subject - I'm taking shots using combinations of RAW, bracketing, checking histogram or tethered - then the control and decision is all at the camera or in post. I don't need to nail the shot's exposure first time. So I do wonder why an incident meter would be helpful. I like the idea as it somehow feels the proper way to do it, but that is all.

For reflective subjects, ie landscapes a hand hold meter is a little pointless. So the possible use is for incident suitable subjects. But why would might I gain from having one ?
03-09-2019, 07:14 AM   #7
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I use my iPhone for general, manual light measuring tasks. Works great and my Gossen collection collects dust.
03-09-2019, 07:37 AM   #8
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What about this filter (ExpoDisc 2.0 Professional White Balance Filter - ExpoImaging, Inc.) that converts your camera into an ambient/incident light meter?

03-09-2019, 08:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
What about this filter (ExpoDisc 2.0 Professional White Balance Filter - ExpoImaging, Inc.) that converts your camera into an ambient/incident light meter?
Take camera off tripod; attach disc; move to subject position and take reading; remove disc; put camera back on tripod.

I would rather use a light meter
03-09-2019, 09:07 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Take camera off tripod; attach disc; move to subject position and take reading; remove disc; put camera back on tripod.

I would rather use a light meter
LOL!

In fairness, one would probably measure in the incident light BEFORE putting the camera on the tripod.

And a standalone light meter isn't hassle free either because there's no automatic way to transfer the meter's reading to the camera. Moreover, this filter also measures incident white balance which is something that standalone light meters don't do.

The ultimate incident light meter would be tiny, clip to the camera strap with a carabiner or slip into the hot shoe, and then use NFC, bluetooth, or the hotshoe to send the reading to the camera.

But the deeper issue is that with digital, it's so easy to take test exposures, chimp for exposure, study the histogram, etc. that it really reduces the need for incident readings.
03-09-2019, 10:07 AM - 1 Like   #11
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....or another alternative is to use an 18% grey card and set the camera to spot meter. $3 is hard to beat: Delta 1 Gray Card - 4 x 5" 98705C B&H Photo Video

Using a smartphone as an ambient light meter is still acting like a reflective meter, whereas an actual incident meter can measure light levels at the subject vs. off the subject.
03-09-2019, 10:12 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Having a standalone light meter (Sekonic) that i use for metering with manual flash and also sometimes outdoors. Wouldn't it be a great idea that some next Pentax camera models would also feature an ambiant light meter, in addition to TTL metering in order to improve exposure settings?
Toss an expo disc on the lens. Remember that ambient meters only work when the light falling on the meter is identical to the light falling on the subject.
Remember too that TTL meters were originally a solution to metering innacuracy from ambient light meters.
03-09-2019, 10:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
....or another alternative is to use an 18% grey card and set the camera to spot meter. $3 is hard to beat: Delta 1 Gray Card - 4 x 5" 98705C B&H Photo Video

Using a smartphone as an ambient light meter is still acting like a reflective meter, whereas an actual incident meter can measure light levels at the subject vs. off the subject.
Or 12%, which is what the ANSI standard requires for modern calibrated meters. Grey cards can be useful as are colour checkers. I'd say colour checkers are essential in critical lighting set-ups, and just plain useful on many other occasions.
03-09-2019, 10:38 AM   #14
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It's also worth noting that ambient meters only work if the subject material has matte surfaces. Shiny/glossy subjects can have very bright highlights that burn-out in digital images.
03-09-2019, 12:59 PM   #15
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Considering my cellphone has one beside the screen so it knows how bright to make the screen that is accurate and presumably close to free it is ridiculous there is not one on my K1.
Combined with digital preview I could home in on the appropriate setting even quicker that what I currently do - that is - take a guess and see!!
The incident meter could work in conjunction with a EV calculator app on the LCD and interact with shutter etc edials.
Given how shonky the in viewfinder metering can be when you take your eye away from the viewfinder to find the green button it would be a great step forward.
It could be an alternative programmable function of the green button.
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