Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-15-2007, 01:28 AM   #1
Community Manager
Loyal Site Supporter
Ash's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 22,678
Need for hand-held light meters?

Just had a chat with a local photographic equipment supplier, who swiftly dismissed Pentax as an unpopular camera. Needless to say I disliked him from that point on, but he made a point I'd like to raise in the forum.

He encourages all photographers to use hand-held meters to set camera Av and Tv. Now I know camera meters are not as accurate and find it harder to measure light at a distance, but what do you all think about the practicality of metering when shooting portraits, landscapes, weddings, etc.

Unless you have an assistant, is it feasible to use in these situations?

05-15-2007, 02:39 AM   #2
Veteran Member
stewart_photo's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Posts: 1,864
There was a time when handheld meters were a necessity, but you will generally find that modern in-camera meters are about as accurate as the typical handheld type. Both can be fooled by the same scenes and conditions, for example. Add multi-zone metering, spot metering, and so on, and in-camera meters often win hands down. In-camera meters are also often easier to use and more convenient as well.

This is not saying handheld meters are entirely useless, just not nearly as much of a necessity as they once were, especially for most. I once used a handheld meter for most everything in the studio, but that meter today is delegated to quick & dirty checks of special effects scenes to avoid constant trips behind the camera - with the final exposure usually determined by the camera, not the handheld meter.

Of course, as you can probably guess from the above, I use a combination of hot lights and portable strobes in the studio. A handheld flash meter is a virtual requirement for full-size studio strobes.

stewart

Last edited by stewart_photo; 05-15-2007 at 08:02 AM.
05-15-2007, 03:13 AM   #3
Senior Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Grand Junction Colorado
Posts: 212
QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Just had a chat with a local photographic equipment supplier, who swiftly dismissed Pentax as an unpopular camera. Needless to say I disliked him from that point on, but he made a point I'd like to raise in the forum.

He encourages all photographers to use hand-held meters to set camera Av and Tv. Now I know camera meters are not as accurate and find it harder to measure light at a distance, but what do you all think about the practicality of metering when shooting portraits, landscapes, weddings, etc.

Unless you have an assistant, is it feasible to use in these situations?
That is a typical response from a lot of dealers. Since the K series has hit the market, I find that dealers have gone from no Pentax DSLRs to heaps including lenses and accessories.

Regarding meters, the Pentax DSLRs have good meters when used with A and later lenses. I still pack my old Sekonic 398m with me where ever I go.


Bob Rapp
05-15-2007, 03:52 AM   #4
Veteran Member
-spam-'s Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 357
I carry a hand held light meter with me everywhere. But only for use with my Yashica-Mat TLR

But even then, im learning how to get the correct exposure without it. You just get used to what works for what scenes after a while.
I also trust the meter in the k100d better than the one in my 400d. I know i said a while ago that it giving me some pretty wierd readings, but since then the canon has been all over the place as well.

05-15-2007, 06:30 AM   #5
Senior Member




Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Dahlonega, GA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 141
You would be better off these days buying an ExpoDisc for correct white balance metering. They're fantastic.
Rob W
05-15-2007, 07:28 AM   #6
Inactive Account




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Boise, Idaho
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,414
Lets make sure we are talking about the same thing. In camera meters are reflective meters. Handheld meteres are either reflective or incident, often both. There has never been a reflective meter made, in camera or hand held, that is as consistently accurate as an incident meter. Never. Incident meters don't read the subject, only the light. They are never fooled.

That said, handheld meters are no longer needed, but not because of the great meters in the camera. The thing that has put them out of date is the histogram, which reads the scene after the fact. It is perfect. It tells you where all the values are in the image and lets you know if a change needs to be made. If you have time to take a handheld meter reading, you have time to read the histogram and reshoot.

As far as dealers go.... Sales people are going to push what gets them the better commission. Most camera store sales jobs are commission based. As Pentax sells better the stores will like them more. I wouldn't pay them much mind. One of the guys in the shop down the street is a Nikon shooter and gives me a hard time, asking me when I'm going to start shooting a real camera. He secretly wants a K10D. Some people are easily swayed by popular opinion, even against their own better judgement.
05-15-2007, 08:22 AM   #7
Inactive Account




Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 94
QuoteOriginally posted by davemdsn Quote
As far as dealers go.... Sales people are going to push what gets them the better commission. Most camera store sales jobs are commission based. As Pentax sells better the stores will like them more. I wouldn't pay them much mind. One of the guys in the shop down the street is a Nikon shooter and gives me a hard time, asking me when I'm going to start shooting a real camera. He secretly wants a K10D. Some people are easily swayed by popular opinion, even against their own better judgement.
I totally agree with that statement. After buying my 1st DSLR a couple years ago, I almost ended up switching to Canon because of the readily available lenses. I always wondered why Canon & Nikon had SO MANY lens and Pentax only had a few. I figured it out for myself. Canon & Nikon have to sell to 3 different types consumers:

1. Lower income (or budget buyers)
2. Middle income (or "I need a good lens so let's drop $900 on it")
3. Upper income (or "just buy whatever you need" people)

As you progress through those rankings you get to buy better glass.

Now let's look at Pentax. With the exception of the big FA* primes, quality Pentax glass can be affordably purchased by all of those consumers. And they've covered all the focal lengths (or at least the most widely used). I think where those guys messed up is they put the IS in the lens instead of the camera. But this is just my opinion.
05-15-2007, 08:39 AM   #8
Veteran Member
stewart_photo's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Posts: 1,864
QuoteOriginally posted by davemdsn Quote
Incident meters don't read the subject, only the light. They are never fooled.
The meter might not be fooled, but the user can be regarding the incident meter's recommended settings. The readings from an incident light meter must be adjusted for strongly backlit subjects, unusually light subjects (pale skin with blond hair), unusually dark subjects (dark shin with dark hair), and so on. Since an incident light meter provides no clue to the level of adjustment needed, the user's only recourse is to make a judgement call or simply guess. A reflected light meter (handheld or in-camera) often eliminates this guesswork.

stewart

05-15-2007, 09:36 AM   #9
Senior Member
dwinnert's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 107
QuoteOriginally posted by davemdsn Quote
Lets make sure we are talking about the same thing. In camera meters are reflective meters. Handheld meteres are either reflective or incident, often both. There has never been a reflective meter made, in camera or hand held, that is as consistently accurate as an incident meter. Never. Incident meters don't read the subject, only the light. They are never fooled.

That said, handheld meters are no longer needed, but not because of the great meters in the camera. The thing that has put them out of date is the histogram, which reads the scene after the fact. It is perfect. It tells you where all the values are in the image and lets you know if a change needs to be made. If you have time to take a handheld meter reading, you have time to read the histogram and reshoot.

As far as dealers go.... Sales people are going to push what gets them the better commission. Most camera store sales jobs are commission based. As Pentax sells better the stores will like them more. I wouldn't pay them much mind. One of the guys in the shop down the street is a Nikon shooter and gives me a hard time, asking me when I'm going to start shooting a real camera. He secretly wants a K10D. Some people are easily swayed by popular opinion, even against their own better judgement.
Well this is exactly how I would reply...but I'll add that my Canon and Nikon friends want to have me flogged. Seriously they looked at me like I lost my mind when I told them I bought a K10D.

I could care less though...I like photography and will use whatever is available.
05-15-2007, 02:50 PM   #10
Inactive Account




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Boise, Idaho
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,414
QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
The meter might not be fooled, but the user can be regarding the incident meter's recommended settings. The readings from an incident light meter must be adjusted for strongly backlit subjects, unusually light subjects (pale skin with blond hair), unusually dark subjects (dark shin with dark hair), and so on. Since an incident light meter provides no clue to the level of adjustment needed, the user's only recourse is to make a judgement call or simply guess. A reflected light meter (handheld or in-camera) often eliminates this guesswork.

stewart
I disagree. The whole point of reading the light is to record the subject accurately, not interpretatively. In other words, when I shot weddings on medium format I didn't change the settings when I finished shots of the groom and then took shots of the bride. The black tux would be recorded black and the white dress would be recorded white, as they should be. The skin tones would remain consistent, as they should be. A reflective meter would have me shooting much longer exposures for the groom in the black tux than for the bride in the white dress, which would make the tux dark gray and the skin tones too light. In the bride shots the dress would be light gray and the skin tones too dark.

Adjusting for backlighting or choosing to under/over expose a shot for mood is an interpretive choice.
05-15-2007, 04:26 PM   #11
New Member




Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: 2 hours north of toronto ontario canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13
QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Just had a chat with a local photographic equipment supplier, who swiftly dismissed Pentax as an unpopular camera. Needless to say I disliked him from that point on, but he made a point I'd like to raise in the forum.

He encourages all photographers to use hand-held meters to set camera Av and Tv. Now I know camera meters are not as accurate and find it harder to measure light at a distance, but what do you all think about the practicality of metering when shooting portraits, landscapes, weddings, etc.

Unless you have an assistant, is it feasible to use in these situations?
I know there have been numerous times where the subject I was taking was underexposed. If I were using an incident light meter, the exposure would have been dead on.... eliminating some of the digital noise associated with underexposure.
I don't have a light meter but plan on getting one as soon as I can afford one.
another thing that a light meter can read is flash.... something that my sigma is not that accurate with on occation.

cheers

randy
05-15-2007, 06:27 PM   #12
Veteran Member
Eaglerapids's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Idaho,USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,588
I think the coolest thing about Pentax is the people who shoot them. The community. The cameras are tools and all are very good ones with quirks of their own, good points and bad. But when you have a community of people, in this case photographers, who love what they do whether it be for pay or for passion and are open and free with their experiences, willing to share to help others progress in their passion, then you have something that's worth how much? I've been reading this forum, now, for almost a month, I mean every night.... and I still haven't caught up. There is so much information here to absorb, I'm still finding new sub-forums for goodness's sake. Pentax cameras are cool, I'm loving mine, but the community is even cooler. That salesman guy doesn't understand any of this, poor guy.
05-15-2007, 09:08 PM   #13
Inactive Account




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Boise, Idaho
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,414
This is a great community. A few bad apples, but mostly good fruit. It is good that people can disagree and still be friends.
05-15-2007, 11:36 PM   #14
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NYC
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 107
I find my hanheld flash/ambient meter invaluable becase of time constraints. In New York City, they want you to get permits for everything so I usually try to setup quick..get the shot and get out. When I'm trying to balance flash and ambient exposures outdoors it just works faster for me to use the handheld. In my studio I use the meter and the histogram but the histogram is for my final tweaks to the exposure.
05-16-2007, 05:08 AM   #15
Veteran Member
Mike Cash's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Japan
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,952
I recently purchased a Sekonic L-208, a small meter which comes with an attachment for mounting it on a hot shoe (or accessory shoe). It handles both reflective and incident metering.

The only reason I got it was because I have recently purchased a couple of 1950s 35mm rangefinders. One had no meter whatsover and the other has a meter which due to it's age varies between non-functional and totally unreliable. I must admit I felt like an idiot plunking down 20,000 yen for a meter for cameras I paid 5,500 and 1,000 yen for. I found that very often using "Sunny 16" would put me in the ballpark for exposure, but having a meter makes things go more smoothly. I'm in the process of acquiring other antique cameras, so the huge expense for the meter won't seem so bad once I get a larger assortment of cameras I can use it with.

Regarding the ExpoDisc....I will remind everyone of the brilliant coffee filter solution suggested here earlier. I still have the one I made out of a step-up ring and a lens guard filter. Works wonderfully and cost practically nothing.
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!
camera, dslr, light, meters, photography
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
67 -vs- 645N hand held Matus Pentax Medium Format 2 06-03-2010 04:46 PM
Hand held spot meters? NaClH2O Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 4 08-24-2009 08:31 AM
Flash - Hand Held Sailor Post Your Photos! 1 12-22-2008 09:23 PM
Hand Held Meter mysterick Photographic Technique 6 12-09-2008 04:15 AM
Hand held light meters squarerigger Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 19 07-02-2007 09:51 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:28 PM. | See also: NikonForums.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