View Full Version : Does anyone use a digital body with a telephoto as a spot meter?

29-Jan-2016, 13:56
Does anyone use a digital body with a telephoto as a spot meter?

I have a Sekonic L-488 that I appreciate as a spot meter, but I recently realized that in terms of coverage, my Olympus E-M5 + 75mm f/1.8 set to spot metering gives about the same spot coverage as the Sekonic with the added advantages of better low light metering. The size difference is also negligible. One downside is that the L-488 can also meter my strobes, but...

So I'm wondering, does anyone else do this?

And if so, are there any gains or losses that I'm not thinking of?

29-Jan-2016, 14:38
What's the minumum stop on your olympus? F22?
I routinely shoot at 45, and 64 and my light meter goes that far without doing more math in my head.

29-Jan-2016, 15:30
That's certainly true.

Randy Moe
29-Jan-2016, 16:00
Since 1997 when my instructor asked me to, of course that moment was Nikon F70.

But shortly I was using early Nikon digital for the same purpose. 1998 Coolpix 900, then 990, to D70, and up ad nauseum.

I use any digital as Polaroid.

29-Jan-2016, 16:18
I've relied on my DSLR meter a few times but I wouldn't use a telephoto, it's not been by choice,maybe flat batteries in my spotmeter or I've travelled light and forgotten my meter. I've also used the meter on my Yashicamat 124 for LF work but I leave that camera in Turkey.

These days I always carry a small back up selenium cell Leningrad 4 meter which I've found to be quite accurate.


Will Frostmill
29-Jan-2016, 17:12
I do, but for MF, not LF. I can't say I've been terribly precise about it, but yes, I put my Olympus E-PL1 in spot metering mode (which is pretty narrow), and zoom the kit lens out to 84mm-e. Supposedly the old E-1 used 2% of the viewfinder area for spot mode, and 42mm (84mm-e) works out to be 24 x 18 degrees, which reduces down to 0.48 degrees x 0.36 degrees. The magnifier mode can also zoom you in to 1/12 of the screen, and set focus and exposure on that spot, which works out to be 8% of the frame, or a 2 degree by 1.5 degree box, which I think is pretty good.
With a base iso of 100, and a working aperture of 5.6, yes, I sometimes did have to resort to some math to get things to work out right, but fiddling with the exposure compensation really helps to set a useful baseline. I never empirically verified the spot size, so I'm sure mileage will vary a lot.

Paul Metcalf
29-Jan-2016, 17:17
No, a lot easier (more compact, lighter) to carry my spotmeter than my digital camera and long lens and I usually don't have both with me when I'm out and about.

Drew Bedo
3-Feb-2016, 08:06
This topic was explored in threads here a couple of years ago. The consensus then was that relying on a DSLR for LF metering was a less than optimal metering option.

9-Jun-2016, 10:04
Yes--I do this, but only because I don't have a spot meter, only an incident and my DSLR.

I've done well with it, esepcially considering I only shoot at night and only use slide film.

Ted R
10-Jun-2016, 10:30
Check your results carefully before exposing anything critical like slide film because the meter in a digital camera is optimized for the light characteristics of the sensor in the camera, it does not have accuracy in the same sense that a dedicated light meter has accuracy. I was alerted to this when I found the meters of my Canon DSLR and Pentax Spotmeter V disagree when reading the same gray card in the same light (the spotmeter had just returned from calibration) and the amount of the discrepancy was about 1 stop, the digital camera gave one stop less exposure. Digital cameras have limited highlight over exposure headroom and the camera internal meter is calibrated to protect the highlights and not calibrated to be accurate for use as a film light meter.