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Thread: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

  1. #1
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    OK...here goes...I'll risk it!
    When I started out to do LF 4x5 photography the first thing I bought was a used Soligor SpotSensorII...my exposures have always been good when using it. I also tried it for a while for still life photography but found that it was not really the right tool for this and I acquired another vintage lightmeter with both incident (white bulb) and reflective measurements. When used as incident reader the exposures are very accurate (proof point being chromes with excellent light and colors) but as reflective reader it does not provide me with the 'same' values as my spotsensor and when placing the measurements accordingly into Zones it did not match the incident reading. So I bought another vintage lightmeter hoping this would provide me better accuracy also for reflective readings, but this one turned out to be the opposite of the first one, actually is quite useful for use when the spotsensor would be to tedious to use but useless for incident readings. To help a friend I got a third one and this one is off in all aspects. And to make it worse, the lightmeters are also showing different variations depending on if it is a dark setting or a very bright one. All of them are CDS readers requiring batteries (...and I have checked the batteries are fresh)
    To make the story short - the more meters I have the more uncertain I get. Almost to the point that I nolonger trust my original spotsensor...and wonder how I could get a successful exposure in the first place.
    Now to the question: Do you experience that your lightmeters show these types of variations among themselves and for incident vs. reflective readings? And what do you do about it, i.e. how do you determine which is accurate and which is not. Does new meters show the same patterns? Thanks, Patrik

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    I have never seen any two lightmeters, even of the same brand and model, give exactly the same reading.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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  3. #3
    8x20 8x10 6x9 John Jarosz's Avatar
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    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    My son's digital Pentax and mine agree all the time.

    John

  4. #4
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    I currently have two Digital Pentax's (one for field case, one for rail case) and have owned four altogether. The two I have now are the closest, only 1/3 of a stop difference. That is after having both calibrated.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
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    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  5. #5

    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    Isn't there some saying like: a man with many watches never really knows the time . . . . .


    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat

  6. #6
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    You are right ofcourse, but my question is really about why the lightmeters give me different results for incident and reflective readings, even in the same meter. The differences also seem to be brand and design dependent, i.e. the variations are not consistent from one meter to another.

    I just spotted another active thread on more or less the same topic
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ad.php?t=17802 (Sekonic...dome vs spot...)
    I think I will follow that one to see where the theories lead. Thanks, Patrik.
    Last edited by Patrik Roseen; 2-Jun-2006 at 18:21.

  7. #7

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    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    FWIW, in 35mm, my Minolta SRTs are pretty much dead on with each other. Less than 1/3 of a stop difference among three SRT meters.

    For 4x5, I use an older analog Pentax spot meter. It reports more light than the SRTs' meters, but not much -- maybe a half a stop. That might have something something to do with its "new" (alkaline) battery. The Minoltas were adjusted for use with alkalines once when they were CLA'd, but the Pentax meter wasn't. I just put in the alkaline battery and that was that.

    Regardless, I used that meter to learn about the few films I use with this format. So I get by okay even if it never actually agrees with anything else on this planet. It doesn't have to.

  8. #8
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    The light meters are just a tool. All that matters is that you arrive at an exposure that gives you a usable negative or transparency. It doesn't matter how sophisticated or non-sophisticated your light meter is- the viewers of your prints don't care. Since I only use one film, and almost always shoot in similar crepuscular lighting conditions between f22-45, I often use only the light meter in my head based on previous experience. If I were in your shoes, I would pick your favorite meter, and get rid of all the rest. LF photography is complicated enough without having to worry about using the optimal light meter.
    Brian Vuillemenot
    Images of Enchantment
    http://www.imagesofenchantment.com

  9. #9

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    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    I have a Pentax digital spotmeter and a Minolta incident meter. Comparing them using a gray card reading with the Pentax they are about 1/4 stop different.

  10. #10

    Re: Lightmeters adding to confusion?

    Isn't the idea to do a film/developer test with the meter to see what your personal EI is?

    I prefer incident metering for most of what I shoot. Reflective meters are too broad in most cases for me which is why I use to hope that someday someone would come out with a 70/30 centerweighted handheld meter I could look thru. But then I realized, that is what N80's are for. Hardly bigger then a Minotla Spotmeter F and more metering modes. Only the lens makes it heavier.

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