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Thread: Dslr as light meter

  1. #11

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Kaneohe, Hawaii

    Re: Dslr as light meter

    I normally use a spot meter for everything. However, I do carry my Nikon F5, and sometimes I use as a light meter; when the light is changing too fast for the spot meter.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Re: Dslr as light meter

    I could in principle use my Nikon D70 as a spotmeter, but it would be very awkward. With the kit lens set at 70 mm, it would yield a spot angle of 1.88 degrees, somewhat larger than my Digital Pentax delivers, but still pretty small. And, of course, a longer lens would yield a smaller angle. But taking several different readings of f-stop and time and translating them into comparable EVs would involve quite a lot of mental gymnastics. With my spotmeter, I just transfer the EV values, which it reads directly, to the dial, placing them on appropriate zones, and I'm in business. In addition, my Nikon is pretty heavy and certainly takes up more room than my small, light Pentax spotmeter.

    It appears from what some of you are saying that you use the DSLR and make adjustments to get a plausible histogram and then use that exposure with your view camera, adjusting, presumably, for differences in film speed. That, to me, would be an uncomfortable way to work. Also, I've found that the histogram on the LCD is not always a reliable indication of what you get in the digital image when you upload it to your computer. I wouldn't want to trust a difficult to set up view camera exposure to such a method.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area, California

    Re: Dslr as light meter

    I don't have a DSLR, but I use the good old Nikon film camera instead of a spot meter. When I moved from 35mm to view camera, I thought I would give my Nikon camera a try as an exposure meter before buying a spot meter. I haven’t found a need for a spot meter. The Nikon camera serves two purposes. First, I use Nikon's matrix metering and the spot metering for the exposure reading. Before buying a view camera, I had used the Nikon metering over a decade and had got great results. Second, I use combination of the Nikon camera along with the zoom lens as a very flexible composition tool to quickly figure out the appropriate lens I would need to use on my view camera. I have memorized the 35mm equivalent focal lengths for all of my view camera lenses. I can quickly try all the view camera focal lengths using the zoom lens to figure out which one I would need before taking the backpack off my back for setting up the view camera (I carry the Nikon outside the backpack). I find this technique extremely useful and a great timer saver. Of course if I had a DSLR, I would definitely use the histogram!

    // Atul

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Re: Dslr as light meter

    I also sometimes use my DSLR as a way to test scenes with different focal lengths and different ways to frame the scene. But I usually do that on a separate trip and upload the images, adjust verticals, etc. before going out with my view camera. The main problem, as I see it, of using a smaller format camera, or any optical viewfinder system, to frame is that you can't do rise/fall or shifts. For that, a simple cardboard frame with a string marked with knots for different focal lengths works quite well. It is true that with the frame, it is hard to be sure what the actual projected image will look like, but of course you will see that anyway on your gg. From my point of view, the main use of a viewer is to see what, for different focal lengths, will be included in the scene, and for that, rise/fall shift cpability is essential.

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