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Thread: DSLR as lightmeter??

  1. #1

    Join Date
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    DSLR as lightmeter??

    Hey everyone,

    I'm wondering if anyone has used a DSLR as a light meter and if they've had any luck with it?

  2. #2

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    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    Yes. You might enjoy a brief search of the archives. This is a common topic.

  3. #3

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    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    A handheld light meter is smaller and lighter to lug around. As Jack wrote, this question is a regular visitor to this forum.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  4. #4

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    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Calahan View Post
    A handheld light meter is smaller and lighter to lug around. As Jack wrote, this question is a regular visitor to this forum.
    And also cheaper and more durable.

  5. #5

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    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    Thanks.

    Not worried about cost, I shoot 50% of my stuff with a 5D and the rest between a rolleiflex and a linhof.

    I guess I have some testing to do, thanks again

  6. #6

    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    I am fairly new to LF so I take my Canon 20d to check exposure with color film. But I do use the spotmeter first and compare, so I know if I am on the right track or not. As I get more confident I use the DSLR less and less, but for a while it was good to know I was not wasting film shooting at the wrong exposure.

  7. #7

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    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    I think they work great and feel very comfortable basing my exposures on digital camera readings. Even a pocket camera like a Ricoh GRD or Panasonic LX-3 is fine and those are smaller than most meters and a lot more useful.

  8. #8
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
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    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    Digital cameras are excellent light meters. I frequently take my DSLR when shooting LF. With the ISO set to the film speed, set aperture priority program mode, get happy with the DSLR exposure and then apply the exposure information in the LF shot. It works great!

    A couple considerations:

    1) More Stuff to Distract You from the Subject: I shoot 8x10 primarily, so I'm hauling a lot of equipment already and the addition of the DSLR is not a major logistical consideration. However, I find the more I have to monkey with when shooting, like the DSLR, the more my attention is distracted from the subject I'm photographing. Distraction from your subject is bad. So, I use a light meter when I can not do anything about the lighting. Ansel might roll over in grave if he heard this, but I usually just set the exposure based on a zone III reading and shoot it.

    2) Use the DSLR to Set Your Lighting: If you can adjust the lighting, use the DSLR to set your lighting and then shoot it in film. I do this in the field and my home studio. One of the things that it encourages me to do is to experiment with lighting and avoid getting in a rut where I use the same lighting, because I don't want experiment on film, have the experiment fail, and then loose both a photograph of the subject and effort involved in shooting with LF film.

  9. #9

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    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Decker View Post
    Digital cameras are excellent light meters. I frequently take my DSLR when shooting LF. With the ISO set to the film speed, set aperture priority program mode, get happy with the DSLR exposure and then apply the exposure information in the LF shot. It works great!

    A couple considerations:

    1) More Stuff to Distract You from the Subject: I shoot 8x10 primarily, so I'm hauling a lot of equipment already and the addition of the DSLR is not a major logistical consideration. However, I find the more I have to monkey with when shooting, like the DSLR, the more my attention is distracted from the subject I'm photographing. Distraction from your subject is bad. So, I use a light meter when I can not do anything about the lighting. Ansel might roll over in grave if he heard this, but I usually just set the exposure based on a zone III reading and shoot it.

    2) Use the DSLR to Set Your Lighting: If you can adjust the lighting, use the DSLR to set your lighting and then shoot it in film. I do this in the field and my home studio. One of the things that it encourages me to do is to experiment with lighting and avoid getting in a rut where I use the same lighting, because I don't want experiment on film, have the experiment fail, and then loose both a photograph of the subject and effort involved in shooting with LF film.
    Jay and all,

    +1 on both points though I really don't wish to carry any more equipment than necessary and as Jay points out a digital camera becomes a distraction so to speak. Same goes for a film SLR. I know a rather well know photographer who used to carry a Pentax 6x7 with him to meter and frame with. He finally got a spot meter and speaking of which most any really good meter is a lot cheaper than a good digital camera. Nothing against digi-cams I have mine and like to use them.

    Don

  10. #10
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: DSLR as lightmeter??

    It's funny, I'm coming at this from the opposite side. I just got a dslr which I'm using on a tripod in a more or less view camera-like way. And I'm finding that I want to use a separate spot meter, rather than the built in meter on the camera, since it's not possible to point the built in meter wherever you want once the camera is mounted and set up. I'd like to be able to handle contrasty lighting situations without bracketing and without blind faith in any programmed exposure modes.

    Sadly, my trusty pentax spot meter seems to be dying, so excessive bracketing and proofing on a tiny screen are in my immediate future.

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