Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 31

Thread: First Meter advice

  1. #11
    Light Guru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Re: First Meter advice

    Quote Originally Posted by fishbulb View Post
    Love this thing! I would recommend adding a Zone System sticker to it.
    Zak Baker

    "Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."
    Ansel Adams

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Madisonville, LA

    Re: First Meter advice

    Pentax digital zone sticker. L

    Pentax Zone Sticker3.pdf

  3. #13
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    San Francisco, USA

    Re: First Meter advice

    Quote Originally Posted by peter schrager View Post
    Pentax digital rules!

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Lower Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

    Re: First Meter advice

    Don't forget that its more important how you use it then what you use.

    You've elliminanted one because its the wrong 'priority', you do realise the one is tied to the other.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Oregon now (formerly Austria)

    Re: First Meter advice

    There are two basic types of metering: averaging and spot. Incident meters average the light falling on the subject. Averaging reflected meters average the light coming from the subject. Either way here you are basing your exposure on a middle value of the range of illumination/luminescence. You must learn how your meter works and learn how to interpret the reading, deviating from the suggested exposure whenever the illumination (incident meter) or average subject luminescence (reflected meter) deviates from "average." This latter is typically how most in-camera meters work and with which you are likely most familiar. There are modifications, such as center-weighted metering, etc. that attempt to ameliorate some of the problems inherent with averaging meters. Still, if you use these intelligently, they can be quite reliable and consistent. It does require you to evaluate overall contrast and whether the averaged reflectances of a particular scene end up being lighter or darker than what your meter "thinks" is average.

    A spot meter measures reflectance from a small area of your subject. This requires you to choose an area of the scene on which to base your exposure. If you choose anything other than a middle grey, you have to know how to adjust the exposure accordingly. The advantage of a spot meter is that you can determine the range of subject luminescences very easily and immediately know if your subject is medium, low or high contrast. This is most useful to those of us who develop their film according to the contrast range of the subject, i.e., sheet-film users. Since this is a large-format forum, I assume that's you're planning on using sheet film as well. That said, there are many who base their exposure on a shadow and just use a "normal" development scheme, relying on changing paper grades at the time of printing to manipulate the contrast of the final print (or use digital post-processing to control contrast).

    Using a spot meter in conjunction with different development schemes involves basing your exposure on a shadow value that you want to be rendered in the final print as a specific shade of dark grey. This is called "placing" the shadow. You then use the meter to check other mid and high values in your scene and see where they "fall" on an exposure scale. If the subject is low-contrast, the high values won't fall where you want them to, so you can compensate by lengthening development time. The opposite if the scene is contrastier than normal. The classic exposure/development system for sheet film is the Zone System as written about by Ansel Adams and others. If you find this approach appealing, then do read up on it first before deciding to buy a meter so you have an idea of what's involved.

    FWIW, I'm a Zone-System practitioner and swear by my Pentax digital spotmeters; they all have Zone System stickers and are among the easiest meters to use with the Zone System; intuitive, rugged and with no bells and whistles. If you need flash metering, however, the Pentax digital is not for you.



  6. #16

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Montara, California

    Re: First Meter advice

    Another vote for the Pentax Digital. Here's what people are talking about with the sticker. You can make it at home. People use Roman numerals but you can better imagine it as little patches of gray, from black, to dark gray, to middle gray, to light gray, to almost white, to white.

    The basic idea is this. Point your Pentax meter at a spot in the scene and get a reading. Say it says "9". Then you can look at the dial (rotates) and find the 9. Spin the dial until the 9 is next to whichever patch of gray you like. So if you had pointed the meter at a very dark area of the scene you'd probably want to "place" the 9 next to one of the dark gray patches. Don't touch the dial anymore. Now measure other parts of the scene, get other numbers, and see where those numbers "fall" as compared to your patches. If what you want as white is showing up next to a darker patch or is falling off the scale you'll need to adjust development (not exposure) to move the white-ish tone to where you want it. The meter tells you this.

    If you like what you see the dial (which you haven't moved) will tell you your f/stop and shutter speed combinations. Simple, simple, simple.

    That's basically it. It is as easy as that to get rolling. Don't over think it. Everything else is fine tuning.


  7. #17

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Massachusetts USA

    Re: First Meter advice

    "First Meter"

    Since it's your first meter, consider it like your first camera: you shouldn't hope to get it absolutely right because you don't know what you don't know. Start using one and start learning. You can refine your approach later with experience.

    After many years of experience, some people use an incident meter most of the time but keep a spot meter on hand for special cases...and vice versa

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Re: First Meter advice

    [QUOTE=John Kasaian;1320669]"We can all recommend our favorite light meters, but what I think is good might not be what you think is good.
    You can spend all kinds of money on light meters, and unless you're going to follow Ansel's zone system from the get go (in which case you'll need a spot meter,) I'd suggest something simple and economical to start out with."

    An essential part of Adam's teaching was testing of film speed and development times by the individual photographer. If you attempt to use the data in "The Negative" as you would the recipe in a cookbook you will not produce a negative capable of making the print you visualized. Tri-X or HP5+ developed in HC110B @68* for 5:00 as Adams suggests will produce an excellent negative, but the speed is closer to 64 than the 160 Adams suggests. If you want a normal negative with box speed, with just a touch less highlight and shadow detail, try 7:30.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: First Meter advice

    Quote Originally Posted by fishbulb View Post
    They use three small hearing-aid batteries

    Attachment 149113
    The original small batterie isn't available anymore, but you can add with a normal batterie; hearing aid batterie here isn't necessary.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Bellingham, WA (displaced Canadian)

    Re: First Meter advice

    The Sekonic L-488 is a respectable alternative to the higher end one and can be had for $100, for what it's worth. I've never felt the need to upgrade.

Similar Threads

  1. advice needed on making meter measurements with a fiber optic probe
    By Robert A. Zeichner in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Mar-2014, 11:58
  2. Replies: 14
    Last Post: 22-Jan-2012, 03:41
  3. Spot meter advice, No.2
    By mark beaumont in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: 14-Jul-2008, 00:25
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 7-Feb-2002, 13:39
  5. light meter advice needed please
    By john bartos in forum Style & Technique
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 7-Dec-1998, 21:39


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts