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Thread: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

  1. #41

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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    I have 2 meters, both bought new.

    A Gossen Variosix-F that I've probably had for 20 years, with the 5 degree spot attachment (wish it did 1 degree, but oh well) has been my main meter through multiple cameras. My current Rollei 6008i2 has a 1 degree spot with multi-mode built in, but I still find the Gossen useful.

    When I later landed on the Rollei 2.8 TLR as my "travel" camera I needed a new meter, as the Variosix is almost half the size of the TLR. So I bought a small, palm sized Digisix, also from Gossen.

    Both meters still work fine, although the rotating head on the Variosix has come loose and flops around. I asked Gossen if I could get it repaired and they unfortunately said no. At some point I'll have to step up and get a new meter, the Seikonic's look nice and seem to offer many of the same features (multi-spot, EV range of a scene, flash sync, etc).

    Just another data point to consider.

  2. #42

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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    Reading this thread raises the question is there any correlation between the reading on digital camera's in-built meter and the reading of a handheld meter?

    Given that both are reflective meters and given the same angle of reading.

    An in-built meter in a digital camera is designed and calibrated for a digital image produced by that particular camera.
    Whereas a handheld meter is designed for analogue images from any camera.

    Or do both have to be compared on a 'grey card' or similar and the/a correction factor determined

    Regards
    Tony

  3. #43
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by 6x6TLL View Post
    I have 2 meters, both bought new.

    A Gossen Variosix-F that I've probably had for 20 years, with the 5 degree spot attachment (wish it did 1 degree, but oh well) has been my main meter through multiple cameras. My current Rollei 6008i2 has a 1 degree spot with multi-mode built in, but I still find the Gossen useful.

    When I later landed on the Rollei 2.8 TLR as my "travel" camera I needed a new meter, as the Variosix is almost half the size of the TLR. So I bought a small, palm sized Digisix, also from Gossen.

    Both meters still work fine, although the rotating head on the Variosix has come loose and flops around. I asked Gossen if I could get it repaired and they unfortunately said no. At some point I'll have to step up and get a new meter, the Seikonic's look nice and seem to offer many of the same features (multi-spot, EV range of a scene, flash sync, etc).

    Just another data point to consider.
    How do you use the 5 degree spot? I ask because I have a 10 degree with my Minolta meter.

  4. #44

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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    Over the years have owned and used way, way too many exposure meters.

    Spotron Professional Spot meter. Circa 1965: The meter I learned the ZONE system with in the 1970s. Still have it, but it sits up on a shelf (2 batteries for it I believe not available anymore) with other equipment that evodes fond memories of the past.

    S.E.I. Exposure Photometer: Love Hate relationship with this Photometer. Back in the 1980s was my main meter, but using it with the ZONE system involved many written calculations. I was amazed that I was able to take an exposure reading under a Thomas Duplex Super Safelight, and not even being at the minimal reading threshold. Today, I still have (was able to put one together from a collection of broken meters) one working S.E.I. Photometer, but I use it infrequently now.

    Weston Master II and III Meters: Classics. They served me well but low light measurements left much to be desired.

    Weston Master V meter: Definitely an improved meter over the previous version, but just never came to like its

    Gossen Luna Pro: used one for years before replacing it with the more modern SBC. In my opinion just may be the classic merter just behind a Weston meter.

    Gossen Luna-Pro SBC Light Meter: My standard light meter to refer to.

    GOSSEN Ultra Pro Meter: Use it to test film/developer combinations. I have found it to be one of the more complicated and least easy meters to use. But that is unless you use it on a very regular basis.

    Gossen Pilot exposure meter: Always keep one in the glove compartment. Actually twice saved me when once I forgot to pack a meter, and the other time when my meter's battery was dead.

    Metrastar exposure meter: For whatever reason never felt comfortable with using this meter.

    Pentax digital spot meter: Has been my current spot meter to use for the past years. Mine is Zone VI modified, but have not found the Zone VI modification to radically improve the meter's accuracy and performance.

    Asahi Pentax Spot meter V Light Exposure Meter: Pre acquiring a digital version. Sometimes just prefer it to the digital version, because it just seems to be more user friendly, but use the digital version because of its smaller size.

    Soligor spot meter: Switched to a Pentax spot meter, but the Soligor was indeed an excellent meter.
    Horseman (Optical) Exposure meter 45: When I was doing a lot of Photomacrography and Photomicrography and shooting 4x5 Chromes using my Nikon Multiphot, this was the meter I used 90% of the time. After a while it readings were so accurate and consistent that I did away with bracketing (huge $ savings realized). When shooting objects that were difficult to meter with the Horseman use a:
    Sinar Six: A super accurate meter when intelligently used. Took me a while to get used to using this meter. Finally ended up shooting (with brackets) some test images to acquaint myself with using this meter. Kept notes, and a lot of the times referring to them honed down on comfortably using this meter. About that time switched to shooting digital (per clients requests) and the Sinar Six has been boxed up and shelved since then.

    And of course there were other meters used in my past including Minolta, Sekonic, and Spectra, but not used long enough to be able to comment on.

    Alas I have owned and used way too many meters...

  5. #45

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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    How do you use the 5 degree spot? I ask because I have a 10 degree with my Minolta meter.
    Hi Alan,

    It attaches to the meter's head and has a viewfinder with a circle demarcating the 5 degree zone. Point and click, I use it as if it were a 1 degree meter, only that due to the larger angle of view I have to be more creative with finding my zone III and VII points. For B&W it works well, haven't shot many chromes yet, but so far they have been pretty spot on as well.

  6. #46

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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyowen View Post
    Reading this thread raises the question is there any correlation between the reading on digital camera's in-built meter and the reading of a handheld meter?
    When I bought my spot meter, I compared the metering with my EOS 90D set to "spot". For a straightforward scene, both reported the same values (well, the spot meter reported an EV and my DSLR came up with a shutter speed / aperture combination-- but it was valid for the EV the spot meter indicated).

    An in-built meter in a digital camera is designed and calibrated for a digital image produced by that particular camera.
    Whereas a handheld meter is designed for analogue images from any camera.

    Or do both have to be compared on a 'grey card' or similar and the/a correction factor determined
    Both should come up with an Exposure Value (EV), which may be automatically translated to a shutter speed + aperture. But both should be based on the lighting, and the "algorithm" of the meter-- the spot meter is obviously going to use a 1 degree spot sample, the camera may use a spot, center-weighted, partial or full matrix (evaluative-- these are all Canon terms) sampling-- but 1/125 @ f/16 should produce roughly the same exposure for ISO 100 film, or a digital camera set to ISO 100. How that happens is up to the manufacturer, but it is expected that both will produce roughly the same exposure index with the same settings.

  7. #47
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by 6x6TLL View Post
    Hi Alan,

    It attaches to the meter's head and has a viewfinder with a circle demarcating the 5 degree zone. Point and click, I use it as if it were a 1 degree meter, only that due to the larger angle of view I have to be more creative with finding my zone III and VII points. For B&W it works well, haven't shot many chromes yet, but so far they have been pretty spot on as well.
    Thanks for that. I guess my questions is about which part of the scene do you aim it out since it's relatively wide compared to a 1 degree spot. I don't use the zone system. With my 10 degree, I try to pick a area that overlaps mid ranges or otherwise areas that are at different exposure -light and dark. Then use that as a average as the f stop setting. With medium format, I bracket +1 and -1. But now that I'm shooting 4x5, I stopped bracketing and have to be more accurate and consistent.

  8. #48

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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Thanks for that. I guess my questions is about which part of the scene do you aim it out since it's relatively wide compared to a 1 degree spot. I don't use the zone system. With my 10 degree, I try to pick a area that overlaps mid ranges or otherwise areas that are at different exposure -light and dark. Then use that as a average as the f stop setting. With medium format, I bracket +1 and -1. But now that I'm shooting 4x5, I stopped bracketing and have to be more accurate and consistent.
    As I said, sometimes I have to get creative to find a spot that fits in the 5 degree circle. Sometimes I have to extrapolate, find something closer or out of frame that's a similar value, or measure my hand and deduce the rest from that, but more often than not I manage to find a shadow and highlight value I can use with the meter. I'm mostly shooting landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes and portraits.

    I don't follow the zone system as rigidly as many, but find it works well to provide a decent negative to work from. I might add a stop for a sunny desert scene or something darker where I want to make sure I have the shadow values retained, but I'm not as advanced as doing the whole complete pre-visualization thing from scene to final print. I sold my darkroom (DeVere 504 with color head) when I moved here to the US, so no more darkroom for me. At some point I'll have to get a scanner, for now I've been using a pro lab in Hollywood to make scans and prints when I'm happy enough with the results on the negative to make a print.

  9. #49

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    Re: Light Meter for Large Format (4x5) Landscape Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by esearing View Post
    Save up and buy a SPOT, flash, and Incident combo meter like the Sekonic L508, L558, L608, or L758 (used)
    +1

    You will never need anything else.

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