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Thread: Metering through the ground glass

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Metering through the ground glass

    The question on what meter to get for LF work has me asking this.

    Got a older Calculight XP meter with the attachment that lets me meter directly on the ground glass. Like a small spot attachment it makes direct contact with the glass and I take the reading. Easy to do bright and shadow and mid tone readings this way. The meter is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and the extension add on doesn't add much to the size. Just keep it in the camera case so I don't bang it around.

    After the first few tries to get used to it and a couple of test exposures to make sure it actually works I have not looked back. Reads a very small area, about 2mm. With wider lenses the light falloff or light angles might be a worry but I have not had problems and the exposures are fine. Am not usually reading right at the edges but your use may be different than mine.

    The XP has a low light sensitivity of -7EV(ISO 100, F/1.4). Helps the ground glass measurement with good bellows extension and slower lenses. Even works with our home made ground glass which is not as bright as some commercial versions.

    I know Sinar and some others had meters that would work this way but seldom see any in use. A simple and easy way to meter an exposure and one can do it under the dark cloth. Wonder why we don't see more using this method?
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Metering through the ground glass

    Have you entered the light loss through your gg and fresnel into the meter as a filter facror?

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
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    Re: Metering through the ground glass

    I use mostly wide angle lenses. My spot meter accepts a more narrow field when aimed directly at the subject, than aimed at the ground glass. Also, when aiming the meter at the subject, I don't have to account for cosine falloff.
    However, when doing macro, I do use TTL metering as there is an advantage in obtaining the correct exposure without an estimating mathematical formula in that case.

  4. #4

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    Re: Metering through the ground glass

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Have you entered the light loss through your gg and fresnel into the meter as a filter facror?
    Yes. After initial tests through the glass and then in the open (on a gray card) the difference is set so my readings are right.

    In the field I can measure exposure under the dark cloth before putting the holder in the back.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  5. #5

    Re: Metering through the ground glass

    I'm refamilarizing myself with the Norma Sinarsix and I'm so far getting accurate reading compared to other meters I use.

    The easiest method they start with is the "Rapid Method"

    1) Compose the photograph as usual. Stop the lens down to the taking aperture.
    2) Insert the Sinarsix with metering cassette, and select by direct viewing a spot in the scene with 18% grey. Lock the probe and take an EV reading. BTW the image goes out of focus due to the cassette.
    3) Dial in the EV on the meter and read directly off the shutter speed.
    4) Set the shutter speed and proceed with the photography.

    Simple direct and it's accurate with my time tested meters. I've used this method with 18% grey card in the scene and it's quite accurate.
    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
    ― Mark Twain

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