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Basic digital camera exposure meter

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by yottie, 11 Nov 2019.

  1. yottie

    yottie

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    I am looking for a simple (used) meter with a good clear read-out. Advice much appreciated.
     
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  3. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I have some where the old meters, however I have found no point with a digital camera, if I want to capture a picture where there is a problem getting the exposure correct, I bracket it, one 4 stops over, one 2 stops over one correct one 2 stops under and one 4 stops under. I then have two options, either select best, or load them all into Photomatrix and get a HDR version.

    With old film the film cost money, so did not want to bracket it, taking 5 at a time on 36 exposure means 7 pictures only. But with 500 and you can delete in camera not worth the effort to use external exposure meter, and to be frank some scenes you just learn, 1/250 second f16 with 100 ASA for the moon for example, no exposure meter will tell you that.

    I find fluorescent and LED lighting is a problem, as they often flash, so meter reading is wrong. Also I take all in RAW so either 12 bit (Pentax) or 14 bit (Nikon) not 8 bit Jpeg, if using Jpeg then the bracket needs to be 1 stop not 2, in the main I used just 3 exposures +2 normal and -2 that is enough, using old Pentax lens the camera does not measure the stop down light level, so have to manually set camera so many stops over exposed.

    Not set the three variables for years, even when setting aperture and speed, the camera still selects ISO to suit. (ASA = ISO)

    Just seen your other post, your camera about same as my Pentax K10D the problem is old CCD sensor, more modern cameras with CMos are far more sensitive. As with mine your max ISO is 3200, with my Nikon looking at more like 64,000 ISO so taking photos at this time of years with Pentax means tripod.

    Still a very good camera, but it is now rather old. But your lens is far better than my standard lens, OK I can fit a 400 mm (600 mm in 35 mm equ) but to be frank would have been better with your fixed lens.
     
    Last edited: 18 Jan 2020
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  4. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    Not tried one but you can get an iPhone app that is a light meter.
    Or look on ebay for an old Weston
     
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  5. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Every light meter I have had you enter the ASA and then it gives you a range of speeds to f stops, as in old days of film you had a fixed ASA (ISO) however you have I think 64 ISO to 3200 ISO so would need to be able to enter either speed, f stop or ISO and then read off the other two. In real terms I found with a CCD sensor 1600 ISO was upper limit too much grain after that point.

    I have tried using studio lights, however since they flash working it all out is near impossible. With a plate camera where the plate will cost £5 you of course want it right first time, so the method used today is take image with digital camera first to verify exposure, even out in the field I have found manual is hard to predict. I was using close up filters to take pictures of plants, mainly lichen, I had a flash on hot shoe, and a slave flash under camera both around same size which would allow a small aperture so good depth of field and tripod, if instead of focusing lens, I left the lens at fixed focus and moved camera closer or further away, in theory each image would be taken at same distance so once f stop and ISO set (speed does not matter with flash) it should be same for all, however that was not the case. I suspect hot shoe flash gun was auto adjusting, but each image I had to take a series of photos until exposure was correct.

    OK that was an extreme case, but have found it near impossible to even with a light meter improve on the cameras own built in meter, one reason is using a polarising filter, unless you also put a polarising filter on the light meter and can zoom the light meter in and out to match camera lens in real terms you are just as good using the guide on side of a film packet, over cast summer day ASA 100, f8 and 1/60th etc, take a picture and correct up or down.
     
  6. yottie

    yottie

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    Professional stuff there e.m. Just out of interest, have you ever used a Hasselblad H1?
     
  7. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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  8. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Not used Hasseblad, and flash is a real problem as it has a sensor that can't be turned off, built into flash gun, where I can I use LED.
     
  9. geof worrall

    geof worrall

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    i vote the weston...good for incident readings which give better overall readings using the cone or spot read your hand/grey card for an alternative method...
    there is always the sunny f16 rule...:D if you want to check your readings
    spot readings may be difficult with an off camera meter...especially if you cant get to the subject area
     
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  11. conny

    conny

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    I just point and shoot! :ROFLMAO:
     
  12. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Seems daft, but actually that is basic what I do, with a few exceptions, it is really down to time, I tend to select +/- 2 EV shots and sort out latter, what I found was viewing what you have taken wastes battery and time. However there are a few exceptions, I found flash exposures really odd, I put one flash top of camera and one underneath it and thought once set and distance set if you adjusted camera position until in focus then it would be same, but that didn't work.
     
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  13. mrcrow

    mrcrow

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    if you get a meter with incident reading attachment...the weston for instance...you use it and measure the light falling on the subject...
    then you get a reflected light reading and the attachment will adjust it to light reflected for average exposure
    if you have a small hand held meter which isnt incident then take either readings off your skin, better still a grey card...
    then you will have the average reading for light reflected
    or....
    bracket bracket bracket...its digital now now so you have the convenience of taking duds and turds until you get a good one
    the old method of sunny f16 gives you the mean reading for grey card for starters

    if you do post processing on digital....you can rework the shots +/- 2 stops and still get good results...

    cheers
    geof
     
  14. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I started in the days of film where is cost to get it wrong, and I have hand held meters, but mess around with meters and you have missed the shot, a RAW image will allow it to be a reasonable amount out and pull it back, so you can shoot with 2 EV between each image, and put it into some thing like Photomatrix and just pick the best thumb nail.

    OK will admit for the special yes manually blending works better, but half is in the setting of camera and half in post exposure processing and it has never been any different, I loved monochrome because I had control of the dark room, dodging and burning as required, I was torn between colour and monochrome as will colour I lost control, the intermediate was the slide, using a slide copier I could mask and use some of the monochrome skills, but lost quality.

    Even with prints today, I will often use the copier and copy 1 EV either way and use layers. I tend to laugh at people who say you should do it all in the camera, and both my Pentax and Nikon will allow me to do a fair bit of in camera processing of the RAW into Jpeg, but so much easier out of the camera, what's the big deal doing it in camera. And using the camera pre-sets is in a way cheating anyway, I can see the point is submitting a RAW image so can't fiddle with it, but never a Jpeg.

    When I did my 'A' level art in digital photography I had expected to have to submit a RAW image, and to submit it digitally, but no, we had to submit a printed image, and no colour monkey on the collage computers so it was a bit hit and miss.
     
  15. JohnD

    JohnD

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    I started in the days of through-the-lens metering, and found it pretty straightforward.
     
  16. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Even the old Zenith had the meter built into the camera, even if you did have to manually align the pointer. But very quickly I moved to a aperture priority automated system. However what you could not do with film is suspend the between magnets so if you shake a little the film plain stays static, or at least moves less. So with a 50 mm lens with 35 mm film the slowest hand held was around 1/30 second, but with digital I can hand hold at 1/15 second, I did use some 25 ASA film, but in the main 64 ASA, 100 ASA, 200 ASA, 400 ASA and 600 ASA where the options with colour, seem to remember used a lot of 200 ASA slide film, but as you went to faster films so you got more grain, and you could remove and put film back in the camera, but there was a risk it would not line up the same, and the film would be returned from processing with all the latter negatives cut in half.

    With the digital camera I can select the amplification, or what is now called the ISO which is really same as old ASA. So I can set camera aperture priority or speed priority or aperture and speed priority and the camera adjust the ISO to match. My old Pentax had a CCD sensor and the maximum ISO was 3200, and in real terms over 1600 and you could seen the grain. But the Nikon has a Cmos sensor and that goes to a really silly ISO number.

    When you buy the camera you have to consider low light or high pixels, the less pixels on the sensor the lower the light it will work with, and to be frank I am never going to take a picture which will be printed as wall paper and cover a whole wall, so 16 Mp is more than I need. The Pentax was only 10 Mp and I find with the Nikon with a 280 mm lens I can crop to nearly the same quality as the Pentax with a 400 mm lens (35 mm rating) so really 600 mm on the cropped sensor.
     
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