light meters!



  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    @mikep - I take a lot of measures of the light and adjust as necessary; it's fluid, and like 'real life', you want motion to look like motion, animated action to look like animated action, and so on. Since it is a rehearsal, I do move throughout the theater with a tripod which is used like a monopod, too, and generally take about 2000 to 2500 photos, from 11-50mm, sometimes 85mm. The products make their way into portfolios for continuation in working in theatrical work.

    @DJBee49 I quite agree that I don't usually pull my Gossen out all the time, but I did carry it in my pack in Vietnam, along with 6 cameras and a truckload of film in with another 80 pounds of equipment, all of it equaling my body weight at the time, and there were times that I did use it because it was that important.

    I'm all about the ease of digital photography - and I would put up my time in the darkroom with anyone, anywhere, anytime - I'm all about easy, my point about the light meter on stage lighting is a point of making the difficult easy.

    And, to be clear, I didn't think there was a debate. We all use meters. They're just in the cameras. Rather than being incident meters they are reflective, and as such, less accurate since light reflects off surfaces differently, but an incident meter is far, far more accurate than the camera's reflective meter.

    The camera's spot meter OTOH is actually pretty good - depending upon your point of view. I used old (almost as old as me) Pentax meters that I don't think are as accurate as any of the spot meters in the Nikon digital cameras that I have.

    "Using one does not make you a better photographer.
    Not using one does not make you a better photographer."

    Knowing when, how and why will.

    My best,

  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    edited April 2014
    i shot an opera dress rehearsal once, and it was tricky at first with the lights constantly changing.

    i started off in manual, as i had mistakenly thought it would be fairly constant lighting, but it surprised me how much it changed. after a couple of over-exposed pictures i switched to A and spot metered off the actors, and that worked pretty well tbh. though i can remember thinking afterwards that it would have been much better to do the shoot twice, so you could be prepared in advance for the changing lighting/scenery/position of the players and so on.

    i am still not persuaded to go and get a separate meter, but who knows. next week i have some product shots to do, so i will see how i get on with my histogram.

    maybe this time next week i will have one in a holster on my hip :)
    Post edited by mikep on
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Your Right PitchBlack, there is not a light meter made that can please a personal desire on exposure, but the environments were a light meter can become useful have well been described from previous writers. Professional photographs are there to please clients and meet there requirements, which can be a totally different viewpoint to the photographer.Looking at a 3.2 inch screen in open sunny daylight is totally different to looking at an image on a computer screen and print. However, looking at an Histogram, gives far better information in open daylight on exposure.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,387Member
    I agree, seeing where the exposure lies on a histogram is better than looking at the photo on the LCD.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,374Member
    edited April 2014
    Histograms lie too. If your background or foreground are significantly differently exposed than you subject (which I intentionally do a lot), your histogram is not only useless, but counterproductive.
    Not to mention that the histogram on Nikon DSLR's is based on imbedded jpeg in a RAW file, so you only get part of the story.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    +1 PB_PM. Great point.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Histograms lie too. If your background or foreground are significantly differently exposed than you subject (which I intentionally do a lot), your histogram is not only useless, but counterproductive.

    I use mine (Simple L-358) to find the background exposure and subject exposure and compensate my flash to compensate (to taste).

    When scouting locations I will always have it with me to take readings and notes on the light in areas. I can then plan my gear and setups prior. Better to know before hand that you need two flashes in a box to compensate rather than using HSS (which still works well but could be problematic) or if you need to bring more flashes to light the background.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    The Sekonic L-478DR ($399) supports remote triggering of PocketWizard receivers, and is invaluable for measuring daylight exterior ambient light levels, while also setting "matching" manual power output levels on monolights. The benefit? Speed! A couple readings, and you're dead-on with no chimping. Its color LCD is a pleasure to read. The L-478DR also measures in direct footcandles--a super-convenient unit of measure since it's both an absolute value, and employs a linear scale. In my view, this is the lightmeter to get. Incredibly handy for location scouting as well.
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