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Light Meters
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S. Alden
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 3:50 pm    Post subject: Light Meters Reply with quote

Any suggestions on a good, easy to use light meter? I am reading up on the following:

Sekonic L-358 Flash Master - Weatherproof Digital Incident, Reflected and Flash Light Meter (~$280.00)

Gossen Digipro F, Exposure Meter for Flash and Ambient Light, with Swivel Head (~$250.00)

Sekonic L-558 DualMaster Digital Ambient & Flash Meter with Built-in Spot and Incident Meter Reading (~$488.00).

I need easy. Heck I am still trying to figure out how to focus using my reverse 50mm lens on my 100mm Macro Embarassed Very Happy
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Sue Alden
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rjlittlefield



Joined: 06 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This may be a silly question, but what do you want this external meter to do for you?

(What is your camera's built-in meter NOT doing for you?)

--Rik
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S. Alden
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it is a class requirement that I have one, so I have to get one Crying or Very sad
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Sue Alden
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rjlittlefield



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

S. Alden wrote:
Well, it is a class requirement that I have one, so I have to get one Crying or Very sad

Sue,

I would happily send you mine, except that I have not used an external meter in maybe 30 years and I have no idea where it is. I stopped using external meters when I started buying cameras that had good meters built in.

Let me "think out loud" here.

Compared to the meter inside a good camera, external meters do two, maybe three things. First is that with a diffusing dome over the sensor, the meter can measure ambient light intensity, independent of how light or dark the subject is. Second is that some meters can measure flash intensity (often combined with that diffusing dome). Third is that some meters can focus down to smaller spots than some cameras.

No meter will "tell you what you're gonna get" as well as a digital camera can "tell you what you got".

If I were teaching, I would be encouraging students to budget their hard-earned shekels to buy the best camera & lenses they can. If I really thought that they needed to understand about external meters, then (as the instructor) I'd spend some time figuring out how to get them a little experience with borrowed, shared, or eBay'd stuff. Spending hundreds of dollars for a light meter is (in my opinion) a serious misallocation of funds.

But of course I'm not teaching the course.

Advice: talk to your instructor and find out what s/he really cares about -- what features does the meter need to have, how long are you going to be using it? Explain that you're a starving student (even if you're not) and you really really want to only buy equipment that you'll have some long term use for. If you become convinced that you absolutely positively gotta have a good one, then buy what you need. Otherwise consider options like borrow/share/eBay to meet the minimum requirements to get through the course.

Anybody else have thoughts about this problem?

--Rik
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S. Alden
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rik

I really do not want the meter. I have been fine without one so far and it is something I will lose, I know I will Laughing

I like my in camera meter, but I will need one for starting next semester and will need it for almost my entire Master's Program.

I want easy, but the price seems to go up considerably for easy I think. The light meter must also measure flash.

I am not starving, but after purchasing that meter, I might have to skip a meal or two Laughing I never realized how expensive meters could be.

Meter must be able to measure ambient and strobe.
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Ken Ramos
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I know (how many times has that statement gotten me in trouble? Laughing ) what your instructor is going into. I used to use for a limited time many years ago, a large format camera that used sheets of film and had no metering system, so a hand held light meter was essential to have with this type of camera.

You might find a used light meter at a photographic supply store or a good pawn shop. Although I have not seen a "good pawn shop" in years, I would image some are still around. Digital light meters are quick and easy I would imagine, haven't used one myself but the old analog ones would teach you more about the properties of light I think. Very Happy

Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about anything and everything about nothing. However I can make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Wink
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S. Alden
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken Ramos wrote:

Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about anything and everything about nothing. However I can make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Wink


I love PBJ sandwich. After I purchase that light meter, you can FEDEX me a couple of them and I will let you know if you should continue making PBJs or not Laughing
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rjlittlefield



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sue, thanks for the further info. I had forgotten that you are doing a full Master's Program. Large film explains everything.

Since I'm clueless about modern external meters, I will now sit back and see what wisdom other people can offer.

--Rik
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MikeBinOKlahoma



Joined: 20 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen a handheld meter once or twice! Once I even saw a guy with a big wooden boxy camera use one. Shocked

The theory behind shooting with incident light sounds good in certain situations, but I've never tried it. Soon maybe you can let us know how it is.

I've heard numberous people sing the praises of the L-358, but can't say anything about it myself. I'd ask your instructor what the minimal model he recommends is, and look for a used one at keh.com, bhphotovideo.com, or your local camera store/pawn shop!
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Moebius



Joined: 27 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sue,

I know nothing at all about light meters, but did find this for sale:

http://www.photosapien.com/photo-1203.html

Ken
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S. Alden
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information. That is a spot meter and does not measure both ambient and strobe.
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Moebius



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah but Sue, you just have to be creative.

To measure ambient light, you just have to wave it around in a big area with one eye on the meter. For strobe, you simply turn it on and off and on and off...real fast.

See? With some ingenuity, you have save yourself a few bucks.

Ken
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S. Alden
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moebius wrote:
Ah but Sue, you just have to be creative.

To measure ambient light, you just have to wave it around in a big area with one eye on the meter. For strobe, you simply turn it on and off and on and off...real fast.

See? With some ingenuity, you have save yourself a few bucks.

Ken
Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Sue Alden
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MikeBinOKlahoma



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.naturescapes.net/112005/cg1105.htm

Sue, it may be nothing you don't already know (or perhaps would learn) but if you want to try to make lemonades from lemon, this article on the virtues of using a meter with a digital camera may interest you.
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S. Alden
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mike

That L358 seems like a good meter and not as costly as the newer models.
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