Lightmeter

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by tiaan_seynberg, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. hey all,
    so I was wondering, I want to put in extra and take my photography to the next level
    I watch a lot of youtube
    I have a Nikon D7000, they say the 50mm 1.4G is a awesome lens for it,
    but would you say I must rather first get a lightmeter or will it be a waste of money,
    I will use it for everything, portraits, studio, wildlife ext
     
  2. I think a light meter for portraiture is almost imperative for lighting ratios, but nikon
    meters are generally very accurate. My preference tends to be a good meter.
     
  3. I would say you should get the lens before the light meter. I have an external light meter, and admit that a light meeter which measures flash light and a light meeter with spot measurement might be convenient in some situations, as may an incident light meeter (my light meeter have all these capabilities), but I think the camera's light meeter and also the camera histogram both will do a good enough job in most cases. There is however no built in camera function that will give you what a 50 mm f/1.4 will give you.
    ;-)
     
  4. Thanks, I reckon I will buy the lens, I did youtube this morning Nikon Camera lightmeter and see it is not that bad
     
  5. If you are going to be using studio flash for your portraits then you will need a light meter that reads flash. If you already have a lens in the 50-70mm focal length range then you don't need another lens in the same range.
     
  6. I agree, lens first. As a caution however, the histogram isn't really a replacement for an incident light meter.The histogram can't tell you what light is falling on your subject. It only gives you a graphical representation of the distribution of values within the entire scene. For illustration, here are two histograms of the same exact subject within seconds of one another. Which one is correct? Why or why not?
    00amFW-494147584.jpg
     
  7. A light meter is good for the learning process but is not neccesary to take good photograph especially you have digital camera. You can make test shots and then adjust.
    I wouldn't say light meter is a waste of money in fact if you buy one should buy a good one not a cheap one.
     
  8. The histogram can only tell you the distribution of light in a scene only if you capture the entire dynamic range of the scene. If some of the scene brightness value is outside of what you captured then you wouldn't know.
     
  9. Apart from flash metering, you have all the lightmeters you'll ever need built right into the camera.
    The D7000 has spotmetering built in, and is actually better in one respect than a handheld spotmeter. Separate spotmeters become inaccurate when used up close, and need the addition of a diopter to correct them. This is inconvenient at the very least, but the camera's built-in meter needs no such close-up correction.
    The addition of a simple folded sheet of white copier paper gives you incident metering too.
    To take an incident reading: Line up the paper where the subject is, or in the same light and orientation as the subject, and point the camera meter at the paper to take a reading. Whatever exposure reading you get, open up by 2.5 stops more to get precisely the same reading that you (should) get from an expensive handheld incident meter - and all for the price of a sheet of paper. Plus the sheet of paper weighs next-to-nothing and folds up into any convenient pouch or pocket size. Can also be easily recycled when worn out!
     
  10. What kind of studio lighting are you going to use?
    If Nikon strobes are good enough for you, their CLS can be quite effective using only the camera's meter.
    Regarding Incident light metering, just for portraits you can mimic a hand meter using your own camera, like this:
    http://www.jollinger.com/photo/meters/other/ttl_cap.html
    Or buy some commercial device, like this or a similar one:
    http://jimdoty.com/learn/exp101/exp_expodisc/exp_expodisc.html
    Nevertheless, I must confess that I already got an external meter for myself...but I also have a MF film camera with no meter at all.
     
  11. There is no arguing that there are different ways of determining "correct" exposure (although I would certainly use a gray target and not a white piece of paper), but the bottom line is that an incident meter is simply the easiest and most reliable. What if you are in a position where you can get a measurement off a gray target? And then there is determining contrast, in which as you would need to take two different "targeted" readings as opposed to simply using an incident meter to meter the light side and then the shadow, now you know the contrast. There is just so much information a good meter can provide you.
     
  12. If you arent using strobes and dont have any fast glass, I think the 50 1.4 would be the way to go. If you arent balancing strobes, I think you can get good exposure without a meter. Lcd, blinkies and histogram will get you close enough. If you already have the 50 covered in the zoom but at 5.6, I think the 1.4 or even the $100 1.8 will give you a major area of control, shallow dof and low light capability, that will do more for the buck than a light meter. I would consider the Sigma 50 1.4, I love it, better bokeh than the nikon traded for edge sharpness, but at wide apertures where it lives on my camera, its not a loss. When I purchased it was more expensive than the Nikon. Interestingly, I ended up purchasing an Alien Bee cyber commander which contains a light meter and not only measures the light, it records the reading for each light and then marks the changes to the lights as you adjust them from the camera. So my Sekonic is used much less now. Primarily balancing continuous lights.
     
  13. John, consider the pros and cons of a simple double sheet of white copier paper against a grey card:
    Pros for grey card: Needs no compensation and no mental arithmetic.
    Cons of grey card: May not be exactly 18% reflectance or exactly neutral grey to begin with; every 1% error in reflectance means a nearly 6% exposure error; can fade, yellow or get dirty without it being easily noticed; expensive for what you get, and has to be specially sourced to replace; more bulky than a piece of paper.
    Pros for sheet of paper: Is almost guaranteed to be neutral in colour and close to 100% reflectance, and even if it isn't each 1% reflectance error gives only a corresponding ~1% error in exposure; can't fade; any dirt or yellowing is easily seen; easily sourced and replaced at little cost; can be folded to fit in almost any available space.
    Cons of white paper: Needs a bit of compensation and mental addition - durr!
    I rest my case in favour of the humble sheet of copier paper.
    I must admit your argument for an incident meter is quite compelling, but given the difference in cost, and the fact that most incident meters can't double as a white-balance aid......
     

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