metering for large format camers

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by arpo_hiroda, Sep 30, 2002.

  1. does anyone know, beside hand-held exposure meters,
    what other type of metering system is preferred when using large
    format cameras?

    thanks for answering
  2. Well Sinar makes a metering system that reads a 1mm square
    spot in the film plane. Eliminates those pesky filter & bellows
    extension correction factors. Of cousrse you also need a Sinar
    camera with the metering back groundglass frame.<P>Other
    than that I use both incident and spot type meters, the choice is
    determined bythe subject. And I double check with Polaroid.
  3. Hi

    There is also a metering back like a rollfilmholder from Horseman for 6x9 and 4x5 cameras. If you will do much macro thad would be an easy solution. I`m not so happy with the older Sinarsix but it works also.
    And the rest as Ellis already stated:
    Good light!
  4. There are also spot probes for handheld meters like the Minolta Booster II for reading off the groundglass of any camera, but these tend to be practical only in the studio, where it is easier to shield the glass from stray light.
  5. Never had any success with the Gossen Sinarsix. The supposed extra accuracy from reading the filmplane is completely washed away by any spurious light entering the camera back.<br>A standard spotmeter or incident meter is far easier to use IMHO, and there's almost no difference in the bulk or weight, since the sinarsix is based on a standard Gossen Lunarsix.<p>In fact, I'm sure you could make up your own probe by putting a CdS cell in a lollipop stick!
  6. I don't think there is a "preferred" meter over a handheld. The
    next best option is a small light multi-zone 35mm camera with
    spot metering and readouts. Usually tho 35's won't get you down
    into multiple minute exposures.
  7. Nothing is preferred over the hand held exposure meter. I'd guess that 98% of all large format photographers use a hand held meter of some sort, even if it's just the meter in a 35 mm camera. Of the other 2%, 1% have so much experience they don't need a meter and the other 1% use some of the things others have mentioned here.
  8. Noone seems to mention it, but there are of course more modern versions of the Sinar spotmeter. I've used a stick that connects to a Gossen Ultrasix (Mastersix in Europe), which also connects to the decently modern Profisix versions. That one did give reliable readings. (Then I also used the binocular mirror hood, which had a built-in "darkhood", so stray backlight was no problem.)
    The most current version of the Sinar spot meter stick called Booster, connects to a Minolta "whadayacallem" IV, and should, as far as I've heard from other users, be very reliable.
    As most of this community seems to use their cameras for outdoor work (landscape etc.) using a hand-held meter is quite straighforward. As Sinar cameras are more common in studios, where bellows draw compensation often comes into play, a meter that meters off the film-plane is certainly of more use.
  9. I'm not yet an LF photographer but I'm in the process of lusting over an 8X10 I saw in a shop in Grant's Pass, OR. My question is this, under what conditions must one use a spot meter and why won't the good old incident meter reading work 98%of the time.
  10. Walter,

    I think that many photographers use spot meters when using b&w film so that they can read highlight and shadow values. They then use those values with some form of the Zone System in order to maximize the information in the negative before they print.

    I usually use color-transparency film, and I almost always use an incident meter (I use a Sekonic L-508 which has incident and spot meters). When I photograph sunsets I do use the spot meter to read values in clouds.

    I think that many people believe LF cameras to be completely different from other cameras. Remember that LF, MF, and 35mm cameras are light-tight boxes that hold film, and while they may look different and have different features, the basic principles behind them are the same.
  11. My Horseman meter slides in front of the ground glass like a film holder. It's designed for 6x9 with an adapter for 4x5, so, while not a true spot meter, it measures only the center portion of the image. (Caution: there are a lot of them out there on eBay which use mercury batteries that have no modern replacements.)
  12. As an addendum to Bill Mitchell's post. There is also a straight 4x5 version of
    the Horseman meter (I own one) and you have one of three choices in terms
    of using the older holders designed for mercury batteries:

    1) buy mercury batteries from Canada where they are still readily vailable.

    2) have the meter modified by Horseman in NYC (not cheap).

    3) THERE IS an exact replacement for the specified mercury battery and that
    is two Wein Air Cells stacked one on top of the other. Works perfectly
    although, as you know if you hae used these batteries, they have a short shelf
    life once you have activated them (you can prolong this by saving the foil
    peeloff covers and putting them back on when storing the batteries). I have
    been using these batteries in my Horseman meter for 5+ years with no
    problems. Every so often I check the meter against a Luna Pro SBC and my
    Pentax Spotmeter and it is fine.

  13. Well, the 4x5 meters with mercury batteries can be used. Look up the modern replacements and you'll have a meter that works, just tells you to meter 1 stop hot.

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