My digital RAW files are dark when I use my flash meter

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by john carter, May 16, 2010.

  1. After that recent great discussion on lighting ratios; I thought I'd ask a question about flash metering. Again I'm a rookie but I have two flashes with variable power and a Sekonic flash meter. When I meter for flash using my triggers I seem to get a stop underexposure when using RAW. As I really don't want to be using my DSLR and I want to use slides, do you think I'll get a normal exposure with my film cameras.
  2. Have you calibrated your meter? I found, when testing my Minolta flashmeter that it was 2/3 or so of a stop oversensitive.
    That led to underexposed images until I adjusted it. I really sometimes just use my digital SLR as a meter, with pretty good
    accuracy - even for transparency film. I set the camera so that the exposure and histogram look good, then just apply the
    appropriate settings for the ISO I'm using to the film camera.
  3. Are you doing incident or reflective metering? Incident metering works best, at least for me.
  4. Also, be careful how exactly you meter: is the lumisphere (if you meter has one) extended or retracted?
  5. It is actually a Sekonic L308s and it is brand new. I have used it many times and other than this flash problem it is right on. And I'm doing incident metering with the flash meter using my triggers. But you gave me an idea. I have never checked my Sekonic meter against my DSLR meter. Thanks.​
  6. Scott, it is an extended lumisphere. My manual says to use this hemisphere dome.
    I took some images with my slide film, but they won't be out for a while.
  7. How are you judging the exposure? The camera LCD is not a good guide.
  8. I use the histogram, carefully evaluating the placement of tones. However, I also have the brightness level of the LCD
    screen on my D300 set to -2, which closely resembles what I see on my software calibrated monitor. If I'm suspicious of
    my flashmeter reading, or I have neglected to throw it in the kit, I find my DSLR to be normally an adequate means of
    getting overall exposure correct. I do prefer to use the meter for measuring ratios, though, when I'm shooting film. Still, the
    DSLR's histogram & monitor have served as an adequate quick & dirty substitute on occasion.
  9. I also find that my Sekonic reads about 2/3 stop under compared to where I would like the exposure. Probably the 18% gray is calibrated for shooting slide film. You could either dial in calibration/compensation to the meter, or just make a mental note about how it reads exposure.
  10. Thanks for the response: I put my RAW files up on the converter that is with PSE6, my histograms are heavy to the left, the Sekonic, my DSLR, another meter and the Sekonic read the gray card the same. I think I'll wait for some real negatives and slides before I panic. DSLRs have so many none camera things on them that maybe some setting has been changed. As I said I don't use my DSLRs very much, too big, too complicated, so it just turned out to be no fun, plus I really have thought that the pictures don't look all that interesting (mine or anybody elses). If I end up having to add a stop to my slides I'll just do that. Thanks again.
  11. Simply adjust your meters ASA rating to give the exposure you want. The rating on film and your digital camera is only a suggestion anyway (Most folks think it is engraved in platinum or something, but it is only a point to start at).
  12. Tom, thanks, I will do that when I see one of my slides.
  13. Make sure that the meter is in Flash mode or Flash Sync mode. Extending the dome isn't enough.
    In flash mode, you press the button, then fire the flash. The meter waits for the flash to fire. In flash sync mode, the meter triggers the flash, but you need to hook up a sync code to the main flash head or power pack.
    If it's the kind of meter that also has a spot meter, make sure that the some setting is selected. As others have mentioned, make sure that the ISO matches the ISO setting on your camera. When you expose, shoot in manual mode and use the f-stop suggested by the meter. Be aware that Sekonic meters display f-stops in tenths of a stop. A reading of 11.9 is effectively f/16, not f/11.
    Read the book again to make certain that you haven't skipped any steps or settings. It can be a little tricky the first time you try to use a flash meter.

Share This Page