Using a 35mm camera as a light meter?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by zack_rose, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. I recently purchased a Mamiya m645 1000s. It came with the unmetered prism. Don't really feel like buying a metered one right now. I don't have a DSLR, but I have a Pentax K1000 and an ME Super. Can I use one of their internal light meters to gauge a good exposure for the Mamiya? If so, what would be the technique? I would assume I would just place the camera at approximately the same position as the Mamiya, set the ISO and f-stop accordingly and go from there. One thing though, since the lens that came with the Mamiya is a 55mm, should I use a comparable lens in the 35mm camera (I think this would be a 35mm lens)?
  2. Zack, Welcome to PN. In my opinion you have a cheap solution. Use a 35mm lens on the 35mm camera to cover approximately the same angle of view as the Mamiya's 55mm or use a telephoto and, presto, you have a spot meter. Just make sure the 35mm camera is set to the ISO of the film in the Mamiya. The downside is that you have a heavy meter to carry around but you'll also be carrying a heavier wallet. :) Good idea! Best, LM.
  3. Just buy a will save money in the long run, and learn a lot more.
  4. My advice to you would to be buy a separate hand held meter, with the capability to read flash as well. I used a Minolta Flashmeter IV for over 15 years until I absentmindedly lost it, and replaced it with a Sekonic L-358 and have never looked back. It has a long cord with it that you can hang around your neck so you don't lose it. When funds become available, I would invest in a good 1ยบ spotmeter as well. My "Old faithful", Pentax Spotmeter V, has been with me for over 26 years. I use it, in conjunction with Adams' zone system about 75% of the time.
    The Sekonic, for it's capabilities, is very well priced as well, about $275 or so. You can find used Pentax spotmeters on Fleabay for about a C-note +/-
  5. I have the pme 90 meterd prism but still prefer to use the minolta spot meter and some time the seckonic old analog hand meter when I can get too close to the subject, other wise in the mountain zones the spot meter helped a lot.
  6. "Just buy a will save money in the long run, and learn a lot more"
    Best advise of all. Have a Sekonic Studio Deluxe and a Sekonic l-508.
  7. Yes you can do this, no problem! I've been doing it for years.
    And while yes, I do agree, a nice hand held light meter would be kick ass, and a great tool, they also cost several hundred dollars or more. One can buy a lot of film with that!
    I use an EOS 3 body which as a spot meter in the middle. I use this for zone spreads, and exposure readings on all my medium format work.
  8. Using an SLR and having to carry around lenses for that camera would be hugely inconvenient. Much better off getting a used light meter which is more useful (due to incident light reading capability) and much more compact.
  9. I use a Minolta Dynax 505si (Maxxum HTsi) + 1.7/50 mm lens. It is light, and has spot metering, which is essential for me.
    However, I have handhelt lightmeter too.
  10. The only reason for proceeding as you suggest, apart from not wanting additional cash outlay at present, is to load the Pentax with film so that if your Mamiya packs up, you automatically have a second camera!
    Depending what lens you have on the Pentax, you may also be vying for the world's largest/heaviest lightmeter.
    Metered prisms are handy, particularily when using filters or macro accessories, but a seperate hand held meter with incident reading capabilities is priceless.
  11. When I'm outside shooting ambient, I use a Gossen Digisix light meter. It's cheap, lightweight, accurate, and if you have the flash grip you can buy an adaptor to screw the meter into the grip. There's no way I'm going to buy a metered prism for my Hassy with that thing kicking around.
    When I'm using lights, I often use a Canon G10 as a light meter. Sure it's not as accurate as a real flash meter, but with a little practice its damn close. The actual preview ability is much more useful to me than an extra 1/3rd-2/3rd stop accuracy, especially since I usually shoot black and white with compensating developers. Plus the G10 is also a camera, while a meter is just a meter.
  12. Thank you for your responses. I understand that of course the best solution is to get a light meter. However, at this point I simply want to get out and start using the camera, and was asking if this would be a good solution for the time being, and what tips one would give using this unusual method. I will note all the different specific meters to take into consideration. However, only one response directly answered my question. Any other thoughts?
  13. Yes, use the SLR as a light meter. Mount a lens with roughly the same field of view as your MF lens. Read the exposure and set that on the MF camera. Should do quite well.
    The gist of the other thread was "Yes, you can use a DSLR or even a Point & Shoot." A lot of people are doing this. I do.

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