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FSU Former Soviet Union RF This forum is for the Former Soviet Union rangefinder cameras, especially the many and various Fed, Zorki, and Kiev.

View Poll Results: Light meter - to use or not to use?
Always use light meter 283 32.09%
Never use light meter 43 4.88%
Generally don't bother 118 13.38%
Generally use one if I can 438 49.66%
Voters: 882. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-15-2016   #201
aicardi
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Originally Posted by Hsg View Post
I shoot digital and yet I use a meter.
Same here. I shoot both film and digital. I always use a hand held meter.
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Old 12-15-2016   #202
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I wonder how many photographers who've been at it for decades bother with lightmeters? Are there any who subconciously do all the calculating within a few seconds?
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Old 12-16-2016   #203
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I've been using my Gossen Luna Pro since I bought it in 1986.... Thirty years! Time flies...

But rarely with digital. And usually not with film, if its sunny outside (Sunny 16!). And I was never very good with it indoors. But outside in less-than-sunny conditions, its a lifesaver.
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Old 12-16-2016   #204
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I usually use a meter or a camera with built-in meter when I go to forests, where I can not do nice "bare-eye-metering". It's the same with indoors.
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Old 12-17-2016   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post
I wonder how many photographers who've been at it for decades bother with lightmeters? Are there any who subconciously do all the calculating within a few seconds?
Yes I have been decades at it, and I always use a meter and tripod. I do not like re-do's.
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Old 05-04-2017   #206
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Having been shooting more and more black and white, I find myself caring less about getting exposure right. The results tend to be close enough to perfect for my liking using guesswork. I use sunny 16 and shoot at night/indoors wide open at 1/15th and wing it. The only times I will meter are changing evening light or stuff like portraits.
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Old 05-13-2017   #207
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I normally shoot slides, so I always use a light meter, whether built-in or of the separate handheld variety.

I have never really put any effort into learning to determine exposure without a meter beyond a basic knowledge of Sunny 16.

- Murray
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Old 05-13-2017   #208
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I use a separate light meter only for those cameras I use without built in meters. So that would be my 4x5 primarily, but I just recently got a Rolleiflex without a meter.
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Old 05-13-2017   #209
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If I have a camera / phone app with me which has a lightmeter, I do a few readings and be on my way.

Of course you could do it the hardcore way and just judge if you're a pro which I'm not, but I'd also want all my photos to be exposed at least when I'm shooting people I'm never going to see again.
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Old 05-13-2017   #210
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Verichrome Pan did not need perfect exposure. Later films with more accurate speed ratings do need it.

You can screw around with sunny 16 and vague descriptions like beach, sunny, cloudy, overcast, & shade. They work to some degree and I say use them if there is no other way to expose, but a good meter used by a trained person is better.
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Old 05-13-2017   #211
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Great Ronald! I'll go buy some Verichrome Pan! ... Oh, wait ...

Sara ^^^, you can expose without metering every shot. The easiest way id to shoot a few hundred times in different light. Then remember the lighting conditions that work, and use those over and over. For example, most galleries work at 1.30th of a second and f/2-2.8 with iso 400 or 800. Beaches are nearly always f/16 and 1/500th with iso 400. Go from there.
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Old 05-14-2017   #212
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That might be easy for some but buying a meter and using it is easier still. And if you are happy guessing then a lot of old but good meters will still work better than guessing and be dirt cheap. It helps if, like me, you like having a period outfit with the lens, body and so one from the same period; meaning a Weston of some sort mostly.

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Old 05-17-2017   #213
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Almost always use a lightmeter.
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Old 11-22-2017   #214
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Some of my cameras have working built-in light meters some do not.

If my camera's built-in light meter is working and is accurate, I use it.

If my camera's built-in light meter is not working or not accurate, I use a hand held light meter or I use the the Sunny 16 Exposure Guideline.

If my camera does not have a built-in light meter, I use a hand held light meter or I use the the Sunny 16 Exposure Guideline.
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Old 01-06-2018   #215
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I do more photography with medium & large format & am extremely conscious of exposure/development. With the smaller negative I appreciate accurate exposure even more. Does that mean I never take a grab shot? No. But getting a fine print from a poor exposure is a challenge. As much as I liked my M2s & M4s......the MP has been a boon....although I'm keen to get some extraneous framelines masked out
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Old 01-07-2018   #216
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I only use a meter for studio lighting. For available light, I use my variation on the Zone System, which I call ZoneSimple. You can check it out on my website www.charlielemay.net.
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Old 01-07-2018   #217
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And one can also use the Daylight Exposure Dial from a Kodak Master Photoguide if one wants a bit of assistance estimating exposure.
Here is an example from the mid 1970's.
Daylight Exposure Dial (p5) from the 1973 Kodak Master Photo Guide. by Steven Wagner, on Flickr
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Old 01-08-2018   #218
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A Gossen Sixtino 2 handles any metering I want.
It's accurate and I mostly only need it when I use a different film or the light greatly changes.
It helps though, that I only use 100 and 400 ASA (ISO?) film.
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Old 03-14-2018   #219
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For digital cameras I use raw files.

It turns out the read noise level for one of my camera's is not a function of the ISO parameter (i.e. the calibrated exposure index parameter). This means the only concern is to maximize exposure while avoiding permanent loss of unimportant highlights such as specular reflections or bright lights at night. I use the camera's native ISO (200) and manually choose the appropriate shutter time and aperture. I typically auto-backet three exposures by 1/3 or 1/2 stops. I keep the one with optimum highlight region retention and delete the others.

During post-production, the initial raw rendering the image global brightness is usually dark, so I increase the global brightness as needed. Selective shadow pushing and highlight pulling finishes the job.

So, the only value for metering is to avoid gross overexposure. This is an approximation so careful metering is unnecessary.

My other camera has two ISO-invarieant regions. Below ISO 800 the sensor circuitry is set to optimize dynamic range. At ISO 800 and above the sensor circuitry automatically changes to optimize the sensor sensitivity (technically the radiant sensitivity).

With this camera there is an additional step. In bright light I use ISO 200 and in low light I use ISO 800.

This method is unsuitable for in-camer JPEGs. Now the meter becomes important. However exposure bracketing while using the meter to select the calibrated exposure index parameter (ISO) is still a useful way to maximize exposure.
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Old 03-14-2018   #220
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In the past, I used either the camera's built in meter (if it had one) or a handheld meter. Using Tri-X or HP5, sometimes I wouldn't use a meter at all. Those films had great latitude. With Kodachrome, I always metered and bracketed the exposure as well.

Since I've been using digital, I've used the built in camera meter exclusively. I shoot aperture priority almost all the time using the multi-area function and I almost always shoot Raw. There was a time not too long ago that I carefully watched the histogram and adjusted the exposure compensation dial as the spirit moved me and conditions required (or, as I thought the conditions required). More recently I've just let the camera set the exposure under most conditions. Oddly--or not--letting the camera set the exposure has resulted in less need for fiddling with exposure in post processing. I still use exposure compensation for some lighting conditions and I sometimes use the spot meter function of the camera, however, I've learned to trust the automatic exposure functions of my cameras.
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Old 03-14-2018   #221
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Oops. I now notice the original post was in the FSU sub-forum and my answer was based on my current digital use.

I'll rewind. I did use a few FSU cameras in the past--Kievs to be specific. I used them with Tri-X and HP5 films exclusively and sometimes I used a handheld meter and sometimes not. The Kiev built in meter was a bit erratic in my observation so I never trusted it fully.
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Old 04-21-2018   #222
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When I shot film, I did the Zone System tests for Tri X in D76, and I almost always used a Pentax Spot meter.
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Old 04-22-2018   #223
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Depends,

With an old metered camera (to take snapshots) I'll try and make sure the built in meter is ok at more questionable light levels - with myself knowing sunny 16 and some important low light levels.. There's also a copy of the Fred Parker type chart screenshotted to my phone album.

If purposely hoping to take good pictures then I usually do take and use an accurate meter - they're not particularly expensive - rather a bargain compared to the cost (and time! If developing/ enlarging ones self) of wasted film adding up. I tend to always have a meter with an unmetered camera just in case.

Jonathan

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Old 04-22-2018   #224
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This marks my 50th year of shooting Tri X in 35mm cameras. I'm not a walking light meter and do miss occasionally but rarely even calculate for most of what I shoot. Shadows are not hard to "read" with a little practice and there's usually time to bracket if I'm not sure. EI 200 and 8.5 minutes in D76 one to one gives great shadow detail and a little extra insurance against underexposure. If I need a little extra, EI 650 at 11 minutes in D76 one to one is my other "standard."

Constant practice and familiarity with your equipment will make a difference. More than a few of what I consider the "icons" of photography were made long before good light meters were available.
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Old 05-27-2019   #225
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Forty years using a digital spot meter with Hasselblads, rolleiflexes, Leicas and my late father’s 1953 Zeiss Super Ikonta 6x9 and I have never used anything else. And I have never ever had a bad exposure, ever. Correctly used in conjunction with development control a spot meter can produce stunning negatives.
Expose for shadows and underdevelopment are the key issues.
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Old 05-27-2019   #226
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On a photo outing, before I take pictures I take a general reading in the area I am going to shoot, think about the situations I'll be in, choose my settings and put the meter away. I only re-meter if I sense the light has changed in a big way. Changes such as walking from full sun to shade can be made on the fly without metering.
I have read of people who have learned to set exposure by a sense of the light, but I have never learned to do it, I use a good meter with big numbers.
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Old 05-27-2019   #227
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When shooting street, does anyone else overexpose by one or one and a half stops? For some reason, I generally get better results. Not for all shots, but for quick on the fly spots of people walking by in my direction, often shooting from the hip. I think it’s because there inevitability ends up being a slight shadow on the subject(s).
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Old 05-27-2019   #228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bert26 View Post
When shooting street, does anyone else overexpose by one or one and a half stops? For some reason, I generally get better results. Not for all shots, but for quick on the fly spots of people walking by in my direction, often shooting from the hip. I think it’s because there inevitability ends up being a slight shadow on the subject(s).
Bert, I almost never shoot at box speed. Your exposure & development habits would dictate if you need to over expose. i meter (either incident or spot) & process to maintain good shadow detail.
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Old 05-27-2019   #229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bert26 View Post
When shooting street, does anyone else overexpose by one or one and a half stops? For some reason, I generally get better results. Not for all shots, but for quick on the fly spots of people walking by in my direction, often shooting from the hip. I think it’s because there inevitability ends up being a slight shadow on the subject(s).

If there's a shadow on the subject and you expose for that shadow you're not overexposing. You're exposing correctly. You might try to give more than 1.5 stops, that's still a compromise exposure, in full sun shadows will be darker than that.

It's a misconception to think that because there's full sun somewhere in the shot, your correct exposure would be LV 15. If you want detail in the deeper shadows, you may need to give more. It's been said many times and I'll say it again: expose for the shadows (with negative film).
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