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Thread: Handheld Light Meter

  1. #1
    MajaMolly's Avatar
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    Handheld Light Meter

    I'm interested in beginning to shop for a handheld light meter. I have no idea where to start. Is there such a thing as a budget-friendly (new or used) light meter that gives the suggested ISO and shutter speed when the desired aperture is already decided?

    Any recommendations much appreciated.

    Thanks.

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Maja, just the way you worded your post....what is your camera and what do you need a handheld for?

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    I'll second that - what is your camera meter doing wrong that has decided you to go down the route of a handheld meter?

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    I have thought about one but in reality your camera is a sophisticated light meter. There isn't - imo - an accurate exposure but one that is "good". Do you use Photoshop or something similar? if so then try for an exposure that "fits" into the histogram and then adjust to suit your idea of what a good image looks like. The light meter idea is mostly a throwback to the manual film cameras and are mostly still used exclusively by the photographers that were brought up on them?

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    MajaMolly's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    Maja, just the way you worded your post....what is your camera and what do you need a handheld for?
    I am wanting to get a Lensbaby lens but the Lensbaby does not meter with my camera (Nikon D60). The Lensbaby will work on full manual mode but the D60 will not give any light metering information at all. So, I could just guess and check, but I'm thinking that a handheld meter would help in setting the ISO and shutter speed. The Lensbaby uses aperture discs so the aperture setting is a known setting by what disc you have inserted.

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Traditionally, the ISO has always been set, by selecting the film to be used, and then the shutter and aperture combinations determined by the measured exposure. Contemporary digital cameras still follow this model - no camera exists where you lock down either the shutter or aperture leaving the other to be set as the ISO is adjusted. You still need to set the ISO and work with the others.

    The philosophy of the lens baby sounds very similar to how one photographs terrestrial scenes with an astronomical telescope serving as a long focal length lens. The aperture is fixed, you select the ISO, and then just work with the shutter speed to get the exposure. If scene element movement requires a specific shutter range limit, you select the ISO accordingly and go back to finding what shutter gets you the image you're after.

    You may be able to use your camera's meter to select the exposure. Put your lensbaby on, install the aperture disk that you want to use, set your camera to aperture priority mode with the aperture set to the numerical value of the disk, set your ISO, and when your camera meters, it should be selecting only the shutter leaving everything else fixed. If your camera biases the exposure expecting the lens aperture to be under it's control, just adjust the exposure compensation for the difference. ( two stops too dark, select two stops brighter )

    I do not know about Nikon, but my Sigma SD14 meters fine with my Orion 1250mm fixed aperture f/13.9 ( 90mm ) Maksutov Cassegrain.

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    Traditionally, the ISO has always been set, by selecting the film to be used, and then the shutter and aperture combinations determined by the measured exposure. Contemporary digital cameras still follow this model - no camera exists where you lock down either the shutter or aperture leaving the other to be set as the ISO is adjusted. You still need to set the ISO and work with the others.
    Actually, my normal way of working with my D5000 is to use one of the semi-auto modes -- I set either the aperture or shutter speed -- and then set the ISO as the second variable if necessary. It is actually quite a natural way of choosing the exposure triple. If, e.g., I want a particular aperture, there is typically a lot of "slop" in what counts as an acceptable shutter speed. By working this way, I can opt for the lowest ISO that gets me a shutter speed that I am willing to live with. The D5000 allows me to set ISO using the dedicated function button, so the camera's interface is designed to make this mode of operation easy to do without having to use the menu system. FWIW

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Why not get a wonderful Sagamo Weston light meter. One of the originals like the V or the Euromaster. They are timeless classics and still can be used to great effect. Just make sure that you get one that zeros OK and all should be fine, especially your pocket as they go for a few or $ on Ebay.

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    Traditionally, the ISO has always been set, by selecting the film to be used, and then the shutter and aperture combinations determined by the measured exposure. Contemporary digital cameras still follow this model - no camera exists where you lock down either the shutter or aperture leaving the other to be set as the ISO is adjusted. You still need to set the ISO and work with the others.

    The philosophy of the lens baby sounds very similar to how one photographs terrestrial scenes with an astronomical telescope serving as a long focal length lens. The aperture is fixed, you select the ISO, and then just work with the shutter speed to get the exposure. If scene element movement requires a specific shutter range limit, you select the ISO accordingly and go back to finding what shutter gets you the image you're after.

    You may be able to use your camera's meter to select the exposure. Put your lensbaby on, install the aperture disk that you want to use, set your camera to aperture priority mode with the aperture set to the numerical value of the disk, set your ISO, and when your camera meters, it should be selecting only the shutter leaving everything else fixed. If your camera biases the exposure expecting the lens aperture to be under it's control, just adjust the exposure compensation for the difference. ( two stops too dark, select two stops brighter )

    I do not know about Nikon, but my Sigma SD14 meters fine with my Orion 1250mm fixed aperture f/13.9 ( 90mm ) Maksutov Cassegrain.
    With the D60 and the Lensbaby it 'has' to be set on manual mode... at least according to the Lensbaby web-site. The D7000 and up will work on aperture priority mode or shutter priority and meter, but the D60 won't. The -........+ guide will not register in the viewfinder.

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcgeorge View Post
    Why not get a wonderful Sagamo Weston light meter. One of the originals like the V or the Euromaster. They are timeless classics and still can be used to great effect. Just make sure that you get one that zeros OK and all should be fine, especially your pocket as they go for a few or $ on Ebay.

    I will take a look on Ebay... thanks.

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    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    There may be a work-around.

    Use an aperture on the Lensbaby thingamajig - set a shutter speed that you think will be about right - set the D60 to Auto ISO. Not sure if it will work but it may...worth a shot or two.

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    There may be a work-around.

    Use an aperture on the Lensbaby thingamajig - set a shutter speed that you think will be about right - set the D60 to Auto ISO. Not sure if it will work but it may...worth a shot or two.

    Thank you. When I get it, I will try it. It'll probably be a good thing to learn how to shoot in manual.

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    A couple of solutions...you could play with the Lensbaby and your standard lens until you learn how much above or below the exposure of the Lensbaby is in comparison. If you're not in a hurry, take the readings with the lens on then adjust as necessary for the Lensbaby. You could also chimp it. Take a shot and use the display and histogram to range it in. It seems to work well for some. If you find you are using your Lensbaby quite a bit and not always getting that right exposure then perhaps a hand held is in order. I wouldn't start too cheap just for consistency considerations and used ones are worth looking at.
    Last edited by Andrew1; 30th December 2011 at 11:34 PM.

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    For really cheap (free) solution try an app for a light meter on a smart phone!

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    I suggest you look at the Sekonic range: you might as well look at the lowest priced model which also has Flash Metering.
    An Hand Held Meter, is a tool you will keep for life, Sekonic is avery good brand.

    WW

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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by shreds View Post
    For really cheap (free) solution try an app for a light meter on a smart phone!
    Thanks, Ian! I downloaded a few and will give them a go!!!

  17. #17
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    Re: Handheld Light Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    I suggest you look at the Sekonic range: you might as well look at the lowest priced model which also has Flash Metering.
    An Hand Held Meter, is a tool you will keep for life, Sekonic is avery good brand.

    WW
    Thank you, Bill. I will most definitely look at Sekonic.

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