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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> light meter
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12/05/2007 10:53:59 AM · #1
anybody use a light meter for studio portrait and which one you use.

12/05/2007 11:00:43 AM · #2
Sekonic L-358
12/05/2007 11:29:04 AM · #3
I used the Sekonic L-358 as well but even though it is an awesome meter, I feel like I wasted my money. Once I got used to the full manual setting with studio flashes, I find it much easier NOT to use one. Look at strobist and you will probably opt not to by a meter.

I could sell you mine if you really wanted.
12/05/2007 11:32:44 AM · #4
Polaris (don't remember model #). I disagree about not using one in studio. I shoot full manual in studio always, but without my meter I wouldn't get the spot on exposure my clients expect. Light ratio is very important in creating different light effects - can't get ratios without metering.
12/05/2007 11:48:26 AM · #5
I agree with Cindi. You may come close without a light meter ... but my thought is, if you're going to spend all that money on studio equipment, do you really want to just be 'close' or do you want to be 'right'?

12/05/2007 11:52:11 AM · #6
I would love to get a meter, but the $250 or so for a 358 just seems so much better towards good glass or more lighting equipment. I definitely still want one though. Damn the whole starving art student thing!
12/05/2007 11:55:13 AM · #7
Originally posted by candlerain:

I could sell you mine if you really wanted.


How much?
12/05/2007 12:03:09 PM · #8
which one do you have and how much
12/05/2007 01:53:13 PM · #9
458433.jpg
Sekonic L-358

I usually push the histogram to the right instead and just see what the Sekonic says. I mainly use the Sekonic for my medium format camera which doesn't have a light meter.
12/05/2007 03:49:42 PM · #10
Originally posted by idnic:

Polaris (don't remember model #). I disagree about not using one in studio. I shoot full manual in studio always, but without my meter I wouldn't get the spot on exposure my clients expect. Light ratio is very important in creating different light effects - can't get ratios without metering.


Sure you can. You just need to know a few numbers associated with your strobes and understand the inverse square law.
12/05/2007 04:06:23 PM · #11
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

Originally posted by idnic:

Polaris (don't remember model #). I disagree about not using one in studio. I shoot full manual in studio always, but without my meter I wouldn't get the spot on exposure my clients expect. Light ratio is very important in creating different light effects - can't get ratios without metering.


Sure you can. You just need to know a few numbers associated with your strobes and understand the inverse square law.


That's fine, but, unless your lights have limited power settings, it's hardly just a "few" numbers. The numbers will be different for each power setting. Assuming that your strobe, like an Alien Bee, has a 5 stop range, that means you need to know how the output varies at each setting. That's simple enough for full, half, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 and 1/32 settings, but the adjustment is "stepless" i.e. there are an infinite (or, effectively infinite) number of settings and thus, an infinite (or at least very large) quantity of numbers for a single light.

And, don't forget, all of those numbers will change if you want to add any light modifiers (softboxes, umbrellas, grids, gels, barndoors, etc)

And, heaven help you figure out the ratio if you want to simply reflect the main light to use as fill.

An understanding of the inverse square law is useful, but it's not a replacement for a good flash meter in the studio.
12/05/2007 05:21:41 PM · #12
Originally posted by Spazmo99:


An understanding of the inverse square law is useful, but it's not a replacement for a good flash meter in the studio.


I agree. It's just not impossible to do. "Close enough" is good enough for ratios in lighting also. It's simple enough to set up one strobe and then set the other one based on the first setup. Nothing needs to be exact. A simple 1/3 / 2/3 setup is easy enough to pull off just by setting up one strobe and then repositioning the second one or adjusting the power.

I wonder how many digital studio photographers know what guide numbers are and how to use them these days? I wonder how photographers figured out light before electronic meters were available ;)
12/05/2007 05:28:20 PM · #13
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

I wonder how photographers figured out light before electronic meters were available ;)


Analog light meters. Which in spite of popular misinformation still work in shooting digital.
12/05/2007 05:31:26 PM · #14
Interflit Flash Meter

It's cheap, but if you're not mixing ambient light is effective.

Message edited by author 2007-12-05 17:32:10.
12/05/2007 05:42:09 PM · #15
I got one of these
From a different thread
I got a Gossen Luna Pro-F (analog-link has reviews) and works great. I got mine on EBay for $45. BHPHoto is at $179. There is a link that brings it up on Ebay
Linkie to Gossen Luna Pro-F
12/05/2007 05:59:50 PM · #16
Originally posted by idnic:

Polaris (don't remember model #). I disagree about not using one in studio. I shoot full manual in studio always, but without my meter I wouldn't get the spot on exposure my clients expect. Light ratio is very important in creating different light effects - can't get ratios without metering.


Ditto this, sorry Candlerain but I get a feeling you really don´t know what you are talking about, unless you only shoot with 1-2 lights.

Espcially when setting up 4 or more lights, a light meter is pretty much essential, at least if you want deliberate and precise lighting fully under your control. Used to have a Sekonic 358 but it got stolen and since I didn´t need all the features I opted to replace it with the 308 wich has served me well the last 8 months.
12/05/2007 07:34:46 PM · #17
For one light you probably don't need a meter. FOr more than you you must have one.

If you have 3 lights - main/key, fill and hair and want the total exposure at F8, how do you do it otherwise?
With a meter you set the key at 5.6, the hair at F8 and the fill at F4 and then take an overall reading (this should be close to an F8 overall). Without a meter you can't know what each light is doing.

Say your shooting a high key - 4 lights, 2 on teh subject and 2 on the BG. You want the lighting flat and the BG 2 stops over the sunject so it'll be nice and easy to punch out later. It's fairly important the lights match side to side - a meter lets you do this accurately - and quickly.

BTW, I use a sekonic L358 also, with a pocket wizard module and PWs on my lights. Wireless is the way to go.
12/05/2007 08:18:06 PM · #18
Originally posted by jmsetzler:



I wonder how many digital studio photographers know what guide numbers are and how to use them these days?

I wonder how photographers figured out light before electronic meters were available ;)


Probably very few. Even older flash units had a dial that calculated exposure for you using the film speed and light to subject distance.

The earliest light meters, called "extinction meters" relied on a series of ND filters that the photographer would hold up and see which one would block all visible light, and for each one, the camera settings were calculated. It was pretty subjective, since it relied on the sensitivity of the individual photographer's eyes.
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