Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sometimes...


Now and then, I miss the discipline of film photography...you've heard that before, right? Film and developing costs were a great incentive for getting the shot without a lot of trial and error type fooling around. Digital makes it easy...take the shot, check it out on the back of the camera, make an adjustment or two, shoot again and then check it again...repeat as necessary! With film, it was a pretty common practice to bracket (shoot the scene with different exposures) but you still never knew what you had till the film was developed. A good light meter made things much easier and saved a lot of expensive film and development costs...a good meter would pay for itself pretty quickly. My Sekonic 508 doesn't see nearly as much use as it did in times past but I still use it pretty often and it pays it's way in other ways now...it saves time. It's great for figuring flash exposures, for determining dynamic range in a scene and for finding 18% neutral reflectance. Cameras have pretty good meters built into them these days but they won't do what a dedicated meter, like this one, will. It will spot meter down to 1 degree or meter incident light. Most high end cameras have spotmeters but they generally cover 10 degrees or more and all built in meters measure only reflected light, not incident (ambient) light. Most built in meters are very good but, you know, they have their limitations. Precision spot and ambient meters have a big limitation too...they'll give you the information you need, but they leave it up to you on how to use that information...I'm still learning.

4 comments:

Wendy said...

You know I never had a light meter. My Aunt did and she used it all the time but then she was a professional photographer too. But then I always borrowed a 35mm film camera too, never had the money to buy my own :o( Maybe some day you can give me lessons on how to use one and give me an idea of what I am missing. I do use the meter on my camera all the time but I know it's not alway right and I have to still take photos and adjust the settings. Great photo of your meter and I'm glad your back online :o)

John Ownby said...

John -- glad to see you back online! Your posts about light meters reminds me of how little I know.....

Paula said...

You make it all sound so simple. I'll never be a photographer but I appreciate the people who are.

shutterflycutie said...

me too...we all are spoiled with our "convenience" at digital. I almost became disheartened with 35mm cameras cuz I couldn't capture images as I saw them in my head. Then I grew up and read and realized how the pros did it. Knew I'd never have the equipment for what my head imagined. Digital restored my faith. I love hearing all the detail of the manual use of camera equipment