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phib

Handheld metering and far away objects

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I'm tired of using my phone to meter so I was reading the forum and now plan to buy a Sekonic L-208 Twinmate.

What I did not find out in my research: does the reflect metering work with far away objects? I'm doing a lot of architecture photography and sometimes I only shoot the top of a building and things like that. With the phone meter i can select the exact area, how do i do that with the Sekonik, just point at the top and it should be alright?

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An incident reading in similar light should work well, unless you are trying to zone map, in which case a spot meter will be needed (or use an M5).

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2 hours ago, phib said:

I'm tired of using my phone to meter so I was reading the forum and now plan to buy a Sekonic L-208 Twinmate.

What I did not find out in my research: does the reflect metering work with far away objects? I'm doing a lot of architecture photography and sometimes I only shoot the top of a building and things like that. With the phone meter i can select the exact area, how do i do that with the Sekonik, just point at the top and it should be alright?

If something is far, far away either walk there and take a reading, or alternatively look for a similar tone somewhere around the area of your feet.

A spot meter is something very specific so it's better to take an average reflected reading 99% of the time, unless you are using the Zone System or taking spot readings from both highlight and shadow and mid tones and averaging them. Maybe an iPhone app can do that but a Sekonic L-208 can't, you need to do the calculation in your head, hence stick with an average reading. Look for something with an 18% reflectance, such as green grass, this will give an average mid tone reading, or use a Kodak grey card to read off, keeping in mind the distant building may be lit differently so wait until the lighting where you are matches the scene. Generally speaking spot readings for 35mm are a total waste of time because they require copious notes and each frame to be developed differently, not something that is practical for 36 exposures.

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Thanks for your inputs. Those spot meters are way to big, I was looking for something pocket size.

I'm now between trying the meter or just save the money for an M6 and stay with the phone meter for now.. :)

 

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The M5 has a spot meter that is quite good for selecting areas of scenes. I prefer its meter pattern to the M6.

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vor 15 Stunden schrieb 250swb:

Generally speaking, spot readings for 35-mm are a total waste of time because they require copious notes and each frame to be developed differently, not something that is practical for 36 exposures.

What a bizarre misconception! Spot-metering does make perfect sense for deliberate and precise luminance and contrast evaluation ... no matter what kind of camera you're using.

For metering far-away objects, a simple light meter with a reflected-light metering angle of approx. 30° - 40° such as the Sekonic L-208 Twinmate won't work. As others already have explained, there's work-arounds but for direct metering, a spot meter is mandatory. Unfortunately, spot meters, or universal meters that support incident-light metering and spot-metering (such as the Minolta Flash Meter VI, the Kenko KFM-2200 or the Sekonic L-758 and L-858 series) are clunky and expensive.

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vor 2 Stunden schrieb TomB_tx:

The M5 has a spot meter that is quite good for selecting areas of scenes. I prefer its meter pattern to the M6.

Sadly the camera is very ugly. But considering the price I have to think about putting my ego aside and maybe get the M5 instead.

Edited by phib

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1 hour ago, phib said:

Sadly the camera is very ugly. But considering the price I have to think about putting my ego aside and maybe get the M5 instead.

I passed over the M5 when it was new, sticking with my M4 because of the negative comments I heard. Added an M6 in 1985 as it looked the Leica part. But about 5 years ago picked up an M5 to try. It's a wonderful camera to use: convenient controls, great meter, full meter-speed information in the VF, and surprisingly comfortable to hold. Now I really like the looks of it too. it's not ugly - just different, and I guess Leica users don't want different.

The film CL (Compact Leica) has a very similar meter, and I had bought one for travel about 1980, and love it - which is why I tried the M5. The CL doesn't have as long an RF base length (don't use super-fast lenses), and only frames for 40-50-90, but it's also a great shooter with those lenses - and a lot cheaper than an M5,

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2 hours ago, 01af said:

What a bizarre misconception! Spot-metering does make perfect sense for deliberate and precise luminance and contrast evaluation ... no matter what kind of camera you're using.

 

It is a serious misconception to think a spot meter can read individual tones in what the OP wants to read (the furthest away shadows and highlights of a tall building in architectural photography) with any degree of accuracy. You are dreaming, or alternatively you decided to answer another question based on 'are spot meters useful at any other time'. If your answer to the actual question from the OP is 'a spot meter can make an average reading as well', then the real answer is 'in that case you don't need a spot meter, use a hand held meter for an average reading and read off a card or something'. The idea that the M5 spot meter can address the same criteria is even more laughable, it's a spot meter for relatively close use. 

Edited by 250swb

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You don’t need such a big gun. The Gossen Digisix will be allright for incident metering, calibrate it with a greycard and you’re all set. 

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I’d recommend the Sekonic 758. Spot is approx 2 degrees. Like all reflected readings one has to interpret the results, ie 18% reflectance assumed by the meter cf where you wish to place the metered area on the tone scale. 

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Depending on the film, precise light reading may not be necessary.

When I used Kodachrome for decades, M5 was accurate enough and M6 was a so-so when metering without care (mainly when landscape with sky in the frame).

Using spotmeter (I have Minolta Spotmeter F ) for a while to confirm the M5 reading, then I didn't use the spotmeter as with experiences, I do "know the lighting",

and more important, with bracketting (when the subject permits) to have the dup-in-the-field to be able to choose afterward high-key or low-key slides.

 

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I use my Sekonic Twinmate all the time (I have two of them), mostly using the incident cover. For your pictures I would continue doing that and not worry about spotmeters. If in doubt or if the light on the distant building is different to the light where you are standing just bracket the exposures or make a calculated adjustment.

 

there have been other postings about meters and which is the best.

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Learn to know how the final photo will look like need some time.

I see a meter (built-in, incident, refected, spot or whatever ) as a tool to help judging and never see it as absolute "meter" to follow without thinking.

 

Once upon a time, I used Exposure-Mat as guide then let it down after some time learning.

 

Edited by a.noctilux

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vor 42 Minuten schrieb a.noctilux:

Learn to know how the final photo will look like need some time.

I see a meter (built-in, incident, refected, spot or whatever ) as a tool to help judging and never see it as absolute "meter" to follow without thinking.

Once upon a time, I used Exposure-Mat as guide then let it down after some time learning.

Thank you very much, this is very helpful.

It seems everyone has a different opinion how to meter so now I'm at the point that I think I just have to try things out and see what works for me :)

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It may depend.on why you are tired of smart phone light meter apps.

Personally, I find dedicated light meter is the least useful in the digital photography era. Yes, I am talking about shooting films.

Since I often shoot both digital camera and films in the same session, the digital camera is also my light meter. The advantage is the immediate feedback. Regardless the light measuring area, the exposure mode, I can set the preferred aperture or shutter speed and slide the other parameters to get what I want from the screen. Of course this only works in the passive lighting conditions when you are not modifying the lighting. 

But  there are situations the digital camera is not convenient, even a small P&S digital camera, then the free downloaded light meter app on smart phone can do the similar job. But the light meter apps I get does not work as good as the digital camera in the immediate feedback. 

I also have dedicated light meter. I use it only to avoid pulling out my digital camera or smart phone. The light meters are very small and shoe mounted. You cannot expect much on this type of light meter, it requires more deep thought to judge how the use the number from the meter. However, this nature itself is a fun to play. There are more surprises and frustration. 

If you are looking for sophisticated spot meter or so, the question is what it can do that your digital camera or smart phone can not.

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I just bought the MR-4 for my M4-P. It's the coolest thing Leica makes--and that's saying something. The pin on the bottom of the meter wheel fits into the shutter speed dial, so as you match up the aperture with the meter indicator, you turn the SS dial automatically.

I used to use my cell phone light meter, but I'd forget to shut it off when I put the phone away, and it drained the battery. But really, Sunny 16 works as well as most things, and makes you rely on your eyes and instinct. Film "mistakes" can often turn out better than perfectly measured ones. 

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Yes, the MR-4 light meter works very well - though not perfect in low light conditions - with the M4-P and further M cameras, I got one in 1986 and it still is in very good condition. The only issue is to get the right batteries, the PX625 due to its mercury content is not available anymore, as substitute you can get the Wein cell with a limited lifetime or you need to look for  an adapter solution (sufficient information here in the forum). For information, the MR-4 was not made bei Leica, but by Metrawatt.

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