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To EV or not to EV?

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LOL, I'm accumulating a whole bag full of items that are cheap relative to the cost of the M8 !!!! handgrip, magnifier, white balance card, flash, milich adapters......

 

Yeah, it's getting to be like that. . . . LOL.

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LOL, I'm accumulating a whole bag full of items that are cheap relative to the cost of the M8 !!!! handgrip, magnifier, white balance card, flash, milich adapters......

Yeah and I have a bag full of Nikon extras also. Such is the nature of the hobby/profession we are in.

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Here's a question: Would exposing a stop or two to the left help reduce the difference between bright and dark areas in bright sunlight situations. For example, I returned from a two week vacation. On several hikes (when the sun was highest in the sky) the camera did a great job of not blowing birght skies and clouds ... but, in many instances the landscape was left relatively underexposed. Because I shoot in raw, I can go back and tweek the foreground in these shots. But, beyond picking up a few ND filters, I'm trying to determine if there might be a few other in-camera techniques to reduce the amount of work I need to do in post processing.

 

Kurt

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Kurt--

 

This is why the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset are called "the golden hours"...it's when the dr of the scene most closely matches the dr of film / sensor

Seriously. If I could persuade all my clients to shoot just before the sun finally vanished, I wouldn't need supplemental lighting at all.

 

Having said that, underexposing just means you're going to need to do post work. But that was the same with film: I don't know anyone who did landscapes seriously without dodging and burning.

 

And this is where the zone system, too, makes so much sense: exposing for different zones to be actually fixed in post, so you do, in effect, match the DR of the scene to the DR of your pre-visualized print (which is the whole reason for the zone system). So that's when I'd take an incident reading first, then spot read the zones to see where they are and where I can possibly put them, given a couple of stops under with the M8 and (subject to better profiling, anyway) about a stop over.

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Hi Will,

 

Where did you find the Hand Exposure Meter Book for a reasonable price? I've looked, but can't find it for less than $200.

 

Thanks,

 

Mitchell

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Hi Will,

 

Where did you find the Hand Exposure Meter Book for a reasonable price? I've looked, but can't find it for less than $200. Thanks, Mitchell

 

Hi. I got angry about the $200 price and started Googling. I couldn't find anything. Then I went back to Amazon and searched on "exposure photography meter" hoping to find some other appropriate book.

 

Several listings came up--the $200 listing *and* this one:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Hand-Exposure-Meter-Book/dp/B000P95FB0/ref=sr_1_6/002-5204631-2845633?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1187205296&sr=8-6

 

Anyway, it's a different listing on Amazon than the $200 price but was the same book.

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Thanks Will,

 

I clicked on your link, got Amazon and the book, but it said the book was not currently available. Maybe you got the last one. Are you sure they're sending you a copy.

 

Best,

 

Mitchell

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Thanks Will,

 

I clicked on your link, got Amazon and the book, but it said the book was not currently available. Maybe you got the last one. Are you sure they're sending you a copy.

 

Best,

 

Mitchell

 

It was there when I ordered--my fingers are crossed. . . . I'll let you know what happens.

 

Thanks,

Will

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Hey Will-- <snip> The Gossen Digi6 I'm sure is fine too, and cheaper than either of the others and has a digital readout (I used a Lunasix for ever and a day before it finally gave out!) <snip>

 

My M8 lies about how to set my exposure to get the light in the scene! Lies! Lies! All lies! <grin>

 

But not really.

 

The Digisix came in and I'm playing--just reporting back about initial "discoveries."

 

When I *manually* set the M8 to the Digisix readings my exposure comes out spot on--like the light in the scene. When I use the M8 to meter, photos are brighter--generally coming out with a slower speed reading. (It was semi-twilight when I was testing.) I'm starting to understand a bit more about why that metering chart is in the M8 booklet and what it means. . . .

 

*** Nobody needs to go into the whys and wherefores of this--just reporting findings from a newbie perspective--I'll read about when (if) the book on exposure comes! (The Digisix manual tells only the basics.) ***

 

The long and short is thanks, Jaime. (And you, too, Woody, for acking Jaime.)

 

You correctly (and remotely) identified a big "missing piece" in my understanding regarding exposure. The suggestion "go get one of those exposure meter thingies ASAP and learn it" is taken. I would never have purchased a meter otherwise.

 

I will eventually know how to interpret my M8 and M6TTL readings to get what's in the scene and not what the cameras want to take from the scene regarding light. . . .

 

Off to play.

 

Will

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I've read in several places on the forum that it makes sense to dial back the EV to -1/3rd, -2/3rd, and -1 to keep highlights from blowing out.

 

Question 1:

Should I dial in -1/3rd, -2/3rd, etc. as a general precaution against blown highlights?

 

Question 2:

Does the EV - amount affect the DNG? (I presume it does.)

 

The incident meter introduced by Jaimie measures the light that FALLS ON YOUR METER while a reflective meter which measures the amount of light REFLECTED TO YOUR METER (you have a reflective meter inside your camera).

 

The downfall of the reflective meter is that a black object which receives the same amount of light as a white object will REFLECT a different amount of light. Because your reflective meter thinks that when more light is reflected, there IS more light, it is "fooled" by the different "colors" if you wish. This means that systematically putting -1/3EV will just mean that you are underexposing whatever the reflective meter "thinks" is the amount of light (which is most likely "almost" right, but not quite).

 

On the other hand, the incident meter doesn't care about the reflectivity and measures the actual amount of light that falls on it. The downfall is that you technically have to place your incident meter IN THE LIGHT. This means that if you are in an open field and trying to shoot someone in the shade, you'll have to walk over to the shade to measure the light THERE. Not a big issue. You should note that although your camera indicated 320ISO, it may be 400ISO. So you have to find out the true ISO of your camera (just like we did with 100 feet of film) to have the correct incident reading.

 

With all this said, I have a very nice Sekonic L-358 that I haven't used in 5 years because I have something far superior and more precise in my opinion: the RGB LCD. I never shoot in Auto so that I can control the exposure. Shoot a frame of what your meter tells you. Then look at the LCD and move the "last hump" of the graph so that the bottom portion almost touches the right hand side of the graph. In most situations, you'll have two "big" humps. The right one will be something like the sky and the other the foreground which is darker. The goal is to contain these two humps without the graph boundaries.

 

In situation when the information doesn't fit without the RGB graph, you will have to reduce the contrast via graduated filters or fill-flash for example.

 

Hope this helps a little.

 

Here's a question: Would exposing a stop or two to the left help reduce the difference between bright and dark areas in bright sunlight situations. For example, I returned from a two week vacation. On several hikes (when the sun was highest in the sky) the camera did a great job of not blowing birght skies and clouds ... but, in many instances the landscape was left relatively underexposed. Because I shoot in raw, I can go back and tweek the foreground in these shots. But, beyond picking up a few ND filters, I'm trying to determine if there might be a few other in-camera techniques to reduce the amount of work I need to do in post processing.

 

Kurt

 

Unfortunately, underexposing will leave you with high noise and poor color rendition in the shadows. If you are on a tripod, you can grab two frames at 2 stops apart and that should help -- but is very unpleasant in post (on only works if you have a tripod). The other solution is to use a fill-flash or graduated ND filter. A polarizer would also help by darkening the sky.

 

JR

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Hey JR--great to see you back here! I hope you're having a great year!

 

Of course I wholeheartedly agree that the RGB histogram on the back of the camera is a great device, and I have no doubt you can place exposure without using your 358 anymore

 

For the most part, I can too, but I like having it along eve these days (it's most important with the M3, I admit, which has no meter at all).

 

But the point of getting the meter to me, even with digital, so that you build up your internal repertoire of exposure situations till you know when the reflective meter inside the camera is likely to fool you. IOW, if all goes well, you will need the meter less and less.

 

For me, the histogram is of most use when you already understand exposure, though., and exposure on digital is still pretty unforgiving. So yes, you can learn exposure through the histogram, but I think a meter makes the relationships between ISO / aperture and shutter, and light most explicit.

 

There was a time (a different lifetime ago) that I wouldn't have been without a good external meter and yes--that was on film. But I still think it helps for people to understand about the light falling on a scene vs the light reflected from objects.

 

The point made about getting the incident meter in the light you're shooting is a good one; I thought I made it in my early post... Sometimes you have no choice but to meter reflectively (for far-away subjects).

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My M8 lies about how to set my exposure to get the light in the scene! Lies! Lies! All lies! <grin>

 

But not really.

 

The Digisix came in and I'm playing--just reporting back about initial "discoveries."

 

When I *manually* set the M8 to the Digisix readings my exposure comes out spot on--like the light in the scene. When I use the M8 to meter, photos are brighter--generally coming out with a slower speed reading. (It was semi-twilight when I was testing.) I'm starting to understand a bit more about why that metering chart is in the M8 booklet and what it means. . . .

 

*** Nobody needs to go into the whys and wherefores of this--just reporting findings from a newbie perspective--I'll read about when (if) the book on exposure comes! (The Digisix manual tells only the basics.) ***

 

{snipped}

 

But I will tell you anyway!!

 

Just remember that when you use the camera's meter, it's reading light reflected off what you're pointing at and assuming it is grey. It will therefore advise you to expose as if the brightness of the subject is gray.

 

So if it's twilight, and you point at something generally darker than grey, your in-camera meter will say "make all that stuff grey / brighter" when you expose. So your twilight shots end up looking, well, not like noon, but not very moody, usually

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There was a time (a different lifetime ago) that I wouldn't have been without a good external meter and yes--that was on film. But I still think it helps for people to understand about the light falling on a scene vs the light reflected from objects.

 

Bingo. And I didn't really "get it" until about thirty seconds after I was playing with the Digisix/M8 combo. I intellectually understood the issue, but the idea lacked physicality. And, as I said in a post above, Jaime and Woody identified this fundamental gap in my "light education" and the Digisix is the tool to help me start curing the problem. . . .

 

I didn't say it, but my number one photo exposure issue is tied directly to *not* setting my speed appropriately and underexposing/overexposing everything *around* my subject. Even when I meter to the "dark area" or "light area" surrounding the subject with the M8, hold that, and then shoot the subject, something light-wise isn't right in the photo.

 

I can say that with my tests setting the M8 manually according to the Digisix I've done a better job exposing the overall scene--instead of just the subject--and my photos improved immediately. And, where the subject was a bit dark or a bit light, I could adjust the RAW *less*, get my subject looking good, and not funkify the rest of the scene.

 

I'll also say that I've looked at the histograms when chimping. I've made adjustments accordingly and tried that as a fix. But the issue of reflected versus incident light is really key--the histogram is reporting on reflected light and fixing it wasn't really helping me because I have an incident light problem. (Thanks for suggesting this, JR.) I will say that the Digisix is easier for me from a user-interface perspective (scene/camera/Digisix combo) than reading/messing with histograms--faster, better results. And the knowledge applied with this technique also will help my M6TTL use (when I understand more about film and how that plays into this--will be reading about that soon).

 

My original question about EV was really exposing a lack of knowledge about incident vs. reflective light.

 

And really getting a grip on that whole thing of "underexpose two stops" or "overexpose two stops" that is common coin among photographers based on their experience. Experience in many cases gathered from having an exposure meter + camera on scene.

 

Side note: When you can spin the little wheel around and see what exposure combos you can get suddenly the difference between stops is made real in a way that exposure charts (and camera use) alone don't communicate. Never having had a tool like this in my hand before, something "clicked" about a lot of the language and charts I've consumed. Consuming the information alone, minus the tool, wasn't enough to have the lightbulb go on.

And, of course, the literature assumes you have one or really "get it" so the book doesn't say "go get a meter, dummy, before you read anything else." Books on light and photography should come shrinkwrapped with one of these meters to compliment the in-camera meter.

 

I'll post more after my the exposure book comes and I can play with that information directly.

 

Thanks!

Will

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Sorry, having trouble with the quote function but this is from a post above.....

You should note that although your camera indicated 320ISO, it may be 400ISO. So you have to find out the true ISO of your camera (just like we did with 100 feet of film) to have the correct incident reading.

 

My question

So, I've never gone through the process of understanding the true ISO with 100 feet of film. The DPReview review said that the M8 is a bit more sensitive than the listed ISO. So, how does one do this test in digital.

 

I have followed this thread and will be making one of my too frequent B&H visits to get a meter today to also work on exposure!

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Last post on this topic from me--just the wrap up.

 

Thanks to everyone who posted comments and advice.

 

So, the Digisix has helped my M8 become a whole new camera.

Did some extensive testing today after reading (the thin, large-font, illustrated) "Hand Exposure Meter Book," which arrived at lunchtime.

 

The "Meter Book" was outstanding at outlining how to really use an incident meter and it assumed you knew nothing. It also took the time to compare--really compare--TTL behavior (reflective) with incident situations. Simple concepts, detailed handling for real beginners. It's sad this book is off the market now.

 

I can now pick up the incident light from the scene, dial in the information, and get good, balanced-light shots every time. Yay Digisix, yay "Meter Book." Yes, sometimes things come out darker or lighter but the camera captures the scene largely "as is" without shifting my light around to be darker or brighter.

 

And I will say that for some insane reason it's easier for me to just dial in "darker" or "lighter" on the damn meter when experimenting then trying to do that on the camera.

 

I think having all the information regarding light/speed/aperture in one place in your hand on the Digisix makes this thought process easier.

 

Really, the Digisix is two pieces of equipment in one: a light meter readout and a dial-it-in-EV-to-speed-and-aperture computer. (I am glad I got this one and not one of the more bloated digital-readout ones.)

 

In terms of use, I can also walk up to a subject, get out of the way, point the white ball to where I will be standing when I shoot, and measure how the incident light will fall. This is great. Ensures a good even exposure of the subject. I always have the reflectance meter option, also, if I want to sample something closely.

 

Anyway, an excellent pieces of kit--the meter and the book.

 

Hey, I *can* really control the light in my photos mostly predictably.

 

Later!

Will

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Last post on this topic from me--just the wrap up.

 

Thanks to everyone who posted comments and advice.

 

Did some extensive testing today after reading (the thin, large-font, illustrated) "Hand Exposure Meter Book," which arrived at lunchtime.

 

The "Meter Book" was outstanding at outlining how to really use an incident meter and it assumed you knew nothing. It also took the time to compare--really compare--TTL behavior (reflective) with incident situations. Simple concepts, detailed handling for real beginners. It's sad this book is off the market now.

 

I can now pick up the incident light from the scene, dial in the information, and get good, balanced-light shots every time. And I understand *exactly* how this works and why this is. Yay Digisix, yay "Meter Book."

 

In terms of playing with the light for effect, I will say that for some insane reason it's easier for me to just dial in "darker" or "lighter" EV and look at results on the damn meter when experimenting instead of trying to do that on the M8. Maybe it's the "dealing with one number--EV" instead of trying to juggle the ISO/aperture/speed variables on the M8 all at once in my head.

 

I do want to say for any newbies reading this that the Digisix is two pieces of equipment in one: a light meter readout and a dial-it-in-EV-to-speed-and-aperture computer. Will sound completely obvious to the initiated, but that didn't occur to me until I started playing around with the question: "What if my EV was X?" And, a bit more along these lines: "What happens if I *want* my EV to be X?" And it hit me that the meter isn't just a meter--it's an analog computer, too.

 

Check the light in one of several ways (fast and on foot), play with the settings to modify the EV (if desired), read the settings, set the camera's controls, and take the shot. And the shot is what I thought it would be. The M8 isn't surprising me any more with what I'm seeing in terms of light. It's *almost* downright scientific.

 

Anyway, excellent pieces of kit--the meter and the book. I'll play with these for a while and when I've got a real handle on the issue I'll pick up the Zone System material from Adams just to learn about it. Probably after I get a handle on how to use the M8's internal meter with the context of incident light and EV values lurking around in my head.

 

Again--thanks everyone for your patience and help.

Will

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Guest guy_mancuso
The incident meter introduced by Jaimie measures the light that FALLS ON YOUR METER while a reflective meter which measures the amount of light REFLECTED TO YOUR METER (you have a reflective meter inside your camera).

 

The downfall of the reflective meter is that a black object which receives the same amount of light as a white object will REFLECT a different amount of light. Because your reflective meter thinks that when more light is reflected, there IS more light, it is "fooled" by the different "colors" if you wish. This means that systematically putting -1/3EV will just mean that you are underexposing whatever the reflective meter "thinks" is the amount of light (which is most likely "almost" right, but not quite).

 

On the other hand, the incident meter doesn't care about the reflectivity and measures the actual amount of light that falls on it. The downfall is that you technically have to place your incident meter IN THE LIGHT. This means that if you are in an open field and trying to shoot someone in the shade, you'll have to walk over to the shade to measure the light THERE. Not a big issue. You should note that although your camera indicated 320ISO, it may be 400ISO. So you have to find out the true ISO of your camera (just like we did with 100 feet of film) to have the correct incident reading.

 

With all this said, I have a very nice Sekonic L-358 that I haven't used in 5 years because I have something far superior and more precise in my opinion: the RGB LCD. I never shoot in Auto so that I can control the exposure. Shoot a frame of what your meter tells you. Then look at the LCD and move the "last hump" of the graph so that the bottom portion almost touches the right hand side of the graph. In most situations, you'll have two "big" humps. The right one will be something like the sky and the other the foreground which is darker. The goal is to contain these two humps without the graph boundaries.

 

In situation when the information doesn't fit without the RGB graph, you will have to reduce the contrast via graduated filters or fill-flash for example.

 

Hope this helps a little.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, underexposing will leave you with high noise and poor color rendition in the shadows. If you are on a tripod, you can grab two frames at 2 stops apart and that should help -- but is very unpleasant in post (on only works if you have a tripod). The other solution is to use a fill-flash or graduated ND filter. A polarizer would also help by darkening the sky.

 

JR

 

Like JR I buried my hand held a long time ago. With instant LCD and histograms you really don't need one but you need to understand lighting also and what lighting does to a given subject. Most important is see that info on the LCD and make the right adjustments given the subject. That my friends just takes time and experience, no money needed. LOL

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Like JR I buried my hand held a long time ago. With instant LCD and histograms you really don't need one but you need to understand lighting also and what lighting does to a given subject.

 

The key here is what you're saying: "what lighing does to a given subject."

 

And you're able to say that with the benefit of having owned and used a hand-held meter some time ago to learn. . . .

 

I can say that in my experience the hand-held meter was a missing piece to really understand what the &^%& is going on with light in a scene.

 

And it does it in a way--as a counterpoint to--the M8's meter.

 

I would certainly recommend to somebody having issues with exposure to go get a meter, learn about light in scenes with a meter, and move forward.

 

Another benefit: I discovered tonight that I could quickly meter a scene with the Digisix--even check reflectance--without having to put the camera to my eye. Incredibly discretely. No dicking around. I was able for the first time to really duck camera up, focus, snap, duck camera down because I was preset and only had to focus (and I'd dialed that mostly in before the camera came to my eye)--like they suggest in the street shooting threads.

 

Guy, I'd expect you have enough experience that you can do your settings by memory and just "feeling" the light. Me? I'm still learning. . . . And it's fun!

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Will--I'm so glad it worked for you! I do remember being there myself , though that's a very long time ago now

 

Next you'll be able to figure how to place objects where you want them, tonally speaking--and then look out!

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Guest guy_mancuso

Absolutely Will the light meter IS a great learning tool and can teach you a lot and i should have expanded my comments earlier to say that. But it is true i have been doing this for 31 years so i go back to the days of meter only. No digital LCD's , Not even Polariods that came much later to put on your camera back. I can't tell you the Hail Mary's i have gone through with meter only and no way to really check what all your strobes are doing, so a meter was essential in figuring out all your ratios between your strobe lighting and also you continous light. So you learn very quickly with a meter an yes it has become automatic in my head now so it is easier but I still view LCD's and zoom in to check things and do glance at the Histo. Really no matter how experienced you still check yourself, which there is nothing wrong with that. I still learn on every photo shoot something and when we stop learning than please just lay me down in the box because it will be no fun anymore. Reason i encourage learning all you can by reading,studying others work with regards to style and lighting, take classes and do workshops. Workshops offer a unique chance to learn from not only the instructor but fellow partcipants so it really becomes a good experience. I realize i am doing one in the fall but not the reason i am saying that but you really learn by doing and i did a lot in my past , school and all the things i just said plus was a assistant for about 4 years . So all this helps you grow.

 

sorry I was running on there . Off to the movies with the kids

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