Originally Posted by PhotoDave1
I grew up with Film and I guess old habits die hard. I still have a set of working Asahi Pentax H2 cameras that work and I still use and also a set of Leica M3 rangefinder cameras also that still work and I still use.
It used to be that photography was about exposing for the Film and now photography has evolved to the point where everything has become about the computer and the camera is only a small bit player and I am not sure at all that I like this but it is what it is. I also think that computers have made photography a lot more complicated and complex than it really needs to be but it is what it is and time certainly marches on and a person either has to march with it or get trampled.
This is in no way intended as a criticism or a slap in the face to the many professionals and those who have helped me along the way but I'm an old dog and this dog misses the old days. Nuff said!
I think it was just as complicated then. Each film had a different way you worked with it. If you shot slide, you had to be more exact in your metering, but had more leaway with negative film. You often adjusted your exposure compensation based on the type of film you were using, or if you were pushing or pulling it, or if you were using the Zone system, etc. When you used filters, you had to adjust your exposure depending on the type of filter. You had to allow for reciprocity failure in certain scenes.
But the same rules of photography still apply. You have to get the right exposure for the scene you are shooting. In the old days you changed exposure values based on what you planned to do in the darkroom and now you change exposure values based on what you plan to do in Photoshop.
I try to treat digital as a new type of film. What are some of the comparisons we can make if we use this as a metaphor. Well, latitude is one. Digital is more like slide film. You have to be more precise in your exposure values. I always tried to get as close to the exactly proper exposure for a scene as I could when shooting slides film because I new I had only about a 1/3rd stop leaway. That is just the way digital seems to behave. Some films did a better job of capturing shadow detail. Some worse. Digital can be worse since it is a linear process. But since we know it is linear we adjust our exposures to move the shadow details further to the right on the histogram. With film, we adjusted in the developing of the film or chose a film that was better on the shadows. An on it goes.
Now, back to your original post. Another consideration is how you use your handheld light meter. If you use it in reflective mode, then that would not correspond at all to the target usage. The target behaves more like an incident reading. But in that regard, if you metered with an incident bulb, then that bulb is half of a sphere and is collecting a good deal of light that the flat surface of the target would not collect. I like to think of the target as taking three reflective spot light meter readings and then averaging them in some way. One reading of the shadows, one of midtones and one of highlights. This corresponds to the three spikes of the target. And this also corresponds to a similar process when using the old zone system. You use the histogram today to determine where your highlights or shadows will be, or in other words what zone are you forcing them into by your exposure choices.
But when all is said or done, you will need to experiment with the target and calibrate it to the way you use Photoshop, and then you'll get to the point where you are very comfortable with using it. You need to be sure that the target's histogram looks correct when viewed in Photoshop. The histogram in PS might not match the histogram on the camera, in other words. The other think to be really sure of is that you fill the whole viewfinder with the target. If you don't, then you're not getting an accurate measure of the three spikes. It is also important to put the white side of the target on the side where the light is brightest (where the main light is).