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Sneaky Exposure Meter Tips?
Old 06-01-2005, 11:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I just bought a Minolta IV F exposure meter (got a *really* sweet deal on it, if I do say so.) I have read the manual and several intro how-to guides on using meters. Anybody got any "wish I had known" tips on using a meter for a beginner to the art?

For general applicability, this is an ambient incident-light meter which can also be used to meter flash by using a sync cord. The fellow who sold it to me sold it because he bought a meter that could wirelessly interact with his Pocket Wizards. I'll be using it both for ambient metering and for metering my Alien Bees strobes via sync cord.

M
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Congrats ...
Old 06-01-2005, 12:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Congrats, you've just moved into a whole new wlrold of potentialities. While I'm not familiar with that specific meter, they are all pretty straightforward. Just a couple of tips. When you are interested in overll lighting, ie flat, frontal light, point the dome toward the camera. But ... when you want some cretive lighting, such as rim, side or back light, point the dome toward the light itself.

You can easily meter individual lights in a multi light set up to extablish very accurate ratios. The best way is to turn the lights on one at a time and meter each light with the others off, but a shortcut is to simply use the subject's body or your own to shadow the dome, shielding it from other lights so that it 'sees' only one at a time.

In the attached photo, I metered the two rim lights one at a time with the dome at the precist subject position and pointed toward the light and adjusted until I had a close balance.

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Re: Sneaky Exposure Meter Tips?
Old 06-01-2005, 12:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I haven't used mine in over a year, so I was wondering what you paid for it, so I had an idea what it was worth.

thanks in advance
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Re: Sneaky Exposure Meter Tips?
Old 06-01-2005, 12:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here's my tip: Get a lanyard to hang around your neck, or a pocket big enough to hold it. I have a nasty habit of setting mine down on the ground and I've stepped on it a couple of times. Replacement domes are about $20, BTW. ;-)
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Re: Sneaky Exposure Meter Tips?
Old 06-01-2005, 01:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I paid $70 (with shipping) for it. Although the meter is an older model, it's still available new (possibly as new old stock) from several camera shops and usually retails in the $210 range. On eBay they usually sell for between $100 and $150 depending on condition. This one I'd say is in "very good" condition - some incidental cosmetic flaws, but all buttons working and crisp, the display in perfect condition with no dead cells. It also included a neck lanyard. I printed the manual from a PDF I got from Minolta's site and I am quite pleased with the whole thing.

M
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Re: Sneaky Exposure Meter Tips?
Old 06-01-2005, 01:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It had the lanyard on it, but I'll remember that. Thanks. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

M
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Re: Congrats ...
Old 06-01-2005, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Doug, Where do you position your lights to get that rim light effect? What flags or other devices would you use to block stray light hitting other parts of the subject? I really like that effect and need a jump start to get an initial setup going.

Cheers,

MG
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Re: Sneaky Exposure Meter Tips?
Old 06-01-2005, 05:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Couple of tips.

First and foremost, a meter is a guide. Shoot some shots with it and record your aperature and lighting information and then compare the results side by side. Even if f8 is a "perfect" exposure according to the meter, you might like a shot bracketed a third above or below. Only one way to find out....experiment.

Second, and this is a "I wish I had known" back when I was shooting film, but your exposure at the camera can differ if you change lenses. Oh, sure, they both say F8 and the meter says F8, but I can tell you I have a couple of prime lenses that clearly perform better than a couple of zooms I have.

That would be no big deal if you were using the in camera meter, but if you are using an external meter, you need to understand that. It's not like there is a full stop of difference, but a couple of my primes probably perform at 1/3 stop better.

Mark
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Re: Sneaky Exposure Meter Tips?
Old 06-01-2005, 06:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Gunfitr:

Interesting that you mentioned zoom lenses. What type of zooms are you using? I've heard that the zooms that change the overall body length (composite?) of the lens are much more prone to those that stay the same length. Prime lens (as you mentioned) don't have that problem.

Mark Oehler
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Re: Sneaky Exposure Meter Tips?
Old 06-01-2005, 07:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you look in the back of your meter where you put the battery in there should be a dial for "adjusting" the calibration.
Some cameras ISO settings are not quite where they should be, what I mean is that if you set it at ISO 100 it may actually be exposing at a sensitivity equal to ISO 160. By using that dial you can tweak the calibration of the meter to fit your camera... it may not need it though.

Usually these differences are a camera by camera thing. My D100 is 1/2 a stop under but my D2X is dead on. At work we have a D1H that is 1/2 a stop under and another that is about 1/4 of a stop under and 2 D2H's that are 1/2 a stop under. You only notice the differnces when you compare them to a handheld meter.
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