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Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 11:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi,
I've been reading up on studio lights and their setup in a studio environment. Professionals like you lot use a light meater to determine the F-stop. So Main light has x f-stop, the Fill has a y f-stop and the background has a z f-stop and so on.
But I dont have a light meter, and I cant afford one as yet nor do I knw which one to get, nor have i ever used one so i dont know its functionality.
How can I determine if the light is in its correct f-stop?
To make things worse, I'm using a compact flourescent bulb (105w) instead of a strob fitted on a silver umbrella. I'll get a proper strob when Ive become a little bit more litrate in photogarphy.
What is the way round this?
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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 11:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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hate to say it man but there is no way around the need for a meter.....
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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 11:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If you are using a compact flourescent, then you are using continuous light, not a strobe, so you just use your camera's built in meter.
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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 02:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah Rob is right as well as Jayson. If your gonna use strobes... you by all means need a lightmeter! But if your using continuous lights eg flouresent or tungsten you by all means can use your cameras in camera light meter..
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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 02:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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hmm. well i have a semi-pro camera fuji 9500 ice to look up if it has built-in meter reader, but i dont think it has.
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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 03:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smtalha View Post
hmm. well i have a semi-pro camera fuji 9500 ice to look up if it has built-in meter reader, but i dont think it has.
Yes, your camera has a meter. More importantly, it has manual exposure controls and and a flash sync terminal for the day in the future when you get strobes and a hand held meter, which you will ultimately need.

However, before you start worrying about lighting ratios and the differences between ambient/continuous lighting and strobes, I strongly suggest you step back and go over the fundamentals of basic camera usage and operation. How do you think you and or the camera have been determining proper exposure for whatever pictures you have already taken without a built-in light meter?
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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 03:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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point noted Rob! i went on fuji's website http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/digital/ca...age=tech_specs and foudn that my camera does have a light meter. now its a matter of getting the manual out and reading up on how to use that functionality.

I have 3 tungsten lights as well, each emitting 800ws of light. i use all 3 of them sometimes when i need to takea full length shot of someone, as my compact flouresecnt 105w doesnt cover that much range. but the probelm s that the image/model becomes flat. i use one for the BG the other as main and fill. i use blue gel to soften the density of the light for instance when using it for BG etc. will the light meter on my camera be able to help me with that, or rather, how how can i use it to control the ratio of lighting.
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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 03:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You don't use a light meter to control the ratio of continuous light sources. You use your eyes.
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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 04:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smtalha View Post
Hi,
I've been reading up on studio lights and their setup in a studio environment. Professionals like you lot use a light meter to determine the F-stop. So Main light has x f-stop, the Fill has a y f-stop and the background has a z f-stop and so on.
But I dont have a light meter, and I cant afford one as yet nor do I know which one to get, nor have i ever used one so i dont know its functionality.
How can I determine if the light is in its correct f-stop?
To make things worse, I'm using a compact fluorescent bulb (105w) instead of a strob fitted on a silver umbrella. I'll get a proper strob when Ive become a little bit more literate in photography.
What is the way round this?
If you have a digital camera with a histogram, then you can get by without a external light meter or flash meter. You can instead use a Black/Gray/White calibration target. You take a photo of it with the best guess for the exposure of the lights you have, then you look at the histogram. You should see three spikes. If you don't see three spikes or one of the three is clipped (right against the left or right edge of the histogram), then you adjust your exposure up or down, and shoot again. When you get three full spikes, you now have a good exposure.

You can do the same thing with just a gray card. Shoot the card, and what you are trying for is a spike right in the middle. Keep shooting shots, adjusting the exposure up or down each time until you get the spike in the center. If you understand the basics of using a camera, then you should be able to hit the middle position in no more than 3 or 4 shots.

When you get to the point where you want to have absolute control of lighting ratios, then you'll need to think about an external meters (assuming you get some flashes).

Here is a photo of the target I use and an example of the three spike method using the camera's histogram.

Click for larger version
Re: Light Meter Alternative 


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Re: Light Meter Alternative 


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Re: Light Meter Alternative
Old 07-27-2007, 05:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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ah, i see.
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