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Why is my light meter lying to me?
Old 12-15-2003, 02:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have a sekonic L358 light meter that up until recently I would rarely use. Because I shoot mainly digital I've been fairly lazy about using the light meter. I would typically shoot, look, adjust lights, fiddle with camera, and repeat process until I got something that "looked right" I recently started using my light meter more often and I'm finding that while it it's right on the money when shoot fuji 100 iso slide film when I use it to meter for my E10 digital the exposure is not right at all. Yes I AM remembering to set it down to 80 ISO for the E10! Bellow see an example. I metered the models face at ~ F 8.0 and I was typically shooting this series right around 1/2 stop overexposed (atleast according to the light meter) all the images came out dark if anything. This was one of the brighter ones of the entire series and while it may be "correctly" exposed it certainly doesn't look sligthly over exposed as I had intended. Maybe "shooting by LCD" is the way to go with digital? Does anyone have any expirience with this? Are digitals not as accurate as film in terms of ISO or if there are any E10 is it the E10 that's not terribly accurate in terms of exposure? My slides came out beautifully but the E10 seems to need AT LEAST a stop extra exposure to yield the same results even when metered for 80 iso.



Feel free to make comments on the image as well. Model is Amber in Philadelphia, PA.
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Re: Why is my light meter lying to me?
Old 12-15-2003, 02:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have had the same problems and was able to resolve it by setting dip switch #4 on the meter to 1/2 stop increments instead of the 1/3 stop default setting.

I also read some posts on Sekonic's website that discuss calibrating the meter to compensate for differences between cameras. Exposure and calibration compensation are covered in page 26 of the manual.

Hope this helps.

Israel
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The meter or the camera?
Old 12-15-2003, 07:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If the meter settings are good for exposing Fuji ISO 100 film, perhaps it's the camera that's not correctly calibrated? ISO in the digital world is all relative. It's a setting to make the new cameras work with all of the other toys we have.

My S1 was dead on whatever meter setting worked for film. My S2 seems to be a 1/3 of a stop off. I've used that rule and been happy with the readings.

Bob

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Meters vary
Old 12-15-2003, 11:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Meters can vary by over a full stop in the readings they give. Every meter that I've every bought needed to be calibrated. You shoot photos at various exposures and learn how the meter works in relations to the exposures you want to get. With digital, if you have a histogram display, you can use a gray card. Simple shoot at what the meter shows is the correct expousre, a full frame shot of the gray card. Then look at the histogram. For right on exposure, there should be just one spike right in the middle of the histogram and pretty much nothing anywhere else. If the spike is not in the middle, re-expose either up or down till it is.
Cheers,
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Re: Why is my light meter lying to me?
Old 12-18-2003, 05:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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For anyone curious: After further expirimentation my E10 seems to be off by atleast a full stop if not slightly more. The image below was shot one stop over. I opted not to recalibrate and just remember to go one stop over give or take with the E10 and leave it dead on for film and incase I upgrade my camera to something that's more true to the meter.



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Re: The meter or the camera?
Old 12-20-2003, 04:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would say it was the camera. It would be unusual that the meter is off. Even 1 stop has very little effect in an average type picture shot in midtone. When you shoot high or low key 1 stop is a problem.

If it is working fine on film then it is definate digital.
Also shooting by the LCD is a bad way of shooting. The LCDs can vary greatly in brightness.

The L 358 is a great meter, I bought one when it first came out and then bought another one last year. The wireless option is fantastic if you use it with pocket wizards.

George
 
 
Re: Why is my light meter lying to me?
Old 01-04-2004, 02:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I find the same thing with my 10D.

What my meter says and what happens in the camera aren't in sync. Like most of the others who have replyed I just adjust the camera. I'm not seeing a full stop difference, closer to 1/3-2/3 depending on the tones I'm shooting. Lots of lights/white I can open up about a third, darks and it's 2/3. And that's just a ball park for me. I'll still watch the histogram and then try to judge what I should be getting depending on what's in front of me.

I'm still making some pretty ugly mistakes, but I'm getting the hang of it.
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Re: Why is my light meter lying to me?
Old 01-06-2004, 07:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You can take your meter to a good camera repair store for calibration then try again.

As a side note I just attended a Will Crocket seminar which dealt with exposure and color spaces. The first half of seminar is on lights setup and meter readings. He feels that digital only has a range 6.5 stops unlike film with it's 10 stop range. This means that exposures can only be .05 under or .03 over and meters are needed for spot on exposures rather than depending on the camera or even the in camera histogram.

Here is his system for digital exposure. Dome on the meter, Aim at light sources first for lighting ratio, then under the chin and aimed at the lens for the camera setting. Custom white balance and you are ready to go.

For more information you can check his web site at http://www.shootsmarter.com/
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Re: Why is my light meter lying to me?
Old 01-07-2004, 09:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sekonic's calibration standard is a little bit different. The factory-standard calibration will produce pictures that are about 2/3 stop underexposed.

The full details about this issue are at Kinesis' website. Fortunately, the meters can be recalibrated. I have mine set to -0.7, so the meter's ISO 100 is the same as the camera's ISO 100.
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