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Thread: Light Meters

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    385

    Light Meters

    I'm headed back to school in a couple of weeks for a photography degree. One of the items on the list is the Sekonic Light Meter L-758DR. Now I know that the D90 has an internal light meter so why do I need an external (and expensive) one?

    They also want me to have a rolling workshop for my gear and a tripod and head. Does anyone have any suggestions there? Thanks so much!
    CJ


    Nikon D90, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S, DX Zoom-Nikkor, 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor, 55-200mm f/4-5.6G AF-S DX VR, Induro AT-214 w/DM-12 ballhead, SB-800, SB-600 + diffuser, Light stand and umbrella, Hoya Polarizing Filter 52mm, Lowepro Slingshot 200 AW, and Lowepro Nova 170 AW for daily carry around


    My FlickR account

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Dunedin, New Zealand
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    What's a 'rolling workshop'?

    The head is very personal, whether you like ball or pan type. And the big thing is budget.
    Stephen: Another kiwi bumming around Aussie welding shit up missing home....

    Bloggy thing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    385
    It looks a lot like a giant scrapbooking thing on wheels but is for cameras.

    Unfortunately I don't have tons of experience with a decent tripod. So I don't know the difference between a pan/ball head.
    CJ


    Nikon D90, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S, DX Zoom-Nikkor, 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor, 55-200mm f/4-5.6G AF-S DX VR, Induro AT-214 w/DM-12 ballhead, SB-800, SB-600 + diffuser, Light stand and umbrella, Hoya Polarizing Filter 52mm, Lowepro Slingshot 200 AW, and Lowepro Nova 170 AW for daily carry around


    My FlickR account

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Delfgauw, The Netherlands
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    A ball head is a tripod head that has a ball joint. Basically, it can rotate and pivot freely in any direction until you lock the head. Advantages are that you can adjust the position very quickly, but a disadvantage is that the accuracy with which you can do that is a bit smaller.

    A pan head is a head where you can set the rotation around each axis seperatly. Advantages are that panning can be done more easily since you are only rotating around one axis (with a ball head, rotation around the other axes is not constrained). Also you will get a bit more accuracy in determining the angle of the camera.

    There are also some types of heads that are sort of in between these two types. My tripod head (Manfrotto 488RC4), for instance, is a ball head, but it has a separate lever which you can unlock to allow you to rotate the whole head, which is great for panning.

    Personally, I prefer a ball head, because it takes less time to adjust the angle of the camera. However, like wirehunt said, its a matter of personal preference. I would just go to store and use both types to see what you like best.

    Regarding the light meter, the one you mentioned is a different type of meter than the one build in your camera. The one in your camera measures the light that is reflected (a reflected light meter), while the one you mentioned is an incidence light meter. An incidence light meter measures the light falling on the subject. It is more accurate than a reflected light meter, because the readings you get are independent on the reflectiveness of your subject. The reading has to be taken close to your subject, though, so the meter is not suited for all types of photography.

    The following example will make the advantage of a separate meter clear. Say during a wedding you have to shoot the bride in the snow. If you use the meter in your camera, you will get a severely underexposed picture (because your camera assumes the average of the scene to be gray),
    The incidence light meter on the other hand, will give you the correct exposure.

    I don't really see why you have to get one, though. I think knowing in which cases you have to compensate the exposure will do the trick as well.
    Nikon D-50
    // Nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6 VR // Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8
    // Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 ...// Nikon SB-600
    // Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6......// Nikon Series E 135 mm f/2.8
    // Kiron 105 f/2.8 Macro....// Manfrotto 190XPROB + 488RC4
    // Nikkor 35 f/1.8..........// Sigma 500 mm f/8

    My website: http://www.dennisdolkens.nl

  5. #5
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    Dunedin, New Zealand
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    This might be a good place to start http://www.dcresource.com/forums/sho...Manfrotto+PROB

    I have some of these with the 486 RC2 head (ball) and the 804 RC2 pan head which is the one I prefer myself.

    Tripods and heads are almost harder to pick than cameras.....
    Stephen: Another kiwi bumming around Aussie welding shit up missing home....

    Bloggy thing

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Have a look in the shops and see what you like.

    A common tripod here is the Manfrotto 190XProb with the 322RC2 head (if they still make it). It's not too dear and not too shoddy. You can get better or worse, cheaper or dearer but thats a middle of the road type tripod.
    D800, D300, D90, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200VR f2.8, 300 F4, 105 micro, 16-85VR, 50mm 1.8, Tammy 90 macro, 70-300VR, SB900, 2xSB600, MB-D10, 055XPROB 322RC2. New computers to run photoshop faster. C&C always appreciated. PhotoGallery
    Pressing the shutter is the start of the process - Joe McNally ... Buying the body is the start of the process - Dread Pirate

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    391
    I have found that using a combo of spot and matrix metering replaces the need for a light meter. I entertained the idea of buying one too for a long time but haven't found many situations, in a studio setting or in the outdoor world, that I couldn't accomplish the same means with the camera tools available.
    my flickr
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    nikon D700 | D200 | D50 - nikkor 17-35 f2.8 | 35-70 f2.8 | 70-200 f2.8 | 50 f1.8 | Tamron 28-75 f2.8 | 2@SB600 | SB-800

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    NY
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    In the studio a meter really saves time especially when shooting with multiple lights where you know you want a particular light to be a certain number of stops different from another (ex. Key light to hair light)

    For landscape and other outdoor photography having a 1 degree spot meter allows you to take a reflective reading from a much smaller area when trying to identify something mid toned which can be much quicker than putting a long lens on your camera and using center weighted metering to pick a mid tone using the same FOV.

    While the L-758 is pricey it does allow you to quickly use spot metering and go between reflective and incident modes quickly w/o adding pieces to the meter.
    _______________
    Nikon D3, D300, F-100, 10.5 Fisheye, 35 f/1.4, 50 f/1.4, 85 f/1.4, Zeiss 100 f/2, 105 f/2.5, 200 f/4 Micro, 200 f/2 VR, 300 f/2.8 AF-S II, 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, SU-800, SB-900, 4xSB-800, 1.4x and 1.7x TC
    (2) Profoto Acute 2400 packs w/4 heads, Chimera Boxes

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    385
    I appreciate the help and advice so far.

    Another question... I'm getting a Mac so I can do homework at home too. (The school uses Macs and I only have PCs.) Is 4 GB of memory going to serve me well or should I bite the bullet and up to 8 GB? I want something that is really going to last. And I am known for having multiple programs going at a time, lol.
    CJ


    Nikon D90, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S, DX Zoom-Nikkor, 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor, 55-200mm f/4-5.6G AF-S DX VR, Induro AT-214 w/DM-12 ballhead, SB-800, SB-600 + diffuser, Light stand and umbrella, Hoya Polarizing Filter 52mm, Lowepro Slingshot 200 AW, and Lowepro Nova 170 AW for daily carry around


    My FlickR account

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    City of Lights, City of Casinos, City of Sin -- Must be Las Vegas!
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    I actually own that light meter. It provides both spot and incident light readings. One nice thing about it is that it will remote trigger pocketwizards. It can also be calibrated to your specific camera. By the way, one of the speakers I recently met giving a class for pocketwizards also gives a class on the lightmeter and metioned that it is a six hour long class.

    Regarding the Mac computer, I would get as much ram as you can afford especially if you want to run Windows on the Mac at the same time.

    Sekonic also usually gives students a discount price, so make sure to ask about student pricing regarding the meter and the Apple computer as well.
    Canon G10 - Nikon D3 - Sony P&S - Flickr Account - Non-updated Website

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