INNflight
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Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:33 am

Hi,

Thanks to some recent sales I'm in the process of upgrading my tripod, and also plan to finally acquire a light meter.

Tripod I'm not sure which brand to go for, cost can be up to 300 euros basically. I'd want a rather sturdy one (= easily managing dslr body + shiny white 100-400 lens), preferably with ballhead and if possible easy to use (= to switch camera body without long hassles and fast but ACCURATE to adjust)

Any recommendations?

Re. light meter I was told that Sekonic has the most reliable ones, but I'm not really sure which one will be best for aviation and non-av outdoor photography. Hopefully Jeff can give good advice.

Thanks in advance,
F.

Edit: Btw, tripod should be at eye-level (I'm 1,82m), add that to requirements  Wink

[Edited 2006-11-19 21:37:20]
Jet Visuals
 
JeffM
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:20 am

Quoting INNflight (Thread starter):
Re. light meter I was told that Sekonic has the most reliable ones, but I'm not really sure which one will be best for aviation and non-av outdoor photography.

I like the L-358, but I know they make one with spot meter capabilities as well if you want that. I don't remember the model number.
 
AC773
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:45 am

Quoting INNflight (Thread starter):
Tripod I'm not sure which brand to go for, cost can be up to 300 euros basically

You can't go wrong with a Bogen/Manfrotto combo. They have tripods up and down the price range, so you're sure to find something that fits.

I have things to do now and little time for research, but I'm sure someone on these boards will be able to recommend something specific.
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
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Fiveholer
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:05 am

I am with Jeff on the Sekonic...I purchased one after getting tired of blown out whites using the 20D's meter. I haven't had that problem since. In fact, I think I have convinced a fellow shooter of getting it too after he tried the readings I was getting.

http://static.flickr.com/55/144265266_fac7e936fd_o.jpg

Danny
Bring back Bethune!
 
aero145
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:37 am

As this is a thread about Light Meters... could I get some info on what they really do.

Thanks!
David
 
Speedbird2025
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:45 am

Hi Florian..

Like AC773 said, you can't go wrong with Bogen/Manfrotto. They have a nice website with all the specs as well as MSRP pricing.

I use a Manfrotto 3046 (Legs) and Manfrotto 3047 (Three-Way Pan Head). Going on two years now and the combo works great with my 30D/100-400 and it is very easy to maneuver. The head also has a quick release which comes in very handy when switching lenses.

--Nate
 
Interpaul
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:56 am

I use a Manfrotto 055 Pro with a standard Manfrotto 3way head. Works perfectly for me. The lightmeter I own is a Gossen Digipro F which I don't need anymore. Too lazy to use it really. So, if you're interested...  Wink

Jan
 
JeffM
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:01 am

Quoting Aero145 (Reply 4):
could I get some info on what they really do.

It's simple David. An incident light meter measures light falling on the subject. A relective meter (inside your camera) measures light reflecting off the subject. Due to textures, shades of color etc. your in-camera light meter often averages what it sees which often is a compromise. Many things trick the meter into thinking things are darker or brighter then they actually are and set your camera with the wrong settings. Spot metering, which some cameras have, can just take a sample of a very small area of the frame, but differences in texture can fool even the spot meter. For instance, a white cloth blanket won't reflect as much light as a shiny white car in the same light. Your camera will expose the blanket differently then the car, even if they are in the exact same light.

The incident meter doesn't care what the objects color or texture is because it is measuring the source. In practical use, you just tell the meter either the f-stop or shutter speed you want and hold it in the same light as your subject (you don't need to be right next to it..) and push a button. The meter then gives you the other setting. Input that in manual mode on your camera and fire away. You only need to make a change when the light changes. You will get very accurate and consistant exposures.

To see an example of how inaccurate an in camera meter is. Set it on center or matrix mode, and point it at the horizon with the sun at your back. Watching the exposure guide on the bottom of your viewfinder, move the lens up and down and notice the different readings. Does the light coming down on the scene change? No, it's the different colors, shades, and textures fooling the camera into changing it's settings.
 
Interpaul
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:34 am

Quoting JeffM (Reply 7):
You only need to make a change when the light changes.

That's the tricky point. Incident metering is nearly useless if you have rapidly changing light conditions. Clouds are the enemy.  Wink

Jan
 
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Fiveholer
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:41 am

Quoting Interpaul (Reply 8):
That's the tricky point. Incident metering is nearly useless if you have rapidly changing light conditions. Clouds are the enemy.

Somewhat true BUT...after you have used it and start to trust your instincts after shooting in manual for a while you learn to make adjustments yourself if you don't have the time to take another reading. I don't know about your meter and for those that don't really know, the Sekonic takes a matter of a second to press a button much like your camera's shutter button. I haven't had problems where I absolutely had no time to take a quick reading. I made changes on the fly without taking readings a couple times at LAX back in June. Results were just fine.

Danny

[Edited 2006-11-20 02:42:51]
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JeffM
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:56 am

Quoting Fiveholer (Reply 9):
after you have used it and start to trust your instincts after shooting in manual for a while you learn to make adjustments yourself

Bingo.
 
CalgaryBill
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:23 pm

Quoting JeffM (Reply 1):
I like the L-358, but I know they make one with spot meter capabilities as well if you want that. I don't remember the model number.

There is a spot meter attachment for the L-358 (I think there are three ranging from 1 to 5 or 10 degrees). They're rather awkward though, kind of L shaped and they swivel around loosely. The L-558 has the spot meter built in, but it's nearly twice the price of the 358. Both are amazingly useful too (I do a lot of studio work and I love the wireless triggering ability when testing strobes).

Quoting Interpaul (Reply 8):
That's the tricky point. Incident metering is nearly useless if you have rapidly changing light conditions. Clouds are the enemy.

I haven't seen a cloud move faster than I can push the button on my light meter...

B
 
gerardo
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:25 pm

I tried a light meter once and since then I'm using it quite often. I bought a Gossen Sixtomat Digital, which does the job for me. You can find more infos at http://www.gossen-photo.de .

Cheers
Gerardo
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ua935
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:03 pm

Hi Florian,

I use a Manfrotto 055MF3, its Carbon Fibre and well up to the job.

It's also really light so no travel issues there.

I also use the Manfrotto 488 RC2 ball head.

Works great for me.

Regards

Simon
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gust
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:50 pm

Quoting JeffM (Reply 7):
Input that in manual mode on your camera and fire away.

I have the sekonic L-358 from my friend (he is on holiday for the moment) so I have no manual.
I try that meter a couple times ,when I set that meter (for example) F7.1 iso 100 ,then I measure the light and give me a shutter speed from (example) 1/500
then i set my camera F7.1 iso100 1/500,when I shoot the aircraft mostly say my camera meter 1 or 1-1/3 stop overexposes.
For the camera (30D) I use partial metering and the exposure level 1/3 stop.
The settings from lightmeter,switches in the battery compartment,EV-off__MULTI- off__DIRECT-on__1/3 STEP or 1/2 STEP-on,in the lightmeter its no compensating made for + or -
I use lightmeter with the lumisphere raised.
Is here something wrong with my camera meter or is this normal that he me other values gives then the light meter.

grt,
Airwim
 
aero145
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:05 pm

Quoting JeffM (Reply 7):
It's simple David. An incident light meter measures light falling on the subject. A relective meter (inside your camera) measures light reflecting off the subject. Due to textures, shades of color etc. your in-camera light meter often averages what it sees which often is a compromise. Many things trick the meter into thinking things are darker or brighter then they actually are and set your camera with the wrong settings. Spot metering, which some cameras have, can just take a sample of a very small area of the frame, but differences in texture can fool even the spot meter. For instance, a white cloth blanket won't reflect as much light as a shiny white car in the same light. Your camera will expose the blanket differently then the car, even if they are in the exact same light.

The incident meter doesn't care what the objects color or texture is because it is measuring the source. In practical use, you just tell the meter either the f-stop or shutter speed you want and hold it in the same light as your subject (you don't need to be right next to it..) and push a button. The meter then gives you the other setting. Input that in manual mode on your camera and fire away. You only need to make a change when the light changes. You will get very accurate and consistant exposures.

To see an example of how inaccurate an in camera meter is. Set it on center or matrix mode, and point it at the horizon with the sun at your back. Watching the exposure guide on the bottom of your viewfinder, move the lens up and down and notice the different readings. Does the light coming down on the scene change? No, it's the different colors, shades, and textures fooling the camera into changing it's settings.

Thanks very much for this!

Sorry that I did "could I get some info on what they really do." instead of "could I get some info on what they really do?"

 Sad

Regards,
Davidd
 
Interpaul
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:40 pm

Quoting CalgaryBill (Reply 11):
I haven't seen a cloud move faster than I can push the button on my light meter...

No, but you can't be sure that there's no cloud blocking your subject. Maybe you're standing in the sun with your meter and that once in a lifetime plane is crossing the perfect angle for a shot, but is just blocked by a cloud...
Also clouds are not on/off. You simply cannot predict 100% how much light is coming through to your subject. That's when I trust my camera.

Also if you shoot sports, and maybe half of the field is covered in shadow....

But those are just examples. In general, incident metering is a very good thing.

Jan
 
JeffM
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:01 pm

Quoting Gust (Reply 14):
Is here something wrong with my camera meter or is this normal that he me other values gives then the light meter.

There will almost always be a difference in what the meter and your camera tells you. If there wasn't, then why would you want to use the meter?

Quoting Interpaul (Reply 16):
You simply cannot predict 100% how much light is coming through to your subject. That's when I trust my camera.

I can tell if i'm in the sun and my subject is in the sun, that should be pretty basic for most people. I have a tool box in my garage. It has hundreds of different tools in it for me to use. I select the right one for the job i'm doing.

It's the same in photography.....
 
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ThierryD
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:39 pm

Quoting INNflight (Thread starter):
tripod should be at eye-level (I'm 1,82m),

Shooting with a Manfrotto 714shb (I'm 1,86m  Wink); quite happy with it. Easy to carry around and to manage.
And since it costs only around 100€ you can save the other 200 bucks to finally get some decent gear, like Nikon or so.  duck 

Thierry
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Travelralf
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:04 am

An additional question for tripod and light meter users:
How do you use a light meter for night shots at the airport ?

Doesn't the light meter get fooled by all the different light sources and reflecting lights and with the plane maybe completely different illuminated as the spot you are standing ?
 
CalgaryBill
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:16 am

Quoting Interpaul (Reply 16):
Maybe you're standing in the sun with your meter and that once in a lifetime plane is crossing the perfect angle for a shot, but is just blocked by a cloud...

I guess everyone has a different approach. I do not believe photography is about capturing a "thing" on film, it's about capturing light illuminating something. So for me the "perfect shot" is when I get the angle, colour and diffusion of lighting that I'm looking for on the subject. If it flies into the shadow of a cloud, it just becomes a snapshot and no longer qualifies as the "perfect" shot. In other words, pick the lighting you want on the subject and only shoot when you have it.

Like I said, everyone has their own style. I've seen guys out there on rapid fire blast through 30 shots as a plane approaches. To each their own, but that's not my style.

B
 
JRadier
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:12 am

I got a manfrotto 055DB with a 141RC 3-way head, which almost makes my height (1,98m) with the center column down. I know it isn't a ballhead, but if you can wait you are welcome to try it beginning of Jan.
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
 
INNflight
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:28 am

Thanks again for your replies, really appreciated  Smile
Jet Visuals
 
Interpaul
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:48 am

Quoting TravelRalf (Reply 19):
An additional question for tripod and light meter users:
How do you use a light meter for night shots at the airport ?

Doesn't the light meter get fooled by all the different light sources and reflecting lights and with the plane maybe completely different illuminated as the spot you are standing ?

That's true. For night shots you can't use incident metering if you're not very close to the subject, which is a problem for aviation stuff. In this case you need a lightmeter with spotmetering option to meter the light that is reflected by your subject. Or you simply trust your camera.  Wink

Jan
 
WhyWhyZed
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:33 am

Flash Meter:
I've had the L-358 for a few months now. I bought it for College, and the first little while, I never really had time to play around with it. But now, I'm starting to use it for alot of shoots.

Tripods:
I have two tripods, one at each of my homes so I don't have to carry it back and forth. They're both cheap crappy ones, but they do the trick. I also have 2 monopods.

- Jason DePodesta
 
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Fiveholer
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:09 pm

Here are a few examples I did from the first day I had my meter. Using the meter from the 20D and then taking a reading from the Sekonic. The 20D shot is the first image and the darker of the two. Big difference eh?

http://static.flickr.com/41/124059122_1cbeb9d470_o.jpg

http://static.flickr.com/45/124059123_a728f3968f_o.jpg

Danny
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INNflight
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:13 pm

Thanks a lot Danny, proofes it once again it'll be worth it  Smile

Florian
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chris78cpr
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RE: Tripod & Sekonic Light Meter Advice Please

Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:20 pm

Flo,
I've got a Sekonic L358 that im using right now with a hasselblad 501cm for my portrait project.

The meter is fantastic, when used properly it gives amazing reading's on all my subjects plus it lets me hook it up to my studio flash units for correct flash exposure.

I tried using it with my 1d when shooting aviation adn found it too much hassle and pretty similar to my 1d's reading's.

For non av stuff i use one all the time now, for av i wont bother!

Chris
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