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flash light meter
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Mar 25, 2019 21:03:14   #
gofast
 
I went back to college to learn how to be better with the DSLR. (Was a film guy for 30 years). As you all know, there's a lot to learn.
That being said, my instructor does quite a bit using a light meter when composing shots for flash/portrait photography. The meter he uses costs about $240.
Does anyone know of an affordable light meter? I don't plan on going into portraiture, and wonder if I even need one when all I'll be using is a speed light. There will be times I'll be doing favors for friends & family taking family or holiday pix, but that's about it
Your advice please.

Old Rookie (lol)

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Mar 25, 2019 22:37:38   #
CO (a regular here)
 
If you're using a speedlight, your camera and flash can do TTL metering. It's not absolutely necessary to have a light meter.

I use a Sekonic L-478DR ($379) with my studio strobes. I bought the model that has the built-in PocketWizard module. It's a great light meter - the first to have a touch screen. Sekonic has lower priced models as well such as the L-308 for $219.

Here are the ambient light and flash modes. For your speedlight you would use mode 7 or 8.


(Download)


(Download)

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Mar 25, 2019 22:37:41   #
rwilson1942 (a regular here)
 
I used a flash meter when I had a studio back in the film days and found it very useful in the studio environment using old school studio strobes.
With modern strobes and speed lights you have a lot more control and I do everything without a flash meter and don't miss it at all.
My advice, for what it is worth is, save your money for something you will more use out of.

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Mar 25, 2019 22:57:18   #
Haydon (a regular here)
 
I'm a huge advocate for Sekonics. Several years now I've owned a 758 DR-U and it's been nothing short of great but overkill for most. When measuring light ratios with more than one light, you just can't get accuracy without one.

The current budget Sekonic is the L308X-U rated as the number one seller on B&H at $219. Getting precise measements in the studio using off camera flash, light meters are a huge time saver.

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Mar 25, 2019 23:09:53   #
wrangler5
 
Don't forget that with digital you can SEE what that last light setup did for your scene, without knowing what the actual intensity numbers were, and can adjust if desired, and take another shot. (You could actually do that with film, too if you used hot lights, but there are lots of reasons why hot lights fell out of favor with large segments of the photographic world.)

With film you had to wait for the developing process (film/print, or slide, depending on what you were using) to actually see what you were going to get with strobe lights. A meter gives a lot better odds of letting you make settings that will give you what you want the first time.

I usually just take a shot and adjust to taste, which has become a lot easier since I got a light setup that allows changing the intensity of different flashes from the camera position. But I still have a Gossen flash meter, mostly for old times' sake.

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Mar 26, 2019 05:17:59   #
speters (a regular here)
 
gofast wrote:
I went back to college to learn how to be better with the DSLR. (Was a film guy for 30 years). As you all know, there's a lot to learn.
That being said, my instructor does quite a bit using a light meter when composing shots for flash/portrait photography. The meter he uses costs about $240.
Does anyone know of an affordable light meter? I don't plan on going into portraiture, and wonder if I even need one when all I'll be using is a speed light. There will be times I'll be doing favors for friends & family taking family or holiday pix, but that's about it
Your advice please.

Old Rookie (lol)
I went back to college to learn how to be better w... (show quote)
I really like the Sekonic meters, as they give me a readout in procentage, which really speeds up workflow!

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Mar 26, 2019 05:41:54   #
roxiemarty (a regular here)
 
Even though I use a Sekonic also, we used cheaper Polaris light meters when I worked for TSS Youth Sports doing photos mostly at ball parks. That is the first one I learned to use. Maybe they still have those. That was about 6 years ago.

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Mar 26, 2019 05:47:03   #
Hammer
 
Hi,

LightMeterPro : is an app , costs about $3 , and has great reviews. I have been using it , does both incident and reflective metering. Might be worth a look for you .

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Mar 26, 2019 05:54:14   #
BebuLamar (a regular here)
 
Hammer wrote:
Hi,

LightMeterPro : is an app , costs about $3 , and has great reviews. I have been using it , does both incident and reflective metering. Might be worth a look for you .


Does not do flash which the OP needs.

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Mar 26, 2019 05:55:44   #
BebuLamar (a regular here)
 
I use the flash meter when I shoot film but with digital I don't need it. I guess and chimp, with the all the flashes on manual. You are talking about a setup portraiture not quick event grab shots where TTL is useful.

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Mar 26, 2019 06:54:29   #
jerryc41 (a regular here)
 
There is always something "essential" that you can buy for $240. The last time I used a light meter was about 1958, when I was shooting 8mm with a Kodak Brownie movie camera. If I had started buying light meters, I'd probably have a dozen by now.

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Mar 26, 2019 07:13:20   #
Hammer
 
BebuLamar wrote:
Does not do flash which the OP needs.


My understanding is that the camera metering is reflective , whereas a light meter is normally used for incident light metering . Could be very wrong but .........

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Mar 26, 2019 07:23:40   #
BebuLamar (a regular here)
 
Hammer wrote:
My understanding is that the camera metering is reflective , whereas a light meter is normally used for incident light metering . Could be very wrong but .........


A light meter can be either Reflective or Incident or both but the light meter app you mentioned can not measure flash but only continuous light.

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Mar 26, 2019 07:54:06   #
rmalarz (a regular here)
 
For studio strobe work, I would attempt it without a handheld light meter. I use a Sekonic L-758DR. It triggers and measures the light output. It's worth its weight in gold.
--Bob
gofast wrote:
I went back to college to learn how to be better with the DSLR. (Was a film guy for 30 years). As you all know, there's a lot to learn.
That being said, my instructor does quite a bit using a light meter when composing shots for flash/portrait photography. The meter he uses costs about $240.
Does anyone know of an affordable light meter? I don't plan on going into portraiture, and wonder if I even need one when all I'll be using is a speed light. There will be times I'll be doing favors for friends & family taking family or holiday pix, but that's about it
Your advice please.

Old Rookie (lol)
I went back to college to learn how to be better w... (show quote)

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Mar 26, 2019 08:07:38   #
Notorious T.O.D. (a regular here)
 
What Bob and Hayden said. Light meters are useful tools if you are willing to take a little time to learn how to fully utilize them. Most people will tell you you don't need one or they don't use one. I upgraded from a Sekonic 758 to an 858 a couple years ago. There are lower end models that are very good and useful too. There are good videos on Sekonic meters on YouTube that will help you understand how and why they are useful. Then you can decide whether you want to go with one or not.

Are they essential, no. Are they useful tools, absolutely can be. If you get into multiple light setups they are very useful for doing ratios. TTL flash metering can work ok for using one or more Speedlites, especially if they are radio controlled.

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