Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1] 2 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Spot meter for landscape photography?  (Read 4488 times)
StephenPinder
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 4


« on: April 28, 2013, 08:31:45 AM »
ReplyReply

I've been debating whether to pick up a used Spot Meter for my landscape photography. I do have a few questions on the whole matter however.

1). Does it have any advantages over a digital camera set to spot meter? (I am presently shooting with an Olympus OM-D E-M5).
2). I'm shopping around for a used Minolta Spot Meter F.  Is the Minolta Spot Meter F completely overtaken by more modern alternatives? The Minolta, in my opinion, is still commanding a fairly high price despite being, what, 20 years old. (Typically $250.00 or more).  I'll like to keep it down to a reasonable amount.
2)b. I have a Minolta Auto Meter IV. Would it be a good option to pick up a 5 degree spot adapter?
3). It represents another piece of equipment to be shlept around. In general, it's not that much of an issue, however, I will be planning a trip to Vietnam: I am expecting some great shooting opportunities that I will not be able to exploit again. I'll be doing a fair amount of walking/hiking, and this old guys back will apreciate a lighter load-out if possible. As a result, I'm going to be bringing in the equipment on a priority basis. If it's only going to be marginally useful, it's spot in my backpack is going to be replaced by a lens or other equipment.

Your thoughts, help, will be greatly appreciated.
Logged
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 08:53:09 AM »
ReplyReply

Well, a true spot meter shouldn't have a capture angle of more than one degree; I doubt any camera version matches that.

Frankly, though I'm no digi guru, I fail to see the point when there is that histogram already living in the box. Why carry around more junk than you already have to carry around?

Rob C
Logged

ErikKaffehr
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 7708


WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 09:04:32 AM »
ReplyReply

Hi,

I have a Spot Meter F, but rarely use it since I shoot digital, using the histogram mostly.

Best regards
Erik

I've been debating whether to pick up a used Spot Meter for my landscape photography. I do have a few questions on the whole matter however.

1). Does it have any advantages over a digital camera set to spot meter? (I am presently shooting with an Olympus OM-D E-M5).
2). I'm shopping around for a used Minolta Spot Meter F.  Is the Minolta Spot Meter F completely overtaken by more modern alternatives? The Minolta, in my opinion, is still commanding a fairly high price despite being, what, 20 years old. (Typically $250.00 or more).  I'll like to keep it down to a reasonable amount.
2)b. I have a Minolta Auto Meter IV. Would it be a good option to pick up a 5 degree spot adapter?
3). It represents another piece of equipment to be shlept around. In general, it's not that much of an issue, however, I will be planning a trip to Vietnam: I am expecting some great shooting opportunities that I will not be able to exploit again. I'll be doing a fair amount of walking/hiking, and this old guys back will apreciate a lighter load-out if possible. As a result, I'm going to be bringing in the equipment on a priority basis. If it's only going to be marginally useful, it's spot in my backpack is going to be replaced by a lens or other equipment.

Your thoughts, help, will be greatly appreciated.

Logged

PeterAit
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1961



WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 11:44:22 AM »
ReplyReply

It's not clear to me why you would need or want a spot meter. In the olden days of shooting zone system on Tri-X with a 4x5, sure. Now, pretty much any decent camera will let you take 3 or 5 bracketed shots. The fact that you are even considering using a spot meter tells me that your photography will be slow and deliberative, giving you the chance to set up your camera's controls to make sure you get a "good" exposure.
Logged

Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
View my photos at http://www.peteraitken.com
louoates
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 781



WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 01:43:37 PM »
ReplyReply

Using the spot setting on my hand-held meter or on the spot setting of my Canon have often resulted in badly exposed images. It's easy to forget that the hand-held meter must be the same iso as the camera setting. I know that's a beginners mistake but I seem to be making sure that it will still screw up a good composition. A simple glimpse at the histogram will catch that and other errors--if you remember to look at the histogram.
Logged
jrsforums
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 749


« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 02:19:47 PM »
ReplyReply

I spot meter with my 5D3, so that I can properly place (ETTR) the significant highlight, to ensure it is at the highest EV without clipping. (For the 5D3 raw, this is 3.5 EV over metered).

I will then have capture the maximum DR for that scene.  If the histogram shows that blacks (left) are not sufficiently captured, addition +EV shots are taken.  These are later blended as required.
Logged

John
Baxter
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 77


WWW
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 02:51:36 PM »
ReplyReply

The reason I carry my Pentax digital spotmeter nowadays is to determine which ND grad filters to use to control contrast and balance the exposure. It is also useful in very low light and gets occasional use to confirm that camera auto metering is providing the same exposure.

Previously I shot 5x4 and used it both for the ND grad role and obviously the overall exposure for the shot.
Logged

Dale_Cotton2
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 94


WWW
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2013, 04:33:28 PM »
ReplyReply

You're not telling us what use you plan to put it to within the landscape context.

In general, the Minolta F has a 1 degree spot area, which is good, but operates in shutter priority only, which is bad. The handheld spot meter I have (called a Digispot) does the same thing. Let's say I meter one thing and get a reading of 1/60 at f/8; then I shift to meter another thing. I'll get a reading of perhaps 1/60th at f/16.4, but I rarely want to change aperture, so I have to spin the dial to get to f/8, and even then it's going to be f/8.4.

In-camera spot meters generally cover a percentage of the frame -- not a fixed degree area -- and somewhere in the vicinity of 2 or 3 percent is typical. This is cruder than a 1 degree spot if you're shooting wide or normal, but can actually be more precise with a telephoto lens. So if you're already carrying a telephoto lens of at least 150mm equiv, you could slip it on the EM-5 to meter with whenever the light changes.

Bear in mind that if you're main purpose is to set the exposure for the scene you're shooting, many a veteran large format film photograher carries a little digital camera just to determine exposure, transfering shutter and aperture to the view camera. These guys have handheld spot meters, know how to use them, but presumably find chimping on the back LCD a very reassuring way of avoiding human error. When using a mirrorless camera, what you see in finder on LCD is the real time exposure output, so you don't even have to chimp. But of course there can be issues interpreting either the blown highlights or shadow extremes that may have you thinking spot meter. And/or you may want to meter both the darkest and brightest part of the scene to get a total scene DR number to help with placement. The last few generations of Sekonic L meters do all kinds of nifty calculations for you based on metering the brightest and darkest parts of a scene. Never owned one, but reviews are on this site.
Logged
Kirk Gittings
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1550


WWW
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2013, 05:32:20 PM »
ReplyReply

I shoot film for my personal work (b&w landscape and architecture) and always use a spot meter (Digital Pentax). I shoot digital for my commercial work (architecture and editorial) and never use my spot meter..........that about sums it up.
Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
StephenPinder
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 4


« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2013, 07:47:00 PM »
ReplyReply

Thanks everyone . You've brought some excellent points I never considered. 
Logged
priorityleft
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1


« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2013, 01:09:09 AM »
ReplyReply

When using the OMD I have found the best way to obtain optimal metering of the intended subject is to configure the EVF to display highlights and shadows.  Instead of using the histogram, the EVF will then show any areas that are over or under exposed by displaying the appropriate colour "live" thru the EVF, simply then adjust the exposure compensation to obtain the desired subject exposure.  The other great thing is that the values at which the over and under exposure warning are triggered can be adjusted e.g. 250 highlights, 10 for shadows.   

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/9115179666/user-guide-getting-the-most-out-of-the-olympus-e-m5#UI2
Logged
markmullen
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 53


WWW
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2013, 07:04:34 PM »
ReplyReply

I occasionally use my Gossen Variosix F2 with spotmeter for metering ND grads without removing the camera from the tripod and changing composition. It is useful for measuring the EV range across the scene.
Logged
joneil
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 146


This is what beer does to you....


« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2013, 07:15:24 AM »
ReplyReply

  As Kirk said, for my 4x5 film shots (mostly Tri-X), I love my spot meter.   But for digital work (Nikon D700, FX) never, ever use it.  In fact, I have my D700 set to three frame shots, one under, one over, one exposure set right one, and I usually get what I am looking for.

    Another thought, at least to me, is that for landscapes, especially if I am shooting form a fixed position such as off a tripod, I'll do the 5 or even 7 exposure and then do the HDR thing.   I do like HDR processing, my main complaint is that people over do HDR.  Kinda like how a little bit of ketchup with my grilled cheese sandwich is really good, but dumping half a bottle of ketchup ruins it.   Same thing with HDR.   Smiley     Anyhow, point is, I don't see much need for a spot meter in that situation.

    If you do decide to get one, i perfer an analog spot meter over a digital one - but that is another whole kettle of fish to argue over.  Smiley

good luck
Logged
langier
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 654



WWW
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2013, 08:56:31 AM »
ReplyReply

In the days of film and shooting with my Hasselblad I used a spot meter always.  In those 30 years, I probably dropped and wore out at least six or seven meters. I still have one working Sekonic digital spot/flash meter stashed away.

However, in the 21st century and the advent of the histogram and the "blinkies", I no longer bother with spot metering with the Sekonic nor the built-in spot of my Nikons. As I tell my students the Histogram is the key.

With the large and cheap card we also enjoy, there's little reason to not take an additional exposure or two if you are in doubt about your exposure. IMO, packing a meter along in most cases is simply packing more stuff to piddle with and weigh me down.

About the only thing I've done with a meter in years is to test the output of my flash when I've got to even out the lighting when I do fine art reproduction.

I'd say put the money you would spend on a spot meter into creating opportunity for you to go out and shoot and become creative! Let's see, $250 is the cost of a couple of tanks of gas, a few sandwiches and cheap beer and a couple of nights at a cheap hotel. I see some good photo ops that buying a light meter won't get you...
Logged

Larry Angier
ASMP, NAPP, ACT, and many more!

Webmaster, RANGE magazine
Editor emeritus, NorCal Quarterly

web--http://www.angier-fox.photoshelter.com
facebook--larry.angier
twitter--#larryangier
google+LarryAngier
Scott O.
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 312


WWW
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2013, 07:16:22 PM »
ReplyReply

A spot meter was particularly useful back in the day when the photographer needed to determine the tonal range of the subject. This was very necessary when using the Zone System shooting b&w. I agree with those suggesting that it is not needed when making use of the histogram. My Zone VI modified Pentax Digital Spotmeter has seen no use in many, many years. It was amazingly useful when using film, but for most shooters that time is long past. Learn to use the histogram and save your money for another lens!
Logged

Chris Fairfowl
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3


« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2014, 05:25:33 AM »
ReplyReply

Why use a hand held meter? The answer is obvious to me but each to his own I guess but a simple test will reveal why – try it.

First I set the white balance using an X-rite CCP, then, using my Minolta Spot meter F to read white textured paper, I then pressed the Highlight Button and use the calculated exposure reading to make the exposure (Canon 5Dii Nikon Micro Nikkor 55mm F/2,8). The white areas blinked like crazy in the display but on close inspection of the image there was fine detailed texture in the image. I then reduced the exposure until the blinking stopped and the image was too under exposed.

I also noticed that the sensor would yield fine detail at 1/2 a stop more than the Minolta’s reading - easy enough to remember. Using a piece of Black fine textured cloth the shadow calculation was spot on.

My Minolta Flash Meter IV allows you to adjust the shadow and Highlight Readings for fine tuning, the Spot meter doesn't.

A hangover from using film, In order to have exact control over the exposure for shadow, mid tone and highlights experiments and test exposures were carried out and a standard development procedure was used for consistency. Once you've established the relationship between the meter and the sensor (or film) a spot meter saves so much time and yields reliable and consistent results.

CF.
Logged
Vladimirovich
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1320


« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2014, 08:08:38 PM »
ReplyReply

So if you're already carrying a telephoto lens of at least 150mm equiv, you could slip it on the EM-5 to meter with whenever the light changes.
it is sufficient to buy some cheap and small P&S superzoom and it will beat 1 degree spotmeter...
Logged
Chris Fairfowl
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3


« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2014, 03:10:32 AM »
ReplyReply

I think a Spot Meter weighs less than a cheep super zoom, is more flexible and convenient. I guess the only way to be sure as to weather you would be better off with a Spot meter or not is to buy one on eBay and try it. If it doesn't work for you you can always re-sell it and get your money back. I've also found that Histograms (derived from *.jpg) is not convenient and doesn't tell the whole truth. The fact is a spot meter tested/calibrated to the camera's sensor for shadow, mid-tone and highlight checked in Lightroom is quick, accurate and convenient and gives you complete control. Everyone has differing opinions about these issues (that's what makes it interesting, informative and very helpful) so you should try different things, exploit the one that works best for you and adapt it to your own technique.
Logged
Vladimirovich
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1320


« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2014, 10:21:48 AM »
ReplyReply

I think a Spot Meter weighs less than a cheep super zoom, is more flexible and convenient.

let us see... for example Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350, 25–500 mm, 137g ... doubles as P&S, $250 new... and this is not the smallest/cheapest P&S superzoom out there... now do suggest the smaller/lighter/cheaper 1 degree spotmeter with a comparable viewfinder (to P&S lcd) ?
Logged
Chris Fairfowl
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3


« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2014, 08:03:06 PM »
ReplyReply

I'm not even going to try and imagine how someone could use a snap-shot camera as a 1 degree spot meter as an accurate "calibrated" light meter to accompany a DSLR's sensor!! I can't see why there is resistance to using hand held Spot Meter if it's the right tool for the job, I use mine not just for landscape photography, it's useful for multiple flash measurement, balancing main and secondary flash or flash/ambient light etc. a precision spot meter is what it is, a snap shot camera is what it is, trying to get one to do the job of another would leave me dazed and confused.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad