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 Post subject: built-in Light Meter
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Location: Hampshire, Farnborough
Hello just going to ask a very stupid question about light meter...when taking photos the light meter should alway be in the middle right?

can someone give me some good advice taking photos outdoors please? coz I went to london today but the photos are bit odd even though the light meter was always in the middle.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Nah, the light meter averages the scene. I tend to underexpose by -2/3ds (-0.7) of a stop, and then brighten up the dark parts of the scenes with some fill light, when postprocessing the pictures. this is because the camera tries to make the sky look decent, as well as the ground.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:51 pm 
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Location: Hampshire, Farnborough
oh so the light meter is actually not accurate? also i dont take photos in RAW when im taking photos of random stuff specially when taking bunch of random stuff, I always use JPEG as my main ext. for images.

so what can you recommend to me when taking photos outdoors?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:12 pm 
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Well, it's accurate, but it might not be the effect you are after. Try what I just said.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:16 pm 
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Location: Hampshire, Farnborough
sorry which bit of ur reply?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:40 pm 
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
The light meter works with the default settings of the camera and shows an averaging of the scene...center being what it would consider to be the desired metering. However, cameras are different by design, by default, and can all be a little different in how they handle light. Some cameras tend to be prone to overexposing. Some tend to be prone to underexposing. Some intentionally overexpose a tad to control shadow detail, while others intentionally underexpose to avoid blowing out highlights. Some lenses can change how light reaches the sensor, and can also be more prone to more or less contrast, blown highlights, etc. And even the scene you are shooting can't always be 'averaged' - the light can be so different, highly contrasty, mostly dark with very bright streaks or points of light, overly bright but with a large dark or shadow area where you are pointing the camera...all of these things can cause the shot to come out underexposed or overexposed despite a 'centered' light meter.

First off, figure out if your camera by default tends to overexpose too much or underexpose too much. Most people figure out their camera's default tendency, then dial in an amount of EV to compensate. So if you have an overexposing camera, that tends to blow highlights even when the light meter says all is perfect, dial in -.3, -.7, or -1EV, and that should balance out the meter with the reality.

Second, determine in any given scene what metering mode the camera should be set in to get a proper reading of the scene you are trying to shoot - multi-point or wide metering could lead to poor light meter advice in some scenes, where center-weighted metering might be more accurate....spot metering can help get a very specific area of a shot metered, but can also throw things wildly off if pointed at the wrong spots. If you're shooting all manual and using the meter for advice on landing the right exposure, you may not be able to change the metering mode being used, so try to be aware of the overall contrast and variable light in a scene, to judge whether the meter is something that you can rely on in shooting that particular scene.

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Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:14 am 
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Location: Hampshire, Farnborough
like these two pictures whilst taking the photos I used spot-metering and the metering line is balance I presumed because even either the shutter speed is a bit high with the same ISO and f/ the meter is still in balance or about. Light meter confused me alot specially taking pictures with bunch of people or just like this surrounding.

I dont even know if any of these pictures have the right exposure or not.

Image

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:07 am 
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
My guess is that the spot meter is what threw the results all over the place. Check out the varying light and dark areas - if the spot meter falls over, say, the dancer's head...the camera is going to want to open the aperture, or slow the shutter, or raise the ISO, or some combination of the three to achieve what it thinks is proper metering for a dark shot...but stray the spot meter just an inch up, and now it's looking at a bright white pair of shorts, and suddenly it thinks the scene just got really bright, and wants to close down the aperture, speed the shutter, and/or drop the ISO. You're talking about a mere inch or two of movement and the spot meter gets a wildly different reading. For situations and scenes like that, I'd strongly recommend sticking with center-weighted metering, then do a few test shots to get a feel for whether your camera tends to expose properly, underexpose, or overexpose. Once you set the EV to compensate, center-weighted metering should deliver much more accurate light meter results and exposure results in your shots.

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 200-500mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony NEX5N / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / Pentax K adapter / Konica K/AR adapter / bunches o' Konica & Pentax lenses!

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:16 am 
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Location: Hampshire, Farnborough
the first picture setting is
Quote:
55 mm, ISO 100, 1/100 sec, f5.6, 0 EV


the second one is
Quote:
55 mm, ISO 100, 1/40 sec, f5.6, 0 EV


what mode is the best to use when the scene is like this? coz when taking the photos i used manual and aperture mode also shall I set the EV in "0" as default so the meter reading will always or about to be accurate? in sunny day like this the EV should be under 0 or "0"?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:00 pm 
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Location: Hampshire, Farnborough
Bump anyone?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:29 pm 
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Location: California
Put simply light meters (luminance meters, the ones used in cameras) are meant for one thing to read an 18% grey card and make it 18% or middle grey in the photograph. They are meant for a quick snap. zackiedawg is right about your images. You light meter saw the dark skin and made it a middle grey in the photography so its probably 1/3rd stop over exposed and in the other shot it saw the bright pants and made the photo 2/3rds underexposed so the shorts would read 18% or middle grey. If you want the correct exposure shoot full manual and Look at your histogram.

Are you familiar with the histogram? I have homework for you, google "how to use a histogram" or some similar phrase and read a tutorial or watch a video on youtube.

Histograms can be confusing at first but in a couple minutes you'll have it down. Let me know if that answers your question.


As for what Citruspers said "...I tend to underexpose by -2/3ds (-0.7) of a stop, and then brighten up the dark parts of the scenes with some fill light, when postprocessing the pictures..."

This is not a good practice. Underexposing an image and then brightening it in photoshop will bring out noise and image grain. I'll prove this to you...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:00 am 
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Location: California
I'm a photo student and we had an assignment about exposing our images correctly. We were told to expose one correctly and 1 stop over, 2 stops over, 1 stop under, 2 stops under and then take all the images into photoshop and make the highlights, mid tones, and shadows all even with every photo. Unforturently I couldn't find the proccessed images so I have done a quick process job to show you the basic idea.

These pictures were just for demonstrative purposes, not serious portraits.

Correct exposure:
Image
1 stop over (then pulled 1 stop down in post):
Image
2 stops over (then pulled 2 stops down in post):
Image
1 stop under (then pushed 1 stop over in post):
Image
2 stops under (then pushed 2 stops over down in post):
Image

Crops:


Correct exposure:
Image
Over exposure:
Image
Under Exposure:
Image


As you can see there is quite the difference in these images.
-Underexposing an image and adjusting in post brings out the noise and
-Overexposing an image and adjusting in post reduces the contrast

I hope this helps you understand the importance of exposing an image correctly.


Citruspers is right that underexposing images results in more contrast but that is something that can be better achieved by adjusting the levels and using the contrast slider.

_________________
Canon 40D + 70-200mm f/2.8L IS + 50mm f/1.8
Manfrotto 055CX3 + 496RC2
www.thomaslowe.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:38 am 
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Location: Hampshire, Farnborough
I kinda know what is histogram but I barely use it, using histogram the graph should at least in the middle or so but not high peak on either left or right, right? high peak on the left will represent underexpose or vice versa.

what does it mean if some parts of the pictures are blink? is that mean the exposure need to correct a bit more?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:32 am 
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand
If some parts of the picture blink, it means your highlights are overexposed. In many/some shots you take, it's going to be impossible to get everything exposed correctly. For example, the two shots you posted near the start, there is too wide a dynamic range for everything to be exposed correctly. Camera sensors can't capture everything as your eyes see them.. they have something like a 7 or 8 stop range but that doesn't really matter too much.

For instance, the buildings in the background aren't the subject of the picture so they can do what they want. Obviously if they're glaringly bright white then they can draw the focus away from the subject. In which case you might need to compose the picture differently. The guy doing his thing is obviously the main subject of those shots. I would have got in much closer.

This would have done several things - closed down the dynamic range so you're more likely to have got your exposed on everything correctly, and secondly the focus of attention would have been more on the bendy guy. and less on the surroundings. We don't need to see that pole and half of the audience are incidental too. I know this subject is about exposure but composition can determine whether you're able to capture everything with the correct exposure.

Had you captured the shot more like this:

Image

or like

Image (and had a more shallow depth of field to blur out the background)

your camera would have had far less tones to deal with.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:17 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:14 am
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Location: Hampshire, Farnborough
Thank you for you reply, well as the photos I posted I just re-sized it because of the forum rules not totally cropped to show the final image.

I only used my kit lens since thats the only lens I have so far so i couldn't zoom more from where I was standing.

About the stops your referring about the aperture right or the EV comp?


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