Metering with EOS5/85mm, good enough? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

That's the 35mm gear I already have. EOS5 has quite sophisticated metering system. If it is good enough to get the job done, I could save a couple hundred bucks on light meter.

-- Aaron Rocky (, November 26, 1999


Aaron, do you mean using your Canon camera as a light meter to report the settings on your LF camera? Of course, it should work, as this is a very precise instrument. But...You might find it hard to make precise readings of the values on your reflex. Does your camera indicate the values in 1/3 increments or just in 1/1 values? Also, if you carry your reflex camera along with a LF, will the reflex always be loaded with the same speed film you are using for LF shots? Be aware of the fact that a measurement made with a 85mm will not suit a shot taken with a wider angle lens that would include maybe more sky. Try it and you will soon see the limits... and save a couple hundred bucks to buy a good light meter that will also allow you to make incident light measurement, something a reflex camera cannot do. If your question was :Do I need a light meter to complete my Canon setting? I would say yes in some cases. If you shoot on chromes, you might have wished sometimes your slides where a little darker when shooting dark subjects and a little lighter with bright subjects. In fact your camera readings will bring everithing to a middle gray value and this does not suit every subject. Even the most sophisticated metering systems will be inadequate in some situations. This is why cameras have a knob to modify the values up or down. A good way to go round this problem is by using a light meter and measuring the incident light, the light that strikes the subject, instead of the light reflected by the subject. The tone rendition should then be much better. If you consider a light meter, ask yourself if you might need sometimes a flashmeter also. Some inexpensive lightmeters can do both (for exemple: Minolta Autometre IV F). Some photographers recommend a spot meter. They are a bit more expensive and not as universal. Some hybrid solutions exist as well(Sekonic, Minolta). Hope this helps.

-- Paul Schilliger (, November 26, 1999.

Don't bother with your camera ! Get yourself a decent spot meter and this will not only enable a greater degree of accuracy but is aesthetically more satisfying ! One of the joys of LF, as I am learning, is the complete picture taking process. Using a hand held meter is a discipline in itself and once mastered you will never "trust" a camera meter again. I would recommend (new) a Sekonic L508 Zoom Spot Meter (what an awesome piece of equipment !!) or (used) get yourself any "pro - spec" spot meter. A hand -held meter will revolutionise your photography ! Best of Luck Paul

-- Paul Owen (, November 26, 1999.

I think that a meter in a camera - especially as good as the one in your Canon - would do a fine job as a reflected light meter. You could even change lenses to vary the degrees of "spot" metering. The bottom line is that if it gives you good exposures in 35 mm why wouldn't these exposures be translatable to LF. If I had a concern it would be the weight of the 35 mm camera compared to a hand held light meter, but if you have the 35 mm stuff with you anyway, why not?

The one caution that I'd suggest is that you have your LF lens shutters tested to determine their "actual" shutterspeed rather than "indicated". I do this once a year and build a cheat sheet of indicated/actual settings. I don't spend the extra $ to get them fixed, mostly because I think that it's a temporary fix at best. But when your translate exposures from ANY meter you want the shutterspeeds to be accurate.

-- David Grandy (, November 26, 1999.

I used my EOS camera for a long time to make reflected light readings. It worked just fine especially with a reasonably long lens and partial/spot mode to simulate spot readings. I eventually got a spot meter but that's because my neck did not take kindly to spending a whole day with a heavy SLR+lens hanging off it. However, I do not think my exposures magically got better because of that. Different metering systems offer different advantages but as long as you understand each system and work carefully, you'll get the exposures you want. You may eventually want to get either an incident/spot/whatever meter. Till then your EOS will do an admirable job, especially since you're used to it. DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, November 26, 1999.

I agree with DJ. As long as you understand what is happening with your 35mm's metering system, you will get the results you want. Eventually, you will probably find it more convenient to carry a light meter instead.

-- Dave Anton (, November 28, 1999.

I confess! Sometimes when using my spot meter is baffling (polaroids don't look right or the readings are counter intuitive) i will whip out my Nikon and use that as a meter. It works fine as long as I am not doing close up work where bellows extention becomes a factor..

-- Ellis Vener (, November 29, 1999.

I use a lightweight 35mm with a zoom lens that matches the range of my view camera lenses. That way the 35mm does double duty... I can previsualize the shot and preselect the lens and orientation (hor or vert) before setting up the view camera. Using the central area metering mode with the zoom lens at its maximum telephoto setting allows some (but not all) of the exposure control a spot meter gives.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, November 29, 1999.

Sure using your camera as a meter will "work" so long as you know what it's metering pattern is and adjust accordingly. I used a Canon F-l, which has quite narrow semi-spot metering pattern, before I got a Luna Pro SBC.

The others are correct, best to get a hand held meter, maybe a spot meter is you're doing B&W. More precise and lighter than the Eos. You could even get one that is also a flash meter, which could be useful.


-- Todd Tiffan (, December 05, 1999.

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