A brief introduction to the Light Meter


Today we were given our first introduction to the Light Meter. I had always heard of these mysterious little devices but found them to be a little daunting.  However, they are an essential tool to taking the perfect photograph and once you know the basics they are very straightforward. This is where your pre-visualisation skills come into play.

Your camera sees the world in a very specific pre-determinded way.  There are rules and setting that the camera uses to produce an image and by changing these settings, we can alter the outcome of the final artifact.

I found this video on you tube which demonstrates the basics of a Sekonic Light Meter with thanks to http://www.sekonic.com/.

So the Meter is a tool to assist with creating the Perfect Exposure, along side Ansel Adams Zone system.  It allows to to determine what conditions of the photo shoot are, and to alter the camera settings accordingly.

The meter itself is very straight forward and only has a handful of buttons and uncomplicated modes.  This image shows the display.

The POWER button being an obvious starting point, and does what it says on the tin.

The INFRA-CONE is the white dome at the top of the mete. Underneath it lies the sensor. The cone can be slid to the side to allow the light to directly hit the sensor.

The MODE button is used to achieve the desired mode suitable for the lighting conditions.  The 3 modes being ;

  1. AMBIENT (sun symbol)  – Suitable for shooting with natural lighting without a flash.
  2. FLASH   –  Suitable when using a flash.
  3. FLASH CONNECTED ( flash symbol+ c ) – This mode is selected when using a flash that is connected to the device.

The display also shows the ISO value, or light sensitivity ( also known as ASA). The higher the ISO number, the higher the film or cameras sensitivity to light.  So for shooting in low light conditions the ISO need to be higher.

Other value shown on the display are;

  1. T = This indicates the shutter speed,or the how long the shutter takes to fire.
  2. F = This indicates the Aperture  or F-Stop that is required.  The Aperture is the size of the opening in the lens when taking the photograph. The bigger the opening , the more light that can enter the lens.

All of the above affect the light going into the camera, and a result, the final outcome.  The Light Meter allows you do achive the correct settings to manually adjust your camera according to the conditions.

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One thought on “A brief introduction to the Light Meter

  1. Pingback: Learning my way around a Pentax K1000 « Emma Louise Hall

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