Metering muddles

A word about light meters again – this time, on how to use them.

1. First turn on the meter.

2. Then move the white dome out, not in.

3. Now set the ISO to your camera’s ISO (press ISO and hold it down while turning the dial, until your camera’s ISO is indicated).

4. Now set the metering mode. A modern light meter has two separate modes:

  • Ambient metering (the “sun” symbol at the top left on the display above);
  • Flash metering (the “lightning bolt” symbol on the display above).

If you want to meter available light for a normal available light photo, select the sun (press mode button and turn dial); but for metering flash, where the meter measures brief flashes of light, select the lightning bolt.

Assume for today’s post, that you only have flash light to worry about in your shot. So you set the mode to flash, and set the shutter speed to your camera’s shutter speed. Set the camera to 1/125th sec, and set the meter to this time as well.

Now when the camera measures, since you have told it your camera’s shutter and ISO, when it measures the light it will tell you the aperture to set the camera to. (After all, exposure is a triangle of “ISO – Aperture – Shutter”.)

5.  Now hold the meter where the subject will be, and aim the white dome at the camera.

6. Now press the big “reset/test” button on the side. The aperture now reads “0”.

7. Finally, fire your flash.

The meter now indicates the aperture you should set set your camera to. If this is different from what you wanted

  • adjust the flash’s power;
  • repeat the procedure, until the meter indicates the aperture you had in mind.

This is how you use a flash meter.

In future posts, more.

2 thoughts on “Metering muddles

  1. Thanks for this clear and concise introductory posting for use meter newbies! If you can work them in, I look forward to ones on metering with multi-flash, and ambient vs flash ratios and balancing some time in the future.

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