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Old Nov 30, 2009, 6:41 PM   #11
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Then buy a 18% gray card, put it next you lovely dog and spot on it. Grey cards are available at photo shops.
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Old Dec 6, 2009, 11:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by agc828 View Post
...By "incident light metering" are you referring to using a handheld light meter like the ones from Sekonic? ....
I used to use incident light exposure metering all the time more than 30 years ago, when shooting colour slides on my Zenit 3M SLR and its predecessors, before I got my first camera with a built-in meter.

For 'incident light' metering, a diffuser was fitted over the meter's photocell, and the meter pointed either at the light source or in the same direction as the subject was facing, i.e., pointing from subject to camera. The transmission factor of the diffuser was intended to give the same effect as a direct reflected light meter reading from an 18% grey card, or with suitable twiddle factors, from an important tone in the subject.

It was especially useful for slide film, because it was effectively acting as an artificial highlight, and on projected slides it's generally much less acceptable to have blown highlights than it is to have excessively dark shadows.

I often think that viewing on TV or computer has much in common with slides. They're both self-luminous images, in their own way, unlike prints. It certainly seems to me that viewed in those ways, noticeable overexposure is seldom acceptable, while a degree of underexposure may be tolerable.

If I could be bothered, and if I didn't routinely set exposure by eye in a 'live preview', I should be very tempted to try spot metering on an important highlight. This would inevitably give serious underexposure, so an upwards EV correction (or appropriate manual adjustments) would then be applied to 'peg' that highlight at a particular density in the image. That could be determined by experimental bracketing, seeing which degree of overexposure relative to the highlight meter setting gave the best result.

I'm not in a position to try this effectively myself, as the 'spot' on my superzooms is a rather large blunt instrument, occupying a big chunk of image. Perhaps some experimentally-inclined dSLR owner could be persuaded to try it.

There would be occasions when shadows were specially valuable, when the converse procedure should work.

All this is rendered obsolete by HDR, of course, for those with the patience and the static subjects.

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