Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Studio Lighting, Flash & Other

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 16, 2006, 10:57 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 11
Default

Hello,

This is a noob question about light meters, but I thought it was more appropriate for the studio lighting forum since I was wondering about how you use a meter with studio strobes.

I've been searching the forums for a couple of hours now on flash meters and while I've found several that go into the specifics of this brand or that brand, I haven't found a topic that lays out the very basics of how one works and what information it gives you.

My situation, specifically involves using studio strobes. I recently purchased a couple of AB400s and I'm using the older Canon Digital Rebel. I've read about how some meters can fire the strobes and take a reading.

My main question is what does that reading tell you? I assume it gives you information on how to adjust the settings on your camera based on the light that it sees from the strobes and any ambient light too.

I understand the basic settings of the camera and how they affect exposure (ISO speed, aperature, shutter speed). My guess is that the meter is going to tell you an aperature to set the camera at. Does it say anything about shutter speed? The only way I can imagine shutter speed mattering is that it is fast enough to not see any ambient light. Don't the strobes sort of override your shutter speed in a sense?

If you wanted to shoot a scene at a particular aperature, would you then mess around with the output power of the strobes to get the meter indicate your preferred aperature setting?

Thanks!

Curtis
spacetoast is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 16, 2006, 1:25 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Ronnie948's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 721
Default

Hi Curtis,

Say if you want to set your camera to 1/60th. @ F-8 (manual mode only)

You would use the flash meter to adjust your strobes up or down until your meter would read the correct light to match the camera settings. You would want to take your flash readings in the exact light you will be using. I usually turn all of my room lights off. I adjust my main light first to read the camera settings then I will turn on my fill light and turn my main off and adjust the fill 1 stop under the main light setting. Then I take my reading of both lights on and may have to adjust down to match my camera settings. ( usually It is right on) If I do use a hair light I will keep it at least 2 stops under the main light. I never use background lights at all. I just make certain my subjects are far away from the background to eliminate shadows.

You want to adjust your strobes to match your camera settings.

It is kind of hard to explain in writing, If you ever get to Daytona Beach I can show you how much easier.

Your light meter will tell you what F-stop your strobe is if you have it set to read at 1/60th.

I sure hope this helps you a little. I'm not much on getting instructions across in writing.

You will understand once you get the flash meter in your hands. It is very easy to learn on your own with a little practice.

Ronnie

Ronnie948 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2006, 1:33 PM   #3
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

spacetoast wrote:
Quote:
Hello,

This is a noob question about light meters, but I thought it was more appropriate for the studio lighting forum since I was wondering about how you use a meter with studio strobes.

I've been searching the forums for a couple of hours now on flash meters and while I've found several that go into the specifics of this brand or that brand, I haven't found a topic that lays out the very basics of how one works and what information it gives you.

My situation, specifically involves using studio strobes. I recently purchased a couple of AB400s and I'm using the older Canon Digital Rebel. I've read about how some meters can fire the strobes and take a reading.

My main question is what does that reading tell you? I assume it gives you information on how to adjust the settings on your camera based on the light that it sees from the strobes and any ambient light too.

I understand the basic settings of the camera and how they affect exposure (ISO speed, aperature, shutter speed). My guess is that the meter is going to tell you an aperature to set the camera at. Does it say anything about shutter speed? The only way I can imagine shutter speed mattering is that it is fast enough to not see any ambient light. Don't the strobes sort of override your shutter speed in a sense?

If you wanted to shoot a scene at a particular aperature, would you then mess around with the output power of the strobes to get the meter indicate your preferred aperature setting?

Thanks!

Curtis
The reading tells you what aperture to set your camera to (you should always set your cameras shutter speed to whatever it's Synch-speed is). If you want to shoot at a different aperature you could adjust your lighting output.

Even the cheapest light meter (Patterson-Interfit) will fire your strobes for you, although you will need to use a long PC-synch cord and place the meter exactly where your subject will be.
  Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2006, 1:51 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Ronnie948's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 721
Default

Hi Kalypso,

When using the meter without flash as just a light meter, The meter would read the ambient light and give you the shutter-speed and F-stop.

But

Using the meter in "FLASH MODE" you would dial in the shutter speed into the meter(such as 1/60th) and then the meter would read the light the strobe is putting out as F-Stop. Then you would adjust the Strobe. You would never re-adjust the camera settings you want to use.

You always want to adjust the light to match the camera settings when using studio lights. The camera must always be in Manual Mode.

I know it is kind of confusing. Especially trying to explain it.

Ronnie.
Ronnie948 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2006, 2:19 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 11
Default

Thanks for the explanations, guys. That's exactly what I wanted to know.

Ronnie, how does setting your shutter speed on the camera affect the photo if you are using strobes? I thought the strobes would essentially be your determining factor....The only thing that I can think one would do that is if there was a distant, luminous background of some kind and you wanted to include that in the photo, but apply flash to a close subject. (for example, a night shot with a person up close and some pretty lights in the background.


spacetoast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2006, 3:08 PM   #6
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ronnie948 wrote:
Quote:
Hi Kalypso,

When using the meter without flash as just a light meter, The meter would read the ambient light and give you the shutter-speed and F-stop.

But

Using the meter in "FLASH MODE" you would dial in the shutter speed into the meter(such as 1/60th) and then the meter would read the light the strobe is putting out as F-Stop. Then you would adjust the Strobe. You would never re-adjust the camera settings you want to use.

You always want to adjust the light to match the camera settings when using studio lights. The camera must always be in Manual Mode.

I know it is kind of confusing. Especially trying to explain it.

Ronnie.
Hi Ronnie,
I should have said "your cameras shutter speed should be set at it's synch-speed or lower." As for never re-adjusting a cameras settings, I do it all the time...it just depends on what effect I am trying to accomplish with the lighting I'm using.

The meter is just a tool to get you in the ballpark (but if you set your camera (& meter) up to use the cameras highest synch-speed, the meter will give you the exact aperture for a correct exposure).

From personal experience, I don't use a meter at all. I know my lights well enough I can ususally set up my camera & take 2 test shots & adjust the exposure from the histograms & go from there. If I were using film, that would be a totally different story (& I would be using a meter).......
Regards,
Kalypso
  Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2006, 3:49 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Ronnie948's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 721
Default

Hi Curtis,

Go to "GOOGLE" and search for "HOW TO USE A FLASH METER"

There are a lot of tips on how to use the meters.

You really need to go to a camera store and hold a meter to understand how it functions.



Hi Kalypso,

I also after 40 some years experience know my lighting set ups pretty much by just looking at what I need to do. I have changed settings on My camera to get the final lighting effect I wanted. Curtis is brand new to all of this so I'm trying to explain the raw basics to get Him started. If He sets His Camera to 1/60th & F-8 and concentrates on adjusting the strobes to match his camera He will get excellent portraits. He can always learn to do other set-ups from there. As you and I know, there is no really set way to do photography. We all do it different. You will probably agree with Me that Curtis needs to actually get aFlash meter in His hands to understand how to use it properly.

Wouldn't it be great if someone came out with a camera that would provide true TTL using studio lights? I don't think it would work though because the fill and main need to be a different ratio. It would be nice though!!!!!

Ronnie948 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2006, 6:33 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 11
Default

I actually bought the one Kalypso mentioned off of ebay. So hopefully I'll have it in a couple of weeks. Until then, I'll try googling how to use a flash meter and glean a little bit more knowledge before I have it in hand.

Thanks again for the basic explanations!

Curtis
spacetoast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2006, 7:40 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Ronnie948's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 721
Default

Hi Curtis,

Let us know when you get it. When you see how it works you will be amazed how easy it is to learn how to use it.

I hope Kalypso and myself did not get you to confused. We just try to help when We can.

Ronnie
Ronnie948 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2006, 8:17 PM   #10
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Hey Curtis,
Try studying the links in the 1st post of this Forum:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=54

....along with the others you can get from Google on the metering. You'll have a good solid week of reading if you do so (& will probably be the one answering these questions pretty soon).

I don't think Ronnie nor I were trying to confuse you, sometimes it just looks that way when some of us respond to a question at the same time but in different ways.

  Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:01 PM.