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View Full Version : Metering Exposure Issues Using Sekonic L-308 (Noob question)


Filson Back
09-17-2010, 08:31
As of late I've been having trouble getting decent exposures for shots with strongly backlit subjects--I'm shooting an M2 and metering for the overall conditions with a Sekonic L-308. I think either the way I'm holding the meter or the way it reads the light basically splits the difference and gives me an exposure that tries to keep the highlights and the darks--BUT the faces of the subjects are often dark and noisy. I'd rather have the highlights in the background get blown and get good light on the faces. It seems like film gets noise in the dark part of the shot--so the subjects are often really bad in terms of image quality.

Is the meter super sensitive to where you point it? In other words a tilt too much towards the sky will read more for the bright highlights than if it is oriented towards the darker part of the scene? Maybe just bump up a stop?

I get much better results with subjects in unnatural light (shooting Ilford XP2 and Kodak T400-cn).

ampguy
09-17-2010, 08:46
pale white folks generally need +1 EV or so, sometimes you can save the image by adding fill later, if you do that kind of stuff.

Also, especially with outdated films, giving more exposure can make black areas less spotty, although again, bringing up shadows with tools later can sometimes get the spots out.

Try metering on the open part of your hand faced up, if the light is uniform.

Filson Back
09-17-2010, 09:09
Thanks for the method--I'll try that. I do use fill light with hybrid film-digital processing, in LR3 but it works only so-so. Making the shot as good as possible when taken is preferred.

Sparrow
09-17-2010, 09:33
As of late I've been having trouble getting decent exposures for shots with strongly backlit subjects--I'm shooting an M2 and metering for the overall conditions with a Sekonic L-308. I think either the way I'm holding the meter or the way it reads the light basically splits the difference and gives me an exposure that tries to keep the highlights and the darks--BUT the faces of the subjects are often dark and noisy. I'd rather have the highlights in the background get blown and get good light on the faces. It seems like film gets noise in the dark part of the shot--so the subjects are often really bad in terms of image quality.

Is the meter super sensitive to where you point it? In other words a tilt too much towards the sky will read more for the bright highlights than if it is oriented towards the darker part of the scene? Maybe just bump up a stop?

I get much better results with subjects in unnatural light (shooting Ilford XP2 and Kodak T400-cn).

I believe that one has an incident mode, so why not use that? if it has, point the dome back towards the camera's position from the subject. That way it will expose the face correctly and not "see" the bright areas. If not take a reflective reading and open up two stops, two stops won't blow XP2 anyway.

Yes, it all meters are sensitive to where one points them

dacookieman
09-17-2010, 11:19
I have an M2 and I use the sekonic 308 as well. Normally I'll use it In incident mode with the dome on. I find that metering is more accurate that way compared to reflective meter. The reflective meter is just too optmistic.

Filson Back
09-17-2010, 11:41
I've been metering in incident mode--it turns out I set it to incident after reading up on it and then promptly forgot this aspect of the image process. I think I am not being diligent about orienting the meter the same way as the lens, or stopping up when a subject is poorly lit.

Sparrow
09-17-2010, 23:40
I've been metering in incident mode--it turns out I set it to incident after reading up on it and then promptly forgot this aspect of the image process. I think I am not being diligent about orienting the meter the same way as the lens, or stopping up when a subject is poorly lit.

The meter should have the opposite orientation to the lens for incident readings, and needs no further allowance for poor light

Bobonli
09-18-2010, 06:22
I use that meter in incident mode and have not issues. I find it very forgiving. By that I mean, if I place the dome facing back to the camera from the subject's position or just point it in the general direction of the light source I get the same reading. It's not fussy at all about where how many degrees it is away from the light source.

Let's say I'm in an area where the lighting is evenly distributed, no shadows..all the subjects in the same light. I'll take out the meter, hold it with the dome up (or over my shoulder), press the button and read the reading. I then set the camera and go about shooting. If I see something that I know requires an extra stop either way, I'll bracket it.

To be honest, I'm getting much better results with the Seconic than with my built-in meter because I don't have to move the camera around as much to direct the metering patch toward the part of the scene I want to meter.

Good luck
Bob