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Thread: Noob Corner

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Noob Corner

    A little less than a month with my M8 and I'm hooked on this camera. It is so much more suited to what I was hoping for when I returned to photography in the digital age than my Nikon has been. I'm very excited by the potential.

    I have a lot to learn and I recognize that most of you have already been through this part of the learning curve. I hope you don't mind if I pick your brain a little from time to time.

    Today I am interested to find out if any of you use a handheld light meter. Or, what your methods are for using the built-in M8 meter. [Aside: When I started using my Nikon a year ago, I forced myself to do everything on manual. My thinking was that I would be a lot more thoughtful and aware before hitting the shutter. I enjoyed that and in fact, the very "manual" approach that seems necessary with the M8 fits me like a glove.] But the M8 and rangefinder approach is in some ways starting over all over, so I've been shooting a lot with the little red "A". And I'm finding more than a few situations where I'm blowing the highlights.

    I have learned to point the metering rectangle at different areas of the image and then depress the shutter enough to hold the shutter speed. But I'm not always successful. I've attached an image of some hats as an example of the blown highlights I'm talking about. (see the hat on the middle-right edge of the frame)

    Anyone with some advice or tips about metering with the M8? Is a handheld meter worthwhile?

    Thanks!
    Tim

  2. #2
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Wrong forum I guess.

    Carry on.

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    Re: Noob Corner

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Wrong forum I guess.

    Carry on.
    I read it earlier and was also waiting to see who responded. I am still pretty new on the M8 and can use the help as well.... hence my enthusiasm that we are getting pretty close to February and Moab.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    No you're fine, just Saturday is slow LOLOL!

    With the M8 I do NOT use a hand held meter, as I find the internal meter more than adequate. As for how I use it, it's a holdover from my film days: Set the camera on AE, point at a medium-toned subject in my frame, half-press the shutter to lock it, then re-compose and finish the release for the capture. Of course with digital we have the histogram, which once you learn how to read it essentially guarantees you a perfect exposure for the frame just captured

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Noob Corner

    I'm with Jack on this. Also, if I'm going to shoot more in the same light I'll set the shutter speed directly - no point metering the same light repeatedly.

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    Re: Noob Corner

    Choosing where to reference your meter in order to get the exposure you want has always been a matter of personal taste. The histogram function is now your best friend ( as well as the low cost per shot that digital capture delivers). Invariably there will always be compromises to be made between shadow detail and highlight detail in scenes where number of F-stops exceeds digi chip latitude. Thats why advances in HDR software and technique are exciting a lot of people.

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    Re: Noob Corner

    For what it is worth, I find the M8 is much better at recovering shadows than highlights. Therefore, the typical dSLR addage "expose to the right" is not necessarily the best approach for the M8. I much prefer slight under exposure on the M8. It is amazing how much the shadows can be lifted. There isn't much hope with blown highlights. I too use the same technique as Jack and Jan for metering on auto mode. In fact, Guy is the one who showed me that trick while in Germany. Previously, I used -2/3 EV compensation. Nowadays, I use the half press recompose method almost all of the time (expect when consistent exposure compensation is required).

    Hopefully

  8. #8
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Conventional light meters may not “read” the light the same as a CCD array.

    I’m with Peter on this… the histogram is the best light meter ever invented. For critical work it is much more accurate that any light meter.

    Also with digital capture you get Polaroid as a free bonus.

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    The M8 is a perfect meter for itself as long as you are willing to chimp at the histogram.
    Other than that, sunny 16 rules.
    -bob

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    Therefore, the typical dSLR addage "expose to the right" is not necessarily the best approach for the M8.
    Amen! Actually with MOST of the newer digital cameras, shadows are easier to lift than when MR's "Expose to the Right" was espoused (). I also leave a good bit of headroom in most captures, but agree that the M8 is perhaps less forgiving with highlights than most contemporary DSLR's, so it's even a better practice with it.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Thanks to everyone for the replies. I HAVE been following the "expose to the right" school of thought and will have to reassess that approach with the M8. I also agree that the shadows seem to have a lot more "resilience", i.e. you can push them a little harder in post processing than with my Nikon captures.

    So this was very helpful. I think I'll save the money I was about to spend on a meter and put it towards the 75 lux I'm dreaming of.

    Cheers!
    Tim

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Now with LR, ACR and C1 version 4 this makes pulling the shadows up and also bringing the highlights down with there shadow and recovery tools. We teach this a lot in our workshops in the raw processing stage is how you can remap the image with these tools and working with the histograms in each program.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    I have always used the visual clipping indicators on digital SLRs. I expose so there are only spectral highlights at the most flashing as over exposed. From there the raw programs like Lightroom can handle it.

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    Re: Noob Corner

    LightZone and iPhoto/Aperture are great at pulling out shadows, too.

    I haven't used a light meter with an Rf or SLR since the 1970's. View Camera, yeah.

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    Re: Noob Corner

    unlike some other digital cameras, the M8 metering field is fixed and relatively narrow. the method of selective metering by pointing at various image elements works well, along with the histogram. the limitation of the histogram is that you may very well want some parts of the image to be clipped, but it is subject blind. the m8 does let you zoom in in playback mode and will display a histogram of the cropped and zoomed portion only. verty useful.

    curiously, leica added the blue dot as a sort of backwards pointed incident light meter, recording light falling on the camera rather than on the subject. it's function was ostensibly to guess at the taking aperture by using it's light reading and the actual shutter speed. they never implemented the function, however.

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    Re: Noob Corner

    Well, my view is that "expose to the right" has probably been responsible for more badly exposed images that any other idea in history. The problem is that expose to the right is just correct enough to make sense, but not nearly correct enough to be useful.

    It was invented by Micheal Reichman based on something that Thomas Knoll said on a car ride in Iceland. It's based on the fact that for a CCD or CMOS sensor, half the recorded levels are in the top stop, half of the rest in the next stop, etc. So what Thomas said is that you're better off using all those levels to the right on the histogram, in the upper stops. Which is all completely correct. But its after that that the wheels come off:

    Firstly, in many cameras, the benefits aren't nearly as high as suggested - Michael talks about 2048 levels in the upper stop in his article vs. 1024 in the stop below. But many cameras use level compression, notably the M8. For the M8, the actual number of levels is 74 in top stop vs 54 in the next. Not nearly so compelling.

    Secondly, the whole technique is only useful if the dynamic range of your scene is significantly less than your camera's dynamic range. If that isn't case, all you doing by exposing to the right is cutting off areas of low light. Which may be ok, but as a photographer what you really need to do is to decide what part of the scene you want to expose to what level.

    Finally, exposing to the right is a nightmare for post processing - pretty well every raw developer applies a tone curve by default, and that tone curve is flattened at both ends. Exposing to the right means that you're in the flattened portion of the tone curve, and the first thing you're going to have to do is to get back to the mid point of the curve. Once you've done that, the exposure controls are close to their limits, etc, etc. This is not the workflow that any raw developer was designed for, and you are going to be fighting it all the way. And every image needs different settings to get to the mid point, so you can't just apply one set of adjustment to all your images, get a feel for what they look like, then tweak the promising ones - you have to tweak them all just to get a somewhat normal looking image

    So, for those that haven't guessed, I'm not an enthusiast for expose to the right. It has a place, but only if (a) your camera has linear encoding, (b) the scene dynamic range is significantly less than the camera and (c) you have lots of time to spend in post....

    Sandy

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    You know I also use the clipping setting so when you blow it turns red on the LCD so when your in the battle a quick glance will let you know also were you are blowing the highlights and if you need to adjust. Now just because it shows the clip does not allows mean it is completely blown. My guess it is around 245 which I kind of like , let's me know how close i am.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Noob Corner

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    curiously, leica added the blue dot as a sort of backwards pointed incident light meter, recording light falling on the camera rather than on the subject. it's function was ostensibly to guess at the taking aperture by using it's light reading and the actual shutter speed. they never implemented the function, however.
    They implemented it, but it's easily fooled, so they never exposed its results. Carl Bretteville found it in the MakerNotes portion of the EXIF, and Sandy McGuffog's Cornerfix expose the estimate, as well as a sometimes more accurate estimate that he has worked out.

    There's another exposure technique that nobody has mentioned. That's the difference between shooting at a lower exposure and pushing in raw development rather than setting the camera to a higher ISO speed. It's also a way to get shutter priority shooting. When you can't count on aperture priority giving a high enough shutter speed to stop motion blur, set a reasonable ISO, aperture wide open, the shutter speed you want, and blast away. Fix it later. (Sometimes).

    scott

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    Re: Noob Corner

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    You know I also use the clipping setting so when you blow it turns red on the LCD so when your in the battle a quick glance will let you know also were you are blowing the highlights and if you need to adjust. Now just because it shows the clip does not allows mean it is completely blown. My guess it is around 245 which I kind of like , let's me know how close i am.
    Thanks Guy,
    I use the clipping as well and it does seem like the camera tells you things are clipped that when downloaded don't seem completely blown. On my little point and shoots when it blinks you are toast.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Yes Leica gives you a little head room before you completely blow. Trick is get used to what it is doing and you will know. I call it around 245 before it blows at 255 or above. This is one of our workshop tricks that I was going to talk about and still will do that.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Workshop Member Joseph Ramos's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: Noob Corner

    Guy,
    You and Jack are killing me with the talk about what you will be teaching in the workshop. I could not attend the Yosemite workshop because an employee got sick and I will be missing the Moab trip because my wife is due on Feb 24 with our first child.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Hi Joseph!

    A new child arriving is certainly a good reason to stay near home! We will be doing several more workshop this year, and the next one will probably be late March in Carmel, more heavily weighted to Photoshop and printing over shooting. Then after that, probably in late April, a street shooting excursion to San Juan (specifically Old San Juan), Puerto Rico

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Noob Corner

    Contrary to opinion here, when exposure gets tricky, I tend to use an incident light meter. I have a little Sekonic one which slips into the flash shoe.
    JAAP
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  24. #24
    Workshop Member Joseph Ramos's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Jack,
    Are you talking about Carmel California? I hope so because Carmel is practically our second home.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    California is the location and it will be a shooting , raw processing AND printing workshop. We may go 4 days on this one. We are still talking on how we want to do this but Printing is a big part of it
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Ramos View Post
    Guy,
    You and Jack are killing me with the talk about what you will be teaching in the workshop. I could not attend the Yosemite workshop because an employee got sick and I will be missing the Moab trip because my wife is due on Feb 24 with our first child.
    We are going to get you there yet.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Noob Corner

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Ramos View Post
    Jack,
    Are you talking about Carmel California? I hope so because Carmel is practically our second home.
    Indeed I am! Shooting at Point Lobos and maybe the tide pools and rocks in Pacific Grove. Street opportunity and good food and drink at Cannery Row. The advantage is all driving is close to the workshop, so we can shoot and get to the classroom without burning a lot of time. Probably will hold it at a hotel in Marina since it's easier to find conference facilities there than in a Carmel B&B, not to mention less costly per night. But we'll offer a few options and see what the group prefers re accommodations.

    The major problem with this particular venue is we lose all the golfers to Pebble or Spanish Bay

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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