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Full Version: Using my D-SLR as a light meter
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Please forgive my elementary level of questions...I am just becoming educated enough to realize that I don't know how much I don't know.
Anyway, I have heard (but having a difficult time finding details) that one can use a D-SLR as a light meter, to the point where one would not need to purchase a light meter. If anyone is willing to share or point me to some existing documentation on how to do this I would be very grateful!
If you're in Manual mode, you can choose the aperture and then try to focus on your subject or the background in order to see how much light there is. The camera knows then what the shutter speed should be and will indicate it in some manner. At least in my camera there is an indicator visible when you look through the viewfinder. I don't know if this is what you're referring to. Here's an article on the subject: http://thedailydigi.com/whats-that-little-line-thingy/
Thanks so much! I really appreciate your input!
The idea would be to use a digital camera to meter a scene and then use those same settings on an unmetered camera. It works pretty well, as long as you match the field of view of the lenses. There are just three things to keep in mind:

- Digital cameras often don't actually report their true iso sensitivity, so your reading may be a stop off in either direction. If you're using negative film this isn't that big a deal, but for slides / transparency film it can be critical.

- If you're using a digital SLR as a light meter, then you already have a digital SLR handy when you're taking photos… I like unmetered cameras as much as anyone, and have one I wish I used more, but that still seems a little odd. Big Grin

- B&H has the Gossen Digisix, a tiny and popular light meter, for all of $136. I already have a light meter, but that's still pretty tempting. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/25...meter.html
Thanks Matthew! I was wondering if there was a reasonably priced device I could purchase. Having had you take the time to help me out, I may get this one. I suppose it is like many electronics - you can spend as much as you want to/can afford.
I have heard that, in general, Nikon is not great in the metering department. I haven't taken the time to use Jinko's suggestion yet but I have tried it a bit. I'm still learning...everyday...every shot!
Again, Thanks for your time and info!
I don't know if I'd narrow it down to specific brands, but digital cameras can be very clever little devices. "Matrix" or "Evaluative" metering modes will use a database of pre-programmed 'scenes' to guess at the correct exposure, and we don't know everything that the camera is interpreting or basing its guesses on. I've owned two brands of DSLR, and both have also used the active focusing point as part of their calculations. There's a lot going on behind the scenes.

Setting your camera to centre-weighted metering is generally the best for predictability, especially if you're using it to meter for another camera. Otherwise the camera's calculations generally work quite well.