Use a Light Meter For Perfecting Exposure
Are you a proud owner of a modern DLSR camera? It has a built-in reflective Light Meter, so why should you buy a separate one? Well, Some of the modern camera owners think “the built-in meter would do the trick.” Yes, it will; but up to some extent. Anyway, “some extent” is not enough for professional photographers. So, no matter how much the modern cameras have developed throughout the years, a handheld Light Meter is an essential for every professional photographer.
The modern cameras come with an inbuilt reflective meter. It’s a great meter to measure the light reflecting from the objects. Still, you need a handheld meter for accurate readings.
Reflective Light Meter: Reflective meters are great, but not always. What’s a reflective meter anyway? Well, from the term “reflective,” you can understand what it measures. In simple words, they measure the intensity of light reflecting off the objects. When the light hits an object, it reflects back. When the reflected light goes through the reflective Light Meter, it measures the intensity. Well, from the definition you can understand the issue here. Even though it measures the light reflecting off the object, it doesn’t measure the light falling on. As a result, the readings from the meter can go wrong under certain conditions such as color and the tone.
Did it sound like rocket science? OK, I will make it simple for you with an example. Imagine your light source is a 500-watt light bulb. So, the reflective Light Meter in your modern DSLR camera measures the light bouncing off the subject. What if the subject was wearing a shining jacket or light-reflecting earrings? You know what happens to light when falls onto a mirror, right? The intensity of the light bouncing off the mirror would be much higher than the actual light falling onto the mirror. As a result, the reflective Light Meter in your camera will make a wrong decision about the light reflecting off the mirror. The final result is an underexposed picture.
Incident Light Meter: Almost every Incident Light Meter has a white ball that measures the light falling onto it. Which means it does not depend on the light bouncing off the subject. In other words, it measures the actual intensity of the light emitting from the 500-watt light bulb. So, the readings that the meter gives you will be more accurate than the one your camera’s inbuilt meter gives. No matter the tone, color, or even if the subject was holding a mirror; Incident Light Meters give you accurate readings resulting perfectly exposed pictures.
As a bonus, most of the handheld Light Meters measure both incident and reflective light. They are not that expensive to buy. It’s a long-term investment for any photographer whose passion is giving perfectly exposed pictures to the customers. Sekonic Light Meters are very popular all around the world for their durability and accuracy.
The built-in meter in modern DSLR cameras are great, but they don’t work well in some conditions. If your passion is capturing perfectly exposed scenes, then you should consider the Light Meter as a must. Before using your handheld meter, know about its functions and modes available. Make sure you set the camera to the manual mode when working with a handheld meter.