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On-camera light meter


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#1 Nick Norton

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 01:28 AM

well i finally got batteries for my Canon 518 light meter and i am a little confused on how it works.

there are numbers at the top that i am guessing are f-stops. but wherever the meter goes, what is it telling me?

does it adjust the aperature itself? like, is it telling me "there isn't enough sunlight so i am putting the f-stop to 1.8" or "there is too much light so i am putting the f-stop at 11"

is that how it works?

and also, i am guessing i would want the meter to stop in the middle around f4.

am i correct on this?

any help i would appreciate.

thanks-

Nick Norton
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#2 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 12:01 PM

there are numbers at the top that i am guessing are f-stops. but wherever the meter goes, what is it telling me?

does it adjust the aperature itself? like, is it telling me "there isn't enough sunlight so i am putting the f-stop to 1.8" or "there is too much light so i am putting the f-stop at 11"


When the camera is set to automatic, the camera is adjusting the iris size automaticly. The numbers in your viewfinder is what f-stops the camera is currently set to. So for example, in a place of limited light the camera will open the iris up to f2.8 and the needle in the window will point to 2.8, essentialy with out you doing anything you are achieving a correct exposure.

There will be times when the meter needle will go past the f1.8 into a zone usually marked red, that means the Iris is fully open and there still isn't enough light to acheive an acceptable image and it essentially becomes wasteful to film without adding extra light. Alternatively in rare occasions the needle may go past the upper f-stop, f16 or f22 into an area usually marked red again, this means there is too much light for an acceptable expousure without putting an ND filter on the lens - this is only likely to happen say around snow and at the beach in the brightest part of the day.

If I am assuming correctly the Automatic/Manual nob on the camera can be twisted in the Manual setting, look in the viewfinder, and see how the needle moves as you twist the nob - thats the methode of setting an f-stop manualy.

and also, i am guessing i would want the meter to stop in the middle around f4.


It doesn't really matter when in the automatic setting where the needle is providing its within the highest and lowest limits of the scale, you will be achieving a statisfactory image at a good exposure. Some people here are very keen when shooting super8 to shoot it at f4/5.6 feeling that the lenses are sharper in the middle of the range, however the difference is slight, and there's no need to get pedantic yet.

Its worth you try and track down a manual for this camera, search filmshooting.com and onsuper.org. Even if you can't find one for that camera, a manual for a camera with similar features will probably suffice.

Best of all is to simply shoot with it, you'll be suprised how easy it is to acheive some kind of image.
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#3 Andrew Means

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 01:07 PM

When the camera is set to automatic...


This is basically one of the best message board replies to a question I've ever read. Well done Andy.
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