hasselblad/sekonic L398A meter

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macaroniitfc

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Hi guys - sorry, another Q from me...

I have a Hassy 503CW and a Sekonic L398A meter. Have noticed that in low light the meter reading is often between EV 0 and 5. Therefore I am not quite sure how to get the best settings as there is such little variation between the EV readings. Should I get a more accurate meter (as I don't want to lug around my digital camera as some kind of substitute meter) or...? Note I use Ilford 3200 at night with the 80 lens.

Also, and I know this a dumb one, for street do you guys meter for highlights or shadows? I find shadow metering better but wanted to know what your thoughts were.

Sorry for all of my questions - I really am grateful for everyone's help!

Charlie.
 

eddym

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I'm not sure I understand your question(s).
First, if the meter reading is between EV 0 and 5, then you can use any combination of shutter speed and aperture that is equivalent to that EV. If there are not many combinations available on your lens/shutter for that EV, then that has nothing to do with the range of the meter, but rather with the range of apertures and shutter speeds on the lens. And this will occur at the lower and upper ends of the light levels.
On the other hand, the Sekonic L398A is a selenium celled incident meter, and not really well suited for low light work. Something like a Gossen Luna pro would have a much greater low light capability than the L398. On the other other hand, if your Sekonic is giving you readings between EV 0 and 5, and they are accurate readings, then it is sensitive enough for what you are doing.
As for the "dumb" question... if you are metering with the L398A lightsphere, you are reading incident light, not reflected. So you are reading neither highlights nor shadows, but the mid-tones, supposedly Zone V. If you are using the reflected light attachment, then you could read shadows and highlights, but again, the L398 is not really a good meter for low light readings.
Hope this helps.
 

Q.G.

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As for the "dumb" question... if you are metering with the L398A lightsphere, you are reading incident light, not reflected. So you are reading neither highlights nor shadows, but the mid-tones, supposedly Zone V. If you are using the reflected light attachment, then you could read shadows and highlights, but again, the L398 is not really a good meter for low light readings.

That's not quite correct.
Whether you are reading highlights or shadows depends on what you are metering.

Incident light meters are not reading mid-tones, but any light you hold it in.
You can meter shadows and highlights, calculate middle values, just like you can using a reflected light meter.
But opposed to reflected light meters, they do not translate everything they meter to mid-tones, but instead suggest an exposure that will render highlights as highlights, shadows as shadows and mid-tones as mid-tones.
The readings will differ, if the light you are holding it in, the light illuminating those shadows and highlights, is different (just like it should be).
But in either case, you're not reading mid-tones.
 
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macaroniitfc

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Thanks for your comments guys.

@eddyym - what I am trying to say is that an EV reading of between 0 and 5 is not really accurate enough for me, as when it comes to low light work it's all about the shutter speed (obviously) as my fastest lens is only 2.8. [ISO matters too of course, but the ISO does not make a difference to the EV reading scale.] As the reading is between 0 and 5, it is difficult for me to determine how long the shutter needs to be. Therefore I think it would be better to get a different meter as you suggest. On that note I picked up a Kenko KFM2100 (basically a Minolta meter) today which I am told is very good for low light. It also has a great manual that has explained to me in easy terms about direct and incident metering.

@Q.G. - thanks as always!
 
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