How to use light meter of 35mm camera to determine exposure for LF camera : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello, Thank you for a great site. You mentioned in the section on light meters that you use the meter on your Nikon camera. How does this work? Must you convert the exposure indicated by the Nikon to the corresponding exposure for the LF camera? How can you use the light meter of one of your 35mm cameras to determine the exposure required for the LF camera? I don't understand.

Best regards,

Matt Held

-- Matt Held (, December 24, 1999


Set the ASA on your Nikon to the ASA of the film you are using in your LF camera. Set the aperture on your Nikon to the same aperture you are using on your LF camera (if your Nikon lens doesn't have small enough apertures, you'll have to do some mental calculations). Meter with the Nikon and calculate shutter speed as you normally would. Set the shutter speed on your LF accordingly.

-- Chris Patti (, December 24, 1999.

use it as you would a handheld light meter. just remember to scale the reading, adjusting for Bellows Extension Factor, reciprocity, and interpretation. it isn't as easy as 35mm, but it sure is more rewarding!

-- Daniel Taylor (, December 24, 1999.

You are using the Nikon the same way you would a handheld spot meter. The way you do it is to choose a lens for your 35mm camera that covers roughly the same area as the lens for your 4x5. Roughly speaking, that means a lens of roughly 1/3rd the focal length of your 4x5 lens. bellows factor really doesn't start coming into play until you are at about 1/4 life size. If your camera has a spot meter feature, you can use the camera as a very precise spot meter, especially if the 35 mm camera is fitted with a 100 mm or longer telephoto.

-- Ellis Vener (, December 24, 1999.

If your camera's meter dosen't have a good spot option (1 degree) get a gray card (B&H carries them, around $5.00, with instructions)and turn your camera's reflective meter into an ambient meter and proceed as indicated above. This will give more consistently good exposures, which is important in LF given its limitation of how much you can shoot compared to 35mm.

-- John Laragh (, December 26, 1999.

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