When I started getting back into photography, I thought about how much of my old gear I could use. The last thing I considered re using was my old flash meter as I was happy with results from TTL flash and in camera metering generally.
Several of the books I have read lately have prompted me to re-examine this and investigate a role for manual metering in the way I work. So I have dusted the venerable CalcuFlash meter off with the intention of doing some parallel testing of manual and in camera metering. Actually I needed to do more than dusting. There was some corrosion on the battery terminals that needed removal and new batteries too. I also had to review the manual, as I could not recall exactly how the meter worked but that came back to me slowly.
Testing the meter will require a couple of different setups, starting with the simple one below. The location is in open shade with manual settings based on incident light reading against aperture priority matrix metering. Auto ISO was turned off to prevent any changes to exposure value. As you can see there was not a lot of difference in the first pair but there was actually a one stop variance in the second. I suspect the background influenced the camera reading.
The first pair of images made at 1/40 sec F8 and F7.1. It’s hard to see much difference.
The second pairing was at different angle and there is a lighter background F5.6 and F8. The incident reading did not consider the background at all.
Do I need to do this if I tend to make bracketed exposures for HDR anyway? Possibly not but if I just want the one image then it makes sense to ensure the exposure is as good as I can get it. Another driver is ensuring the consistency of exposures. It don’t think I will use a hand held meter when the light conditions are changing rapidly but in more controlled environments it may be useful to keep on hand.