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Metering: Incident Light Meter or Camera Histogram?

In a studio setting with lighting controlled and relatively unchanging, and 100% repeatable, an incident light meter is an old friend for many professionals.

The incident light meter is a reference point that with experience can be rock solid in terms of repeatable results (which aren’t necessarily optimal for digital, as per my recent research, for optimal results on digital, one still has to use it as a reference, not an absolute).

Digital is not film, and technically excellent results demand much more attention to sensor potential than the simplistic “correct” exposure. For digital, correct ≠ optimal. Meaning that the exposure and the finished image tonal distribution are two different things entirely.

An incident meter would only be an extra hassle for me in the field, and it can add no value to using the histogram, which provides much more insight than simply metering the ambient light. An incident meter in the field is in fact problematic for numerous reasons, which I articulate:

Overview of Using Camera Histogram vs Incident Meter

In my DAP workflow in the field area.

Look 696 SR road racing bike, Japanese paint styleLook 696 SR road racing bike, Japanese paint style
Histogram or light meter?
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