Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/01/23

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Subject: Re: [Leica] exposure rules
From: "David W. Almy" <>
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 19:44:18 -0500

Kevin Khoffberg wrote:
> David wrote
> <snip>
> You're all wrong. Too much thinking, not enough shooting.
> <snip>

My flippant advice was only half serious. I have great respect for those
who can see in Zones. One of the Westons, I read once, reached a point
in his career where he no longer carried or needed a meter. He just
knew. I'm not there yet. As a matter of fact, it's probably fair to say
I'm lost in an adjacent county.

> The difficulty I've been having occurs when I shoot my Hasselblad where I
> seem to constantly underexposing everything (yes I bracket all the time and
> yes that chews up a lot of great big frames).  Much of the problem comes
> from my use of a spot meter...

Spot meters are wonderful, peculiar instruments. In the hands of a
highly skilled operator, they can be very valuable. Rarely, they are the
best possible tool. But I believe Fred Ward (Nat. Geo.) wrote a brief
note (in the archive?) that said in effect that any serious photographer
interested in consistent, dead-on results will rely only on an incident
meter. As there is no such thing as an incident spot meter (that I'm
aware of), you might be wise going in this direction rather than seeking
any other remedy. It's probably safe to say that the Westons spent
decades coming up to speed on this exposure issue; like me, you may not
have this level of patience.  

> Shooting with the M6 is much easier because the meter is such a blunt
> instrument.  

Compared to a 1 degree spot, yes. Compared to the meters in many other
cameras, though, it is the least blunt. I like the M6's meter as it has
the ability to be broad or specific depending on how it's used. A nice
balance. Excellent results consequently in the hands of any advanced
amateur on up. Now, if they could just transplant that matrix gadget
from the R8....

> FWIW, the first roll of 120 I shot after this wonderful little thread
> yielded 12 excellent images (including the brackets).  So it helped.

Learning never ends, as least as long as you want it to. That's why
Luggers share.


David W. Almy