Photo Lesson Overview on

CGIPix is an observation that Nikon, Canon and the rest no longer make cameras,
they make computers that you can attach a lens to.
Here is a basic overview of what it takes to create good, better or best pictures, you decide how much effort you want to put into your pictures.

The meanings of ISO and Film Speed:

Using External Meters

The built in metrs on a camera are very accurate, but they can be easily fooled. If you are taking a picture of a very bright subject, such as snow, or a dark subject, such as a black car, the the camera's built in meter will show its limitations. The best way around the limitations of the internal meter is to use an external meter to take reading for light, flash and color. If you are using a zone system of exposure, than a spot meter is the preferred choice.

Types of Light Readings

There are two types of way to read the light on a scene, reflected or incident.


Reflected light readings are what a camera's built in meter does, or a spot meter. The meter reads the light hitting the subject, and being reflected back at the meter. This is why reflected meter readings can be off, white reflects more, black reflects less.

Incident meter readings are taken of the light falling on a scene. It won't matter if the subject is bright or dark, the amount of light falling on it will always be the same. This is why an incident light meter is standard equipment for many professionals. The subject can't fool the camera, and the exposure readings are much more accurate.

Light Meters

A light meter can be a basic piece of equipment, with no battery required. The meter will read the light hitting it, and that will charge a circuit and move a needle to the correct exposure. These were the first versions of light meters, and are still available on the used market today. The modern light meters are extremely accurate, with a digital readout in 0.1 F stops. If you're taking a picture of a black car, you hold the light meter next to the car, push the button, and see the readout. Once you have the readout, you plug the values into your camera.

Flash Meters

Most modern light meters have a built in flash meter function. You can hook a PC sync cord to the flash meter to fire strobes, or set the flash meter to take a reading when the strobes are fired. Advanced functions allow you to trigger a strobe multiple times, and the meter reads the total amount of ambient and flash lighting during the exposure time.

Spot Meters

Spot meters are the standard for zone system shooters. The zone system breaks a scene down between darkest and lightest portions of a scene. The "true" exposure value is not as critical as the exposure value that will allow the medium to capture the lightest and darkest parts of a scene accurately. So if you have a scene with dark shadows, you could be overexposing by a stop or so to keep everything in the scene properly exposed. With a spot meter, normally taking a 1 degree reading, you make multiple readings, to determine the lightest and darkest part of the scene. From there, you decide if it's possible to shoot the scene and have everything properly represented on the medium. Most zone shooters are using 4x5 view cameras. A digital shooter will be able to use HDR (High Dynamic Range) to extend the range of a scene.

Color Meters

Color meters are the expensive meters. A good color meter will give you a direct readout in the degrees Kelvin of a scene, and then you can set that number into a digital camera, or use color correction filters. Some color meters have built in flash meters, to accurately measure the color of a flash unit, or a combination of flash and ambient lighting.

Using a Light Meter

Any time you start using a light meter and shooting manually on a regular basis, you see that your exposures are much more accurate. The light meter is giving you a precise reading of the light falling on the scene, rather than the less accurate reading of the light being reflected into the camera's meter.
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