No, I’m not kidding. I use a printed light meter with my meterless Leica IIIa!
Well, it’s not really a light meter… It’s just a very clever sliding table that gives me the correct exposure for any lighting situation.
Normally when you use a film with a nice exposure latitude like Ilford’s HP5 or Kodak Portra for color, you can determine the light situation you are in using the table on the reverse. Film latitude will gloss over any errors you may make here, be assured.
On the left of the tables you have the approximate light siruation and in the right columns you can read the correponding EV (exposure value).
You then turn your ‘light meter’ aroundand set the film speed index opposite the EV value you have found.
Et voilà, you can read all possible exposure combinations of shutter speed and aperture right off your device.
In this case, I pretend to shoot a 1600 ISO film right after sunset. The reverse gave an EV of 9 to 10.
I slide the inner part up to align 1600 ISO with EV 10 and see I can get away easily with, for eaample a shutter speed of 1/250s at aperture 8…. great for street photogaphy! ‘F:8 and be there’ goes the saying.
Of course with time you get to know the correct exposure, but sometimes I check anyways. Not even any need for an iPhone light meter app…. The aim is to stop relying on any kind of light meter. It’s possible. Takes a bit of time and practice, but it works – well it worked a long time until the first light meters appeared. And in those days the film emulsions were really not as flexible as modern film when it came to correct exposure.
Just learn to rely on your eyes to measure your exposure!
Want your own light meter?
Download the template from Andy Lawn’s site (there’s other goodies there!) or from the links just below and print it out on some tough card stock. Ordinary printer paper will quickly go bad…. I used glossy photo paper.
There’s two versions, a slightly bigger one and a smaller one that needs you to turn it around to see all the EV values.
Follow the easy instructions and here you go!
Have fun, it’s photography!