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Gossen digisix HOW TO READ F NUMBERS?

steven ches , Oct 02, 2008; 06:15 p.m.


I bought a GOSSEN DIGISIX light meter, but I’m having trouble in working out how to read the F numbers? I have photographed the meter with a light reading, I was hoping if someone can have a look at it and let me know how to understand how to read the F number settings. Say I wanted to shoot in F11, how would I chose that option? All I’m currently getting is F5.6, I can’t change the dial, as the F dial doesn’t move. I’m sooooo confused, can someone please help me work out the F settings??? Also, for example, what would the correct F number be on the reading in the picture I’ve provided?

View my light meter image in question here: http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l21/richdazza/meter.jpg

Many thanks in advance.

How to read F number setting?


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Espen Stranger Seland , Oct 02, 2008; 06:43 p.m.

Don't know this, but I guess you then choose a combinations of your like: 4 second f5.6, 1 minute f/22 or 1/4s f/1.4, etc

EV 3 is pretty low :-)

Espen Stranger Seland , Oct 02, 2008; 06:45 p.m.

...sorry: Your answer is then 15 seconds if you want to use f/11.

Richard W , Oct 02, 2008; 07:30 p.m.

Hello Steven,

in the picture shown above, you have the EV of 3 and 2/3 (showing the two dots behind the 3), the next value would be 4.

So you turn the white wheel with the times so far that the red line of the meter matches the second point behind the EV3, which is quite close to EV 4.

so the combinations you get for example with EV4 are 30sec on f22, 15s on f16, 8s on f11, etc. but this is for EV 4.

so in the case of 3 2/3 it's 1/3rd less of the time than with EV 4, which means 20s on f22, 10s on f16 etc.

there are mainly large format lenses and the Zeiss ZM 35mm lenses that have the diaphragm steps in 2/3rds, most of the lenses for 35mm and mf have half stops, so if you have a value in between half and full stop it depends if you want to have the picture slightly overexposed or underexposed.

Have into consideration that modern films have a wide latitude and that metering without a spot meter has just an average of the lighting of the whole scene in reflected mode (according to the angle of view of the "normal" lens in the format, 50mm lens on 35mm film, 80mm lens on 6x6 coverage of 120 film)

hope this helps - Richard

Jim Momary , Oct 02, 2008; 08:31 p.m.

here's a free manual to download, it'll teach ya everything you need to know. Jim M.


Asim Raza Khan , Oct 02, 2008; 10:47 p.m.

here is the simplest way i can explain this for you... and it really is very easy.

1. take a reading. in your case you have 3**.

2. rotate the dial till you place it on 3** in the window. (in your example you only have it on 3. move it over two more dots)

3. all the readings are displayed in front of you. just because f/5.6 is placed above the window, it doesn't mean you only read that one. you can look at any f/stop without rotating anything.

therefore... f/22 = 45 seconds

f/16 = 20 seconds

f/11 = 10 seconds

f/8 = 6 seconds

f/5.6 = 3 seconds

f/4 = 1.5 seconds

f/2.8 = 0.7 seconds

f/2 = 1/3 second

f/1.4 = 1/6 second

f/1 = 1/12 second

and thats all there is to it.

just a side note. keep in mind that a hand held light meter tells you how much light is available. so if a scene is dark, and you meter it with a light meter, the picture will also come out dark. on the other hand, a cameras meter will compensate for the darkness and brighten up the scene (often times too much). so keep in mind that you will get the scene as it is with a handheld light meter. there may be times that you are taking photos in a slightly dark place and you don't want things to be so dark. therefore, you will have to remember to brighten up the scene manually. or darken a bright scene. its all about your artistic preference.

another important thing is... if you are using filters on your camera... such as a polarizer. remember to compensate for it manually on your digisix reading. so for example, if you have a polarizer on your camera... and your reading is 3** (like in the example above). you will have to move it to 1** since a polarizer reduces the light by 2 stops.

hope this wasn't too confusing. good luck

Q.G. de Bakker , Oct 03, 2008; 01:31 a.m.

"just a side note. keep in mind that a hand held light meter tells you how much light is available. so if a scene is dark, and you meter it with a light meter, the picture will also come out dark. [...]"

Not quite the way you wrote this. The scene will come out as it is. The meter meters the level of light. The exposure following that reading will compensate (if the meter says there is little light it will suggest a longer exposure, if it says there is a lot of light it will suggest a shorter exposure). So no matter what light level, the picture will always (!) come out the same: properly exposed.

A reflected light meter (a mode the Digisix also has on offer) is influenced by the reflective properties, the brightness, of the objects in the scene as well (the famous black cat in a coal shed, or white swan on a snow covered field). The result is overexposure when the objects are particularly dark, underexposure when they are bright.
A fault incident light metering does not produce.

Asim Raza Khan , Oct 03, 2008; 06:43 a.m.

QG... you are correct.

that is what i meant to say. if a scene is dark... the light meter will read it as dark and your image will come out properly exposed... dark. if the scene is bright... the light meter will read it as bright and the image will come out properly exposed... bright.

therefore, snow will look white... as it should using a handheld meter such as the digisix. with a camera's reflected meter, snow turns grey because the camera thinks its too bright and darkens the image... ruining the photo. that is why there is an exposure compensation dial on cameras.

Larry Miller , Jul 24, 2012; 04:37 p.m.

This meter looks so cheap. A lot of the reviews I've read give it a thumbs down. Buy yourself a decent Gossen. This one ain't it....

Q.G. de Bakker , Jul 25, 2012; 01:54 a.m.

I like Gossen meters and have used (and use) a good number of them and in my opinion the tiny Digisix is as good a meter as any other, 'decent' Gossen.
(You've only seen it in pictures and read reviews, Larry? Get one of these and find out how nice a thing it really is.)

It's small, and that means compromises have been made. You have to push the few buttons many times to cycle through the modes and settings, yet (and despite the OP's question) it is very easy to use. And the buttons could do with a bit of protection against being pushed in accidentally.
For that, it not only is very accurate, but offers a good set of features for such a tiny thing, such as a built-in timer and thermometer (very useful, a thermometer. f/16 at 40 degrees C is f/11 at 32 degrees, etc. ;-) ).
The one feature it lacks is flash metering. So i'd suggest the variant that does that too.

So here's one positive review, Larry. ;-)

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