The 5D Mark II offers a variety of light metering options, including Evaluative and Spot, as detailed in Chapter 3. Regardless of the metering option you choose, a reflective meter measures the light reflected by the subject. Although reflective light meters are generally accurate in most situations, they can cause exposure errors in scenes where glare and extraneous light figure in.
An alternative to the onboard reflective meter is using a handheld incident light meter. An incident meter, which I feel is more precise and accurate than reflective meters, reads the amount of light falling onto the subject. Incident meters have a plastic bubble over the light sensor to diffuse the light striking it. To use the incident meter, you dial-in the ISO that you're using on the 5D Mark II on the light meter and then take the meter reading at the subject's position, with the hemisphere pointed toward the camera. When you press the Measuring button on your light meter, the meter displays a readout showing the exposure settings based on the scene illumination and the ISO you dialed in.
Some photographers prefer using the handheld incident meter to check light output and lighting ratios and feel it's more accurate. Regardless of the type of meter you use, meter readings are only a starting point for exposure settings. You still want to create a rich file with a great histogram that reproduces well in all modes as well as making sure there's proper contrast and tonality. And it's up to you to pay attention to your exposures.
Was this article helpful?