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Meter's Buyers Guide
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Camera Light Meters
PhotographyA light meter is used to measure the amount of light needed to properly expose your image. Modern cameras have a built in computer that can either digitally or analogically advise the photographer. They come in either built in or a hand held device. 
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Camera Meters: The built in camera meters are genuinely fine meters and in most instances do an excellent job of judging the amount of light needed to make a picture. The point and shoot cameras have a built in metering system that evaluates and sets the proper exposure controls. All you need to do is push the shutter release. Remember that this type of meter takes an average of the existing light and sets the controls accordingly. Thus you have no say in what the pictures light quality will be like. It will be average at best. The SLR on the other hand has many different modes that can be used to improve your images and create a variety of special effects.
Hand Held Independent Light Meters:

1. An Incident Meter: It is the same as the meter in your camera that reads the amount of light falling on an object. Its readings are done through a milky-white dome on the meter. The settings are an average of the overall lighting of a scene.

2. A Spot Meter: Provides pin point readings on a part of the scene you are planning to shoot. It is good for pictures that have a strong back lighting. You can get an accurate measurement of the subject without back lighting interference.

3. A Flash Meter: Provides the accurate settings for your camera from a flash, strobe, flood light and natural light. You get your exposure settings by entering the ISO and the shutter speed, aiming the meter at the light source and the meter will tell you the correct f-stop.

My suggestion is that you use the meter in your SLR, but if you really want a hand held meter use a flash meter. They are small and very accurate. But be warned they are rather expensive.
Of course if you have a point and shoot a hand held meter is totally useless since you can not change the settings on the camera.
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