I have just bougnt an old fully manual medium format camera to play with, nothing serious. anyway on the lens there is a flash attachment point, which got me thinking:

How do i decide on flash and exposure settings when shooting? I know that usung a light meter will allow me to set exposure in normal circumstances, but hwo do i account for the flash(s)?


You can get a flash meter, which works just like a light meter but detects flash pulses. Alternatively film photographers used to use Polaroids to check both the exposure and the general effect of the lighting setup. A cheap digicam with manual settings would be the modern equivalent of this.

  • Better meters can perform a cumulative measure of both the flash pulse and the ambient light at a given shutter speed, if you are really wanting to dial things in. Sekonic makes a great one.
    – Steve Ross
    Aug 18 '12 at 21:56
  • Thanks guys - I bought a Sekonic, it has a built in flash trigger, so you can use it as a normal light meter (which i needed anyway) and a flash meter :-) Aug 20 '12 at 12:39

I've been using my father's old Rolleiflex by using my dslr as a light meter, I've not tried it with a flash but I should imagine that the same principle would apply. Set your flash and dslr on manual, match your film ISO and then adjust the shutter speed and aperture within the ability of the film camera until you have the exposure you want. Keep notes of your settings so you can compare the digital and film images afterwards.

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