Calibrating my flash meter

Anne wrote:

I’ve been using a Polaris flash meter in the studio. I’m having problems getting the correct exposure. It seems to be about two f-stops under exposed. I have both my camera and meter set for ISO 80, shutter speed 1/60, and it is giving me a 5.6 f-stop reading which is way underexposed. I have to open my camera up two f-stops and then that over exposes it a little.

I’m photographing clothes, so i need to show details as in pockets, zippers, stitching and so forth. I know meters are just a starting point but this seems way off. Could you explain why this is happening?

Click here to view the answer to this question


A Free Online Resource for Studio Lighting and Photography Information: Tips, Tutorials, DIY Instructions, Reviews, and Much More.

3 thoughts on “Calibrating my flash meter

  1. Post author


    Your note was very interesting to me because I own the same meter and I’ve had a similar experience. Ed and I tested our meters side-by-side recently and we confirmed that the meter was reading under. Unfortunately, there is no way that I am aware of to calibrate the Polaris meter. I have, however, been able to correct the meter for use by finding the ISO setting that gave me proper readings for aperture. In my case, I set the ISO on the meter to 400 and my camera to 200. If you are unable to borrow a friends meter for comparison, you may have success by using a white card and the reflective meter in your camera compared to your flash meter. By trial and error you may be able to find the ISO setting on your meter that corresponds to your camera.

    If you are taking professional photographs, you might consider purchasing a meter which allows you to do a more accurate calibration.

  2. Erick Lirios


    I also use a Polaris flash meter and have used it since 1998. Though I don’t really have the same problem there is one way to make things easier. If we are indeed using the same meter, the battery chamber has a quickie solution. There is a button there that when pressed allows you to dial in (or press rather) using the up and down arrow keys (the ones we use to adjust the shutter speed) to tell the meter to always either over or under expose by the number of stops you dial in.

    I hope this helps. My Polaris is a real workhorse and though I also use a Sekonic 508C, my Polaris is easier to use so it won’t be getting sold any time soon.

  3. Marty Swales

    Hi I have a polaris meter and suffer the same problems. I know if I drop the speed down the picture will be fine. I am new to this game and have posted a question myself regarding a similar issue.

Beier Precisa, Roll Film Camera for 6x6 and 6 x 4,5 picture
Beier Precisa, Roll Film Camera for 6x6 and 6 x 4,5
Beier Precisa Camera Folding Camera Roll Film Camera erisar 3,5/7,5 picture
Beier Precisa Camera Folding Camera Roll Film Camera erisar 3,5/7,5