incident light readings

The Famous Norwood Director meter from an ad in the April 1948 issue of Popular Photography

Toronto. I wrap up this series of posts on hand held meters with the famous Norwood Director imported in the States by American Bolex (and later Director Products). Thanks again to George Dunbar for this April 1948 ad from Popular Photography. George mentioned that this was his choice of meter for industrial photography assignments with IBM Canada.

Most meters of the era measured reflected light. The trouble was a light subject tended to be under exposed while a dark subject was over exposed. Reflected light meters had white three dimensional attachments like Weston’s Invercone to read incident light (the light falling on the subject, not reflected by the subject). The Norwood Director was different –  it was designed to be an incident light meter!  The meter recorded the light falling on the subject and matched the same reading as that reflected from a neutral grey subject.

Using an incident light meter gave a more accurate reading for the contrasty colour films of the day. For black and white, the resulting negatives resulted in decent prints. Changing the paper number or development time let you adjust the final result for contrast and tonality.

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