Buying a light meter

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by nelmur, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Seconded. I also have an old but very similar version of that Gossen - slim and light with a large and very clear LCD display. The slide-off incident dome is on the top side at 90 degrees to the display, which some people may not like, but the reading locks until you press the metering button again, so it's not a problem for me. They also make a 'pro' version with the dome on the front at the top, which adds to the size (and price).

    My other meter is Weston II picked up at a camera fair, so old that you have to set the film speed by Weston's own scale, one notch down on the dial (1/3 stop) from the modern ISO rating (80 rather than 100, or 320 rather than 400). Surprisingly, it still reads close to the Gossen - I don't know its service history, but the cells in the older meters were supposedly better sealed, and seem to have outlasted those in much more recent models. It's fun but much more fiddly to use than the Gossen - the lettering is tiny, the needle reading has to be transferred manually to the dial, you need to flip out a baffle to access the high sensitivity range, and in this model the optional invercone needs to be used in combination with a special ND filter in bright light! But as with other analogue dial meters, it's nice that you can see all the 'correct' aperture/shutter speed combinations at a glance.
  2. Hey, cool you're digging into medium format film shooting. You're gonna like it. I've had most every meter people have suggested so far, and probably own 5 different ones. The one I grab and use 90% of the time is a Sekonic L-208 TwinMate. Small, compact, reads analog directly with f-stop/shutter combinations, and the battery lasts around a year. It has an incident dome, which is good to know how to use. Sekonic L-208 . If you go Gossen LunaPro, I'd highly advise you get the newer LunaPro SBC or F. They take 9V batteries and have much more reliable silicon cells. You can get a spot attachment for these cheap, which is really handy to do more Zone system metering. That's what I use the other 10% of the time. Have fun and good luck!
    bertliang likes this.
  3. In the late 80's and 90's, the newspaper staffers I worked with mostly used Minolta Auto Meters and I liked my Auto Meter IIIF very much. The line has been discontinued, but B&H has a used Konica Minolta Auto Meter III (ambient light) for $105.99 and a Konica Minolta Auto Meter IVF (ambient light and flash) for $199.95. Both meters measure reflected or incident light. I found my Auto Meter IIIF to be very easy and accurate as an incident meter. However, if you want a meter for reflected measurement primarily, there are probably better choices.
  4. Long ago at RIT it was pretty much required to have a LunaPro. They were accurate and reliable, in fact we did statistical analysis on all the ones people brought to class. Being ever the odd man out, I had a Weston Ranger 9. I found it a much better meter because of it's narrow view and viewfinder. Unfortunately, it wasn't accurate. Only much later did I trace the circuit and do my own calibration from a lab source. The problem was no adjustment would make it accurate at the lower light levels. It's unfortunate because you can find them cheap, but they also need a mercury battery or air cell. I've got a couple Sekonic meters (248?) that work well. People praise the older selenium Westons, and they're great for nostalgia, but I find them hard to read and wouldn't trust the old cells as far as I could throw them. Best bet is get a newer meter designed after mercury cells became obsolete.
  5. I have a sekonic L 558 I have been meaning to sell. Price $200. It is a combination incident and 1 degree spot meter. Medium format film plus processing/scanning is costing me about $2 a click so I don't want any shots with improper exposure. Eliminates the need for bracketing at $2 a click.
  6. My favorite meter is the Pentax Digital Spot meter. But it sells for about $300 used these days.

    But, maybe you should just start out by getting a light meter app for your phone. I don't know the best ones, but I'm sure it will get you started quickly with your Hasselblad!
  7. I have a Pentax Digital spot meter and a Sekonic incident meter, however I mostly use my iPhone with the MyLightMeter app. It is extremely accurate,and you have the advantage over other reflective meters that you can see the exact image on the phone that is being metered. You have the ability to zoom into zones (in the Pro version) to act like a crude spot meter also. It won't replace my Sekonic for fast paced paying jobs, but for a casual stroll with my Rolleiflex loaded with C41 or Tri-X, the iPhone is more than accurate. Hey, the app is free, so try it before you drop $$ on a dedicated meter.
  8. Okay, I'll probably get flack for this, but I've been using a Gossen Luna Pro F since 1983. I have the spot meter attachment and have used it in the darkroom with the enlarger attachment. However, just last week I downloaded a free light meter app for my Android Galaxy 7. It appears pretty accurate. It's an Incident, reflective and spot meter too. Pretty nifty. So save your money if you have a smart phone and download it.

    Guess what my shutter speed was. I was using f/8.

  9. I use the same app on an iPhone.

    I'm glad you posted first... :D
  10. I suppose one could just buy a used older dSLR and use it as a light meter. My Nikon D200 is probably a better light meter than anything else I own.
    denny_rane likes this.
  11. Been using a Weston Master V as my 'back-up' for years. I had the cell replaced and a full CLA about a decade ago by a genial chap in The Netherlands. Spot on.
  12. I have a Minolta Auto Meter IV F, with the 10 degree viewfinder attachment. And for me, it works well and takes a standard 1.5v AA battery, which should be available on any drug store shelf, as well at other stores..
  13. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    I have long used a Vivitar No. 30 selenium meter which I picked up in a thrift shop for $3. It has its limitations, but is quite accurate and doesn't require batteries. I find it perfectly adequate for general photography.

  14. I shoot mostly 35mm, so i pretty much do Reflected in the camera or Sunny 16.
    When i do use handheld, i have a Sekonic L308.
    It does Incident...Reflected...AND Flash.
    It has been invaluable to me when i doubt the light for some reason. I only use it a few times a year, but when you DO want it, it is Very Reassuring to have.:)

    I do not own Either a "Smart Phone" or a digital camera, but as mentioned by other members.....THOSE work great for metering.
    good luck
  15. There are versions of the Gossen Luna Pro that use a 9v battery. I still consider it one of the best light meters I've ever used.

    However, if you are shooting negative film, especially color negative film, the exposure latitude is so great that the sunny-16 rule works just fine. This is even more true of a chromogenic B&W film like Ilford XP2 where you can shoot widely different EI shots on the same roll without changing the processing.
  16. Hello, I'm late to this thread, but...

    I use the "Pocket Light Meter" app from Nuwaste Studios on my iPhone. I use it with my Hasselblad 500cm, and it always gets the exposures spot on. I've been using it for around three years now. It's free and plenty accurate enough.

    Good luck and have fun with the Hasselblad!
  17. One of my early pics with the Hasselblad, using the light meter app. I recall that starting using the Hassleblad was like learning photography all over again - exposure, composition, technique... 13050010.jpg

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