Handheld Exposure Meter

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by danac, Aug 17, 2021.

  1. I hope to have an RB67 Pro S in the near future. The plan is to use it almost exclusively for black and white landscapes. Never having used one, I am completely ignorant of which meter to get. I'd like a new or nearly new one. Any suggestions would be helpful. I'm really looking forward to the fun factor of this endeavor.
  2. I use a Sekonic L-308S second hand ebay purchase. Good wee meter. Previously I used old vintage meters but the Sekonic is far more consistant. Plus it has a flash meter.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2021
  3. Anything made by Sekonic or Gossen is good, from basic to feature rich.
    peter_fowler and Jochen like this.
  4. I would look for a exposure-meter with the option to spot-meter a scene.
    Some lightmeters have a spot- or selective meter built in (I like the fairly small Sekonic L-408), other meters will take spotmeter-attachments.
  5. SCL


    Personally whatever meter you select, I'd make sure it could meter in the incident metering mode as well as reflective metering mode. If you're unfamiliar with these concepts, before you buy, I'd do some reading up on the benefits and drawbacks of each. Personally after over 60 years of photography, I prefer incident metering for about 90% of my work.
    Jochen likes this.
  6. Will you develop your own film? How much are you willing to spend?
  7. I take into account three main characteristics:
    1. Incident measurement
    2. Reflected spot metering
    3. Flash metering
    Almost all incident meters read read reflected light. But just a very few ones read a spot.
    And not all meters read flash light.

    IMHO you don`t need a spot meter unless you were into a zone developing system. If you plan to work using e.g., Adams` Zone System, you need a spot meter.
    And, if you plan to use flash or studio strobes, a flash-capable meter is a must.
    So if you don't need spot or flash, any hand held meter will work (Gossen, Sekonic). Anyway, I'd personally get a flash capable one, just in case.

    Good sized digital ones are my favorites. Traditional needle ones work just as well.

    Small pocket units are right with small cameras. Given the size of a RB, a full sized one shouldn`t be a problem.
  8. If it takes a battery, make sure it's a battery you can buy! The later Gossens are good in that regard.
    Gary Naka likes this.
  9. Wrong. A digital camera works the very best to check exposure for studio work and instrumental in checking your lighting these days. Polaroid now obsolete and if you can get it FAR TOO EXPENSIVE Making a digital camera on a film shoot invaluable.
  10. To respond to some of the great advice: I enjoy doing my own processing... At my age with time running out, reasonable cost is not an object in order to get the most out of my experience.. . I understand the difference between incident and reflected light but have never considered the former having only ever used TTL SLRs... I've studied AAs Zone System and can see the particular advantage it has for those who use large format sheet film cameras. With roll film you can only develop the negatives with one process... There were times when i would have been well served with a spot meter. An example was an image I made of Vernal Falls in Yosemite. The rocks, cliffs and trees turned out great but the fall was a washed out zone IX. Since the camera will only be used for landscapes, a spot meter is not a really serious issue (I think)... In fifty some years of film camera use, I can just about count the times I needed a flash on two hands. Now I save the indoor images for my digital Canon T6i... If the meter had all of the above features, that would be okay too.
  11. Lots of good meters and much depends on what you want to do with it (Incident, direct, etc).
    My personal favorite out of dozens I've used over the last 50 years is the Gossen SBC Luna Pro.
  12. A good meter is all you need. Back then, before digital. And now.

    You can do Zone System using roll film and a camera with interchangeable backs, danac. That's how Adams did it too. One back for what you expect to encounter. Another one for higher, or lower, contrast you might expect to need as well. And one for unexpected situations.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2021
    bobbudding likes this.
  13. Oh I did not say not to use a flash meter if you have one. Just a digital camera gets the job done too.
  14. I just noticed the Sekonic L-208. It's seems to be all I would ever need and it's only $127. Any thoughts?
    peter_fowler likes this.
  15. Seems very cute and uses a decent battery type. Being a bottom feeder, the price seemed high, but it's actually very reasonable for a new meter. FWIW, I like the Gossen Luna-Lux SBC. No meter to break or get sticky. 9V battery.
  16. I have a L-208, amongst others. It is a nice pocket meter that I use with my Leicas. No flash capabilities. I like it for the size.
    For everything else I prefer a bigger one, and now I'm used to digital screens (L-608). Seem faster to work. The L-308 is also very popular one, compact sized, I think there is a flash version.
    I still keep a Gossen Luna Pro SBC just because I love it. The 9 volts battery could be of an an issue for some.
  17. Mines a L-308 S with flash capability takes a single AA battery very happy with it. Only MINOR gripe the flash trigger socket cover has no cord on it I added one
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
  18. For a currently available meter, ! prefer the Sekonic 308 series. But they are primarily incident meters, and a lot of landscape people like to have a reflection meter (specifically, a spot meter).

    I primarily use an old L318, which I've had for decades. I've also used a Gossen Sixtomat digital and Digisix (if you are looking for something really small, the Digisix is very nice, does incident and reflected, but no spot, and still currently available new).

    For spot metering, I have the spot meter attachment for an old Gossen LunaPro (converted from Mercury cells), and I have a Polysix elec. that has a built in 10 deg metering mode (not truly a spot, but good enough for most cases). I'd really like a Pentax Digital Spotmeter, but so would everyone else, and my current use would not merit the $.

    The Sekonic L318 (and 308 series) is just very non-fiddly and quick to use, hence my everyday preference.
  19. 308 is incident and reflective
  20. I can't for the life of me understand why this would be so. Even Chris Johnson in his The Practical Zone System states: "if you are photographing distant mountains, a wide- angle meter can make getting an accurate reflected reading very difficult, if not impossible." I have used wide-angle TTL in-camera meters exclusively for over fifty years and taken many more landscapes than all else. My Photo.net portfolio will attest to this and some of those images aren't half bad. What am I missing here?

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