Handheld Exposure Meter

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

  1. I suspect an in-camera TTL meter is anything but wide angle, compared to a typical hand-held.
  2. Oops I shouldn't have typed "wide-angle" I've got information overload lately. I just read that AA used a spot meter during his last twenty some years. More studying is in order but my ever so logical wife who is a better photographer says I should just keep it simple. And I say what fun is that?
  3. I tend to agree with your wife - that's why I primarily use the L318, keeps it simple and efficient.

    But if you want to do Zone metering, then it's hard to do without a spot meter, especially if things are more than a dozen ft away...
  4. Back when I was a teenager I bought a Weston Ranger 9 and headed off to RIT to study photography. I loved that meter and its 18 degree field of view, but I spent the next couple years plagued by underexposed photos. Much later I investigated its calibration and linearity and found it underexposed as the light dimmed. Though it had the right mercury batteries, there was no way to adjust the thing to be correct over the entire range of both scales. RIT had strongly advised all photo students to buy a Gossen Luna-Pro. I shoulda listened! I still have the Ranger 9, manual and even the incident diffuser. Too pretty and too many memories to sell. Further OT, I had an art teacher there in 1973 or 74 who told us not to get too hung up on film, as in the future we might not even be using it. We laughed and looked at her like she was from Venus.
    danac likes this.
  5. Get the newest you can afford. Avoid holy relics that require battery hacks and/or suffer from age-related inaccuracy. Keep in mind that a working meter isn't always an accurate meter. I like the Sekonic 308--strong seller, lots used, AA-powered, deadly accurate.
    laurencecochrane likes this.
  6. The newest you can afford, as in: no ages old third or fourth hand relic, yes. But as in the most recent model, no. Recent models differ from old models in display type and user interface, but are not better meters than those made 50 years ago, or still current simple models such as the already mentioned, extremely simple Gossen Digisix.
  7. I think meter made in the 80's on are fine. Some from the 70's are good too not all of them but I think almost all of the meters introduced in the 80's have about the same accuracy as today's meters. Just don't have the computation stuff which you can do yourse
  8. I use a couple of Gossen Mastersix meters, now almost 40 years old, that compute more than i have ever used (Cd/s, for instance?). And a Gossen Spotmaster of similar vintage, that is the ideal Zone System meter (besides being a regular spotmeter, offering any mode recent models offer), making Zone calculations as easy as pointing the meter at a number of spots and sliding values up or down a scale.
    They joined a number of Gossen Profisix and Lunasix F meters, that use a moving needle and a dial to tell you everything you want to know.
    Older meters, such as the Lunasix 3 offer the same, but use more difficult to use sensors (and batteries that are no longer available).
    I don't think more recent meters offer anything more, except touch screen displays and other such non-essentials.

    We will have to remind ourselves, perhaps, that light metering is not something that evolves. We use the same sensors as we did back then. And there are no new parameters to calculate.
    What makes some old meters less desirable is older light sensors (CdS, or even Selenium) and/or old battery types. Not what they do with the values they measure.

    Those oldies all use regular 9 V block batteries. No worries there.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
  9. I had an L-208 for years , dropped in the ocean ( they don't call me Klutz , for nothing ) and promptly ordered
    another to replace it . If there was an exposure problem , it was me screwing up the film speed setting or
    twisting the dials on the camera backwards :) . Why look any further , it's even cheaper when on sale and
    you've spent little if not satisfied ! Peter
  10. "I don't think more recent meters offer anything more, except touch screen displays and other such non-essentials."

    Sorry q.c. but old Gossens--whatever their power source--are relics. They're also big and not the easiest to use. Sekonics like the 308 are "best buys." The larger, pricier Sekonic 5xx, 6xx, 7xx meters offer spot, flash and ambient. Looks to me like you haven't been meter shopping for a few years.
  11. Big? Yes. So are those do-it-all present day contraptions. Heavy? Yes. Relics? Could not be further from the truth.

    I know what's available, C. There's nothing the newer machines offer that strikes me as a must-have, not available using those oldies. Really nothing.
    Spot. flash and ambient, incident and reflective? Nothing new there. Touch screen displays and other non-essentials. That's all that is new.
    Again: "We will have to remind ourselves, perhaps, that light metering is not something that evolves." A tiny, simple meter like the Digisix already offers everything you need to get perfect exposure. Need flash? get the Digisix 2.
    No spot metering, no. You do not need spot metering. My least used meter (and meter attachments). Spot metering is a cumbersome way of getting where incident metering brings you in one easy step.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
  12. I have a 208 and a 308. What I like about the 208 is the traditional rotating dials and the size, of course. What I don't like so much is that there is a bit of slack in reading, so it gives slightly different measurements if you turn the light level pointer to match the meter from low to high, compared to from high to low. I have compared it to my collection of other meters and I conclude that the 308 is more accurate even though I'm not so keen on the digital display. I also have the tiny Voigtlander meter which is good (reflection only) except it has an infuriating tendency to shift the film speed setting: there's not enough friction to hold it in place. I've thought of glueing it at 400 and if I rarely need a different film sensitivity then make a mental adjustment. Or sell it.
  13. I’m really no expert in meters, but what I do know is that it is important what you point your meter at. If you plan on B&W landscapes, I would get something sensible and reliable and put your time and energy into learning how to use it properly. If weight isn’t a problem, and you have one, take a DSLR camera instead. Matrix, centre weighted and spot, all in one at no additional expense. If your’e lugging around an RB67 in any case, you’ll barely notice the extra load!
  14. Enjoy your relics. Old Gossens with tack-on accessories don't, as I recall, do "useless" 1 degree spot metering. That said, there must be a small army of delusional souls who productively use narrow spot metering.If you don't? So what.
  15. There you go, C. You do not know what you are talking about.
    Please try to educate yourself about what was and is available before chiming in with your verdict. Ill- or uninformed advice serves noone. Except your own ego.
    Those 'relics' still work today as good as any present day meter. Could you imagine and explain why they would not?
  16. Piss away, q.c. Out-dated, ill-informed, irrelevant. Live with it.
  17. On the other hand, I prefer the 308 (or 318), 1 button press gets you everything. No rotating a dial to transfer a reading, then looking on a scale... even the tiny capable digisix requires that... although it does read out in EVs, so it's pretty efficient with Hasselblad C/CF lenses.

    Not that I have any issues with dials and scales, I grew up using my father's Zeiss Ikophot-T, which worked great for an out-dated relic. I still have it. Still accurate. CDS technology with a 9V battery that last for ever. I just personally like the 318/308 better. It great having choices.
    peter_fowler likes this.
  18. The "high to low" is the difference between reflective and incident readings on the L-208, if we're talking about the same 208. It's not really high and low. Sliding the diffuser across the cell port will give you incident readings while the meter is pointed back at the camera, as per the instructions.

    I just received a 208 in the mail two weeks ago, so I can clip it to cold/hot shoes on the cameras that have them and I expect I'll be using it for average reflective readings only. I'll also use it handheld, but not for landscapes, it's not sensitive enough for deep shadows and highlights at a distance. However, I like the fact it takes the same battery as my car's remote door key. But for what they are, they are over-priced, made of plastic and made in the Philippines, middle men are screwing us.

    How I wish my old L-98 was still accurate. I must get it repaired/calibrated one day, it's very sensitive, especially in low light. But after years of storage, it's two stops under exposing, the ASA has to be set differently.
  19. At this point I think the L-308 would be a good choice for my needs.
    laurencecochrane likes this.
  20. IMO, it's a piss-poor photographer that can't get useful exposure information from just about any functioning (IOW, reasonably accurate) meter of any type. Bring what you got and enjoy it.

Share This Page