Help with a dilemma...

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by berk_gurhan, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. I am currently shooting with an old Canon EX (Fortepan 100 B&W) and I am literally coming up with the exposures in my head off of some base readings from a friends meter that I was able to observe and record previously. Clearly I need to remedy this situation asap (although the it has been quite exciting when I get the exposures right).
    However, I am going to own a Minolta X-700 in about two weeks time. Therefore, I was wondering how good the light meters on the Minolta x-700's are and whether I would need a separate light meter for my purposes as a beginner photography (please excuse if i come off ignorant on the subject, as I am yet to understand the difference between the hand held meter and the ones that come on the cameras, I would assume the hand held ones are more accurate?).I have read up on the x700s built in light meter and it seems to be quite adequate, for my purposes at least.

    At the moment my photography budget would not allow me to buy a new sekonic or gossen, therefore, I would have to settle with something older off of ebay (quite abit older in fact!) which I am not too comfortable with . My intention would be to wait until I develop myself as a photographer (using the X700) and have the extra funds laying around to buy a proper new light meter from the aforementioned brands.
    Any advice for my situation?
    Thanks from now
  2. Berk, hi. I suggest there is no need to get a separate hand-held meter now. The Minolta has an excellent silicon metering cell, which will probably do everything you want it to. Spend the money on film and chemicals or processing instead.
    A hand-held meter is good in specific situations, like when you want to use incident metering, or you want to meter off a small area of your subject-- or simply when you're using a camera that doesn't have a meter.
  3. Hand-held meters are more accurate if used well. The problem is a lot of people don't know how to use them properly. If you buy a used one make the only advice I have is look for one that does both incident and center or spot metering, and don't buy one that has a selenium cell in it. Selenium cells haven't been made for a long time and they expire over time. So any meter that uses one is almost certainly inaccurate by now.
  4. No need to get a separate meter for now, but...I have several selenium cells and a very old Gossen Luna Pro (first model with a mercury battery). The selenium cells can be bought for $5. I got the old Gossen for $20. Old selenium meters, if reactive and once zeroed can be fine in plain old outdoor light. I still use mine all the time.
  5. I agree that the meter in the Minolta should work well enough. You can probably get a used digital point-and-shoot for the price of a separate meter. Depending on what you are shooting, you might be able to use the point-and-shoot as a light meter that actually gives you a preview of the picture. The ISO values are not going to match film number-for-number and the P&S probably does not meter through the lens as the SLR does, so translating the exposure from the P&S to the film SLR requires some experimentation to get right. Of course, the fiddling with a P&S will probably kill the nice feeling of shooting a film camera.
  6. Great advice. I will proceed with the x700s meter as you guys said. I must admit it has been stimulating to try and judge the light conditions subjectively. Having the meter in the camera will feel like a revolution at this point :p If i see a good deal on ebay though, I may take it, in which case i'd refer to the forum again before pulling the trigger.
    Thanks guys.
  7. Berk, you didn't specify whether you've been using a Canon EX-Auto or EXEE, but both used the 1.3 volt mercury button cells that are scarce now (and some new button cells marketed as mercury cells are of suspect quality). If you've substituted the alkaline equivalent in type 625 you won't get accurate metering.
    The closest acceptable substitute, other than the pricey Wein cells, is the 675 zinc air hearing aid battery. The smaller 675 may be a loose fit but can be made to work in many cameras with little or no modifications. The Wein cells are basically type 675 zinc air batteries with an oversized metal collar to make them fit the 625 diameter battery compartments.
    A good handheld incident or spot meter is useful, but try a more appropriate battery for your Canon EX before giving up on it, unless you've already determined that the meter is completely non-functional. And you may have already found either EX model too limiting due to the peculiar dedicated lens design that wouldn't accept the later FD type lenses.

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