Is anyone still using a Selenium light meter?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Andrew in Austin, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. I use an older, batteries not included, Gossen Pilot selenium light meter with my 80 year old Leica II. It works well until about EV7 @ 400 ISO for B/W negs. In its reflective mode, I do have to aim it down a bit away from any bright lighting or even a cloudy sky. It's incident mode works really well.
    Out of curiosity is anyone else using a Selenium meter with their vintage camera?
    Best Regards,
  2. I have several, all working well. two Weston Master II's, a tiny Sekonic and a GE PR-1 among them.
  3. Yes, I do. I have one built into the Praktica Nova 1B. Still works well. I also use a Leningrad 7 [has two scales, High and Low] and a Gossen Pilot. All work well. sp
  4. Weston Master V, lovingly calibrated and reworked by Quality Light Metrics. Spot on, and I found an Invercone for it.
  5. SCL


    Sure, but not often. I have a couple of old Leica ones and then there are some in my camera bodies. All work, but "Sunny 16" or my "Ultimate Exposure Calculator" are about as accurate.
  6. Weston Euromaster, and like Michael Howard it was resurected by Quality Light metrics.
  7. I rarely do, but when I do I have a Gossen Pilot II, which is like the original Pilot except that it has a tiny calibrating pot hidden under a plug, which allows fine adjustment.
  8. I have a number of Gossen Scout models which work. I use them when the light is good. I also have Gossen CdS and SBC meters for when the light isn't so good.
  9. Pilot user here too. Cheap, sturdy, reliable. Will meter all outdoor light and can just respond to very bright indoor light. Handy plastic case makes it very portable.
    My go-to dim light meter is a Luna Pro. Spent less than $25 for both meters.
  10. I have a Weston V and a IV. They've both been "re-celled" in the past few years by Quality Light-Metric - all the good things said about this company are true! My IV was done a year or so ago, and I was told they were down to only 3 or 4 cells in their inventory. The supplier, in the UK apparently, was no longer producing them. So I moved quickly before QLM ran out.
    Should be good for another 30 years, so I've been told.
  11. AJG


    The selenium meter on my Contax IIIA works quite well, and I use it along with 30+ years of experience... In low light I reach for my Sekonic L 718 incident meter which is a lot more sensitive.
  12. The selenium cell in my Rollei B35 still gives spot-on readings. My favorite fixed lens camera for traveling light.
  13. I use a Gossen Pilot 2 and I love it.
  14. Quite a few responses. I'm in the John Robison camp. So much so that I bought a spare for $15.
    "john robison , Jul 21, 2014; 10:58 a.m. Pilot user here too. Cheap, sturdy, reliable."​
    And I'll add - once the match needle is set all the possible shutter/aperture combinations for specific light value are easily read from the dials.
    Best Regards,
  15. Yes, and not just with vintage camera's.
    A Brockway (Norwood) Director. Got it cheap and it works well. Essential tool for incident light and luminance readings, nice that it has a swiveling head. In good light it is fine for reflective readings too.
  16. A few of the selenium built-in meters on some of my Prakticas still work. Most long since passed on. My Weston meter gave out some time ago, and I use a Silicon Blue Gossen meter with a 9-volt battery when I use a meter at all.
    Most of the time, 'Sunny-16" (avoid searches for Sweet-16 without a filter) works more than well enough for negative films. The meters were more crucial for slide film and it's been a while since I shot any.
  17. My Euromaster just keeps on keeping on, and a couple of pretty Zeiss Ikophots are accurate and a delight to use. I much prefer the simple meters for everyday use, though as Chris mentioned, the Norwood Director is a great meter, but a little fiddly to use. Luna-Pro when the going gets tough.
  18. I too have and occasionally use a Gossen Sixtino/Pilot. And the same meter (i think it is, though i'm not 100% sure) built into a metered advance knob for Hasselblads.<br>They still work, but slow and a bit off in low light.<br><br>I also have a couple of the original Gossen Sixtomats. I like those. But not enough to use them.
  19. I too use a Weston Master V, re-celled several years and by Quality Light Metric. It lives in the bag for my Super
    Ikonta A, which is my Light weight travel kit.
  20. The selenium meter on my Vittessa still works fine.
  21. I use two, a Brockway clone Sekonic Studio meter (incident light) and a Weston Master IV. The Sekonic works just fine in the field.
  22. Occasionaly use a Sekonic L-398M. Accurate but fiddly with the "High" slide necessary for bright daylight. The baked-in low light limitation is really my only beef. Use a 308 and 558 far more.
  23. Michael Howard wrote:
    Weston Master V, lovingly calibrated and reworked by Quality Light Metrics. Spot on, and I found an Invercone for it.​
    Me, too. My, this forum has turned into an echo chamber.
  24. I dropped my beloved Weston I again but this time it did not respond. I have also a Weston IV as the echo chamber reverberates that was calibrated/refurbished by Quality Light etc And MY Contaflex worked until most recently but the Zenit 11 still marches on as does my little Contessa 35 and it'S Cousin the Contina
  25. I have Selenium meters that mostly work fine. I also have the meter that works with rangefinder Canons, such as the VI, which works some of the time. A little tap on the side will often get it to respond.
    As well as I understand them, they depend on contacts that aren't all that reliable.
  26. Hi, Andrew the trusty old Sangamo Weston Master V has been mentioned several times by the previous postees, and I endorse their recommendations. I got my first one new back in 1967 along with a Yashicamat TLR, and it always gave reliable readings even down at low light situations. Later on in the 70s/80s, I acquired several 35mm SLRs with inbuilt CDS metering so when somebody made me 'an offer I couldn't refuse' for the Master V, I reluctantly parted company with it. However, even later, I found I missed having such an accurate handheld meter not so much for exposure settings, but more for checking the readings on more of those CDS-equipped SLR's! So when an identical working Master V (along with an Invacone) came my way in a package of stuff in the early 90s, I jumped at the opportunity to nab it. It's still my favourite device for checking exposure settings.
    Over the years, I'd got to believe that selenium meters weren't as reliable or as accurate as CDS-powered ones, especially at low light situations. However, the two Master Vs I've owned always gave correct and reliable readings. So given that these were not exactly compact items, and were quite expensive too, was it maybe that the poor reputation for longevity of selenium meters in general was more due to cost-cutting production methods, rather than intrinsic faults? (Pete In Perth)
  27. I had a Western Euromaster for about 35 years I sold it last year and replaced it with a Gossen Starlite 2 digital meter and have never regretted it.
  28. A General Electric DW-68 (made in the USA!) and a Sekonic Studio S incident meter. Both accurate.
  29. I also use a Weston Master V. When Mr. Milton at Quality Light Metrics replaced the selenium cell about a year ago, he told me it was the last one he had and, so far as he knew, the last one available in the world. I don't know whether other models use different cells so don't know if what he told me applied only to the Master V.
  30. Ones that I know of are either pretty close to accurate or barely read at all. That is, the contacts are either good or very bad, but hardly in between.
  31. When I shoot black & white film, I usually use the Sunny 16 Exposure Guideline. When I shoot color slide and print film, I may use two battery-independent selenium light meters. I use a Gossen Pilot Scout 2 with my large format pinhole cameras and my Fuji medium format rangefinders. I use a Sekonic Auto-Lumi model L-158 with my Argus C3, Pentax Spotmatics, and Fuji ST705 (note: the light meters in my Spotmatic and ST705 cameras do not work).
    However, I am more likely to use my more accurate and more light sensitive battery-operated Gossen Super Pilot and/or my Wein 500 flash meter.
  32. Hello all. My late fathers Solinette II and Weston 853 direct reading light meter perform faultlessly some 60+ years after their purchase. Gate is in Waimanalo, Hawaii. Rollei 80s film @ 50asa, Coffenol CL @ 50m, Agfa Solinette II camera. W-853 reflected readings in a modified Zone System exposure. Enjoy, Bill

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