It still works!

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by lmar, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Some time ago, I was given a Voigtlander Vito II and Norwood Director incident light meter, both from the early 50's.
    Although I'd done some shooting with the Vito, I hadn't had the chance to use the Norwood light meter, and had
    questions about the reliability of its 50+ year old selenium cell. But it still works! I've attached a couple of photos
    taken with the Vito (loaded with XP2), using the Norwood meter.
  2. XP2; f 11; 1/100th sec.
  3. Somethings wrong dude, no pics are showing.
  4. Hmm ... let's try this again.
  5. f 16; 1/250th sec.
  6. The meter and the camera.
  7. Sometimes these old selenium meters can still be in surprisingly good shape. I have a nice Soviet FED-4 and its selenium meter (calibrated in GOST even) still works, as does a Pentacon FB meter from the fifties, and a nice Exakta Ihagee prism+meter that also works. On the other hand, I also have accumulated a box of non-working meters of all ages from a Leudi extinction meter (of course it never really worked), to some nice Westons and GEs. When I was starting out on the path of collecting old cameras, I looked around for a meter and I was lucky enough to get a superb Gossen Luna Pro SBC that actually has a 9-volt battery (no looking for substitutes for mercury cells). I've never had a better meter. Years ago, my very first meter ever was a Tower (Sears) rebrand of a late 50s Gossen selenium meter, but I no longer have it.
  8. Nothing like using a classic camera with a classic meter. I also have a box with several old meters that do not work (eBay purchases that I'd rather not talk about), but I also have a Weston Master III and Master V that work perfectly, as do my Zeiss Ikon Ikophot and two Leica meters.
  9. It seems that the selenium meters, especially the stand-alone ones, have the ability to survive almost indefinitely as long as they have been kept in their dark cases when not in use. Light is what kills them.

    Cameras like my Contina IIa's with a flip-down door to protect the meters, also have a very good chance of working after 50 years, especially if they have been kept in a leather case for double protection. I have two, they both work great.

    Cameras with no meter covers, I just assume have dead meters.
  10. P.S. l.mar, how do you like the handling of the Vito II? I have a Vito B that I love, and I've been thinking of getting a Vito II as a sort of companion to it. It looks like quite a well-laid-out camera.
  11. In my experience, old selenium cells are very reliable, at least the good ones: I have two GE meters from c.1950 that are both still very accurate, and a Weston Master II also.

    The Vito II is a very nice camera and handles nicely. The first camera I ever used was a Vito I, and I have just recently managed to snag one just like it for my collection. In the meantime a Vito II has served as a surrogate for several years.
  12. The old Norwood meter had a great reputation for reliability, so it doesn't surprise me it still works. It looks very similar to a Sekonic. There's a good thread here:
  13. Hello August - Keeping selenium meters away from light when not in use was recommended, however their number one enemy was a combination of moisture and elevated temperatures. In other words, classic cameras with selenium meters, forgotten in garages and attics with questionable climate control usually come with a dead cell.<p>

    I had a Vito 1 but the bellows ripped away from the film gate. I am in the market for another one now, just havew not pursued it too aggrssively. My Vito BL works great in its stead now. Nice textures and tonality in your images Mr. Mar.
  14. I use an old weston III sometimes and its dead on with my newer meters, great shots btw, love the one of the tree.
  15. It's great that the meter works and using it with the Vito II makes a great combo. I really like the handling of the Vito II and the sharpness of the lens, although I wish mine had the Synchro-Compur shutter your Vito II has. Nice shots...I'd love to see more.
  16. I have a Zenit EM from 1974..(by the serial number) whose meter (selenium) still works & is accurate as tested by other proven meters.Not too bad really for the Soviet Union (under featured) but good at what it does (B + 1/30 to 1/500 sec. synch @ 1/30th) !Still cheap & a really good deal for those seeking a cheap M42 mount camera body.Don't count on the meter.SMC tak lenses are the best.Never had one stick on a Zenit...50/1.4...?
  17. Thanks for all of the comments! As far as getting a Vitos II and B, I say get 'em both ---- each one is great fun to shoot with!

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