Light Meter Using "AA" Batteries - $150 or so?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by markdeneen, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. I'm searching for a lightmeter in the range of $150 or so. I have a few requirements I am trying to meet.
    1. It can only use AA batteries. I don't want oddball batteries for anything.
    2. I'd like to be able to read degrees K directly in ambient light.
    3. I would prefer NOT to have ANY extraneous features like alarm clocks, GPS, built-in clocks of any kind, can openers, and so on.
    Suggestions appreciated. New is preferred to old.
  2. Mark, per your second requirement, you are wanting the meter to tell you the light color in Kelvin?
    If so, you are not looking for a light meter, you are looking for a color meter. Gossen has one for $975 and that's about the cheapest you'll find.
    Otherwise, look for a light meter that reads flash, incident, and reflected. Something like this one form Polaris.
  3. A light meter measures the amount of light. A color temperature meter measures the colore temperature of light; say 2700K for a 60watt Edison; 3200K for B lights; 3400K for old Amateur photofloods; 5200 to 6200K for daylight.
    Requireing AA batteries for a lighlmeter is like wanting a car that runs with AA batteries; you just made a null Venn diagram.
  4. As Rob says, the color temperature readout is problematic. I know of no current meters that measure both exposure and color temp, other than ones built into a DSLR. I think minolta made one years ago, but that doesn't help your search.
    Other than that, the Sekonic L-308 series is an excellent, high quality choice. I use them all the time, after having worked through 3 or 4 other meters that proved less than satisfactory, and it meets all your other needs.
  5. Gossen Multibeam from the 1980's? uses AAx2 batteries. Accurate and great build quality.
  6. I love it when I can't even ask the right question! Thanks all----
    Ok, forget the temperature reading. Someone suggested that was easy to find and useful. I don't need it.
    However, the battery thing is important. I'll look up some of those mentioned.
    Thanks all for putting up with my stupidity,.
  7. The Gossen Luna-Pro SBC uses a standard bricklike 9-volt battery like the one probably in your smoke detector/
    It's easily the best meter I've ever owned.
  8. @JDM---
    Thanks. I can live with the 9V battery. I found a nice one and bought it. I like the analog aspect of it. Should be here soon and I'll give it a whirl.
  9. Most Minolta digital meters use AA battery. However, your requirement to measure color (color temp in degrees K) makes it difficult to get on even used. New color temp meter cost over $1000.
  10. For example the Minolta Color Meter III F would satisfy your requirements that it uses 2 AA batteries and has directly readout of color temp in degree K. But it's quite expensive.
  11. I bought a Minolta IV meter from e BAy last fall for about $125. It uses AA and is very accurate. Flash & ambient. I mostly use it to meter flash.
    Kent in SD
  12. My L-308BII uses an AA battery and works very well for metering ambient and flash. It's an older model, superseded by the current L-308S, but the new model also uses a single AA cell. Of course it doesn't measure color temperature. A new L-308S is slightly above the target price mentioned in the original post, but not too far off. If you can find an older L-308BII, it should easily be within the budget.
  13. I have a Sekonic L-358 and all it uses are AA's. It measures both flash and ambient light.
    You are not going to be able to find a color temperature meter anywhere near your price range. You might be able to find one used for $500, but that is it.
  14. Right - - I gave up on the color temperature aspect. That was pure ignorance on my part. I saw someone mention it as available, and obviously I misunderstood their meaning.
    I DID find the Luna SBC as mentioned above and I bought it used. It looks very neat and I am sure it will work fine for me. I would have preferred AA batts, but I can live with 9V. My main concern was to not have a million SKUs for batteries around my home. We generally try to keep everything to AA and we buy the big bricks at Costco. "Battery Management" is a big issue at our house which is (sadly) filled with 50 or 60 gadgets.
  15. I've had my Gossen Luna-Pro SBC for several years now, and replaced the 9-volt battery once, and I'm not sure that the first one wasn't already partly run down when I put it in.
  16. Thanks Nilantha - -
    I already purchased the Gossen Luna though!
  17. I realize mark has bought a Gossen Luna, so my comments are for anyone else w/ an interest in this thread.
    mark has a most valid requirement for AA batteries or at least the standard sizes sold in any corner 7-11. Coin cells & odd ball sizes & voltages are a pita. I too buy bricks @ Costco. I also have to use AAA s, Cs, Ds, & 9Vs, as I also have a bazillion devices around my home. So I end up buying AAA s, C & D 9Vcell bricks, but that's OK. (Flashlights, etc.) They all get used up before expiration.
    I have spent hundreds over the past 25 yrs on rechargeable which has been a total waste of $$$. In the last year I got a Ni Hi “smart charger-conditioner”, hoping against hope. It can't charge – condition it's ass. I love to reduce environmental damage & save $$$, but have never found a rechargeable loose battery solution. Does anyone know of a good NiHi charger-conditioner for < $100? <$200 <$300? What does it take for a useful one?
    Dedicated rechargeables, are OK, such as Lithium in a computer, or cell phone, or GPS.
    My 2 cents
  18. Jay--
    Cool. Another fan of standard batteries. I too have a billion devices, and I really hate special batteries of any kind. I tried all kinds of RatShack level "rechargeables" and never found it worth while. Waste of money compared to those magnificent copper tops!
  19. Hi Mark,
    At nanoLambda, we are developing such a low cost color meter.
    Your price range is about right. Size could be close to a AA battery.
    Stay tuned.
    We will try our best to give you a good news soon.
    Bill Choi

Share This Page