Light meter?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Weirdly enough, when it comes to selenium meters I've noticed trends that go more by specific meter than how the meter was stored.

    I don't think I've seen a Weston III or earlier that didn't work and wasn't accurate.

    At the same time, GE made a reasonably common handheld meter that always, to my eye, has always looked a bit like an electric razor. I have a few of those lying around-one of them will twitch a bit if I take it out in the sun and open the light shield, but the others are completely dead. I've handled one that worked and was accurate-it was one that someone brought into a local camera store along with a bunch of other stuff to sell when I happened to be there killing time(or at least it gave the expected light reading when pointed at one particular fluorescent light fixture in the store that is used so much for testing cameras/meters that anyone who works or hangs out in the shop can tell you what it should read).

    Selenium meters built into cameras are almost always suspect in my experience, but I got a pleasant surprise when I bought a Canonflex RM and found that it was good. Not much later, I bought a Canon 7, which seemingly has the same meter mechanism, and it's also good.

    My general experience with selenium has also been that if they give what I'd call a reasonable response(i.e. take them into full sun with the baffle-if present-closed and they deflect a good bit, or deflect in a reasonably bright room with the baffle open) they are PROBABLY reasonably accurate.
  2. What is has the reflectivity of neutral gray in nature? A few examples include clear blue sky opposite the sun, green grass, or a red barn. You can use other common references as well, with the proper compensation. The palm of you hand (Caucasian) is about +1 stops (brighter). Tree foliage is about -1 stops (darker). You can take an incident reading if the light is roughly the same as that reaching your subject. However incident readings are best taken near the subject, pointing toward the camera (or the main source of light). For digital, if the light is a mix of light and shadow, expose for the highlights in which you want detail, and the shadows will take care of themselves. The rules are essential the same for slide film, except you can mostly forget about shadows. For negative film, expose for shadow detail, and trust highlights to luck and printing skill.
  3. On the subject of metering there was an arcane device that never needed cell replacement or new batteries : The 'Harris Memory Meter III'.
    Developed by the namesake of the 'Harris Shutter Effect', Robert S. Harris after he left Kodak, this simple but accurate device assisted many amateur photographers in the early 80s.
    Exposures were calculated by rotating the inner dial to match the subject conditions.
    (This was a more complex version of the simple exposure diagram sheet that was enclosed in each box of still's film.)

    Harris Memory Meter.jpg
    robert_bowring likes this.
  4. You should memorize it rather than using it.
  5. There was also the Johnson's Exposure Calculator (amongst many similar devices). For peasants like myself who couldn't afford photo electric meters, or TTL exposure cameras (an impossible dream).
  6. I have a several Weston's, GE's, and a Sekonic L-86 (some work, some don't) with the Selenium batteries. Decided to upgrade to something more reliable, so I just bought a Sekonic L-188, Sekonic L-438 and a Pentax Spotmeter V from eBay. Got good deals on all 3.
  7. I have a big, old Gossen LunaPro F that runs on a 9V battery. It still works like a champ. Being able to take incident readings is comforting sometimes...

    Stay sharp,
    Stephen_Prunier likes this.
  8. Ha!
    The Harris Memory Meter/ exposure calculator had the possibility of : 9 f stops X 20 ISO settings X 10 shutter speed combinations = about 1,800 variations as well the 19 key lighting scenarios. ..... and my memory is unfortunately not as good as it used to be!
  9. All you need is to memorize the 19 lighting conditions. The rest you can figure it out from there. Quite easy really.
  10. I don't think 19 covers it ;)
  11. Actually it's 21 but that's all the information there is. There are the X0 and X-1 so there are 21 conditions. The only usefulness of that meter is how well one can interpret the condition and whether they are accurate for different locations. That all you need. All I need to know is the X number for the lighting condition. With that I would know how to set all the possible combinations of ISO, shutter speed and aperture.
    However, if I can't remember the thing I would rather bring an exposure meter as that book is more difficult to carry around than the meter.
  12. The Memory Meter was a handheld laminated cardboard fold out - the inventor suggested to carry it in your camera bag if you forgot your meter or the batteries failed.
    He encouraged users to 'Benefit by your experience', along with suggestions on how to improve your photographic memory.
    I guess it was aimed at beginner amateurs and photographers who could not afford the luxury of a light meter - it was the early 80s and there wasn't an app for that.

  13. Although I wouldn't want to bring one with me I would do better memorize the card then using a cell phone app.
  14. Cell phone apps are fairly sophisticated these days - more functions than a standard meter and at a reasonable price point.

    LINK: ‎Cine Meter II

  15. I remember once being arrogant enough to believe I could learn to recognise light levels and set a decent exposure by eye and experience.

    I nearly got away with it using the latitude of B&W film. Colour reversal film quickly taught me otherwise!

    Let's see, at today's prices a used light meter costs about the same as 3 or 4 ruined rolls of Velvia.
    Ed_Ingold and stuart_pratt like this.
  16. I just picked up a minolta meter IV with a 5 degree spot meter attachment from ebay for 85 bucks. Arrived today and seems to work great... I always had the IIIF and it saw me through my whole career but I still had a hankering for the IV - since college really .... Cant wait to play with it.... Unless Im shooting digital I alway use a meter.
  17. That's what I use too. I also have the adopter for the 15/7.5 degree readings if needed.

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