Old Light Meters - an accumulation

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Rick Drawbridge has posted some interesting old meters here, most recently at http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00Xdme . Contemplating the post, I got to thinking about my camera closet; and the fact that I somehow had kept, in the bottom of that space, a lot of old meters, some I bought new, some I got with 'kits' with cameras on eBay. Anyhow, I figure it really belongs here since most of us get these with old Classic Manual Cameras, one way or another.

    Anyhow, this is not one of those typical JDM posts as once described here:
    You know, typically when JDM starts a thread I expect things to be technical and lots of references to pre-war and post-war and countries that don't exist by that name anymore and it's all very interesting to read....​
    This is simply to show the light meters I had, and wondered what would turn up from other collector/accumulators. Interestingly enough, the only one of these that is still working well is the Weston Master II meter model Number 735.

    The meters are, from top to bottom and left to right
    Etalon Luxor - made by Chuo Electronic in Tokyo, Japan
    Weston Master II model 735 - Weston Electric Corp. Newark NJ
    Weston Master V model 748 - Western Instruments Inc., Newark NJ
    Lentar model PR-66 - made in Japan, distributed by GAF Lenco Photo Products
    Sekonic Auto-Leader L-38 - Sekonic Electric Co, Japan
    Soligor UF-II Meter - Soligor, Japan

    I don't know very much more about them. The Weston Master V and the Sekonic were bought by me new. The others just wandered in from time to time. Sort of strays.
    I have instruction booklets for the Weston Model II, the Sekonic, and the Etalon. If anybody needs one of these let me know and I'll post a pdf or send you the same.

  2. Here is my current hand-held light meter, the Gossen Luna-Pro sbc. This shows it with and without the 15º and 7.5º spot-metering attachment.One nice feature of this particular model is that it uses an ordinary rectangular 9-volt battery like the one in your smoke detector, probably.
    A manual for this is available at Butkus's most wonderful site http://www.butkus.org/chinon/flashes_meters/luna-pro_sbc/luna-pro_splash.htm . The spot reader manual is at http://www.butkus.org/chinon/flashes_meters/gossen_luna_pro_tele/gossen_luna-pro_tele.htm .
    Next to the Gossen is a Leudi Extinction meter, a small 'meter' sold from the late 30s into the 40s.
  3. Anyway, show us your accumulation of old meters, if you have them.
    There hasn't been enough meter porn on this site, notwithstanding Rick's wonderful posts.
  4. Correction:
    My fingers got ahead of my brain -- both Weston meters are made by Weston, of course. only the last part of the name changed.
  5. If you really use "classic cameras" Some kind of meter is required
    My Viewmaster II is set in EVS numbers.
    fortunatly my GE Golden Crown has a set of EV numbers
    ( It took me a while to figure out HOW to set the meter)
    and I gave up and asked Young Eye to set the asa number.
    Next project , if you can call it that, is to expose some film in the argus AF,
    Most everything else either has a meter or like , The little 127 cameras do not have any settings, so I don';t need a meter.
    I have accumulated a few meters, I am not sure if they still work.
    But one is like a rolltop desk and another fits a cold shoe.
  6. That roll-top thingie was a common feature of the early Gossen meters such as the one Rick posted.
    Another day, I may do something on built-in or built-on meters. A surprising number of old selenium ones I have got are actually still functioning, more or less.
  7. My collection but only the meters that are in working condition: Phastron is pre war comparative extinction powered by AA cells/ Lentar is reflect and incident powered by AA cells/ Weston Ranger 9 is aiming spot/ Zeiss Ikon is my favorite non battery powered quite sensitive/ The larger Sekonic has (3) accessories (incident, reflective and spot) powered by lithium (2) 3 volt or (4) S76/ various slide on shoe meters are all selenium, Bewi is instant reading push the button and release/ the Sixtomat came with presentation case, box and book and still works three ways, incident, reflected, and color temperature. The other remaining meters are simple selenium reflected. The photo was taken by me with an ancient Fuji S-1 Pro with late model 45mm f2.8P Nikkor, one of my favorite lenses made between 2001 and 2005 known as a "pancake" Tessar design.
  8. Very nice collection indeed. I have Russian ones.
  9. I've never really used meters with my old cameras since I can usually guess exposure pretty well and I use B+W. However, I did pick up a Gossen Profisix (same as the Luna-Pro SBC) for my large format snapshot work. Great big meter. Love it already. Usually I use a Pentax digispot but I guess that shouldn't be muttered here. Guessing with LF can get a bit expensive ;)
  10. I do use meters but never used the old ones like that in the OP pictures. I do have a few of them. They are good as models.
  11. I have exchanged my Luna-Pro for FED-Atlas. One awkward device for another. D
  12. Nice collections, J.D.M and Paul. They are interesting and fascinating objects, and I tend to go for any unusual specimen that crops up. For the first twenty years of my photgraphic life I used Westons, usually with the Invercone attached for incident readings, and even today I use a very beautiful Euro-master, as a change from digital meters. There must be something about the cells Weston used, or perhaps it's because they were usually kept in their leather cases, but I have four or five Westons of various ages and they are all still alive and accurate. The Lunar-Pro looks delicious...Thanks for an interesting post. I'll try to get around to posting a pic of the Euro-master when time permits.
  13. I also think that the leather cases may be the secret to the survival of some selenium meters, not only in the Weston case, but also in terms of built-in selenium meters on cameras in "ever-ready" cases.
  14. I'd like to hear more about the Zeiss Ikophot.
    Kent in SD
  15. I had one of those Sekonic Auto Leaders when I was a kid, and it followed me for years, working beautifully, giving nice readings in any light with its big flip-up booster. Then I found another at a yard sale, which also worked beautifully. A friend needed a meter, so I gave her one of mine, and very shortly after, both the relationship and my remaining meter conked out. Ah welladay.
  16. I think old meters go hand in hand with old cameras.
    Here are my Sekonic meters.
  17. I should get back to collecting more of these. Here is a page showing all of the Sekonic meters.
  18. This 1956 organic model is my oldest meter. I still use it! The history of this version goes back to the beginning of photography itself. It operates with an advanced optical sensor connected to a spongy gray matter database. It works by the experience of shooting a number of scenes under various lighting conditions and saves that information in its database. When a new scene is to be photographed, it calculates the luminance value of the new scene by comparison to the ones stored in the database for a given film speed. It works in both full frame averaging or spot modes.
    Pros: Fairly accurate and always available, needs no battery, lightweight and portable, cheap! Comes as stock equipment on most carbon-based bipeds. Auxiliary lenses are available to improve sharpness of sensor focusing mechanism. It’s very versatile and can also be used to avoid walking into stuff.
    Cons: Requires effort and thought in the development and use of the database. It is susceptible to inaccuracy due to the ingestion of excessive amounts of caffeine, alcohol or lack of sleep.
  19. Kent, there's a little information here regarding the Ikophot:
    Nice collection of Sekonics, Marc. They seem to be by far the most common brand, downunder, probably because there was such a range of them. And Louis, I have a couple of those but they're wearing out, and I seem to use the magnifying attachment more and more.
  20. As I mentioned in a previous post, my Zeiss Ikophot is my favorite selenium meter. Back some years ago. I had a Zeiss Ikophot CDS meter that was powered by a 9 volt battery. My wife and I were in Maine, in a town called Bryant Pond, allegedly the last town in the lower 48 states of America to still use crank telephones with an operator and a switchboard. I was taking pictures near a pond or a river and placed the Zeiss meter on the trunk of my car. I forgot and we drove off. Some ten miles later I remembered the meter but figured it was trashed falling from the automobile so did not return to retrieve it. In all my years, I do not remember losing nor dropping any camera or meter other than my previously favorite Ikophot! I was led to believe this model was never officailly imported to America, thus I've never seen another one!
  21. A working (and often-used) Weston Euro-Master, still one of the greatest, IMHO. How many people were aware that the meter should be held horizontally!
  22. Louis - the organic model also suffers from sample variance - not all are equally accurate. Certainly the 1956 model seems to be far more accurate than the 1979 model I have.
  23. Here's a few that I no longer have, as I sold most of my collection of them a while ago.
  24. I just noticed a Weston Invercone complete with case at my local camera repair shop, for cheap, I think it was $5. I was tempted, but suspect that I'd never use it, even though I have a couple of old Masters in working order. I find that the Mercury-powered Sekonic (top right in Mark Bergman's photo) hits the calibration mark perfectly with a semi-exhausted alkaline cell, and that and a Gossen Pilot II (which can be recalibrated with a tiny screwdriver) fill my meter needs well enough. However, if anyone else here needs to fill out his Weston collection with what appears to be a new Invercone and a baffle, complete in case with instructions, either let me know and I'll pick it up next time I pass by therer, or drop a line to Vermont Camera Works (http://vermontcamera.com).
  25. Weston 650 (1935) with plate speeds down to 6 (ASA?) (not working) (that is the one second down on the left of Mark O'Brien's photo)
    Weston Master V (1963) + Invercone
    Nebro Extinction meter (UK - 1950's)
    Lumatic (japan -1960's?)
    Can't find at the moment but they are somewhere :
  26. Thanks, Rick, for the link to the August post. I had missed that one, being in Canada at the time and having only minimal connections and time. There are some really classy and classic "gem" meters there. :)
  27. Well as usual..late to the party! I see this has created a rather resonant response . apparently most of us like JDM have a plethora of old interesting meters and many working and for a (probably surprising) percent; actively used. I don't remember if any posters mentioned the fellow in LA/Hollywood who will restore your Weston meters and JD I suggest you get your Weston Vlooked at. It's $80,00 dollars and a quick turnaround!
    "George Milton"
    I see Rick Drawbridge, despite being down under has invested in the noble successor model the Euro-Master. This production was limited and those lucky investors will have a unique piece for the ages! I too have a few meters. My beloved Weston (I) took a fall and broke the case in 1988 and it was sent somewhere repaired and calibrated to the ASA standard. Although they didn't replace the case.
    Fast forward to 2009. It rolled out of my jacket pocket to the concrete steps I was sitting on and the case broke where it was previously glued. The meter was still working though, until I glued the case back together and then I rapped it sharply because the case was not seating properly. I didn't notice at that moment but now it's toast. I have since bought two other similar Weston meters and had the Weston IV repaired. I now use it and when I say regularly.. I mean all the time! I have the Luna Pro Six but it's bigger, lighter and ...well, I just don't like it as much! And yes Rick the technique has always been horizontal with the Weston. Much like a digital point and shoot...held at arms length ... besides I need the distance to be able to read the finely printed scales!
  28. That's good to know, Chuck, but honestly I like the Gossen so much better than anything I've used before (including the Weston meter) that the urge to spend even $80 is lacking. As for needing a battery, so far as I can tell so far, the 9-volt battery in the Gossen shows every sign of lasting as long as selenium cells (I exaggerate, but no need to change even yearly). Milton's address (Quality Light Metric Co,) and number are listed at http://www.insiderpages.com/b/15243216127/quality-light-metric-co-los-angeles but he doesn't seem to have a web site, or maybe is not still in business?
    The only flaw with the Gossen is that it is sometimes larger than the camera I'm shooting. One of these days, I'll get one of those little clip-ons. Sunny 16 (that's the Mark II, 2006 re-worked model) does work surprisingly well with negative films.
  29. For the archive:
    I should have put this link in earlier -- an actual, organized collection of light meters at
    It's a very nice site
  30. Someone recently gave me a Weston 650 that (c1937) that actually still works! So do the c1948 Norwood Director and GE PR-1. And people say selenium cells don't last.
    Left-to-right, front-to-back
    GE PR-1 (c1948), Weston 650 (c1937), Norwood Directory (c1948)
    Aries Meter (shoe mount), Weston Master IV, Tower (Gossen) Sixtry (c1957)
    Minolta Autometer II (c1980)
  31. I just given a Gossen Luna-Pro F today. It looks almost exactly just like a Luna-Pro sbc, except the center of the dial is red and sports a lightning bolt, since the F adds flash metering (which I don't think the sbc does--correct?)
    My Luna-Pro is pretty beat up; it doesn't turn itself off once you turn it on (the only way I've found so far to turn it off is to remove the battery.) The incident dome's detents are weak, and I'm pretty sure that a piece on the front of the meter is missing.
    Can any of you tell me how to at least get my Luna-Pro to turn itself off, or would any of you happen to have a service manual for it?
  32. Manual at the beneficent Butkus's site may help. http://www.butkus.org/chinon/flashes_meters/luna-pro_f/luna-pro_f-splash.htm
    If it does, make a donation to him to further the cause.
  33. [​IMG]
    Minox-Gossen selenium meter
  34. [​IMG]
    Leudi extinction light meter

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