SMALL Light Meter

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Two23, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. I'm needing a small (3 inch or less) light meter to use with my pre-war cameras. I was thinking of a Sekonic L-208 as the size and simplicity is right on target, but what about something more classic? I once had a Zeiss Diaphot that I foolishly sold, and also a Sekonic L-398. What else is out there that is very nicely styled, reliable, and small? Some of the Bewi meters look sort of cute.

    Kent in SD
  2. I think you should look for modern meters that look cute and small rather than an old meter. I found old meters are not accurate and thus I would rather use the camera without the meter altogether.
  3. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    For cameras with an accessory shoe, this little Vivitar CdS meter works well. Or you can use it handheld. Takes one 675 battery.

    There were some similar selenium meters made by Gossen, Petri, and others that would look good on any classic camera.

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
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  4. I am a big fan of the Gossen Pilot meters. Get the selenium model, not the Cds Super pilots. Yes they are hand held, but a bunch of them work with all my Folder & FSU kits. Aloha from the Mainland, Bill DSCF0862 ces13 rff-vert-horz rff.jpg
    ], Tony Evans and Sandy Vongries like this.
  5. I know you've a liking for vintage gear Kent. So here's my suggestion:

    I think a Weston III just about fits in the under 3" category. It was the first Weston to be calibrated in ASA/ISO speeds rather than the proprietary Weston ratings. It also uses a Selenium cell that's much more robust than later models. I have several Weston IIIs that work perfectly, while nearly every Weston IV and later model I pick up is either dead or dying in the cell department. The same goes for many other makes and models of Selenium powered meter; rendering them a poor bet in the accuracy/reliability stakes.

    If you don't fancy a Weston III, then I'd stick to more modern CdS or silicon sensor models. Even then, some older CdS types took 625 mercury cells that can't be got nowadays.

    Having said that, I have a neat Sekonic L-398 that works very well. They're still made I believe, but are very pricey new.

    Addendum: If you need incident metering, the Weston III takes an older design of Invercone that's unfortunately not so easy to find. It also needs an ND range filter that fits under the Invercone. A special case was supplied that has space to store the invercone and filter - very neat and smart looking!
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    +1 for the Gossen Pilot
    luis triguez likes this.
  7. After following Bill's advice for something pocketable and smaller than my Gossen Lunar Pro, I got the Pilot. Great, agrees with both my Lunar Pro and Soligar Digital Spot really well. A sound recommendation. Pick one up for circa $30.
  8. AJG


    I have two Zeiss Ikophots from the 50's that are reasonably accurate and fit your size requirements--they are usually around $25-30 on eBay, with a period appropriate leather case. Both of mine also came with incident adapters also.
  9. Agree with Sandy. Here you have the Pro vs. my Sixtino 2 (Pilot 2 in USA) FXE20947.jpg
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  10. I too used the Gossen Pilot... but it belonged to my Dad, and I left it with him... all his photo gear disappeared in the adjustment after my Mother's sickness. He'S convinced it'S in that mess somewhere... I digress... So that's four votes for the Gossen Pilot.
    I have been using the Weston IV, but it doesn't agree with the Luna Pro CDS meter I have with battery convert kit. Though pricey, but as someone mentioned modern is good,, is the VC II in either silver or black. This fits in the shoe or handheld.
    LAtely I've just been winging it. I have an app on the phone that I can use. I can'T read the phone in bright light anyway.. but the meter situations I need help with usually are low light and this plays to my hand when needed.
    I have two other selenium meters that look cool.. but I need consistency!!
  11. The smallest light meter is Voigtlander VC meter
    dimension 1 inch x 1 inch x0.5 inch

    Voigtlander VC Meter
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  12. I might add that the hard case for each of my Pilots is "stored" somewhere in all my STUFF. The meters are rugged and are carried in a front pocket. Long carry cords are cut so just about 6 inches hangs out for an EZ grab. All my kits have Lowepro 110 cases so the meter has a home while in transit. Aloha from the Mainland. Bill
  13. Rodeo Joe will be happy to know that Weston III's live with my two 6x9 folder kits, a Weston IV or V in each RB-67 outfit. All work great. Bill
  14. Another vote for the Gossens Pilot, though sometimes I take out one of these little beauties, just because they're a joy to use and behold. Two different styles, they are both still sprightly and accurate.

    Zeiss Ikon Ikophots

    Ikophpts Pnet.JPG
  15. I like the Gossen Pilot, which is pretty accurate, and has a built in incident screen. The Pilot II has a little screw which allows you to calibrate the meter's sensitivity (not just a zero adjust), which is lacking on the original Pilot, so that's the one I'd look for.
  16. Just slightly off-topic: I had a weird experience with a Gossen Pilot 2 meter in 1991 while photographing in a Paris cemetery with a meterless Leica and Kodachrome film. I took an incident reading with my Pilot and knew immediately it was wrong for a partly cloudy day. The reading was far off. Puzzled, I played with the meter and soon discovered the needle had somehow become magnetized. Instead of moving to a stable position corresponding to the light reading, it followed the meter's dial pointer wherever I turned it. Useless. Luckily, I had another meter in my bag (Gossen Luna Pro) so I used that one and pocketed the Pilot. Some time later, after leaving the cemetery, I pulled the Pilot out of my pocket and checked it again. This time, the needle was no longer magnetized, and the light readings were correct! I've never solved this mystery. The meter still works to this day.

    One theory: Maybe the needle was magnetized by a strong electrical field when I rode the Paris Metro to the cemetery, but the effect was only temporary.

    Another theory: A French poltergeist was playing with me.
  17. My only failures with the Pilots have been the 2's, in the same manner as Tom describes, mine more like permanent ! Perhaps his poltergeist has moved to Hawaii, since there is were the "mystery" meters are hidden in a closet. . . awaiting "repairs". Aloha from the Mainland. Bill
  18. Skip the relics. Unless you're keen on personally validating the difference between a working meter and an accurate meter, look into the versatile Sekonic L-208 Twin-Mate. Film and processing costs are such now that a new/modern meter seems the only choice.
    laurencecochrane likes this.

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