Am I an idiot? Minolta Flash Meter incident Readings are Absurd

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Klainmeister, May 12, 2011.

  1. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Hi guys,

    So I have a Minolta 5 degree spot for years that I love and have all but nearly destroyed and was recently handed a Minolta Flash Meter V from a friend who is trying to convert me to incident readings. BUT, in ambi mode, set at the right ISO and speed, the f-stops are waaaaaaay off. Sitting here with a single lamp for lighting at my desk, it reads f/2.8 @ 60, ISO 64. ...Right....and when I go outside it keeps showing stuff like f/90 @ 2000, ISO 64.

    What the deuce is going on here? It has the round globe as well as the flat style attachment, both of which give me these erratic readings.

    Any help would be delightful, and if no one knows what to do, any recommendations for places that might calibrate/repair a Minolta meter?
     
  2. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    Are you sure it's not showing ev ratings? are you sure you have the iso set to 64, not 6400? are the batteries the right kind? If so, i'd think it probably needs to be re-calibrated. as to how to do this, i haven't an idea, but i would assume someone can fix them up.
     
  3. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    your friend may be pranking you lol xD check if someones been fooling with adjustment button. the polaris spot meter i use has it under the battery cover. yours might be in the same spot.

    if that doesnt work, try the shake test, and see if you hear anything loose rattling around, maybe a little piece of plastic floating around inside sphere and messing with readings?

    if its really bonked out, it might be cheaper to buy a used meter than trying to send it for repairs.
    good luck!
     
  4. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I had the same problem. I was on a shoot using a Minolta flash meter and proofing with polaroid. The Polaroid indicated one exposure and the meter said another. My gut feeling was to go with the Polaroid exposure which was correct. I called Minolta to see how much it would cost for a repair and it's the same for all Minolta Flash meter IV because they replace the logic board for these repairs. Note. It was 15 years ago.
     
  5. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    Not sure if this same issue affects the Minolta Flashmeter V, but it certainly does affect the Minolta Autometer IVf, its contemporary in the meter evolutionary chain:

    On the Autometer IVf, there is a metal pin which is revealed when the hemisphere is removed. The pin is normally depressed by a raised surface on the underside of the black plastic ring around the white hemisphere. This same pin is NOT depressed by the reflected light attachment (hole in the center) black ring. The pin is actually a switch and it alters meter sensitivity and readings.

    It sometimes occurs that the pin/switch stops functioning, so that the white hemisphere presses on the pin but the switch does not alter the readings. Sometimes, if the pin/switch stops functioning correctly, if you merely press and release the pin multiple times it starts working again (oxidation on the contacts of the switch?!?!). In other cases, it was necessary to send it to Minolta repair to have the switch replaced. My own Autometer IVf meter acted up a couple of times, and pressing and releasing the pin multiple times would fix it. I once was on a photo workshop with someone whose Autometer IVf would not resume proper switch behavior, and he had to send it in for repair.

    This switch mechanism was changed in the Minolta Autometer Vf, so that a metal pin switch is not used in the Vf, but a new switch mechanism was substituted.
     
  6. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Thanks guys,

    Yes I am certain all the settings are correct and the little adjuster wheel in the back seemingly doesn't make a difference. I'll have to play around with the little pin described above. It's a shame; this came from a working professional and looks brand spanking new. What the deuce?!
     
  7. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2011
  8. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Resurrecting an old thread here. So, I've checked the connectors in the back, their spacing and etc. I think I understand how the system works (I work IT and deal with weird crap like this all the time) and here's the skibby: under lowlight situations it reads the proper incident reading and displays it like I would expect--yes it's in AMBI mode--but the moment I step into harsher light it jumps to extreme readings like f/90 @ 500 or so. I feel like I've read the manual a thousand times and even the guy who used this before me is scratching his head. Any thoughts again?
     
  9. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Are you sure the shutter speed isn't set for 60 seconds? In which case there is an S on top of the shutter speed. The pin to automatically switch from incident to reflected if not working correctly only gives you 2.7 stops error not as much as you say. The bias can be set on the meter but only 1 stop. Without having the meter in hand I must say thay your meter is in need of service. I can't think of user error that can cause that much of an error.
    I am trying to think of all the user error possible.
    1. the pin only gives you 2.7 stops off.
    2. pointing the meter wrong way would give you lower reading and not higher reading.
    3. Setting the meter adjustment only allowed for 1 stop.
    4. Hemisphere getting old (I have this problem before) only gives you lower reading and generally less than 1 stop off.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I've had a Flashmeter III for years and just yesterday was getting some unreliable readings with the 5-deg finder for the first time ever, and today I played a bit with that pin under the dome finder, and that seems to have solved the problem. Probably just some corrosion or dust in the switch contacts.
     
  11. donkee

    donkee Member

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    I would ship it off to Quality Light.

    I sent my IVf to them. It was having major issues (7 stops off, corded mode did not work, display would start flashing and it would shut down) and cost less that 100.00 to fix. You can't replace it for that much.

    They are No.1 in my book.
     
  12. M Stat

    M Stat Member

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    I also own a Minolta flash meter. It was the meter that I took with me to Paris because I wanted to be sure of my exposures and didn't want to count on my little (analog, selenium) Sekonic. It wasn't until I got back that I realized that the damn thing was reading at least three stops off! My repairman told me that he couldn't fix it because Minolta (Corp.) never released the schematics for their electronic gear. Now I use it only for enlarging.
     
  13. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Thanks, I had searched for a repair place for quite some time and didn't find anything that seemed legit. This is in LA?
     
  14. akaa

    akaa Member

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  15. wilfredkazoks

    wilfredkazoks Member

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    Minolta meter self repair.

    My Minolta meter was giving erratic readings. I repaired it by dismantling the head and polishing the metal contact strips. All of them, because it as easier than figuring out just where the problem was.

    I used a Dremel like handheld tool with a polishing disc and some metal polish. This removed the oxidation and the meter has worked reliably for a couple of years now, giving consistent repeatable readings. It wasn't necessary to unsolder any wires.
     
  16. LinusK

    LinusK Member

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    I also have had inaccurate readings from a IV f. I bought it at a camera show yesterday and, like the fool I am, did not check the readings against my camera. When I got it home, I realized that it was 4 or more stops underexposed! Indeed, there was a rattling sound coming from the diffuser chamber.

    I removed the battery, then unscrewed the two screws on the rear of the diffuser chamber. Several small colored discs and washer-like spacers came out. That was the rattle! I thought I had bought a broken meter (well, I had, but I thought I had one beyond repair).

    In desperation, I got out my magnifying glass and tried to repair the thing.

    The discs were a clear one, a grey one, and a green one. There were three “washers” or spacers. In the chamber, there is a piece of tin on two pegs. I lifted this off and under it, there’s a piece of oval plastic with the light sensor going through it. The face of the light sensor should sit behind the discs in the round hole that you can see from the front of the unit if you remove the diffuser dome. This oval piece should sit under two plastic lips to keep it in place. Mine had come loose from the lips, allowing the sensor to come free as well as the discs.

    Using a pair of tweezers, I gently replaced the discs with the clear one going in first, then the grey one, then the green one. Then I put in the spacers. In retrospect, I should have layered the discs and spacers, I think. Anyway, I then pushed the sensor back into the oval plastic bit, then pushed the oval plastic bit down and twisted it so that it rested under the plastic lips. This then kept the sensor, discs and spacers nested in their hole. I replaced the back of the diffuser chamber.

    I have only tested the meter in ambient mode, but it is now very close to the metering on my Fuji X100s. The grey card metered on the Minolta at 400 ISO, 1/60 at f2.0. The Fuji X100s measured the grey card at 400 ISO at 1/52 at f2.0.

    DSCF0349.jpg
    DSCF0350.jpg

    Much better than the 4 full stops when I started out, and within the tolerances of the calibration knob on the back of the IV f.

    Has anyone else had this experience upon opening one of these?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2014
  17. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    MY Flashmeter IV went haywire in the middle of an important studio assignment. It was so far off Iknew it had to be wrong. It was snet back to Minolta for repair and in about a year the same thing happened. It went into the trash and needless to say I have not owned a Minolta meter since.
     
  18. Michael Finder

    Michael Finder Subscriber

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    I had the same problem with 4 stops over readings with Minolta IVF. Took of the backing plate of the rotating head and cleaned the contacts actuated by the pin. I used a business card to remove corrosion - it is working fine now.