Exposure Meter Sticker Shock - Do Analog Meters Do The Job?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Ricardo41, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Ricardo41

    Ricardo41 Member

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    The last time I bought an exposure meter was in high school, shooting with my trusty Minolta SRT 101B.

    Last week I strolled into a downtown camera store, hoping to drop $50-60 on an exposure meter, only to be told that the models they had available were $600 and $900, respectively.

    Huh? Since when do exposure meters cost more than camera bodies?

    I then saw loads of analog exposure meters on ebay. Are these still good enough?

    ricardo
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I actually prefer my old beater analog Pentax spot meter to my new fancy Minolta for low light situations. If all things are equal and weight is not an issue I would go with the analog Pentax everytime.
     
  3. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    Hi, Ive got a Weston III (£5 on ebay plus £5 for a difuser at a photo jumble) and recently aquired a calcuflash flashmeter for less than £10. Both are accurate to within 1/3 of a stop vs a Canon SLR meter.
    However you can get a good basic exposure meter for less than $600 new
    for exampl http://www.sekonic.com/products/products.asp?ID=2 sells for about £60 in the UK
    while the digisix (http://www.gossen-photo.de/english/foto_produkte.html) is a similar price - though not a meter I liked when I tried it out, you may have a different view.

    Hope this helps CJB
     
  4. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Well, given that I've just bought a mint analogue Pentax Spotmeter V on ebay, I certainly hope so! :smile:
     
  5. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Ricardo,

    Eric prefers his analog Pentax spot meters. Others of us prefer the digital version of the Pentax Spot or the Digital Soligor Digi Spot II. If you want a spot meter any of these are very good (I like the .1 ev reading capabilities of the Soligor). You can find the Soligor on eBay for very good prices and the analog and digital version from Adorama.

    If you want an analog meter, though think in terms of what you want to use the meter for and the kind of meter- reflected light, reflected light spot, or incident. Others can provide you with info for specific meters.

    But, if you want those whiz kid do everything meters you can spend the big $$$ you question. Personally, I do not think they are necessary and I shoot almost entirely transparencies relying almost always on my Zone VI modified Soligor Digi Spot II.

    Rich
     
  6. DBP

    DBP Member

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    For the most part I use cheap analog meters picked up for $20 or less off eBay. The only time I feel the need for a digital meter is when the light is dim enough for me to have trouble reading the print on the scale. I picked up an old Sekonic for that for less than $100. If I need something like a spot meter, I either put a long lens on an SLR, or carry my Sverdlovsk, which I got free as consideration for late shipping with a camera purchase from a Ukranian.
     
  7. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Check with the online stores such as B&H and Adorama. There are two analog Sekonic meters, the L-208 and the L-188, which sell for under $100.
     
  8. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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    My trusty ol' Pentax analog spot meter worked just fine "back then." It still works fine now. The physics of light hasn't changed all that much. :smile:

    I suppose if you need (want?) all the bells and whistles, one of the newer high-speed, low-drag digital meters would be the way to go. They can measure combinatons of ambient light and multiple flashes and they'll add up flash pops and... well, I think they're pretty amazing. But I shoot mainly B&W with existing light, so the spot meter gives me everything I need.

    BTW, my other meter is an old Weston II which also still works fine.
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I liked my analog Pentax spot meter, but now get by well enough with selenium cell Weston, GE, and Norwood meters. Remember, Edward Weston never used a digital meter.
     
  10. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Hello Ricardo,

    After sitting on my Gossen meter and crushing it, I ended up buying a Sekonic L-358. That was a few years ago, but the price on this meter is still reasonable. If you prefer a more dial type meter, Sekonic is still making the L-398A, which does not need batteries:

    http://www.sekonic.com/products/products.asp?ID=109

    If it is spot meters you want, then many of those can cost more new. There is an option to add a spot metering attachment to the L-358, though it is nearly as big as the meter.

    If you want a compact meter, Gossen has some nice choices in the DigiSix and DigiFlash. Both can be fit onto a camera hot shoe or accessory shoe mount.

    You can also consider buying used. The really old Selenium meters sometimes go off their readings, though if you find a good deal on a newer item you should be okay. Newer battery type meters used, from either Gossen or Sekonic, can often be serviced or calibrated by the manufacturer. I am not sure if Minolta or Pentax meters are still being serviced by those companies, since I am less familiar with those products; perhaps someone else can be of more help there.

    Ciao!

    Gordon
     
  11. Palantiri7

    Palantiri7 Member

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    Prices of these meters just seem to be going up and up. I bought my Gossen Starlight in 2002 and paid about $450. Now the price is $674. at B&H! Anyway, other than the fact that it has a tendency to eat batteries, it is a great light meter.
     
  12. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I have a couple of the digi meters a Sekonic Flash meter, that is quite nice at the time I bought it, it was about $300, but it does not leave the studio, the meter that gets all the field work is an old Knight manual meter that I think I paid $5 for at a show many years ago, very accurate and has been beat to death and still keeps going, I also have a manual Soligor spot that sees some work. I am well known for misplacing my meters, so I have a couple of very old GE's that stay in the bag, I have the converstion chart, and they work as well.

    R.
     
  13. JosBurke

    JosBurke Member

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    Expensive Meter Alternatives

    I'm not sure the original poster wants a high dollar spot or exactly what his needs are but apparently he needs a good meter at a good price---I have a Sekonic L-508 I really like but rarely use as I Prefer my Pentax Digital Spot if shooting B&W but as an inexpensive buy accurate meter less the spotmeter ability I highly recommend the Polaris Flashmeter---Very simple operation--The first and only meter I've ever bought "NEW" and has never failed me though it lacks a true spot-meter function but accepts an attachment for 5 degrees--check ebay--I'm keeping mine---excellent flash meter and reflective/Incident functions-- Every bit as accurate for me as the Sekonic 508 just not as many bells and whistles---between the Polaris and the Pentax Digital Spot I really don't even need the Sekonic--but I do like a spare meter.
     
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  15. Ricardo41

    Ricardo41 Member

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    thanks for the feedback and advice. I need the meter mostly for portraiture. I'm having quite a bit of luck picking up photographic equipment on ebay, so I think I will buy an old analog meter there.

    ricardo
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I use a Pentax swing-needle and my wife uses a Pentax digital and we both prefer our respective meters (though it would be nice if they took more conventional batteries).

    As for the Starlite price, it's the collapsing dollar. When Dubbya came to power a euro was 93 cents US; now it's about $1.30. So a 500-euro meter would indeed go from $465 to $650.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  17. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Many people here recommended the Pentax digital spotmeter. It's a very nice meter indeed but if you buy it new it's in the $400-500 range.
     
  18. joneil

    joneil Member

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    All i have used for almost 20 years are the Sekonic L-398 for all my colour, and a Pentax Analog spot meter for my B&W work in the past ten years. I don't know if you can still buy the Pentax analog spot meter, but I would reccomend it.

    Tounge in Cheek mode = ON

    Considering APUG is the ANALOG photo users group, shame, shame, shame on all of you who reccomend a digital meter overr an analog meter. Everyone on this list should be avoiding digital and using just analog.

    :smile:

    joe
     
  19. DBP

    DBP Member

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    But I can't get my slide rules to post messages.
     
  20. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Gossen Digisix is a great little incedent/reflected meter for just over $100. It is digital, but reads EV and has a dial calculator. I like the dial because of the way it shows all the shutter/stop combinations at once.

    An analog meter is absolutley fine, if it is accurate, and the cool thing is many don't need batteries.

    As to the idea that you must have the latest greatest to make great exposures? I sit back a moment and reflect that most of the photographers I revere made their most incredible exposures using what we consider today to be outmoded, obsolete equipment.

    The "advantages" of our modern equipment are largley about convienience, versatility, and in some cases, reliability.

    (well, excepting optics, and emulsions)

    All I'm really trying to say is that a nice new $900 meter is nice, but a $100 meter, and a $800 used primo lens is better.
     
  21. polaski

    polaski Member

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    Gossen Luna Pro is a workhorse and will take attachments for narrower angles, enlarger work, etc. I have the "S" model that sort of lends itself to Zone calculations. I bought a used one and Gossen calibrated it and cleaned it up for me for a very reasonable price.
     
  22. HeliH

    HeliH Member

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    I have a good old Gossen Lunasix 3. It doesn't have a spot meter but I haven't yet needed one. I love the meter, it's very trustworthy.
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't know - I've never used a digital one!
     
  24. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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    LOL! Same here.
     
  25. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Me too, I don't know if I would like one, the beauty of analogue ones to me is that you can see all the shutter speed and aperture options available at a glance on the dial at one time, the same reason I prefer watches with hands, because at a glance the time registers more quickly in my head, the time it's been, and the time it's going to be than digits do.
     
  26. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    If you need a spotmeter then the analog version isn't all that cheap either. If you only need wide angle reflected and incident then many inexpensive analog meter are good. Digital meters aren't that expensive either if they don't do flash or spot.