handheld light meters

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by mporter012, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    I'm going to trade a lens for a handheld light meter. I'd greatly appreciate some recommendations of what to buy.

    Thanks!
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    ?? What lens, which meter?
     
  3. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Nikon D600 makes a pretty good light meter. For something pocketable, a sekonic L208
     
  4. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    What do you want to measure: incident or reflective light, natural or flash light... or all of the above which puts you in an expensive braket.
     
  5. whlogan

    whlogan Member

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    Sekonic 508
    will answer all your needs forever.... expensive, too big time
    Logan
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Sekonic L758/D. :ninja:
    Spot, incident, reflective, duplex, additive/subtractive/split/baseline...oh, the list is endless, and the price... well, you didn't say what your limit is...
    it's probably as high as you can (or want) to go.

    But is that necessary?
    No.

    My concern is that you should first get your hands on some light reading (yes, well...) to learn what's involved with the use and application of light meters. It is, in essence, YOU who is doing all the decision making. The simplest reflective/incident meters are relatively inexpensive to use and easy to learn quickly, but like anything in life method and how you approach it determines the outcome. The most expensive and elaborate and feature-rich meter on the planet will not give you beautiful images if you do not have the extant skills base to guide it, and your decisions, through the analytical process of 'reading' a scene and transferring the meter's "recommendations" (which are only that) to the camera, from which on occasion you will have reason to deviate prudently from what the meter says as opposed to particular elements of the scene that you wish to render differently.
     
  7. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    Quite true. Thanks for the thoughts.
     
  8. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    Well, I MOSTLY shoot landscapes, but on occasion, portraits. 98% of the portraits I take are outdoors, in natural light, but I'm actually interested in dabbling in flash light portraits as well, but measuring flash light is very low priority at this point.
     
  9. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    I have a Nikkor 28 ais 2.8 that I'm looking to trade for a light meter of some sort and a ball head.
     
  10. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Most modern (digital) meters measure ambient and flash, or a combination of the two, with variables e.g. 40-60 split (this is the variable part).
    For portraits outdoors in natural light, incident, reflective of spot; all have their definite uses. Flash is never in practice to be made the dominant illumination in outdoor portraits — enough, just a kiss, to fill / balance any distracting shadows and no more.

    Not sure what a Nikkor 28mm f2.8 is worth but selling privately would be better than taking it to a dealer. Second hand market light meters would be much cheaper and a better choice when starting out than jumping in at the all-singing, all-dancing end. I started off with a Polaris meter many years ago which cost me $200 — way beyond my student budget at the time, but it did the trick — until it was stolen... :sad:
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The Sekonic 308 series are worth considering.
     
  12. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    +1
    I have one. Small and light, cheap (I think), easy to use, and can meter flash too. I also have a Minolte spotmeter which get some use but not as much.
    Best regards
     
  13. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    I am amazed at how rapidly the collective memory totally forgets about a line of products which once held the enviable position of 'choice of pros' and 'choice of enthusiasts' alike! MINOLTA. Sekonic was a poor #2 'we try harder' product line in comparison with Minolta back in the 1990's, especially since the Sekonic products of the time had a rather quirky way of displaying the fractional f/stop exposures...something which they did not fix until after Minolta stopped making meters.

    The enthusiasts (and many pros) chose the Minolta Autometer line, while those with lots of money might select the Minolta Flashmeter line. And the Minolta Spotmeter F was a one-degree spot-/flashmeter. All three lines could meter flash.
    The last of the line was the Minolta Autometer V, and the Flashmeter VI. Both meters are now offered (with different model designations) as Kenko meters. I would not hesistate to recomment the Autometer IV or V, or the Flashmeter V or Vi, or the Spotmeter F, or the current Kenko products.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2013
  14. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I go for the concept of reading:
    any Gossen model with that zero-adjust needle and +/- scale.
    As you can "place" the metered luminance on a exposure scale (like: white skin=+1)

    cave: the Mastersix (with its digital scale, though similar to the needle-model Profisix) does not allow this placing.

    Disadvantage: bulky due to 7O's technology, even without attachments
     
  15. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Watch that cell/battery.

    Just be careful if you are considering an older used meter that you determine what sort of cell/battery it uses. For example, mercury cells were favored in the past for exposure meters, both hand held and in cameras because they maintained their voltage pretty constant throughout their life, unlike alkaline or silver oxide cells. However ... mercury cells can no longer be sold, at least legally. Some otherwise "legal" cells/batteries may be very difficult to find.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    This is correct, but if you find a meter you like that has this problem, there often are adapters available (at a cost) to deal with it.
     
  17. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    To me it sounds like you are after an incident + spot metering. Most of these meters will be able to handle flash.
    Something like Sekonic L-358 with spot metering attachment should do. Depending on condition you should be able to get it for around $200-250 (without the attachment).

    Another more bulky option would be something like a minolta meter + pentax spot meter. But that will add a lot of bulk having 2 meters around.

    Another option is Sekonic L-508, L-608 or L-558 (it's pretty much the same as the latest L-758).
     
  18. Ed Bray

    Ed Bray Member

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    My vote would go for a Minolta Spotmeter F, takes a single AA battery does ambient and flash and can be picked up occasionally for a song, I bought one around Christmas time off ebay for £100 ($150ish). I rarely use my L758D now.
     
  19. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    All my good meters have been Minolta. I started with the flashmeter II and then flashmeter III and add the spotmeter M for spot. Now I have a flashmeter VI for all. However, in recent years most people would buy a new Sekonic (if buy new) and many would want a Gossen Luna Pro or something if buying used.
     
  20. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I really like my minolta flashmeter IV. It's kinda big though and clashes with my anachronistic camera equipment with it's LCD display and buttons. So I also have a little light sekonic L208 which is a little bit retro despite the plastic. It's not heavy like the old retro lightmeters that you could swing around on their cord and hurl at goliath with deadly mass.
     
  21. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    OK, guys. This one got my attention; it contains one GLARING ERROR !

    Yes, the alkaline cells do change their voltage as the cell is used. However, claiming that the Silver-Oxide ( Ag-O ) cells also change their voltage over their useful life, as do the alkaline cells, is a gross error and a great dis-service to the Ag-O cells.

    In actual fact, the Silver-Oxide cells are remarkably similar to the old Mercury ( Hg ) cells in their voltage stability characteristic of their discharge curve. They are very much like the old Hg cells in that regard (with one notable difference), including even the sudden drop to Zero volts at the end of their life. The one main single difference is that while the Hg cells had a nominal voltage of 1.35 VDC, the Ag-O cells have a slightly higher nominal voltage of 1.50 VDC, or 0.15 VDC higher. Depending on the type of circuitry inside the light meter, this can be significant.

    With those few light meters using a "bridge metering circuit," there is no problem. It is with the rest of the more common and simpler light meter circuits that relied on having a constant 1.35 VDC power source where we run into a problem with the light meter no longer being accurate when we try to simply make a direct substitution of the earlier Hg cells with the newer Ag-O cells. Then we notice that the light meter usually is about one full f-stop off calibration. One simple quick way to deal with this to adjust the ASA/ISO film speed rating to compensate and have the meter read out the correct exposure value for us. Try using about 50 % of the film ASA/ISO speed rating. Then there is another way that is a little more complex, but it is also more elegant and it allows us to continue working with our light meter in exactly the same normal way as always.

    This involves taking advantage of the low Forward Voltage Drop characteristic of a Schottky Barrier Diode, which at the current levels we are discussing, will be right at about 0.15 VDC.

    There are two (2) ways to do this. The simplest way is to use the metal shell of an old PX-13 or PX-625 battery cell and mount into it a Schottky Barrier Diode and the contacts to work with a type 357 or similar Ag-O battery cell, and then this combination is put into the battery compartment of the light meter and it works as normally. These are available from some sellers on e-Bay and also from C. R. I. S. Camera in Arizona; www.criscam.com is their URL. Look for their MR-9 Battery Adapter. When I last checked, this adapter was about $35 USD or $40 USD. But it does work. I have three of them right now.

    The second way to do this is to take your camera or light meter to a camera repair technician and ask him if he can install into the wiring for the battery compartment, "an axial lead Schottky Barrier Diode" that is installed in a "forward biased" orientation in that wiring. If he understands the words in quotations, he should be able to install it correctly for you in your camera or light meter, and then you can use an Ag-O battery cell in the battery compartment (perhaps with an O-ring to keep the Ag-O battery cell centered in the space) just like you did previously with the old Hg battery cell.

    Again, my main point is to say that the Silver-Oxide battery cells DO NOT change their voltage over time and use like the common alkaline battery cells. They are very stable and stay at their voltage until they reach the knee at the end of their discharge curve and their useful life, and then they quickly drop to zero, just like the old Mercury battery cells, but at a slightly higher voltage.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2013
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have tried a number of hand held light meters and I choose the Gossen Luna Lux SBC that I got with the case for about $100 in EX+ condition at KEH. It is accurate, easy to use, provides ELVs, filter adjustments and Zone adjustments.