Light meter advice?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by francis90, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. francis90

    francis90 Member

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    Hello,

    Wondering if you can help.

    I am looking to purchase a hand-held light meter to use whilst shooting medium format film, although I will be doing some cine work too.

    I would be needing one, if possible, with both incident and reflective or spot capabilities. Also a flash mode would be useful.

    My research so far seems to direct me to the Sekonic Flashmate l-308s and the minolta Auto Meter IVF (+ the spot metering attachment).

    I do like the idea of being able to spot meter, the flashmate however is perhaps simpler and quicker (but less accurate?), well at any rate this is the budget I am in so I'm wondering if you can tell me if I'm on the right track here?

    The main problem is the budget, these would probably be second hand. Also I'm not really sure I can properly tell one model from another so I would be grateful for any assistance/ further suggestions.

    Thanks for your help,

    Francis
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    An option for you to consider is Sekonic L-558 or L-778. They offer all that you seem to want in a meter, and maybe more. I don't know how I can help or even reasonably address your budget other than to suggest that if you shop around and are patient there are some good deals that come up from time to time.
     
  3. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    The Minolta is the lower cost option on the used market....most photographers today have zero memory of the fact that Minolta commanded #1 position among both pros and amateurs in the meter market for decades, before they left the meter market thereby allowing Sekonic to finally move up in the rankings.
    So now you see tons of recommendations for Sekonic, and little mention of Minolta meters. Greater awareness makes Sekonic immediately in greater demand that Minolta, although both are equally fine products!

    The spot attachment for Minolta is only a 5 degree spotmeter, which make it a bit less valuable than a one-degree angle of view.

    The Autometer is more comparable to Sekonic L358, so the consideration is similar to
    "L308 or L358...which to buy?"
     
  4. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Don't try to get one to do everything. I have a fancy Minolta flashmeter4 and a Sekonic L208 incident meter. The L208 is comparitively small and technically inferior, but it gets the most use since it's so small and light. It's not expensive to buy a used minolta and they are nice if you want something that does anything.
     
  5. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I hope you are aware that requests of this type could be easilyreplaced by the question:what meter do you own?,leading toidentical replies of limited value
     
  6. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    For a long time I used a Minolta Autometer IVF with the 5degree spot attachment. I always found it to be accurate, and my only two complaints were that it was a P.I.T.A. to switch from incident to spot modes, and the spot was not all that tight.

    I shoot almost exclusively in available light - I don't think that I have ever actually used the flash mode of the meter.

    I now carry a Pentax Digital Spotmeter as well, which has the tighter spot, and I feel that I have the best of both worlds.

    If on a budget, you can certainly get away with the Minolta Flashmeter IVF, and the spot attachment, and if the spot really bothers you, add another dedicated spot meter later.
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Good point. Then what you want is a Gossen LunaPro. :D
     
  8. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    What are you going to shoot? Portraiture? Landscapes? Both? Something else?
     
  9. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I'm not going to tell you what to get, but rather my experience. I use a Pentax spotmeter and an old Luna Pro. A spotmeter is a great thing to shoot with but it takes some learning to get consistent exposures. Lately, I've worked with the Luna Pro (calibrated and converted to modern batteries) and find it much better in low light and still gives me consistent exposures. That said, I do fudge the exposures a bit depending on the subject. I'd personally never get on meter that tries to do everything....way too complicated for my simple mind and more importantly too big. The Luna Pro and the more modern version (SBC?) take a 5deg spot attachment, but it is awkward and 5deg isn't all that useful to me.
     
  10. francis90

    francis90 Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Even so, I tend to find anecdotal discussion informative.


    I'm now thinking that when I can I ought to just spend out on a 1 degree spot meter for the greatest accuracy. However most of the photography I do at the moment is on the street (also the occasional portrait) which leads me think that quick reflected readings are beneficial. On that basis rather than opting for the Minolta IVF, since I was interested particularly in the spot attachment, the Sekonic L-308 would be a better option as, whilst it does not have spot readings, it does have incident and flash capabilities. Also it seems that I could perhaps afford a brand new for around the price of a second hand Minolta with the required attachment. Then, when I finally own a 1 degree spot meter I will have quite a complete set up.

    I have read good reports regarding the Sekonic.

    Thanks once again for your comments,

    Francis
     
  11. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    I like my Sekonic l308, especially it's small size. It's pretty good for quick reflected reading. The only downside for me is that it's shutter priority and I like to shoot in aperture priority, which it lacks. But since you shoot street, you actually might prefer Tv. Just for that reason I would go for L358 if you only want one meter, but it is a bit bigger.

    Since L358 is discontinued, you can pick it up for the price of L308 from ebay.
     
  12. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Iv'e used the Minolta IV for years... you can expand it if needed with spot etc. But the standard little dome is my trusty friend. Learn how to make the meter "see" the light you are "seeing".
     
  13. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    A spot meter won't necessarily give you more accuracy, and if if you're not careful about where you point that 1 degree spot, it won't be accurate at all. For street work, I'd recommend something that's fairly compact and quick to use, with incident readings.
     
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  15. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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  16. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    I just went back and re-read the OP five times, to confirm that the OP never mentioned a preference of aperture priority!
     
  17. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    Not sure on what criteria the conclusion comes that the lower end L308 is a 'better choice' than the Autometer IVf...they BOTH do incident and flashmeter readings; both can do incident or reflected readings (and the spot capability of the Autometer is an extra cost optional attachment)
     
  18. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

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    I'd say go with the Gossen Starlite or Starlite 2. Awesome meters, with spot, flash, ambient, and even zone modes. Pricey, but can be had reasonable if you're buying used. I love mine and swear by it.
     
  19. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I have never cared for regular reflective meters unless they are in camera and use matrix metering. I use a Pentax digital spot meter with my Hasselblad, large format cameras and 35mm Stereo Realist. If I were to do street photography I would use my Minolta Flashmeter 4 because it has an incident meter.

    It's nice to have a spot meter and an incident meter or a meter that does both like some of the Sekonics.
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    "
    This infers to me that the reason he wants to upgrade to the Sekonic L358 is that the 358 has the ability to meter in either the shutter or aperture priority mode, which since I own one I can confirm it does.
     
  21. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    But, Benji, francis90 wrote the OP with no mention of aperture vs. shutter priority preference, and nuff is the one of wrote about his own preference for aperture priority


    Neverthelss, for the benefit of francis90, I want to explain that with meters that have shutter priority, simply take a reading and if it gives you an f/stop that you are not in favor of, simply click the up or down buttons on the shutter speed selection until you see the f/number you like to use. There is no need to retake the reading again after shutter speed reselection.
    So while I like to shoot at a certain aperture, it is no difficulty for me to use a meter with shutter priority.
     
  22. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Um... I didn't know my minolta iv had any priority. It just shows EV or a combo of shutter and f stop... pick one change the other... or do the math in your head.
     
  23. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Well in EV display mode it has no priority just like any other meters in EV display mode. But when in f/stop and shutter speed display mode you set the shutter speed and it displays the aperture. With the Sekonic you can do either. If you can do good mental calculations then all you need is the EV value.
     
  24. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    Yes, it was me stating my preference for aperture priority. And it's easy to adjust the values like you have mentioned or even change the iso. But when I'm feeling lazy it's a nice to have feature.

    I think it would be less of a bother if 308 had a wheel instead of buttons like 358/758. Since it's much faster to adjust the values with it instead of hitting the up/down buttons repeatedly.

    It is a great little meter and I use it a lot when I pack light, but it's just one of my pet peeves with it. Otherwise it would be a perfect meter for incident and reflective metering.
     
  25. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I am perfectly aware of this, but at the risk of stating the obvious apertures are infinitely variable shutter speeds are not.
     
  26. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    I never realized my Minolta IIIf was shutter priority. Live and learn. But that's a good point. I usually am more concerned with setting my aperture at a particular setting. I suppose it would be better for me if the unit allowed aperture as priority. But I'd still have to mentally calculate and adjust the settings since the readings will then usually fall between shutter speed click points anyway. My Mamiya click at half stops for aperture. So I'm not sure it's a big deal. I've been using my IIIf with both incident and reflective using the 10 degree spot attachment The spot seem to be OK for landscape work. It measures pretty much as my digital camera on m43 when its ojh center readings. I usually bracket too. I've tested the flash readings. But I don;t shoot with a flash so I can't say how good it is. The rest of the meter is pretty good although after 20+ years the electronic finally failed a month ago and I replace the unit. Paid $89 for a used one on ebay. (I kept the spot as that's fine).