Light meter questions -

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Robert Kennedy, Jul 26, 2003.

  1. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    O.k. I'm finally getting a new light meter. Right now I am using a Sekonic reflected/incident and a very old Honeywell/Pentax spotmeter. As well as a cheapy $30.00 flash meter.

    So I have my eye on one of these new "all-in-one" meters. The kind that do flash/ambi/reflect/spot/etc.

    Maybe a Sekonic L-608. Although that is a lot to spend on one meter.

    My questions are this -

    1 - Should I go with an all-in-one or split the function up between two or three meters?

    2 - Any brand recommendations?

    3 - New or used? I can see a meter taking a ton of abuse (hanging by that string around somebodies neck is just ASKING for it).
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Go for the Sekonic, I have the L 508 and I absolutely love it! The 608 is even better as you can calibrate it, the 508 has to be calibrated at the factory. So if you got one that was calibrated at 18% (like me) you were on easy street, of you got one that was at 12% you were SOL. That is why many people hated them when they first came out. I have to say, Sekonic did not respond very well to this critizism, but they fix it in the 608, if I could afford it I would go for it.
     
  3. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    Jorge:

    I currently use a L-358 and a Minolta Auto-Spot II, but I was thinking about getting a used L-508 so that I wouldn't have to carry them both around. How would I know if it was calibrated at 12 or 18%?
     
  4. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  5. BobF

    BobF Member

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    I have a 508 and like it for its do all capabilities but I have had the opertunity to use a Pentax spot and like it better for spot. Used to have a Minolta and liked it for flash better and I still have an old studio deluxe with analoge meter that I like a lot better than digital.

    Point is that there are better individual meters (for me) but I don't want to carry them all and the 508 does all the jobs ok.
     
  6. Robert

    Robert Member

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    For less money then the 608 you could get the 358 and a separate pentax spotmeter.
     
  7. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    There were two main things that I wanted in my next meter. 1) a meter that provides spot flash, and 2) one that will give me consistent readings in low light. At first I had my eye on an old Minolta Spot Meter F, but then the Sekonic 508 and 608 caught my eye because I could have the capabilities of both my current meters in one. Don't get me wrong....my Minolta Auto Spot II is great in most situations, but it bounces around in low light. Also I've tired to take readings of density for film tests with it and it can't tell the difference between my base exposure, Zone I exposure, and half the +/- half stops by it. Any suggestions?
     
  8. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    The only way to know if it was calibrated at 12% or 18% that I know of is taking meter readings and compare them with a known meter. I also have the Gossen Ultra spot so I compared them before I bought the meter.
    Another way is to take a reading in a clear sunny day at noon and compare with the sunny sixteen rule, but this is less accurate.

    So the results are, if you take a reading of an 18% gray card one with your "known" meter and one with the L 508, if the L 508 shows exposures which are 1 stop faster then it is a 12% calibration. You can adjust for this by lowering your ASA, but that is half assed.

    As with everything some people have trouble learning how to use it, some not. I was using within 5 minutes after they showed it to me in the store. To me its functions were intuitive and I did not even need to read the manual, but then after using the gossen ultra spot, any metter is easy to use...:tongue:

    As a aside note, many people sent their meters back to Sekonic complaning about this, and their response was, "well it is well within standard industry specs"..lol..not very good customer relations IMO.
     
  9. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Now, that is interesting ... I wonder what "Industry Standard" Sekonic claims to use. The only accuracy claims I've ever seen were for the Pentax 1/21, plus or minus one half "stop"; and for the Gossen Ultra-Pro, plus or minus one-third "stop".

    Given the meter tolerances and the environmetal and technique vagaries, I always cringe when I hear someone claim, "I always expose **precisely** ... I'm NEVER "off" as much as one-tenth of a stop either way ....

    Once one gets into calibrating high-end Photometers in industry, using Intralaboratory calibrated Standard Lamps from the National Bureau of Standards, Constant-AMPERAGE Power Supplies - and such ... the problems of "in-the-field" exposure determination - considering light intensity alone - become abundantly clear.
     
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I have no idea Ed. These were quotes from people I knew who had talked to Sekonic.

    I agree there seems to be people who think the controls have to be up to space flight specs. When I belonged to the camera club in texas, I went out to photograph with a member who was a PhD in Chemistry. When we got back to the darkroom to develop the film, he was trying to control the temperature to 1/4 of a degree.....I laughed and he never went out with me again...... :cry:
     
  11. BobF

    BobF Member

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    I'll laugh with you guys as I figure "perfect" accuracy is +/- half stop when you consider the potential for all the other compounded errors or subjective judgement calls when metering. Meter accuracy, meter color response, what to meter, meter flare, and on to lens flare, processing differences and on and on.......

    I was just out with a friend and we were getting almost two stop differences in metering off of the same silver weathered wood at an old mine. We were both metering off of what looked like middle gray but the portion he chose had a bunch of thin dark weathered cracks and mine didn't. They looked the same to our eyes but not to the meter.
     
  12. Robert

    Robert Member

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    Sekonic claims 1/10 of an EV for the model I have. Well they claim

    "Repeatable accuracy ±0.1EV or less"

    They also claim:

    Calibration constant Reflected metering: K=12.5

    OTOH Minolta claims:

    Reflected light: K = 14
    Repeatability ±0.1 stops

    I thought 12% was the standard.
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Occasionally, manufacturers speak with forked tongues.

    I wonder about the inclusion of the word "repeatablity" ... If one was to set a meter on a rigid support and measure a non-changing, evenly illuminated target, I have no doubt that the multiple readings could *repeat*, that is, one would get the *same* readings, all the time, within ~ 0.1 "EV". Not hard to do. Accuracy, where the reading you get conforms to the *true* value, is not the same thing. Accuracy is conformance to true values - "repeatablity" is properly known as "precision"- so "repeatablity accuracy" means -- I'm not quite sure.

    This whole 12% - 18% reflectance bias is a pain in the butt, anyway... that all depends on the *assumption* of the meter manufacturer - whether the "average " scene reflects 12% or 18% of the light falling on it... and that is directly related to the reflectance of the objects in the scene.

    One intersting "test" is to take a meter reading of an 18% gray card, and in the same light, take an incident meter reading and note the difference.

    I wish someone would produce the *ultimate* meter - one with different, selectable, reflectance values ... like the metering system in the Olympus OM-4. One has the choice of 5%, 18% or 95% reflectance - and spot, averaging, and true Off-the-Film flash metering. That has been called the most sophisticated metering system they ever built a camera around.
     
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  15. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I found a reference to an Ansi standard # PH3.49-1971 that supposedly sets the standard to 12% +/- 2%. I tried checking the Ansi website but it seems you need to be a member to find anything.

    I found this:

    http://members.cox.net/dspielman1/Gray_Card/ANSI_PH3_49_1971.PDF

    From David R. Spielman Brooks Institute of Photography
     
  16. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I think Sekonic did something about that in the L 608, they were griped so much and people generally called to cuss them so much that I think they incorporated a way to calibrate the meter to the owners taste. I might be wrong but I think it was one of the new features in the L 608.
     
  17. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    I just got a Minolta Spot Meter F! Hopefully it will do me well for a number of years. Now I just have to get rid of my Auto Spot II....
     
  18. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    We have a couple of those, no complaints. I really like the fact that it uses an AA battery to power it instead of anything fancy and hard to get.
     
  19. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    I have to say, at the price point, the Sekonic 508 is the best for me. That 608 is a bit steep.

    Does anyone know if they have fixed the problems or did they just go to the 608?
     
  20. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I have a Pentax Spotmeter that uses a 9v battery, the kind you use in fire detectors, and some weird round cell. Does anyone know what powers what? I'm thinking there must be a way to convert the round cell to something more modern and easy to get.

    I wish I could afford one of those pocket spot meters Aggie had at Barnbaums workshop.
     
  21. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    My Auto Spot II uses a 9v and a round cell as well. I'm not really sure what that cell is and I've never had to change it out.
     
  22. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Well, I can tell you what it does on my ancient Pentax/Honeywell.

    The small cell handles normal, daylight scenes.

    The 9v kicks in when you press the low-light button. In fact mine runs fine in daylight with the 9v removed. The 9v is just there for low-light use.
     
  23. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Sucks! I guess I have to find one of the round cells then. There has to be a better alternative.
     
  24. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I'm looking to buy a good spotmeter and can't getover some of the prices! I had no idea they were so pricey
    gossen ultra spot- around $800
    zone VI modified spot - $500+
    minolta spot - $400+

    ouch
     
  25. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  26. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I'm not sure what the conversion rate is to New Zealand $$$, but you can purchase a Minolta Spotmeter F like silverpixel's from KEH.com used for ~275$US. Ahh, now if I only had 275... :smile:

    I just can't seem to justify a $500 spotmeter when my entire LF set-up was under $350 including tripod... though I still need to get a better head.