Light meter recommendations?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by dgphoto, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. dgphoto

    dgphoto Member

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    Hello.

    I am looking for recommendations for a reliable, affordable light meter. I've recently bought a Bronica GS-1 and need a meter to help determine exposures.

    Anyone have opinions on the Gossen Luna Pros I see for ~$80?

    Thanks in advance.

    David
     
  2. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    I have about $110 tied up in a Weston Master II. Picked it up for $16 on eBay and had it reconditioned by Quality Light Metric for $88. Helped me understand exposure better but has shortcomings in low light. Rarely shoot low light and have had good luck fudging exposure there. No battery and it should last as long as I do,well maybe longer.
     
  3. domaz

    domaz Member

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    The Sekonic L-488 is a good one that you can often find cheap. They are kind of ugly blocky meters that are clearly from the early 90/late 80s. However they are one degree spot meters that can also do flash and are very accurate. A Luna Pro is ok but not really as good as a spot meter, especially if you find yourself metering distant subjects (i.e. landscapes).
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    You may want to search for older APUG threads on this topic, there are many. You might also want to state any preferences for meter type (spot, incident, reflected, low light, flash), size, battery used, brand, etc. With 43,000+ people here, you'll get recommendations for a good percentage of all light meters ever made as the thread goes on. You'll also get folks telling you that a light meter isn't necessary.
     
  5. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    David

    Lee is right.
    This type of thread is rarely helpful to reach a purchase decision. You'll get a ton of recommendations mostly about what people own. Few people have experience with varies lightmeters of the same type. You can safely assume that all name-brand meters are good products. The difference comes down to personal preferences in operation and handling.

    I would seek the help of a good dealer or a camera club in your area. You need to see and try these meters yourself to be certain.
     
  6. Thingy

    Thingy Member

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    The affordable bit might be a problem. I can recommend the Sekonic L758D which I current use and certainly is a big improvement on my old Weston IV & V meters. The Kenko KFM-2100 is also an excellent meter, but both of these might be outside you financial comfort zone.

    It really depends on what you need. I opted for the Sekonic because I needed a spotmeter but still wanted to take ambient light readings for copy work and wanted a flashmeter built in, rather than having to take three seperate meters with me, as in the days of yore.
     
  7. Moopheus

    Moopheus Member

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    I use a Luna Pro F with the snap-on angle viewer and it works very well for me. Easy to use and seems pretty accurate; more reliable than the built-in meters in my old Nikons. I chose the F version because it works with a standard 9-volt battery, some of the older versions require obsolete batteries.
     
  8. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Are you looking for reflected, incident or spot? Or all the above?

    I can say that I've used (and only used) a Weston Master II and a Pentax Spot Meter V.

    The Weston cost me $10 on local Craigslist and required no calibration. If you buy one, make sure it comes with a case; that way you can be reasonably sure that it hasn't sat for years w/ light hitting its selenium cell, thus using it up.

    The Pentax Spot V is also great, but seem to go for around $100 on eBay.
     
  9. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I'd avoid relics like Westons and ancient Gossens that require unavailable PX625 merc cells.I'd look for the newest/least expensive ambient/reflected model available like a Sekonic 308 or earlier 318 or 328. For spot capability, the Sekonic 508 is affordable now and does it all: flash, spot, ambient and reflected. You'll see lots of testimonials about the durability of old meters but at least as many have age-related accuracy/linearity issues that make them a false economy, especially with film/processing costs and availability becoming problematic in many areas.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2010
  10. I think you're going to have a lot of fun with your new camera purchase; it's a great format with limitless possibilities.

    Regarding a meter, you'll probably want to first determine (in general) what you plan to photograph. Depending on where you live, see if there's a decent camera store that offers various meters by the major manufacturers (eg. Sekonic, Gossen, etc.). Talk with a dealer and have him/her demonstrate the different types of meters together with their uses/purposes and capabilities -- the simpler, the better. Maybe, go to a couple of dealers, for a few points of view. You might end up with something you hadn't considered. That's what happened with me (and I'm very happy).

    Good luck.
     
  11. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Another factor to take into account is the size/form factor of the meter.

    I have a cheap little Sekonic which has limited range and a Luna Pro. I love using the Luna Pro as I feel like the readings are more consistently the readings I want. Unfortunately it isn't exactly pocketable like the Sekonic. I end up using the Sekonic 85% of the time as a result.

    If I want spot metering-like functionality, I have to admit... I turn to the Lightmeter app on my the iPhone. I always have the phone with me and the app only cost a few dollars. The interface annoys me at times but it gives me a good preview of what the scene would look light given the metering. Its sort of like meter+continuous polaroids-DoF preview. :wink: Mostly though, I'm just too cheap to buy a good, high end spot meter.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW Member

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    If I want spot metering-like functionality, I have to admit... I turn to the Lightmeter app on my the iPhone. I always have the phone with me and the app only cost a few dollars. The interface annoys me at times but it gives me a good preview of what the scene would look light given the metering. Its sort of like meter+continuous polaroids-DoF preview. Mostly though, I'm just too cheap to buy a good, high end spot meter.

    So you popped for an iPhone and a sketchy app?
     
  13. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Those Gossen meters with a needle and a scale-type readout with 0 in its center allow you to easily "place" the measured value as you desire and thus overcome the meter's ignorance.
     
  14. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I would be a little leery of buying used. I purchased a Luna Pro F new many years ago and love it. But, about 4 years ago, I notice it was off by several stops. Sent it to Bogan, which is or was the importer at that time, and they said the boards of these models had to be replaced, they had problems with this model boards and could not calibrate it. It cost me $150, which was about half the normal charge.

    I went ahead, and it is still working fine. The point is, you buy a used one, and might end up between a rock and a hard spot. I think both Sekonic and Gossen new meters start at about $100.
     
  15. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    Hi David,

    I got The Gossen LunaPro on eBay for $40.00,
    and the Spotmeter attachment for $20.00 it should be here today !!!
    The LunaPro Is A Very Versatile Meter, Especially In Low Light,
    And especially for $40.00, hopefully it will be an excellent $60.00
    Spotmeter Also ...
    Previously I've been using the Sekonic L-398 for the past 30 years.
    It's an excellent daylight meter, and does not need a battery.
    but it's not for low light levels, that's why I got the Lunapro.
    I'm running the Lunapro on # 675 Hearing Aid Batteries,
    from Radio Shack, no fancy adapters necessary.


    Ron
    .
     
  16. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    That's what I have. Love it!

    Jeff
     
  17. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    After I bought my SQ-A and discovered my ancient meters were either dead, dubious, or wanted mercury batteries*, I bought a Gossen Digisix, there's also the Digiflash if you need one with flash metering. The dollar vs Euro have been all over the place, but I think lately they're about $125. It's got good sensitivity, does incident and reflected, but no spot and uses a widely available lithium coin-type cell. Later I acquired a Sekonic L508 off ePrey, but that was around $250 at the time. It will meter flash, but so far I've never done that; the spot metering is cool, and variable from 1 to 4º. The Sekonic, while light in weight is a major handful compared with the Digisix (which has a $$$ accessory shoe mount available).

    *I did try a Cris adapter in my old Gossen Super Pilot, only to discover the contact springs didn't really work right. I soldered in a Schottky diode and used a watch battery of the original physical size, but that brought me back to the fact the old CDS beast was horribly sluggish to make readings anyway so after a few weeks of frustration, I threw money at the problem. The two new-to-me meters are instantaneous by comparison.
     
  18. dgphoto

    dgphoto Member

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    Clarification about meter

    Thank you everyone for their responses.

    I'm still learning about light meters, so I apologize for being unclear.

    In retrospect, I should have specified that I think I need a spot meter...not only for my current medium format work, but also if I make the jump to 4 x 5.

    I will be developing my own film and am trying to employ the Zone system to be more precise and reproducible in my results. Landscapes will be my focus since we just moved to Utah.

    I guess I don't understand why everyone wouldn't use a spot meter for landscapes?

    Thank you again.

    David
     
  19. fotch

    fotch Member

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    My Gossen LunaPro F uses a 9 volt battery and is at least 20 years old.
     
  20. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I already had the phone; that was sunk cost before I looked around at light meters.

    The app was only a $3 risk and it works quite well. :smile:
     
  21. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    In my mind, there is no better spotmeter for the Zone System than the Pentax Digital Spotmeter.
     

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  22. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    I feel the same about the Gossen Spotmaster.

    Have you had a chance to compare the two, Ralph?
    I, alas, haven't.
     
  23. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    Yes I did. As I said before, much is down to personal preference. I like how small and light the Pentax Spotmeter is. I like the external dial and how I can visually evaluate the subject brightness range. I find it extremely simple to operate, especially when I add my self-designed sticker to it. The Gossen Spotmaster does not have these features, but it has other benefits like the built-in Zone System mode, better shielding against flare and finer measurement increments.

    For incident measurements, by the way, I prefer the Gossen meters, but for landscapes the Pentax is it for me.

    The one thing I don't like are the one-type-does-it-all meters.
     
  24. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    B&W and Zone System - Look for the Weston Ranger 9 with the Zone System dial that was an accessory. Thhe dial was developed by Ansel Adams as he used the Ranger 9 as his meter. I have a 9 with both the original and accessory dials and it is great. It does use a pair of 625s that are no longer available and I've replaced mine with a pair of CHRIS MR9 adaptors and the meter is dead on. I've owned and used the meter for some 30 years. Originally they with the incident meter dome attachment and while most have been misplaced they do come up once in awhile.

    The meter was the only non-selenium meter made by Weston and when produced was not inexpensive. Today, they do not seem to be as well known and prices are below value IMHO.

    Another of my favorites that seems to be known by many but does not go for lots of bucks is the Metrastar. This meter again used the 625 and the CHRIS adaptor is the fix. I like this meter as it is housed in an all metal housing I think was designed to deflect tank canon shells. You can hammer nails with it. It is smaller than the Weston and the incident dome is attached so harder to get lost. It does not have the ease of use for the Zone System but other than a Modified Pentax Spot meter from Zone VI I'm not aware of any meter other than these 2 set up for the Zone system but I'm sure there must be.

    I really like using the Weston with the Zone scale as within a short time the whole process become quite intuitive and as easy as metering for transparencies or color negative film. About the only time I do not carry it is when I am walking around with my Leica. The smaller Metrastar seems more appropriate for the Leica but, of course, Metrawatt made the Leica meter.

    If you want to go all out, then look for Adam's favorite meter, the SEI Photometer. It is designed to measure not for grey but for the deepest shawdows for negative film. Knowing the range of the film and the SEI can put you dead on the zones you want. I'm not sure what they go for today but some years ago I was offered almost a crazy amount for mine but it was just not for sale and at the time I was using it almost for all my shooting. If you think a handheld meter will slow you down, the SEI will bring you to a crawl but, once you understand it and how it works, I do not think there is a better meter out there. It was shelved and gotten less use since geting the Ranger not because the Ranger is better, just faster to use and it is S-O-O much lighter.