Light meter suggestion for a new user.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Blooze, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Blooze

    Blooze Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    35mm
    As I'm starting to immerse myself into film again after nearly 30 years I was wondering if I might get some suggestions for a handheld lightmeter to use with my old Yashica Mat (and any other older cameras I may have a hankering to use :wink:)? Or, on the other hand, will my meter in my Pentax MX or MESuper work fine, other than the fact I'll have to carry it with me?

    I don't want to spend a ton of money (like to keep it $100 or less if possible), and I don't plan on ever shooting portraits or any type of studio work. Right now I've got an old Walz Coronet selenium meter that's fairly close to my MX if I set it's ASA at 1/2 of whatever the MX is set at.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. henry finley

    henry finley Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Marshville N
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A Gossen Luna-Pro. The gray one from the 1970's. I installed a 2.7 v regulator in mine, but you could just use 2-357's and make a size-reducer out of paper, and dial down your film speed on the dial.
     
  3. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

    Messages:
    262
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Hungary
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would humbly suggest to do a Google search, not to find the right answer, but to see, everyone will recomend his trusted unit and there are many good ones. This question comes up often and like with many of our tools we are in the fortunate situation that we can base our choice almost purely on ergonomics without worrying about "performance".

    I'd suggest an incident/reflective meter that has a Silicon Blue Cell and takes modern batteries for sake of consistency, like the Sekonic L308, but lots of people use selenium meters. The fewer buttons, the better it is for me.
     
  4. dorff

    dorff Member

    Messages:
    459
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Location:
    South Africa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you are going to take incident light readings only, then any of the older cinema and ordinary light meters will work well enough. If you are going to shoot slide film you will want something that is dead accurate, preferably with a spot meter. That will also help if you want to expose according to the zone system etc. I don't use the zone system much for 35 mm, but I have a Sekonic spot meter that I use with my Mamiya RZ equipment for 6x7, and my method is to select the placement of tones in the scene. It works 100%, and is the only way to make sure you get shadow and/or highlight areas properly exposed. If it costs you a slight bit more than $100 then it will still be worth considering. You have to accept that it will slow you down considerably, and will not really work for fleeting subjects such as street photography in widely varying light levels. In that case, I would simply go by the camera light meter, and note if there is a trend to under or over expose for certain types of lighting conditions and then compensate for those. For instance, your camera might sacrifice the shadows if there are large bright areas in the frame (white walls etc.), as it is working on an average metering. You may then prefer to meter off a known or guestimate reference, and set your exposure manually. Metering is an art in itself, and one that you must learn and practice if you want to achieve success with your photography.
     
  5. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,374
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Any of the Minolta AutoMeter III, IV or flash meter III would be a good choice and can be had for less than $100. Newer ones are great but would cost more than $100. These are good if you don't need spot meter.
     
  6. Blooze

    Blooze Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I've had the Minolta IV recommended by a friend as well, so I will probably check into that line.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,452
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Minoltas may still not come in in your price range - although they're terrific meters. I'd highly recommend the Sekonic 308. It has two primary advantages over the Minoltas - it's smaller and it's cheaper. It will fit in most shirt pockets - the Minolta requires a jacket pocket or a belt pouch because it's too thick to fit in a shirt pocket.
     
  8. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

    Messages:
    1,319
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    .
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have about $130 in my Weston Master II w/invercone including a rebuild and calibration by Quality Light-Metric. . Reflective and incident. I have little experience with the incident but we'll see. Seems to be kinda weak in low light situations.
     
  9. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,374
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    To be honest the Weston Master II are more of a collectible than some thing I would use.
     
  10. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

    Messages:
    1,117
    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    Shooter:
    Sub 35mm
    Although possibly expensive and difficult to find (I'm not sure), I use a Voitlander VCII meter. It's a small meter and fits into a hot/cold shoe nicely, and takes 2 LR44 batteries. Fire and Forget for me .. since I'm not that good at fiddling with light meters.
     
  11. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,984
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have less invested in mine. I got it so I could put a Zone System sticker on the dial. You should try it.
     
  12. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

    Messages:
    1,319
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    .
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Where can I get the sticker?
     
  13. Born2Late

    Born2Late Subscriber

    Messages:
    165
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
    Location:
    Southern Ind
    Shooter:
    35mm
    B&H carries the hot shoe mounted Voitlander meters.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,984
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    It's sort of a Saturday project.

    There are mock-ups in many Zone System books. I sat down and cut chips off a printed step wedge. Then followed the layout in Minor White's booklet. You really don't "need" to precisely find the 10 actual print tones. Find any scrap print with some smooth tones that you can cut small chips that divide "visually" into 10 different values from black to white.
     
  16. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,374
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Do you have a picture of it?
     
  17. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

    Messages:
    4,574
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    İstanbul
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Yes Bill, please send a picture !

    Umut
     
  18. FL Guy

    FL Guy Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Location:
    right here!
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Back to the original question from "Blooze"

    I would agree to get a unit with the Silicon Blue Cell (SBC) and the modern battery comment also.

    Lots of contributors to this thread will offer their favorites as your "go-to" answer, so here is mine. I have used Gossen products for over 20 years, either as a primary exposure resource or a backup or incident option. The nice part of the Gossen units I have used is the "system" aspect of buying accessories that fit newer and older models. I recently sourced a Gossen Luna-Pro F (F includes flash measurement) that uses a standard 9V battery (think smoke alarm) and can use the variable spot attachment from my earlier Luna-Pro/Luna-Six for extra versatility, and with the SBC advantages. You can meter in incident and reflected modes, the wireless flash option is there if you would ever need it (or the next owner), it is very accurate, and lots of cheaply sourced accessories are available on the net.

    Over the last 90 days I have seen the Gossen Luna-Pro F series trade on eBay between the $40 and $60 dollar range in what appears to be good condition, and with the demise of analog the system attachments for extra functionality are going for cents on the $ in some cases. It is a good system approach to light metering that I have had luck with historically.

    Do your homework, decide what is important to you related to features, and go forward. It has never been cheaper to pick up quality metering gear than it is today.

    Stay Safe!

    FL Guy
     
  19. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

    Messages:
    406
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I agree with the Gossen recomendation. I have had LunaSix 3S and LunaPro F and both were very good. As already said, they are cheap to buy at the moment. I preferred LunaPro F as it has a zeroing scale and is easier to use. It also uses the easy to replace 9v cell. I am using a DigiPro F now which is more modern, digital readout and AA cell. It is an excellent meter which does incident, reflected and flash readings.
     
  20. Blooze

    Blooze Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I had a Gossen Luna-Pro SBC given to me the other day from a very charitable fellow. Everything seems to function, although I don't know if the readings are correct. He received it in a box of other gear he purchased years ago and never had a use for it. This should get me going quite nicely I think!
     
  21. FL Guy

    FL Guy Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Location:
    right here!
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Congrats!

    Blooze:

    Congrats on your gift. I think the SBC has the same functionality as my F except for the built-in flash capability. All of the earlier model attachments work with it and I think it is a 9V battery also. If you don't have a manual you can find them online (or check the Gossen site), read up on the procedure for zeroing the needle and then test away!

    Stay Safe!

    FL Guy
     
  22. Blooze

    Blooze Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well, zeroed the meter, put a fresh battery in, and gave the Luna a go. Compared it against the three 35mm SLR's I have that have built in meters (Pentax MX, MeSuper, and Canon AE-1) and it tended to not come within a couple of stops of any of them using reflected metering in any setting that had decent contrast. Am I assuming correctly that the Gossen is metering a larger area, thus a larger "average", than the center weighted meters of the SLR's? If I'm up very close, say within a couple of feet of a uniformly lit surface the Gossen was more likely to come close or match the SLR's. One thing that was curious is that it matched an old Nikon D40 dslr set on matrix metering and the same iso every time without fail. Although I've never used a handheld meter before I'm assuming that with reflected readings I will have to adjust my exposure mentally to try and capture what I want since the Gossen reads such a wide area. Incident readings may work fairly well in my location since it's flat, no trees, and the sun tends to hit everything the same way. Any suggestions or advice you may want to provide will be gratefully accepted.
     
  23. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,813
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Elk, Califor
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    On the dial, make sure the black tab is over the red mark.

    Jon
     
  24. Blooze

    Blooze Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yup. Did that. Has ASA set to 100 on all the cameras and the meter as well. I found that it was easy when adjusting for null to accidentally change the ASA setting as well.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,830
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Is the incident light dome moved away from the sensor?

    Have you checked to make sure that the EV exposure modification scale set to zero?

    The manual for the meter indicates the measuring angle of the sensor (30 degrees) in reflective mode.

    The manual itself is available on the Gossen site under the international (outside the USA) name for the meter: Profisix

    Here is a link: http://www.gossen-photo.de/pdf/ba_profisix_e.pdf
     
  26. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Location:
    Bavaria, Ger
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    There was also an excellent thread the other day about incident metering. You can try searching for incident metering. I can't really help with that subject, but Gossen makes some great stuff. I have 3 meters from them, including on old Sixtomat and Sixtino which work wonderfully.

    A spot meter enables more choices, but even with a wider metering area, great stuff can be made.