Light meter suggestions?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Jaime Marin, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Jaime Marin

    Jaime Marin Member

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    Im looking for a good light meter to use for working outside, usually in the sun or indoors. I currently have no need for flashes so any light meters that support that isnt a priority. I do however use a yellow (tiffen 8) filter for my B&W and I also use an ND filter (Tiffen .6) so I would need something that i can dial in to compensate for the filtering. My budget I would say is 300 max Any suggestions?
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Easy. Shop for a clean used(or new) Sekonic 358. The twin ISO settings let you dial-in your comp factor on the second ISO. Just push it for the adjusted reading.

    Get the newest meter possible within your budget. Avoid relic/antique meters. Too many issues with batteries, non-linear readings, accuracy, repairs, etc. Film, processing and printing are getting sufficiently pricey to make them a false economy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2011
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    +1!
     
  4. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    My personal preference is a spotmeter although I also have an old Gossen Luna Pro and Gossen Ultra Pro. The last two have the capability of taking incident readings. You can compensate for filters by changing your setting on the camera by the filter factor, changing the ISO on the meter and in some cases take the reading through the filter itself since the published filter factor may be slightly off for you filters or the subject you are reading from can also be an influencing factor. The Ultra Pro can work as a flash meter. If you are using 35mm your camera probably has a built-in meter with perhaps several modes (?).

    I'm sure you will get additional advice here as well as this.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  5. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Within your budget you can get a good used Sekonic L-558. Although the L-358 can make spot measurement with an adapter but you have to get the adapter. It seems that within your budget you should be able to get a new meter that can measure both spot and incident but there aren't any as all of them have flash capability and demand higher price.
     
  6. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    $300 is a nice budge for one, you can get most new or used in that price. Now you have to think about portability and future uses. I use a Polaris 5, which has a spot meter, though 5% coverage and not 1% =[... but it works great, its small and light, and is holding up very well. the damage? ~150 bucks used LNIB. I carry it with me almost everyday. It doesnt have any fancy gizmos for filter factors, I just remember it tweak the ISO, but it does have all the options in any other comparable sekonic meters (non spot) at that price or slightly higher.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Jaime,

    You may want to do some research on both incident and reflective (including spot) metering. If you get a good book on exposure like Dunn & Wakefield's exposure manual version 3 or 4, used ones can be found for under $10, it will help in your decision.

    A big part of the decision in which meter type is dependent upon you subject. For pictures of people and products, pegging the mid-tones is IMO the best choice and incident meters excel here. Typically incident meters give you the camera reading directly.

    Reflective meters have the advantage of being able to meter at a distance. The problem with reflective metering is that it can easily trick you, the meters reading need to be translated into a usable number.

    With practice both methods can do very respectable jobs.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

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    You can also split the difference and look at the slightly older Sekonic 508, now going for well under your budget limit. It's a bit of a Swiss Army knife meter by handling spot/incident/flash in one package for around 225-250 used, about the same as the newer 358 which lacks spot metering.
     
  9. Brett_Jurgens

    Brett_Jurgens Member

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    I agree with the getting the Sekonic 508. I have had mine for years and love it. The spot meter is adjustable between 1-4 degrees. You will love it for taking zone readings.
     
  10. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    FWIW, I picked up a Gossen Luna Pro F for a hair under $100. The "F" means it is capable of flash metering, but it's also more convenient since the "F" runs on a 9V battery rather than some esoteric battery that you'll never find anywhere in a pinch. It has an adjustment so you can dial in your filter factors, as well. The only thing is that spot metering is done via a separately-sold attachment, and it's either 15 or 7.5 degrees rather than a 1-degree circle.
     
  11. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    I've tried a number of meters and keep coming back to 2; a Weston Ranger and a Metrastar. They seem easier to use unless you want to start taking multiple readings and averaging them but, that is what an averaging meter is made for. The Ranger has an acc'y incident attachment and for those Zone lovers a replacement Zone dial. The Metrastar feels like it is made out on a single piece of metal and you could use it to hammer nails. Neither are plastic wimps. While both originally used the 625 mercury cell each works spot on with the CHRIS adaptor and S-6 battery. Battery drain on each in minimal. Oh, the Metrastar has a built in incident dome that is permanently attached so it will never get lost.

    The Ranger is a little easier work with because of the viewing port placement.
     
  12. Jaime Marin

    Jaime Marin Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys. Maybe this will help narrow down the selections. As this is my first hand held meter Im trying to find something that isnt to complicated. I will mostly be shooting people and sometimes scenery but not huge landscapes mostly just stuff. Thanks again!
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Another option to look for, a used Sekonic 408. Incident, reflected, 5 degree spot, and flash if you need it (eventually you will, and most of the better meters have flash capability built-in). It's relatively small, pocketable, it can be user-calibrated (helpful if you do go down the zone system route, or you're used to your in-camera meter readings and want to make sure your hand-held matches them). It's also weatherproof and fairly rugged, and it runs on one AA battery, which is very helpful if your battery conks out when you're on the road. I haven't shopped for one lately (I have two of them, one for my studio and one to carry around) but I'd suspect you can get one somewhere in the neighborhood of $200).
     
  14. Danielle

    Danielle Member

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    I still have an older minolta autometer IV, it works without a glitch. I haven't really dived into digital anyway, so Im not 100% sure if the newer ones would do a better job there but Im sure it will still do a good job regardless.

    If you know what your doing with them, I don't see why a meter that you can use with metering studio equipment or natural light with an ambient and reflected mode wont do the job. The only thing I can't do with my meter is spot, but I've never really needed that function thus far.
     
  15. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    I suggest you consider a Gossen Digisix - Rae bought me one after the Undertoad at Salmon Beach devoured my Lunasix - I did not wade in after it as the Australian Southern Ocean Undertoad is not something to argue with

    This meter is tiny, uses a standardish battery, has a 20 degree angle of view, is easy to read, has a simple dial to translate the EV numbers the meter shows (EVs can put straight on to your Hasselblad, Rollei or Vitessa) - It will tell you the time, time Polaroid processing, be an alarm clock and give you current and max/min temperatures - All in the size of a matchbox

    The only bad thing I have read about these little meters is Karen Nakamura's complaint that her's died a year after going through a washing machine in her jeans

    My Digisix has has replaced almost all my other meters, except for studio flash

    The new one even read flash and is blue, if it was pink Rae would buy herself one, rather than get me to shout exposure times for her pinhole pix across the landscape
     
  16. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Undertoad... :smile: I had to look it up.

    If I had any money, I'd buy a Sekonic L-358, use it a lot and then decide if I would care for a spotmeter attachment. I am currently using a Sekonic L-398 which is a different beast all together, for daytime exposure outdoors.
     
  17. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    For a simple inexpensive meter to be used outdoors I suggest a Sekonic L-398....no battery!
    Then, for just a little more versatility I suggest a Gossen Digisix as it is inexpensive, very small and easy to use.