My Gossen died, your thoughts on what meter to replace it with

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Ricus.stormfire, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. Ricus.stormfire

    Ricus.stormfire Member

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    Today my trusty Gossen Sixtomat digital light meter died on me.

    Now, I am looking for something to replace it with. Currently I am considering getting a Sekonic L-308s (prices seem fair, I can't afford anything higher spec from the Sekonic stable)

    Does anybody have one of them, if so what are your thoughts?
    Any other meters in more or less the same price bracket I could consider?
    Are secondhand meters a false economy (my Gossen was 2nd hand)

    thank you all in advance
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I have a Sekonic 308 and love it. Compact, accurate, tough. Does incident, reflected, cord+cordless flash metering. Have the big Sekonic 558 but usually grad the pocket-size 308 when I don't need spot metering or its flash analyzing capability. Bought my 308 used--no problems whatsoever. Usually available second hand at fair prices, thanks to strong sales. Here's a side-by-side comparison:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/forloren/5544867351/

    I'd get the newest meter you can afford. I can't see bothering with relics like the early Gossens or Westons or old selenium cell meters.
     
  3. M Stat

    M Stat Member

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    Why don't you consider sending your Gossen meter to Quality Light Metric in Los Angeles for repair?
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I understand this sentiment, but my most used meter is a Gossen LunaPro (with a battery adapter). I even still use a Weston III on a regular basis. I find that the LunaPro does 80% of my metering needs easily and reliably. I still see value in the older meters... they represent a really good value but not without risk of getting one along the way that has seen better days.
     
  5. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have a number of old meter including the Weston II, the Gossen Luna Pro. I take them out and play with them once in a while. Never actually use them to set exposure for the camera. My recommendation to the OP to get a modern meter. If I can't afford a modern meter I would rather shoot without a meter.
     
  6. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I don't at all. "Working" meters aren't necessarily "accurate" meters, however much you venerate the oldies. With the costs of analog workflow getting pricier, they really amount to a false economy.
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    OK, CGW. We can agree to disagree. But I have had good experiences with using older, working, and accurate meters... as have others per discussions of this type on a variety of photo forums. Knowing that one has an "accurate" meter is a core requirement whether meter is old or new.
     
  8. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    all my gossens are 2nd hand. never had aproblem gossen could not fix!
     
  9. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Are you shooting chromes? If not, i have not been using a light meter at all recently. For all bw and c41 work i just do the educated guess.
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    If a meter isn't "accurate" it isn't "working". Mine are from the 50s to the early 80s, all are accurate and reliable. The two I use most are a Weston Master III and a 1960 ish LunaSix.

    The OP should get the best meter he can afford. If a used one, get a 30 day return privelege and have it checked against a known accurate meter.
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Member

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    If a meter isn't "accurate" it isn't "working".

    That would be news to quite a few big auction site sellers.
     
  12. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    It sure would! The same idiots who remove film from the wrapping and think a lens that's been cleaned with 80-grit floor paper has "a few marks that will have no effect on the pictures".:laugh:
     
  13. Timestep

    Timestep Member

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    I have used a Gossen Digipro F for four years now and am thoroughly happy with it. ( I started with a Norwood, and then a Weston Master IV, then a Lunapro for some fifteen years . I use the new Digipro F primarily in incident mode but it converts to reflected reading by un bayonetting the Sphere. Prior to this I had come full circle, using a Seconic L-398, which my wife also owns and swears by.
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    My second hand Gossen Luna Pro from KEH works well and is in great condition. Get the best meter you can afford, you deserve it.
     
  16. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Any meter that gives accurate repeatable results is fine regardless of age (avoid selenium meters).

    If the readings do not produce proper negatives in your process, change the compensation or the ASA setting.

    - Leigh
     
  17. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    I agree that THE most important quality that a meter requires is CONSISTENCY. However, I do not understand the need to avoid selenium meters. The later Weston meteres (V onwards) can suffer - sometimes - from a slow deterioration but this becomes obvious very quickly.

    My reference meter (the one that I used to undertake my film tests) is a Weston III which has a selenium cell that will not deteriorate. Over the years I have bought three or four Weston Vs at very low prices and checked them against the Weston III. All were accurate and remain in a drawer as 'spares' should I ever have a problem with my working meter which is also a Weston V.

    What I like about Weston meters are:

    Very reliable and easy to calibrate if necessary

    Small and light

    No reliance on batteries.

    Work well in extremes of temperature (have used mine in minus 25 degrees in Poland and over 40 degrees in South America)

    Very consistent

    Easy to read dial that corresponds well to the Zone System

    Cheap

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
  18. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Totally agree but that needn't mean new or modern. I like my Luna Pro SBC too - same meter with an updated cell and uses an available-anywhere 9v battery.
     
  19. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Selenium cells are generators. They generate electric current when exposed to light.

    As they age the capacity decreases. This happens much more rapidly if constantly exposed to light.
    For example, a camera with a built-in meter and no case, sitting on a mantle for years, will definitely degrade.

    The same is true of hand-held meters.

    The key is how long the cell has been exposed to light. If the meter is kept in a closed case except when actually
    being used, the degradation will be much more gradual, but it still does happen.

    The problem with buying a used selenium meter is that you cannot know the storage conditions, and thus the cell condition.
    Even if the meter includes a case, you don't know whether or not the meter was stored in the case, out of the light.

    The SBC is a great meter.
    It uses a Silicon Blue Cell (SBC) rather than selenium, so it's not subject to the degradation described above.

    That's why it needs a battery. Silicon is a resistor, not a generator, and thus requires external power.

    - Leigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
  20. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    My thought can you just either get yours fixed or buy another sixtomat? It seems a nice meter compared to the gossen luna pro. The sekonic 308 is ok I think too.
     
  21. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Yep, the SBC uses a silicon cell; that's why they changed the name from the regular Luna Pro. The original Luna Pro I thought used a gallium arsenide cell (and mercury batteries, now can be used with the usual work arounds) but I found one source saying it was a CdS meter. That would account for Gossen's bragging ads of the time about the new silicon cell SBC, as I don't think a move from gallium to silicon would have made much difference.

    The progression of light cell technology basically goes:

    Selenium - needs no batteries but deteriorates over time as you say. Also not very sensitive in low light and have a wide acceptance angle, typically something like 60 degrees, which may be good bad or indifferent depending on ones needs.

    Cadmium Sulphide, commonly called "CdS" - much more sensitive than selenium with a narrower acceptance angle, but there's a lag after turning them on (sending current through them) - I have an old Ricoh Singlex TLS and this is apparent. When you activate the meter the needle jumps up, then settles back. They have a "memory" effect after exposure to light too, and depending on circumstances can take minutes to completely settle back to the right current reading though a few seconds is usually enough. Much smaller and more sensitive than selenium cells, with a narrower acceptance angle. Battery dependent and the spectral response is not very linear, which has to be taken into account in meter design. Battery dependent.

    Gallium and Silicon arsenide cells - largely replaced CdS and selenium. Much better spectral response than CdS, no memory effect or lag, similar narrow acceptance angle. Also battery dependent.

    I know Gossen made a big advertising push about the spectral response of the SBC (as you say "Silicon Blue Cell") when it came out, as I recall seeing ads for it in, IIRC, the mid 70s. The older Luna Pro apparently works well enough but the battery work arounds can be a PITA.

    The only drawback I find to my SBC is that it is a BIG handful of a meter. It's not a serious problem and it looks impressive to the non-photographers especially those not old enough to have seen a big analog device with complicated dials on it very often. :D It fits in a shirt pocket, or most of them, but that pocket will be FULL.

    If someone had an original Luna Pro that was working well I'd say to get a battery adapter and use it, but I wouldn't, and didn't, buy one. I'd look for at least the SBC, or the F, which is the same meter with built in flash metering ability. I have the flash attachment for my SBC.

    I was really just getting at the point that there's absolutely no reason to avoid "older" meters as such. I prefer how my Luna Pro SBC works to most digital meters.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
  22. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Roger! As far as I know CdS has a spectral response fairly close to that of the human eye. It's most sensitive to green light. Sillicon however is extremely sensitive to infra red as well as red light. When used in an exposure meter a blue filter has to be used to correct this problem and thus the term Sillicon Blue Cell.
     
  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    You're right. My mistake.

    I should have said is that CdS cells are much less linear in their response WRT intensity, making meter design more difficult.
     
  24. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Yes in that case it's true. Besides the design of most CdS based meter do not use a logarithmic amplifier and thus even if the response of the CdS cell is fairly linear its output isn't linear to the EV readout. I have done some experiment by copying the design of some CdS meter and found that without such an amplifier (a circuit that only has resistors, a power source and a galvanometer) can be made linear to a range of about 7 or 8 stops. And then I would have to put neutral density in front of the cell to switch to higher range.
     
  25. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I've never seen that before. This is so shocking that I think I'll write it down in my diary! :laugh:
     
  26. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Selenium, or more properly iron selenide, cells are photovoltaic cells. They actually generate an EMF when light falls on them. All the other 'cells' you mention are photoresistive, that is the rseistance changes according to the intensity of illumination.
    The Gossen LunaPro (LunaSix, LunaSix 3) was indeed a CDS meter, and the battery problem isn't a problem if you use #675 hearing aid cells with 3 of the 4 airholes blocked for longer life (up to a year).