Pls suggest a good light meter to me!!!

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by joe7, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. joe7

    joe7 Member

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    i'm shooting mostly potrait,street photog,night photo,urban landscape..
    what is the good light meter that suits my need?i'm looking for a used one from ebay,my budget is around $200~230 or lower.

    the light meter must:-

    1)robust,can stand a lot of abuse.

    2)can take average of few reading...let say i took the reading of people and their background,and the meter will calculate the average both of the reading automatically.

    3)have spot metering..well,i'm not sure whether i really need this,but pls suggest.

    4)etc..pls suggest anything,regarding to the light meter,i'm still a newbie with zero knowledge, planning to invest in a good used light meter..
    thanks in advance:smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2009
  2. Galah

    Galah Member

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    I answered this post to kick it along, as I'm quite interested in any responses myself. :smile:

    However, I do own a few meters and can make some comments on my own account.

    First: none of mine are really robust -none of them will withstand a fall onto concrete or bitumen (as I found out with one whose lanyard came undone at a bad moment :sad:)

    Second: I have found "spot-meters" generally more useful, so I would suggest you go for a spot-meter. However, as with any meter, they need to be used "intelligently".Third: Don't worry too much about so-called "averaging". This is a bit of a "scam": you don't really need it, and once you get the hang of metering, you probably won't even use it. Read up on the Zone System, and you will see that all you really need to do is decide which "zone" your metered spot should fall in, meter it, adjust your exposure (this is where the "intelligent" use comes in), and take your shot. That is, you really only need to take one and only one meter reading to get a good exposure (unless, of course you are going the whole Zone System hog, including selective development of the negative and printing etc. as well). In most instances, the exposure latitude of your film will -more or less- take care of the rest of the scene (as long as your brightness range isn't too excessive).

    Finally, spot meters tend to be rarer and more expensive than other varieties.

    OK, now someone else's turn! :smile:

    PS: this thread may be helpful:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum216/67080-hi-im-chris-im-35mm-zoner.html

    and this one: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum48/59473-what-good-handheld-spot-meter-2.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2009
  3. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    1) you don't need a spotmeter...especially given the situations you describe....

    2) no light meter that I am aware of is really very rugged. None can be expected to work properly after being dropped, or dunked....etc.

    3) Something small that fits in your pocket will probably be best - given the useage scenarios you mentioned.

    4) I suggest, Gossen Luna Pro Digital, Luna Pro digital F or Digi-flash. The Sekonic L-208 might also fit the bill.
     
  4. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    google SHEPERD DM170, another worth looking at , does all you want and is always cheaper than any gossen/sekonic. well made , quite robust but not a big seller due to poor marketing i suspect. Runs off a 9volt alkaline. I got one a few months ago and i`m quite happy with it, regards
     
  5. SWphoto

    SWphoto Member

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    Something like the Sekonic L-558 (one just sold for $230 on LF Forum), will give you reflected, incident, spot and averaging functions. But I wouldn't want to test its ruggedness (not that it's any worse than other digital meters). And unless you use it regularly, the many buttons and functions may wind up confusing you when you need to take a reading quickly.
    I'd suggest you start out simply. The Sekonic L-208, Gossen DigiFlash Brad suggested are worth checking out. For simplicity, capability and ease/speed of use, and relatively cheap, it would be hard to go wrong with an older Luna-Pro or Luna-Pro SBC: inexpensive spot attachment (15 and 7.5 degrees) available, offers reflected and incident metering.
     
  6. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    I'm a fan of the minolta Spotmeter F / M. (F being the version with a flashmeter, M without) It's got an averaging function where you point it at the darkest and lightest spots in the scene, and it gives you the proper exposure based on that.
     
  7. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Olympus OM 3, 3T, 4 or 4T. Oh, the meters also come with a camera body which uses the superb Zuiko lenses. I know this sounds like a wise a## answer, however given how you want the meter to work, that might be a good solution. You didn't mention what kind of camera you are using. I use a Pentax digital spot meter for some stuff, an old and cheap Gossen Pilot for others, sunny 16 sometimes and the built in meter of my camera for others. With a little patience you could probably get an OM 4 or maybe even a 4T with a 50mm lens for the dollars you want to spend. Bill Barber
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    My Gossen Profisix (Luna-Pro SBC in the USA) has withstood decades of use and provided accurate results throughout. It is easy to use, and very sensitive. I have and use the flash meter attachment for it - there is a similar model (the Luna-Pro F) with built in flash metering.

    My only concern with my Profisix is that it is slightly bulky. As a result, I bought a little brother for it - a Gossen Digiflash. It is very small, and compactness can be very valuable too.

    Matt
     
  9. AlexG

    AlexG Member

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  10. Harley

    Harley Member

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    Hi all..
    I hope the following site would serve your purpose...
    Good luck..!
     
  11. sharris

    sharris Member

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    Joe..this is just a thought / alternative. Any of the above suggestions are excellent, so only sharing my experience. I bought two. I bought a vintage Gossen Luna Pro for about $30 for ambient light and just purchased another vintage Flash only meter for $9.99. I figured I would not be using both flash and ambient at the same time. These are excellent meters and size didn't matter to me as I lug around my MF camera anyway. I just could not stomach spending $100+..but that's just me. As I said, just another idea to kick around.
     
  12. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    NSURIT kinda gave a smart*ss answer, but in one way he's actually quite correct. If you shoot large-format and use the Zone-System, the OM-3,3Ti,4,4Ti are about the ultimate in meters that happen to also take proof images.

    But, to your question, I'd actually lean more towards getting a handheld meter with a sliding incident dome. I used to have a Gossen Luna Pro which I really really liked. Currently, I use a Polaris Flash/Ambient digital meter which is equally as good for ambient and reflective readings, but lacks those dials giving equivalent exposures at a glance.

    Sometimes the old technology is still the best technology for speed of use.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    While I normally suggest separate meters (incident, spot, and flash), because I prefer their quality and ergonomics, one of the newer mid-level Sekonic multi meters would be a good choice for what you want. Get one that allows the attachment of a spot metering accessory, so you have that option at a later date...OR just save up for the expensive one that has it built in.
     
  14. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Someone up-thread suggested the Gossen Digiflash. If you don't need flash metering, the Digisix does incident and reflected and is considerably cheaper - like $125 at B&H vs $170-something. I have one and while it feels like an empty plastic box in the hand, it works quite well. I doubt I would call it robust, although its light weight might result in less damage from a fall than some of the heavier numbers.

    I more recently acquired a Sekonic L508 via ePrey, that does spot and flash and some other tricks, but it was over $200 used. While large, it's not all that heavy. Both meters use very available batteries (CR2032 and AA).
     
  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The problem with the Digisix and Digiflash is that they are horrendously overpriced for a device that must cost about 10 cents to build. They are also slow as molasses. I like them, and they would be a great option if they were priced as budget meters. They are built like and operate like a budget meter, so why not price them as such? I'd say they should be $30 or $40 meters brand new, but anything higher is highway robbery. If they were cheap, I'd buy ten of them. As it is, they cost significantly more than several far superior meters.
     
  16. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Hmmm -- seems to me my Digisix reads instantaneously at the click of the button. Or maybe it's relative; when I got back into B&W with older cameras, I tried to resurrect my old Gossen Super Pilot with a mercury battery work-around. You could eat a sandwich waiting for that sucker to settle on a reading. The only other meter I've seen for less money was a bottom end Sekonic for $99-something.

    I would agree that the small size and trying to work all the functions into two buttons can occasionally make it disagreeably fiddly. I'm sure you're exercising some hyperbole here, but given the probably limited market volume for lightmeters and having once worked in the electronics biz, I bet the build is more like $20 to $25. Custom injection molded parts, LCD displays, etc.

    Besides, compared with the Starlight, Sekonic L758 and some of the Spectra Cine meters, $125 is pocket change! :D
     
  17. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    The gate time on a Digiflash reading in both ambient and flash modes is shorter than a 60 Hz cycle on a fluorescent ballast. They aren't slow in taking a reading at all. If you have one, and know how to use it, they are very fast. My Digiflash tracks across it's entire range within 1/3 stop (i.e. +/- 1/6th of a stop) of my LunaPro F. They are also excellent for fast real time comparative readings. It's small, accurate, and versatile, and it's small enough that you'll carry and use it where you wouldn't bother with a bulkier meter. The Digisix is about $125 the last time I checked. Prices on both it and the Digiflash are down about $50 compared to a year ago. I wouldn't call either a budget meter in terms of features or performance, even compared with the many models of Sekonic, Gossen, and Minolta ambient/flash/color meters I've used over the years both in studio and on location.

    Lee
     
  18. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Sounds to me like he is probably shooting 35mm. If so, I'll still stick to my Olympus OM 3. 3T, 4 or 4T suggestion. Should be able to keep it in his budget if those are USDs and if he has a little patience. Bill Barber
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    By my "slow" statement, I meant the digital two-button layout. Slow to change EI, only can move in one direction, have to hold the one button down until it beeps, etc. Every meter out there that I have ever use actually takes the reading itself as fast as I could want. That is not what I meant. I want a meter with which I can just grab an independent mechanical part with printed/engraved information, and just turn/flip/etc. that part to make the changes I want to make. As I said, they are great budget meters, and I like them for that purpose, but I would not pay anywhere near as much as they cost, given the other options.
     
  20. largeformat pat

    largeformat pat Member

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    G'day,
    I use the Sekonic L358. Ambient as well as flash. Weather proof and a spot attachment. Reads in EV if you want. Got mine at a great price on that E site.
    Pat
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I understand what 2F/2F is saying, but don't quite agree.

    The Digisix/flash are slower to setup when you change films, but once you have done so, they are quick and easy to use. In my mind, the time I save because of their incredible portability pretty well offsets their slowness of setup.

    I think they are quite robust, and that their tiny size contributes to that. I am quite sure that the combination of their versatility and their tiny size is what causes them to be as expensive as they are - if they were bigger, they would be cheaper.

    In my case, I'm happy to switch back and forth between my Profisix and my Digiflash, and to appreciate both of them for their strengths.

    As to whether it is a good idea to spend the extra for the Digiflash vs. the Digisix, it seemed to me that when I made my choice I was acquiring the meter because of it's compactness, so it didn't make sense to have to bring two meters at any time when compactness and flash metering both mattered.

    By the way as I recall it, when I bought my Profisix new in the 1980s, it cost me more than the Digiflash I bought recently. If you include the cost of the Profisix flash metering accessory I bought shortly after I bought the Profisix meter, the two together cost much more than the Digiflash.

    Matt
     
  22. Figital

    Figital Member

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    Just picked up a "looks bad, works good" Minolta Auto Meter IV on *bay for ~$130 shipped. Does everything, and known for being quite tough. Be patient, and keep looking. You'll find something eventually.

    Archer in Boulder
     
  23. joe7

    joe7 Member

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    what is the advantage of the analog light meter,like Sekonic L-398 Studio Deluxe over the digital light meter like Sekonic L-308S,both having almost the same price list?will the analog give the accurate reading just like the digital one?

    by the way,anybody have an experience with the:-
    1)Sekonic L-408
    2)Minolta IV F

    i'm interested with both of the meter above,but not sure which one will fit my needs,all comments are welcome.
    i love taking urban landscape and street photo during night,and the lighting is quite tricky for me to get the correct exposure.
    hope this info. will help in deciding which one is suitable for me because this will be my first light meter.

    thanks again for all the replies:smile:
     
  24. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I'm another who's gone the Digiflash route. I don't find it all that much slower to set up ISO than my older L-328 Sekonic. I bought it for the convenient size & weight. It also has exposure compensation, timer, clock, etc.

    Regarding the L-398, it's a Selenium cell meter and less sensitive than the newer meters but has been made for many years & is a good meter.
    I would be inclined to go with a newer meter for the increased sensitivity and would like the ability to read flash.