Spot meter advice please

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by jmccl@yahoo.com, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. jmccl@yahoo.com

    jmccl@yahoo.com Member

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    First, I can't afford anything in the B&H catalogue. So, searching e-bay, I'm attracted to the Minolta "F" because it uses "AA" batteries. I see some Pentax Spot Meter V on the "Bay", but I wonder what kind of battery availability. Looks like it takes the old "button" batteries that have been discontinued requiring some kind of adaptation. I've seen a Soligor listed at attracive prices, but what about quality and battery type. I see a Honeywell Pentax 1/21 at a low price, but I'm leary of the battery situation. So, I'd appreciate your advice. I want to try "Zone System" exposure, so I think I need reflective rather than incident. I think the 1 degree spot is required to pick out the specific areas for metering. Looks like the Soligor is the least expensive, but what are the drawbacks? Is the Pentax V a low cost because of the batteries? What would be a current production battery choice? I currently use Wein Cell batteries with an adapter for my HiMatic 7s. Maybe there's a similar solution for the Pentax V?

    Thank you all for your input.

    Jim
     
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    No connection with the seller, but this is a meter much like one I have. The three button cells MS-76 are readily available and proper for the meter.

    The characteristic of this meter is that the needle snaps immediately to a reading. This makes it a very satisfying experience to use it. I had a Soligor analog meter where the needle jumped around because the trigger button was a metal sliding contact. The Pentax has a microswitch type switch I think, that just "clicks"

    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=121269&referrerid=38808
     
  3. Moopheus

    Moopheus Member

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    I use a Gossen Luna Pro F with the semi-spot attachment. It takes a regular 9v battery. The attachment allows a a 5 degree view, so it is not as precise as a 1 degree view, but it does the job. Usually any errors are more likely in my judgement than the meter's.
     
  4. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    The Pentax Spotmeter V takes SR44 silver oxide cells, just like many cameras like the Nikon F3 and the Olympus OM4T. They're sold all over, even Walmart sells them. Beware, though, that older Pentax meters, like the 1/21, use Mercury batteries that are no longer made.

    I have a Minolta Spotmeter F and I love it. It is very accurate, small, and reliable, and as you noted it takes AA batteries.
     
  5. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    Another vote for the Minolta F or if you don't need the flash metering the Minolta M.
    I have used the M for years and find it accurate and easy to use. If you do shot in a low light setting or at night it may not be the best for what you are doing.
    Batteries last a very long time.
     
  6. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    The Spotmeter V is a great meter and like said earlier the button cells are easy to find. Stay away from the older Pentax spotmeters. With some the batteries are hard to find and the earliest ones are impossible to find.

    I shoot large format and the Pentax spotmeters are so easy to use with the zone system. I own a Spotmeter V and two digital Pentax spotmeters. The digitals are smaller and easier to pack but the analog Spotmeter V's have their own special charm.

    There are other quality meters out there but the Pentax is the benchmark for good reason. It's very easy to use and very reliable.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Another vote for the Spotmeter F/M. The difference is that the Spotmeter F reads flash as well as ambient light, takes a AA battery. The M reads ambient light only, takes an SR-44 6v silver-oxide or 2CR 1/3N 6v lithium battery. They are otherwise extremely similar. These days the F sells for maybe $50 more than the M, so opting for it over the M is not a big deal. Also, it has a dedicated off/on switch, it is easier to preserve the battery life. I had an M and found that the rather expensive SR44 battery did not last nearly as long as I would have liked (I was replacing it every 6 months, which is a pain in the ass if it dies on you when you're 40 miles from the nearest camera store), so I switched to an F and have been very happy ever since.
     
  8. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    The Soligor meter has worked splendidly for me for years. In fact, I have two of them with one being re-branded by Adorama. Both of mine are digital, and both take 9 volt batteries you can get by the case! (although the battery life in these meters is quite long.) Brand new, they were about $250. You should be able to get one for less than $200 without much trouble.
     
  9. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    I have a Sekonic L-428 which was designed for 1.5 volt mercury batteries but it works great with modern batteries, I also have the viewfinder attachment which has a light receiving angle of 10 degrees (don't have manual in front of me but believe its 10 degrees). I bought it about 2 years ago and use it often, have not had to change batteries yet.

    David
     
  10. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Batteries are not really an issue. Anybody using hearing aids (except me!) will have no trouble finding the much-vaunted "button cell batteries" for any spotmeter that needs them.
    1° spot meters are very, very, very accurate when you know what you are doing with them e.g. at a base leel, highlights, shadow, mid-tones, average of all of them and additional compensation for filtration etc (critical for polarisers). Your metering technique will get a solid workout (you might even lose a few hairs...) using transparency film which is less forgiving of mistakes than neg film, but is really an excellent way of mastering spot metering.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    +1, a spot meter in the hands of someone who has little understanding of the principals of exposure is a recipe for disaster, many beginners get the impression by remarks they read in on line forums that spot meters the magic bullet, and they are very disappointed when they buy one because their exposures are worse not better.
     
  12. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    I thought the guy who did the zone system only had a Weston meter with a large acceptance angle?
     
  13. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    That guy knew exactly what he was doing, even if he used a ouija board to 'read' a scene. Or guesstimating, as he sometimes did. Truth be told, Adams, owned several meters including a spot meter.
     
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  15. ROL

    ROL Member

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    http://www.batteriesinaflash.com

    I've used these folks (Vegas, I think) for "discontinued" batteries. Save yourself the expense and hassle of tracking down what you need locally, when you can likely get a 20 years supply for less cost by surfing the net. Cowabunga, man.
     
  16. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Nice resource, couldn't find the rogue mercury batteries though.

    Not that I want to hurt the environment. I merely miss the kind of battery you can put in a camera and forget about for 3-4 years.
     
  17. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    I've often felt that if mercury cells were sold with a LARGE deposit, returned when the depleted cell was returned to a dealer, we could use these cells without endangering the environment. I have a Bulova Accutron 214 Space View which used mercury cells, one per year. I'd happily pay a deposit of $30. or so per cell to keep this beauty running and not have to have it adapted to silver oxide "fuel."
     
  18. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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  19. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    This makes me appreciate the Master II meter I recently adapted to Zone System...

    [​IMG]

    No batteries, and very accurate considering its age.
     
  20. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    I do appreciate he might well have been a better photographer than me (or thee), but for some interval he had to wait for his colleague/coworker Weston to do him a photo meter, and include a zone system calculator on it, and then a further interval before commercial spot meters were available...

    I still use a Weston II or III neither of these ever needs a battery on Sunday, and I dont think either have been serviced yet, I have a collection of Weston Vs that need refurbed BTW... The II & IIIs are ever so cheap in our street market stalls... 20 GBP typically with case and invercone sets. They are all within 1/3 of a stop of each other from bright to needle movement...

    I dont bother with any of the stick on templates as the poster above uses. a note where zone 1 is is sufficient.

    But If you feel you need a spot meter, I suggest you need to read his books again. If he could use a Weston ok then so can you.

    If you are gong to pack a spot, then I'd pack a Weston II as a secondary calibration, I pack one with a K1000.
     
  21. jmccl@yahoo.com

    jmccl@yahoo.com Member

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    So, XMAS, should I get a "Weston Master II Universal - Model 735" or "Model 715"? I'd be running either 100 or occasionally 400 B&W. Thanks.
     
  22. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    It wasn't Edward Weston who made the meter, just a coincidental manufacturer's name. Mine in the picture is a "Weston Master II Universal - Model 735" and I am surprised how accurate it is, considering I have had a few Weston meters which weren't this accurate.

    I like the direct relationship between meter reading and print, because the chips of tone came from one of my prints of a step wedge. I can trust that for a "Normal" scene, as I approach different objects with the meter and check the reading against the "sample patch"... All I have to do is ask myself if I would be happy with that part of the picture matching that chip on the meter. If so... then the meter reading is correct for the shot. Very often I will hold my hand up and "place" that reading on Zone VI.

    If you get an old Weston Master, set the Emulsion Speed by pointing the arrow at one-third stop beneath Light "400" and check the "Sunny 16" correlation of shutter speed at f/16. I use Emulsion Speed 160 = EI 250, but have heard different variations of the dial scales exist so you may need a different corresponding Emulsion Speed... The Sunny-16 rule should always work (one-third stop below 400).
     
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  23. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Woops you are correct, Ive been spreading web gossip...
    more complete brief here
    http://www.jollinger.com/photo/meters/other/weston-article.html
    Supposedly the speed dial changed some where between model II and III, or part way through the III production run. The top dials are the 'same' but the newer ISO (then ASA) speeds were adapted which were 1/3 of stop different from the 'Weston speed' standard used on all II and earlier models. You seem to be using 2/3 of a stop and I don't really bother and I just use ISO. When I shot Kodachrome II I used the 1/3 of a stop.

    Id not change as meters can easily be out 1/3 of a stop.

    I just use 'U' as zone 1, and count from there...
     
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  24. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Weston Masters are indeed fine and very useful tools. I personally don't need to stick on a Zone step wedge but have found that to be very helpful for students. For my personal photography (originally large-format landscapes, then Leica street photography, then 6 x 9 rangefinder 'orchestrated' people in the city shots and now, for many many years, 6 x 7 urban landscapes plus many years of commercial photography) I have never found the need for a spot meter.

    What I have found when running workshops where students brought along spot meters are the following:

    You need to know what kind of cell the spot meter employs as many earlier spot meters employed a cell that does not 'see' colours the same as film.

    A spot meter needs to be calibrated carefully to your working methods and equipment using practical 'real world' tests. This is because the meters themselves suffer from optical flare due to the use of a lens to create the spot meter and this can be at large variance from the internal flare of your equipment. Also, people tend to use the meters at a distance from the subject and the meter's reaction to atmospheric effects can be quite different from your equipment/film combination.

    Many spot meters do not have a lens hood or other light shielding attachment and this can also introduce a variance to the reading. The simplest solution to this that I have found (that works incredibly well I might add) was attaching the inner core of a toilet roll to the meter's lens.

    Finally, if people move in close to measure, lets say a Zone III shadow area, with a spot meter it is all too easy to meter an especially dark or light area of said shadow.

    For all of these (for me at least) negatives I have found the Westons to be a better tool. Generally I go close to a shadow area that I want to render as Zone III and meter that. The averaging nature of the Weston will then indicate an exposure that produces an averaged Zone III with some areas darker and lighter. This then gives, in the final print, an area that is rendered as Zone III with a variation of tones that give the shadow area a spectrum of greys that makes this particular shadow area full of 'life'.

    Bests,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  25. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    My finding was based on comments from European owners who set the arrow, shutter speed and f/16 same as I do and say they see a different Emulsion Speed in the window. So I believe even within Master II there are variations of the scale.
     
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  26. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Well given you are only 1/3 of a stop away from what I would use with slide film Id not worry. Monochrome is easier.

    But I've now looked at my service II and III and they say

    II - Weston speed
    III - Weston rating

    That was 1/3 off ASA when there were tables for the correspondence of DIN, BS, Sch, ASA & Weston. But I also do a calibration but it is not within 1/3 of a stop, my meters needles are the same within 1/3, something different.

    As you suggest the scales are indeed different the III is actually ISO not Weston! So the change over from one standard to other was stealthy... it is 'easy' to detect when it occured cause the galvo is calibrated in absolute units.

    Think my II is early the III late in their respective production runs, so they could have changed any time in the II and III production.

    Thank you for telling me about your group calibration results.