Spot Meters

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by panchromatic, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    Ok I would like a few opinions please:

    I just recently got my LF camera, and obviously I would like spot meter (currently I am lugging my nikon f100 around and using that to spot meter) I'm kind of in the market and kinda not (meaning i don't really have a lot of money at the moment to spend on equipment, since i just my omega d6, and my crown graphic)

    I would like an opinion in two catagories, since its not a absolute need right now i'll prolly save and get the one i really want(which i don't know what it is yet). First what would be everyones first choice (resonable choice not a $10,000 meter, if such a meter exsist) and what would be everyones first choice if the person was price sensative, meaning best bang for the buck. New and used both, i'm open to suggestions.


    thank you in advance.
     
  2. david b

    david b Member

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    First choice is Pentax Digital Spot Meter (un Zone VI).

    Second, is the Sekonic L-408. A good all-around small light meter.
     
  3. magic823

    magic823 Member

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    I have a Minolta Digital Spotmeter and love it. I picked it up on ebay for a little over $100 a couple of years ago.

    Steve
     
  4. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    The pentax digital spot is nice for the zone system cuz you stick a zone sticker on their and there is less to think about. That's what i would have if i didn't use it for motion pictures as well. I've got the Minolta F which will go for around $275 on ebay. They don't make it anymore and that's why they aren't cheap. It gives you the ev or stop in the viewfinder so you don't have to take your eye away, i find that very handy. It's 1deg and can be calibrated yourself against another meter just by turning a screw under the battery compartment. Try doing that with other meters.
     
  5. roteague

    roteague Member

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    What kind of photography are you planning on doing with your camera? It makes a difference. For me, as I do primarily landscapes, my primary meter is a Sekonic Dual Spot F, with 1 and 3 degree spot metering. When I do macro, I use an old Minolta Flash III, with a ground glass attachment.
     
  6. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    I use a pentax digital spot meter too, picked up cheap ($100 or so). Most camera spot meters aren't as spot as they claim, and the spot size changes as you change the lenses. That trick works, but I prefer to use a separate meter, it's lighter and more accurate.
     
  7. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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  8. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Hi,
    Consider the Gossen Ultra Spot or Ultra Spot II. The only difference in them is in the flash feature. The Ultra Spot does zone system and is really expensive, but there are almost always some on eBay and I have bought them at cheap prices. My goal is to have the luxury of a meter in every camera bag..(I am a little obsessive)..EC
     
  9. tpersin

    tpersin Member

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  10. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I got a Minolta 1degree spot meter at a yard sale (paid about $10) and it works for me.

    You can find one of those Soligor meters, not fancy but it gets the job done.....
    Get what you can afford, it maybe all you really need.
     
  11. laz

    laz Member

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    Used, always used. Even for things I can afford new I'll look for used.

    Same reason I only buy used cars, let someone else pay the "new" premium. With electronic devices the odds of something going wrong are greatest when new. Reconditioned items are also very kewl. I consider them to be "pre-disastered" something has gone wrong, it's been found and fixed. It's better than new now! :smile:

    -B
     
  12. mark

    mark Member

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    I seldom use my spot meter. Color and BW are done with an incident meter and my results have greatly improved.
     
  13. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Have to agree with the above post. When I use a handheld meter it is almost always just a simple incident reading or two.

    Do you use the Zone system religiously? Are your subjects mainly "big wide open spaces" landscapes? Do you really need a spot meter?
     
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  15. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    Brad,

    You pose an interesting question.

    I'll back track a little, I'm 20 years old and I have this crazy addition that i've had for about 5 years now. Some people do drugs, I'm photo crazy. I'm about 90% self taught in photography. I have learnt about photography from many sources including books, magazines, internet sites(such as APUG), and many from my work (i work at a camera store) I am fortunate to have a manager who is extremely knowledge and has given me advice or answered questions I've asked. I've taken 1 photo class in my entire life, and by that time I had just did it to use the darkroom. The zone system is slightly forgein to me and i've yet to learn it inside and out(its on my list of things to do) so its not a religious thing for me. As of yet I have a handheld meter which works great if i'm taking pictures close, but if its a landscape I feel silly taking a reading with it from far away, so I use the spot meter in my nikon f100. I'm sure I don't NEED it right away, but I do plan on using it, especially if I get religious with the zone system.

    Also I'll have some time to think about it, I just spent about 530 bucks on new equipement and things for my darkroom and such, so I'm tapped for a while. And remember 530 bucks for a 20 year old is A LOT of money. Then again I look at all my equipment and just realize the value of it all.

    Anyway, thanks everyone for the suggestions i'll have to do some major looking :smile:
     
  16. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser

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    I have owned a Soliger spotmeter, A minolta spot and a Pentax spot. The Pentax is by far my favorite - in fact, I am probably going to buy another for a backup.
     
  17. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    Have you tried using an incident meter rather than reflected? I have had very good luck with that. In most cases with landscape, you can just turn around from where the camera is pointing and get the same light that is on the lanscape for incident metering. I have found that if you are not using the zone system, a spot meter can actually cause more harm than good. Many people end up pointing it at the wrong place, metering it straight, and end up placing a very dark or very light area in their image as 18% gray. If you know what you want to place there, or how to adjust for the difference between what you are pointing the meter at and 18% gray, you can get good results. Of course, that is about half way to using the zone system anyway. :smile:
     
  18. edz

    edz Member

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    Forget spot meters. They have their uses but really only as an additional tool when one can't meter correctly in the field. Instead I'd suggest a good incident/refected meter, a gray card and, if possible, a probe to read off your ground-glass. Good choices, if one wants digital and warranty, are the Spectra Pro IV-A, Minolta Autometer, Sekonic L508 and Gossen Starlite.
     
  19. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I would say that both have their uses and different people have different ways of metering which work for them. I have and use both types of meters. Your comment struck as me rude, much as if someone had said that "incident meters are for those who don't understand how to manipulate the tonal scale and just want a computer or chemical reaction to tell them the exposure."

    Both of these views are correct in the case of some photographers who really don't know how to use their equipment, but incident and reflective metering can both be used wonderfully (thinking BTZS and the many forms of the Zone System)--hell, Weston didn't use a meter at all, right?

    --From the owner of a Soligor Spot Sensor II and a Minolta IV Auto Meter (both wonderful meters)
     
  20. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    For what it's worth, light meters go out of linearity.

    Which means, a pretty used meter might read accurately at a certain level, but be wrong at others. A simple calibration doesn't help this.

    Movie guys, and the species formerly known as professional shooters, are obsessive about this.

    So, if you are buying a nice used meter, be prepared to send it to the light meter shop for a tuneup. New meters tend to not have this problem.

    As for a spot meter, I vote for PocketSpot.

    .
     
  21. mark

    mark Member

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    Old guys in photo shops can be a wealth of info. When I got my first view camera and went shopping for a lens the guy at the store I got my lens showed me how to use the camera movements, how to correctly focus to get the maximum depth of field, and gave me a list of essential gear and the order I needed to get it. He was right in every respect. We were in the parking lot for a good two hours playing with my camera.

    There are times when I use my spot attachment but it is rare and for some reason only when doing color. Both are useful. SInce you have a guy who is willing to help you out ask him and discuss it with him. Have him show you how to use both and then borrow one of each and see which best fits what you do. I was never able to get the zone system down to where it was instinctual but the incident metering method seems to be right up my alley for what I shoot.
     
  22. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    THE ONLY METER I WOULD SUGGEST YOU GETTING IS THE "Pocket Spot" by Meter Light company. It is the worlds smallest and best light meter, and will run you the same as all those other meters in cost. go too www.meteredlight.com and take a look.

    I love mine!
     
  23. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Pentax Analog 1 degree spot meter in $50 range. Watch for broken meter glass and battery leakage (open battery compartment & look) which may have ruined the meter movement.
     
  24. Pastiche

    Pastiche Member

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    http://www.sekonic.com/Products/L-358.html

    Got it, love it, shoot by it. It was 250 new... the nice/not so nice thing about this meter is that it will do Spot metering, although it's not a 500$ meter. You just have to buy a 150$ attatchment. Sooo.... 400$, new.. I'm sure you can find one used somewhere on the net. I like that I didnt pay half a mil for the thing, and still can use reflected, incident, and spot metering as needed. There are 10, 5 & 1 degree spot attatchments for this thing (I believe) I've got the 1deg and use it almost exclusively. It comes in great for speed tests and anywhere you need fine control over tonality.
     
  25. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    I use old Soligor 1 degree spot meter, obviously made under Pentax license... costed me about $60 used, but I had to re-calibrate it by myself, though. It works fine but EV2 is a lower limit. I use it just to measure a contrast range of my scenes, or to measure the deepest shadows I want to keep some details in - I've never been crazy about ZS. In the night city scenes I usually take out my spotmeter, measure lights (eh, EV7 or 8), shadows (damn, no reading at all), then I spit on the ground, set EV0 and shoot it with Schwarzschild correction - it always works like magic :smile: I thing spitting is the most important part of it all :smile:

    Cheers, Zhenya
     
  26. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Member

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    I bought my Pentax 1 degree spot 16yrs ago. Still accurate. I've used it for just about every shot I've taken, all manual cameras.