The best light meter for street?

Discussion in 'Street' started by fotopom, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. fotopom

    fotopom Member

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    Hi all,
    I shoot traditional black and white manual rangefinder street pictures. Up to the present I have been using my Granddads Westonmeter II which works well metering off my hand. However the other day its needle got stuck, I nocked it and it came good, but I'm afraid it bumping around in my pocket is slowly killing it. Granddad would much rather see it die in battle but I don't want to kill such a beautiful antique. Therefore I need a new or reasonable second hand meter, preferably something that works well in low light but probably not a spot meter for my style of shooting (through that would be good for when I do landscapes). It also need to be small and indestructible.
    Any suggestions, what do you guys use? am on a bit of a budget.

    Dan
     
  2. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think a good spot meter is the best thing for street or anywhere you can't get into the scene to meter. Gossen sbc is an excellent all around meter.
     
  3. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Spot is pretty specific - not sure it'd be as quick as an incident.
     
  4. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    Your brain. It works faster and is usually more accurate. Sunny 16. It won't take long to get used to it.
     
  5. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I don't know any meter that does well being knocked around, but I suppose some are more durable than others. With the Gossen Luna Pro you can choose incident or reflective at a moment's notice, and the dial is large and easy to read, much easier than a Weston II. Really, the Gossen is such a great meter.

    I also use a Weston IV and V, and these are easier to read than the Weston II. But the Gossen gets the most use, by far.

    The Voigtlander VCII is very small (fits on your hot or cold shoe) and super accurate, and could also be a winner.
     
  6. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    And if you do like your Weston, there is no need for it to die, as these are still being repaired by Quality Light Metric, where they check and address the following points: calibration, balance, jewels, switch, hairspring, front glass, pointer, coil, selenium cell, resistor, and more.
    323-467-2265, in North Hollywood, California.
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    A mixture of sunny 16-based exposure (AKA educated guessing) and a Sekonic incident meter with a direct-reading high slide is what I would suggest.
     
  8. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Use a lightmeter that can be used with one hand, it's much, much better than holding the meter, pressing a button and using the other hand to turn a wheel. Many modern Sekonics and Gossens have much better ergonomics than that. Incident metering is my standard method, too.
     
  9. eddym

    eddym Member

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    If you're metering off your hand now, then you are reading incident light. So you might as well get an incident meter. I agree with 2F/2F; a Sekonic incident with the slide kit is a great option. It's simple, uses no batteries and it fast to use. Only downside is that sensitivity in low light is not that great.
     
  10. fotopom

    fotopom Member

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    Thanks guys. Love the look of the Sekonic as it resembles my western meter, Gossen looks a little confusing but i'll be sure to keep an eye out to have a look at one. I would love a spot meter, but not for street -as I like my combination of sunny 16 and hand metering. I do have an old SEI comparison meter for landscapes, but am having no luck getting hold of the Led conversion kit, I think the website is abandoned :sad:

    Dan
     
  11. Jim Edmond

    Jim Edmond Member

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    I have a Gossen Digisix which I use for this purpose. It will do incident or reflected measurements and is very small. It also has some other functions like a clock, temperature, stop watch, and alarm clock so is useful for travel.

    I wouldn't give up on the Weston, though.
     
  12. Joe Grodis

    Joe Grodis Member

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    I do similar photography and have settled on two specific meters. First, I use the Kodak Kodalux-L which is a bullet proof shoe mount meter that fits all of my range finders. Second, I use a Leica-M meter which is very nice and still to be had relatively cheap which is also a shoe mount but is rather large and doesn't fit all.
    I got both from KEH.
     
  13. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I bought a Sekonic L-778 spot meter (got a really good deal) but I keep the Gossen SBC just in case I want to shoot r-e-a-l-l-y low light.
     
  14. fotopom

    fotopom Member

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    Interesting, my Western Meter is terrible in low light. I had to do a lot of educated guessing at the Australia Day fire works earlier this week, my trusty Western Meter was very little help at dusk!
     
  15. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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  16. fotopom

    fotopom Member

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    Polaris SPD100 Digital Exposure Meter looks interesting! How big is it, will it comfortably fit in the pocket of my pants I wonder...? (innocent question for those with a dirty mind :wink:
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I reread the title of this thread and realized that you do not need a light meter just for the street. Light meters whether incident or reflective can be used for any subject! You do not need a special one to take reading of streets and roads. :wink:

    I hope this helps.

    Steve
     
  18. fotopom

    fotopom Member

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    Cheers Steve,
    It's use will be almost solely for the street, as mentioned I have a SEI comparison spot meter for landscape or the spot meter in my DSLR / SLR's.
    I meant the title to refer to the type of use I expect to put it too. When doing street I only meter off my hand, never off the scene, the problem is my Western meter is in danger of wearing out and i want one to replace it that will with stand the constant knocks occasional drops and general jiggerling of being in my pocket while i walk around without breaking. Problem with these posts i find is giving too much or not enough information!

    Sounds like this Polaris SPD100, might be the way to go, has anyone used it for street, how large is it and can it be easily operated with one hand?
    My normal practice is to walk around taking readings in light and shade so I can calibrate my head, then I put away the meter and use my brain until i feel the need to check a different light situation. I enjoy doing this, and yes on occasion when a light meter has let me down, I have gone for a day or so with out one and had good results. However for difficult and extreme lighting (pretty extreme variation in Western Australia's summer between out door hard light and shadow, unlike soft light I recall in England) I like to occasionally consult my meter and take pride in having an educated guess first. Thankfully HP5 gives me a lot of latitude, but you know what... my street films come out with much more consistent density when developed than my landscapes do relying on my slrs internal meter vs my manual street metering!

    Please keep giving me advice, i really appreciate it!
    Cheers,
    Dan
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I like the Gossen Digisix as a pocket meter (fitting in a pocket is an attraction for street photographers), but if you carry it all the time without its case, as I do, plan on opening it up and cleaning it every six months or so. It's not well sealed against lint, and the buttons won't function properly as dust works its way into the case.
     
  20. Lanline

    Lanline Subscriber

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    I've been using a Minolta III Incident meter for my street shooting. Just measure the shadow and shoot.
     
  21. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    I've been using a Sekonic L-508 for my street shooting for the past five years. I use the incident reading and usually set my exposure at half the box speed. I like the results I get. If you do your own developing and printing, this is the way to go imho.
     
  22. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I dont have it in my hand right now, so I wont give you dimensions, but it fits in a pocket very well. At least, it fits in my pockets. I do tend to wear loose fitting shorts and pants with decent sized pockets (big enough for my hands to move around freely).

    Mine came with a neckband, as well. Actually, the neckband is a bit of a hassle becuase the meter hangs all the way down to my waist. I find that rather annoying, so I keep it in my pocket.

    Just be careful when it's in your pocket. It has one of those white domes for incident readings. I've never done it, but I guess it could be easy to bump in to something and crack or break it. That could be a problem with any incident meter, though. I've never heard of that happening to anyone, but I'm good at doing stupid shit like that, so I'll end up doing that one day probably :D
     
  23. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I believe that's the meter we used where I used to go to school. Hard to go wrong with a Sekonic of any model :D