Western Master Lightmeter Accuracy

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by benjiboy, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I've been reading a few posts recently about the Selenium cells in Western meters and Selenium meters in general ageing over time and loosing their accuracy, in an idle moment I just tested my Weston Euro-master that I bought new in 1975 with a Kodak Grey Card against three modern good quality digital meters of known accuracy and it's still spot on to within a fraction of a stop, so although I don't doubt that some Selenium cell meters have this problem it's not so in all cases.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I've two Weston Mater V's that now won't move past about 2/3rds the way across the scale even in very bright sunlight. Not sure what's happened to my Euromaster, it was borrowed 20 years about ago :D

    While in Cornwall last year I bought a pre WWII Avo meter, later sold by Ilford, and despite it's age it's still accurate, pity Ilford don't list the H&D films speeds any longer :smile:

    I've two Leicameters - selenium type and they are still accurate still as well, I know that the Leitz dealer I use won't sell them as he says they are no longer trustworthy

    It appears that storage conditions and perhaps how much they are used has a bearing on their longevity.

    Ian
     
  3. R gould

    R gould Member

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    I use a weston master V, and have tested it against a sekonic digital meter, and the weston is spot on, it is in use every time I take a photograph as none of my cameras,from the 30's to 50's, have built in metering,I never keep my meter just around my neck, when not in use I keep it in my pocket, that way it is protected from light when not in use, which, according to Newton and Ellis is the best way to keep the cell working for a very long time, Richard
     
  4. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Bear in mind that the Euromaster was made up to a few years ago and may still be in production so may not be too old. My IVs and Vs are still accurate but the IIs are really flaky
    Mark
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have a Master III which is very accurate and a Master IV which can barely move the needle if pointed to bright sun with the back open. I suspect the III has had a new cell at some stage in its life.


    Steve.
     
  6. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I have a Weston II that is quite accurate as well. The key to survival of these is "has it been stored in the dark"? So, if it comes with a leather case, odds are good.

    It's never let me down yet, with b&w and even color slide. I shot a whole roll of Velvia 50 in the mountains and the exposures are right on.

    Anyone ever use one of the Sekonics L-398A? They're the modern incarnation it appears... very attractive.
    http://www.sekonic.com/products/Sekonic L-398A STUDIO DELUXE III.asp
     
  7. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I was just trying to point out that it isn't always the case, and that all of them are not inaccurate.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2011
  8. Edward_S

    Edward_S Subscriber

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    My Weston Euromaster seems to have gone off the boil a bit, although I did get it damp a while ago which apparently is not a good idea. It's a shame because I rather liked it.

    I once spoke with a gentleman from a well-known UK photography magazine who advised me that his stopped working after he dropped it down a French squat toilet. I advised him that he was very brave to fish it out again.
     
  9. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have a Weston (can't remember what model number) which doesn't work anymore.

    Jeff
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I used to work with someone who worked at Sangamo Weston many years ago. He said that they could easily be out by a stop and still be considered calibrated when leaving the factory.


    Steve.
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Does anyone bother/attempt to use the zero correction? I've never messed with it, but I'm curious about it.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes, I've recalibrated a few meters over the years, they can drift a bit. I rebuilt a damaged Gossen meter last year and calibrated it against my Spotmeter, later I checked it against my other Gossen and it was spot on.

    Ian
     
  13. Pgeobc

    Pgeobc Member

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    I still have a Weston Master V which I purchased in 1968 or 1969. It worked well when new, but the silicon cell gave out and it would, as others have noted here, only read weakly. I sent it to these people: Link and it has worked exceedingl well since. I have compared it to two digital meters, on a new Sekonic, and it agrees with them. In practice, it gives excellent results.

    I have a Zeiss Ikophot that is not so lucky.
     
  14. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I have a II, two IV models, and a V. They are dead accurate, and match each other at low, middle, and high light levels. Thanks go to Quality Light Metric, where cells were replaced, and meters calibrated.

    I have an old IKOPHOT and it just needed calibration. It's cell is still good. I don't know how old it is, but I am guessing it is original.
     
  15. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    To zero correct a Western meter cover the meter cell with something opaque with the dial facing you and with it held horizontally tilt it away from you at a 45 degree angle insert a small screwdriver in the adjustment screw at the rear of the meter then just turn the screw until the needle is on zero. :smile:
     
  16. LouisG

    LouisG Member

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    To calibrate a Weston meter, first zero correct it as described by Benjiboy. Then, on a bright cloudless day between 10 am and 2 pm, point it up at the clear blue sky in the opposite direction of the sun -- ie[the southern sky if you're in the southern hemisphere, north if you're in the north -- and take a reading. The needle should be at about 13.5, corrresponding to an exposure value of around 14 to 15.
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Is there another method Louis, we don't get many "bright cloudless days" here in Britain, even when the Romans invaded us in 54 BC , they used to write home the weather here was crap :D
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The Western Master V has a Selenium cell, light meters with Silicon cells need a battery to power them.
     
  19. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    I seem to attract old Westons. I have a Master that works, 3 Master IIs that work and 1 that doesn't, 1 Master III that works and 1 that doesn't, 1 Master 4 that works and 1 that doesn't, 3 Master Vs that don't, a EuroMaster that doesn't and a Euromaster II that does, and best of all, 2 Ranger 9 spotmeters that have been gone over by Quality Light Metric and recalibrated for non mercury batteries.