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Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Mike Kennedy, Jan 31, 2006.
Anyone familiar with the Master II cine light meter? Good, bad, or ugly?
Cine? Don't know about Cine. I've got a Master II someplace. It's about 60 years old. Uses Weston film speeds not ASA.
Depends on why you want it. To use? If it works then it works no worse then when it was built. It's a wide area reflective meter. With all the issues that means. It's battery free. I wouldn't pay a lot of money for a user. OTOH they are nice meters. Learn to use it and it'll be no worse then a similar modern meter.
FWIW, I've also heard that the sensors in the old Westons degrade over time (i.e. produce less current for a given light level). Thus, older meters of that type may not work at all, or the readings may need to be "adjusted".
I have one. It is intended for motion pictures. Never used it in a photographic application, though. It is a nice unit.
I shoot with one myself. If you google the manual, you'll get the necessary conversions for shutter speed. Doubling fps will get you in the ballpark.
It was a superb meter in its day. Ansel Adams used the still version. I got lucky and mine's still reasonably accurate.
It's also useless in low light. Don't expect to shoot below 1/60 at f2 or so with this. And test against a known-good meter to be sure yours works.
I have the still version (with the Invercone attachment). It's makes a good back up meter IF you remember these three things:
Good - No batteries
Bad - Calibrated in Weston speeds, not ISO
Ugly - Pretty much useless in low light
I also have the still version, Bob. But I have never seen an Invercone except on the web.
Good - No batteries - I agree. Battery independence is wonderful. And they have no memory like CdS meters have.
Bad - Weston speeds - Maybe not a big problem. Multiply ISO by 0.8. Shooting 400? Set the meter to 400 x .8 = 320. Here is where I got that information:
One may discover by comparing readings with a gray card and a known good meter that the difference is a little more. Whatever it is, just remember the multiplier needed to get from ISO down to Weston. It was 0.8 for my meter, but may be 0.6 for someone else's meter. Once that multiplier is known, it seems reasonable that it should work for converting any ISO to its equivalent Weston speed for the meter in question.
I read that Edward Weston came up with his own ratings because he felt the film manufacturers were cheating, by over-rating their films' sensitivity. The article said that the Weston numbers were 1/3 stop slower than the inflated ASA numbers manufacturers claimed.
FWIW, newer Weston meters are now calibrated the same as ASA/ISO. Brand spanking new ones can still be bought in England. But they are very expensive, over 200 Euros.
Ugly - Pretty much useless in low light. - I agree, but there is a free 5X light amplifier, so to speak. A 90% reflectance sheet of paper, or the white side of a gray card. That gives about 2-1/4 stops of additional sensitivity in low light (5X).
For example, if the meter's report from the white card says shoot f/2 at 1/20th, then change that to 5/20th, which is 1/4th second.
Weston light meters can be serviced by http://www.megatron.co.uk/ in the UK. I had the selenium cell replaced in my Weston Master IV by them. Works perfect now. I believe they still manufactures the Euro-MASTER II, which is more or less the same as a Master V.
Weston speed ratings are pretty old. Older then ISO. Older then ASA to I think. If you only use the meter then it's a non-issue. Just do all your tests with the meter.
I've been using a Master II (non-Cine) for decades as my main off-camera meter. Every few years I get my SLRs CLA'd and compare the meters. My Weston and my SLRs' meters are all within a stop of each other! Not bad for stuff I bought almost forty years ago.
I own a Weston Master 5 (newer than yours I know) and have found it to be an exceptionally reliable bit of kit. I purchased mine secondhand from the original owner and although it has never been checked or repaired it still works as well as the day it rolled off the production line.
I know that compared to some of todays modern meters at £300 a pop my little WM is kinda basic but I wouldn't change it for the world.
The Master series use selenium cells, I'm told they're sensitive to damp. I have a Master III and I try to keep it in a dry environment or (barring that) in a warm pocket. They work, they're relatively inexpensive, and they're pretty!