Worried a Pentax Digital Spot Meter looks too much like a GUN

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by stormbytes, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. stormbytes

    stormbytes Member

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    I'm bidding on a Pentax DSM. I've had one in the past and well, these things tend to be a lot like Leicas; somehow you *always* regret selling them! I know I do. Back in the day when I (previously) owned one, I remember feeling uneasy pulling it out in New York City, for its resemblance to a firearm. This time around I'm thinking to paint the rear part of the cover in bright yellow.

    I know lots of Apug'rs shoot LF and the Pentax is often the meter of choice. Wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the matter.
     
  2. JOSarff

    JOSarff Member

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    I had my Pentax meter mistaken for a gun twice.

    The first in 1990 by a store clerk at Canyonlands NP in Utah. After the carload of armed rangers determined that it really was a light meter I asked where the clerk was from and then opinioned that they hadn't eliminated the inbreeding problems there yet.

    The second was standing in line at a McDonalds in Annapolis, MD in about 1994. An older gentleman informed me that the Zone VI holster looked too much like a gun and besides lightmeters were to be worn around your neck. I thanked him for his input. but the meter was staying where it was and I didn't like anything around my neck, even neckties.

    Nothing since 2001.

    It really doesn't resemble a firearm, most don't have a lens on the front. Today it looks like a funny looking camera.

    Don't worry.

    Joe
     
  3. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Never had that problem, but I don't wear it in a holster either. Sorry, like photo vests, too geeky for me. Just my opinion, I'm sure some here love the holster.
     
  4. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Although, I've never had an issue, I have thought about its casual resemblance to a handgun, from a distance.

    I don't use the holster it came with, preferring to carry it with my packed gear. It is usually the last thing to come out after setting up the camera. By that time I've already judged the light to be suitable enough to compose a shot. Mostly, the meter merely confirms the exposure and any contraction or expansion necessary (per the ZS) of the negative. Any legal authority observing its use in locales I generally shoot after a large camera is already tripoded, is likely to have the common sense and experience not to be concerned. Frankly, I do not like shooting with others around at all, so my experiences are somewhat limited in that regard.

    BTW, and I've heard this from quite a number of Western shooters, that many actually carry and have had to pull out their actual handguns for personal protection. Being all consumed under a darkcloth in remote locations, I can certainly appreciate the desire for this level of personal security. So, I might pose a parallel question: How many LF shooters actually carry?
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    With the new gun laws should fit right in. :D
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    There is a de facto standard way of marking things that look like guns: you paint the tip of the "barrel" safety orange. It won't solve all problems, but it should give some people (e.g., law enforcement) a quick visual indicator, and it seems to make even the casual viewer a little less likely to parse the shape as a gun.

    I worked on a satellite phone once that, when the antenna was extended, had a disconcerting resemblance to a Luger. We actually had an engineer held at gunpoint by law enforcement; she was out somewhere making a call and suddenly there was a cop yelling at her to drop the weapon, and she was standing there in confusion saying "*What* weapon?", and it was all very fraught. We went out and bought some safety-orange stickers for our test phones after that.

    -NT
     
  7. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Since I wear a big pack w/ hipbelt (for the 8x10) and that makes it impractical to where anything on my belt., I keep the Pentax DSM in the pack.

    But I might start doing it when using my little 5x7 since I can carry that on the tripod and the holders in a shoulder bag.

    Vaughn

    PS...thank goodness the Pentax DSM does not have much of a kick when one pulls the trigger -- we'd all have black eyes!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2012
  8. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I think less of an issue now. It looks like many of the cheapy digital camcorders.

    Now the rifle stock mount I have for a slr - that's a different story.
     
  9. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    I have a Soligor analog spot meter that looks like a gun and I was wondering when will someone raise their hands in the air when I try to measure light for a portrait... it is a matter of time but then I will be in trouble :smile:
     
  10. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    People have been killed for not dropping their cell phone(weapon) when told to.
    The officer has a bit of adrenalin pumping when he believes someone may be pointing a weapon at him.
    I'd say paint it pink but the local gun shop has some very delicate pink handguns in their cases.
    Probably the stickers or dots on the thing would make it look less like a weapon, but when the cop says
    to drop it, that's a real good idea.
    If you have it on the neckstrap, hold the strap, drop it and gently set it on the ground.
     
  11. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    What a load of bollocks. Ever considered wearing it on a lanyard around your neck with the camera so you look like you're a working photographer? Or is that too insensitive in America? Must be the guns rule mentality of the USA. Plenty of things can resemble a hand-gun (fire up your imagination).
     
  12. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Wow...you hear a new one everyday, I guess.
     
  13. stormbytes

    stormbytes Member

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    Thanks for the insights, everyone. I ended up missing that auction after all, though I'll keep an eye out for future listings. I've always liked the Pentax DSM. Its a true spotmeter and doesn't require the acrobatics inherent to properly using in-camera CW meters.

    One can never be too careful nowadays, especially when living in New York city - we have a dedicated legion of trigger happy 'law enforcement officers', tweaked out on their own egos and only too happy to 'mistake' a benign situation for mortal danger; walking around pointing something that looks like a gun and is held/used in a similar fashion clearly fits that bill. I'm done with heroics, opting rather for the 'ounce of prevention' bit.

    Forgive my lack of bravado.
     
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  15. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    A friend had a Grimes custom lens hood on his spot meter that extended the front by about 3 inches and said he had an incident with a cop thinking it was a gun. But aside from that mod, I don't think it would be a problem, though wearing it in a holster might be different story. I don't remember what meter he has, I think its the Pentax digital.
     
  16. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    If somebody asked me if my spot meter was a gun I'd pull my Glock out of its concealed holster and say, "No. It's not a gun. THIS is a gun!"

    Okay... No, I really wouldn't do that in real life but that's what I want to say right now.

    I actually have been in situations where I have been confronted by police or security guards. My response was always a polite but direct, "We're on public property and, unless there's anything else, we have nothing to discuss," and I keep right on walking.

    I know you're going to say that's a good way to get yourself into trouble but I'm not the one who is in the wrong. I have no responsibility to give anything more than a cursory response to such an inquiry. As long as one is reasonably polite and doesn't threaten the other person there is nothing they can do.

    If that doesn't work, the phrase, "Title 42, Section 1983" is enough to stop any cop (who is unjustly harassing you) cold in his tracks.

    If a person can't tell the difference between a light meter and a gun, they probably couldn't tell the difference between their ass and their elbow, either.
     
  17. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Yeah, but if the result is that you might get shot at, it's probably worthwhile to think about ways to avoid the confusion! It's not the photographer's *fault* that people mistake other things for guns, but in the worst case, whose fault it is may not matter all that much.

    If a cop thinks you're holding a gun and refusing to put it down, things can get very dangerous very quickly. I've known several people who were involved in "drop the weapon!" misunderstandings, and one of my cousins was actually killed by cops because they thought he might be about to reach for a (nonexistent) gun. This whole subject is, I submit, the wrong place to make a stand on principle.

    -NT
     
  18. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Police or security guards or even private citizens have the right to approach you and talk to you or even ask you a question but once they have determined that there is no problem, if you tell them that you don't want to be bothered, provided you have done nothing wrong, they are obliged to leave you alone. The onus is on the OTHER PERSON to prove within reason that you are doing something wrong.

    A law abiding citizen of the US is not even obliged to carry identification or identify himself to law enforcement officers if he has done nothing wrong.
    The only time he is required to carry his driver's license is when he is driving a vehicle on public roads. A normal person who has done nothing wrong, who has broken no laws and isn't threatening or hurting anybody has the right to walk down the street without being bothered. He doesn't even have to talk to anybody he doesn't want to.

    Yes, I know that there are a lot of "Barney Fifes" out there and I know that there a lot of cops who think they are Dirty Harry, too. The truth is that they are the exception, not the rule. Guys like that don't last very long. They either burn themselves out, get fired or get elected to city council.

    Yes, I have been face to face with a Barney Fife. Of course, I don't thumb my nose at people like that whether they are cops, security guards or not. Of course, I'm polite.
    The stock response should be, "I'm sorry, officer, is there something wrong?" The next question should be, "Do you think I'm breaking the law?" If the answer is anything other than the affirmative, the next response would be, "Excuse me, officer, but I'm busy and I must be going, now." In such a case, if the officer does or says anything other than, "Good day," it is HE who is breaking the law. Every good cop has or should have had training to that effect. Yes, I know people have been killed by bad cops but incidents like that are pretty rare.

    No, I'm not going to stand my ground on principle against some bad cop who is determined to have his way whether it is lawful or not but the principle that I am going to stand on is that it's not my responsibility to worry about people like that. I don't break the law (except, maybe, that speeding ticket) and I expect to be able to go about my business without being harassed. It is people like us; law abiding citizens who just want to take photographs; who need to collectively place the blame squarely at the feet of those responsible.

    We are not wrong. They are.
     
  19. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Shit, I mounted my Pentax Spot in my scope on my 30-06. No wonder my street shots have been suffering for subjects.
     
  20. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I'm really confused about how you mean for this to apply to the situation where somebody thinks you're waving a gun around. This all makes sense if you're talking about the common situation where a cop or rent-a-cop tries to intimidate a photographer out of taking pictures, but I don't think that's really the OP's concern here.

    Not to be a jerk about it, but people get killed this way---by carrying around things that look remotely like guns, and then not being deemed by a responding LEO to be sufficiently compliant. Look at it from the officer's perspective---damn, that guy (apparently) has a deadly weapon, and he refuses to drop it! They are, in general, *allowed* to shoot you under those circumstances, because they are in a position to believe, genuinely and reasonably, that you may be about to shoot them first. (Why else would you refuse to drop your gun, right?)

    I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying that insisting on keeping the moral high ground, in the very particular situation where something has been mistaken for a gun, is a pretty good way to end up being right but dead.

    -NT
     
  21. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    I really don't like to permanently paint or alter any of my equipment.
    I, too, thought of public confusion regarding my Pentax Spot, so I wrapped a piece of yellow electrician's [type] tape around the lens barrel.
    This type of tape is available in many colors, I just happened to have some yellow on hand. No problems, no worries.
    If necessary in the future, with a bit of solvent, any tape residue will be easily removed.
     
  22. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    First off, I do wave actual guns around: AR-15s, Glocks, hunting rifles and target guns.
    I carry them in my car. I wear them in holsters. I do it legally and without any sense of trepidation.
    My neighbors see me carrying guns to and from my car on a regular basis. Nobody has ever even asked me about my guns. I have never had any trouble with cops or security guards or anybody else.
    Part of the reason I seem so smug about this is because I feel confident that, if there is some kind of trouble that puts me in danger or puts my family or anybody else around me in harm's way, I have the tools necessary to stop that threat quickly and with reasonable security that innocent people won't get hurt accidentally.

    I have the right to do this and, within the bounds of local regulation, every other law abiding American has the same right. There's no reason anybody should be ashamed of using a gun for any legal purpose.

    Second, it's not my responsibility to worry about whether some idiot mistakes a light meter for a gun. It barely, remotely looks like a gun. Like others have said, there are video cameras that appear more gun-like that a Pentax light meter. Nobody worries about whether people will mistake those video cameras for guns.

    I just can't spend my life looking over my shoulder to see if some stupid person is grabbing at straws.

    It is law enforcement's responsibility to determine if a person is an actual threat. That is a responsibility that they should take very seriously. It is a responsibility that we should MAKE them take very seriously. Running around like scaredy cats is no way to make our government live up to its responsibility. We, as a group, need to hold their feet to the fire and call them out when they do wrong.

    That's all I'm saying.

    I'm not going to go running around town waving anything around, whether it looks like a gun or not, in such a way that is going to scare people.
    If somebody has a question, they can come up to me and politely ask me. I'll be glad to tell them anything they want to know. I'll hand them a business card and tell them to call me if they want me to take photographs for them and I'll give them a good price.

    If I am in a public place, minding my own business, not breaking any laws or hurting anybody, if somebody doesn't have something nice to say to me, I EXPECT to be left alone.
    To the extent of my ability, I will do my best to extend that same courtesy to other people, as well.
     
  23. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Simarlarly, in the UK, the suggestion is to ask an officer "are you detaining me?" If the answer is "no", you can move on. Luckily we don't have to worry about private citizens or cops with guns*.

    (* well, just a few in special cases)


    Steve.
     
  24. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    There was a fairly recent incident in the U.K when a guy who was a known criminal was seen on CCTV by the police carrying an item in the street about three and a half feet long wrapped in newspaper he was confronted by a police armed response team who ended up shooting him dead, unfortunately when they unwrapped the "firearm" it was found to be a table leg !
     
  25. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    A trip to the hardware store for some red or orange or yellow cloth tape or vinyl tape, applied as a 'ring' around the front edge of the spotmeter lens might be appropriate, if you are truly worried about the meter being mistaken as a gun. After all, kids' toy guns have similarly colored tips on them and they are made to resemble real guns.
     
  26. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    That's a good idea on several levels, actually. Marking with colored tape is a good way of identifying your gear.
    If something gets lost, stolen or just mixed up with somebody else's gear, it's a good way to keep tabs on your stuff.