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  1. #1

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    WW2 era photography and light meters?

    For a project I'm piecing together I'm looking for info on light meters that would have been used during war time, or in the 1940s. Especially ones that might still work Other than random google searches is there a good source of wartime photography anyone can recommend?

    I'm covered on historical cameras from hobby to combat photo models and have a fair handle on the darkroom setups and chemistry already.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    The Weston Master model 715 would have been available at the time, and many of them are still working and accurate today.

    I have one which reads within an f/stop of my other meters, and the point could be debated which meter is actually correct.

  3. #3
    AgX
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    Official exposure meter of US Forces in WWII:

    -) Weston Photronic
    -) Weston 819
    -) Weston 650
    -) Weston 715
    -) General Electric DV48
    -) DeJur Critic

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    Mustafa Umut Sarac's Avatar
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    What about German exposure meters ?

  5. #5
    AgX
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    I don't know of any documents/reports on the material used by german forces.
    US Army officially used german cameras (Leica/Rolleiflex) too. But their photographers may have added german exposure meters to their kits by their own. Though the latter is not very probably as US-meters were calibrated in Weston system, german meters in the Scheiner system (though of course there were conversion tables).

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    I wasn't expecting such a fast reply, thanks very much!

    I'll pick one of these you've listed (I must admit to being partial to the older Deco bakelite ones) to go with a Graflex Combat 45 I've got here, those were only seen in the Pacific Theater and so German items would be a bit out of place.

  7. #7
    AgX
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    A official kit of a 4x5 Speed Graflex with coupled rangefinder contained the Weston type 715 meter.
    So you should definetely be right with that model.


    What kind of project are you preparing?

  8. #8

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    I am piecing together a full, WW2 era set of gear from camera to darkroom for my birthday. I like a creative challenge, and I like the craft and history in general.

    With as few concessions as possible I want to take pictures of areas and things from the 1940s with appropriate gear and then develop them using yet more period gear and techniques. Locations will be easy on the west coast here, with auto and plane museums, the SS Lane Victory is here in San Pedro, even a tank museum out in the desert, historical markers and so on. Plus the air show if it comes around.

    Fortunately for me, chemistry and technique haven't changed much so all I have to worry about is finding the right pieces and reconditioning what I can. This all started with a Combat Graphic and now I've got enameled trays, timer, chemistry sources, even a vintage Kodak printing frame for the enlarger.

    Now my only sticking point is finding an enlarger that wasn't scrapped long ago. Saw a Federal 450 recently but the price was too high for a hobby budget and it needed repairs. Worse comes to worse I will make 4x5 contact prints, I've done that before and with the right subject the presentation can work very well I think.

    Then later I'll do something similar with my grandfather's Leica M3 and late 50's and 60's era locations and subjects (but not so purist on the gear, just the subject matter). This all should give me a year's worth of fun from a simple birthday present.

    Now I'm off to try and find someone who can recondition shutters in a combat speed graphic that looks like it was swallowed whole by a turtle The one shop I knew of in Culver City isn't taking any new large format cameras and is backlogged for several months.

  9. #9
    erikg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgX View Post
    ....
    -) DeJur Critic
    Good luck with the project, sounds like fun. I thought the above was amusing, what a name! Hold the meter up to the scene and it says "poor composition! Trite, conceptually weak, but if you must f11 @ 1/25."

  10. #10
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikg View Post
    Good luck with the project, sounds like fun. I thought the above was amusing, what a name! Hold the meter up to the scene and it says "poor composition! Trite, conceptually weak, but if you must f11 @ 1/25."
    Took me ten minutes to get that.

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