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  1. #1

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    Buying a used Pentax Digital Spotmeter questions

    So I'm getting into large format photography and decided to get a Pentax digital spotmeter. So, what should I look for while buying one used? I'm terrified of buying a mis-calibrated one. How would I test calibration? And where would I be able to get one calibrated.

  2. #2
    wildbill's Avatar
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    test against another recently calibrated spot meter. buy it with a 7 day return policy.
    richard ritter calibrates/repairs them.
    www.vinnywalsh.com

    I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix

  3. #3
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    I have two of them. I calibrated my film to one of them. The other is off by 1/3 of a stop. But it's just as linear as the other. So when I made a zone dial for the second one I just shifted it by 1/3 of a stop. Now both meters give me the same exposure even if they are slightly off on the internal EV unit display.

    Remember if you only have one meter it doesn't really matter if it's truly accurate. You just need it consistent and you can adjust your film speeds. But I tested the meters against the spot meters in my Nikons with simple lenses. It's a good way to get a rough idea if the meter is correct.

  4. #4

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    You can compare to another trusted meter by metering off the same target. A non-spot meter will need to be close enough to the target that it only sees the region the spot meter is looking at. Greycards are ideal, and would let you compare with an incident meter.

  5. #5

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    Emailed Richard Ritter and he said his rate for calibration is $87. So I think I'll just try to get one tested by someone who actually knows what they're doing and then compare to a greycard with my DSLR meter.

  6. #6

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    They periodically need to be recalibrated regardless, so there is no guarantee a used meter is exactly reading. I find my meters need recalibration about every ten years, and made it a habit to
    keep an unused one to check the others. Richard Ritter or Quality Light Metric in Hollywood can do
    the work. They need to be calibrated across the range, and not just at the middle. And commercial
    gray cards are rarely good enough - you'd be amazed at how much they vary, even within the
    same brand! DLSR meters also function in a wholly different manner, so you're likely to get off on a
    wrong foot altogether is using one of them as a reference.

  7. #7
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    calibrate against 'sunny16'
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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    Gosh. What's the point in even buying one of these things if you're just going to wing it? Properly
    calibrated, a Pentax spotmeter is going to be invaluable for all kinds of exposure situations, esp when
    working with LF films. But I use one in preference to thru-the-lens small camera meters to - once you get the hang of it, it will be more accurate evaluating lighting ratios, and makes Zone System work a piece of cake with any camera, if that's what's in mind. Locate someone else who has an
    accurate meter of the same species and compare them, then in necessary have it calibrated. But
    don't guess or try to guess what some other kind of instrument is thinking!

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm still going to try and get one that it is known to be accurate, which most ebay sellers have no idea of. So I guess I'll just watch the classifieds here.

  10. #10
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    You will find out pretty quickly if it is way off just by trying it and seeing what you get. Otherwise you need to test your film to find out your proper speed anyway. I had one I had been using heavily (for everything) for 30 years, it was scarred up and a little rattly and if I pushed the trigger in too far it stopped reading. I found someone selling one in mint condition on craigs list for (probably stolen) cheap price. I checked them against one another and found they were a third off... in linear fashion. I took them to a local camera repairman who was able to check them against his source and found the old one was correct so he adjusted the new one to match it with out a lot of trouble and charged me 40.00

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