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  1. #1
    bmac's Avatar
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    I'm getting tired of lugging around my 35mm to use as a spot meter. I've done some searching online, and I think I want to go with a used Pentax Zone VI modified spot meter. But of course I am having second thoughts about buying used. I searched Audorama and see that they have a store brand spot meter. Has anyone used this meter? What do you think of it? Also, is the Zone VI mod worth the extra cash on the pentax meter?

    Brian
    hi!

  2. #2

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    Their house brand looks a lot like my Soligor digital spot. Mine seems to be pretty accurate and gives the same readings as my other meters (gray card, full sunlight). For the price it isn't too bad. I can't help you with the Zone 6 since I never used one.

  3. #3
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    As for Zone VI modified versus regular Pentax, I offer the following observation without being able to say if the modified version is worth the extra cash. I just compared measurements at different light intensities reflected off of various colored surfaces, using an analog Pentax and a Zone VI modifed Pentax. Reflective surface colors included a green trash can, green foliage, stainless steel, weatherd wood, beige tile, blue sky, turquoise wall, red cardboard, yellow notepad, etc. Light intensity ranged from dim (EV 3) to bright (EV14). Most often the meters agreed exactly. About 20 percent of the time the readings differed by 1/3 stop. On some pink printed newspaper they differed by 2/3 stop; but on red cardboard they matched exactly.

    The digital meter is small and sleek, and you can rotate the EV dial with your index finger without changing your grip. But the analog allows a more secure grip, at least for me. If I were now choosing between the two, I would go for the analog, especially if it were cheaper. I don't know how old the analog model I am using is. I bought it used about ten years ago. It has been used a lot however, and has even taken at least two accidental spills, and still works great.

  4. #4

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    I have a analogue spotmeter (brand unkown) and one thing I'd caution you to check is what the display is like in low light. Mine is very hard to read and has no way of locking the reading to be able to point it somewhere else and read easily!

  5. #5
    jmcd's Avatar
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    In regard to the above post concerning a meter's readibility in low light, the Pentax analog meter's screen can be illuminated by pressing a button on the side of the handle; the digital meter displays numbers in glowing red. So, either reads easily in low light.

  6. #6

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    Just a thought... One of the great advantages of the Zone VI modified meter is that it has become something of an objective standard in the LF community. In the same light, e.g., bright sunlight, tungsten, etc., my Zone VI should read the same as your Zone VI.

    One of things I've noticed over the last 10 years in a drive to certain standards in large format. As one particular example, if you're in the John Sexton camp you use TMAX 100 rated at 64 and rotary process in a JOBO using TMAX RS at 1:9. People have even published his development times for different contrast ranges! Like his work or not, it's a methodology that can be duplicated without becoming his photographic assistant.

    Use of this meter could be very helpful for someone new to B&W large format. If he reads in a magazine or a forum, "I use a Zone VI meter. I rate HP5+ at 320 and place the important shadows in zone IV and if the contrast range doesn't exceed 5 stops, I develop for 8 minutes in a JOBO using Rollo Pyro at 68F." This kind of thing gets you to a passable technique fairly quickly, allowing you concentrate on the contents and composition of your picture.

  7. #7

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    Well I guess I'll have to be the odd man out here. First I too love the way a Pentax or Minolta spot meter works, but.....

    I use a Seckonic 508 for all the reasons in their advertisements. I like it's size, ordinary AA battery, incident and spot and flash meter all in one. I don't entirely trust my zone readings and often use the incident dome as a double check on my brain functions. Sometimes I take an incident reading that doesn't make sense with what I got from spot readings and reread or adjust my thinking.

    Downsides; expensive, damned digital readings that are difficult to translate into zone readings, and most importantly no readings in viewfinder unless you pop for even more $ with the new 608.

    Best set up for me would be a Pentax spot, and a Minolta IV with someone to carry the beasts for me.

  8. #8

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    Geez Bob, I've got the Minolta Spotmeter, and it too uses a single AA battery and ain't all that heavy, atleast my pack mule hasn't complained as of late...:-)
    - William Levitt

  9. #9

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    LOL - It's when you start carrying a couple of meters like I used to do that makes a LLama necessary . But I'm a wimp anyway as I only carry a little 4x5 and a lot of you real men are hefting around some big stuff.

    Bob

  10. #10

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    Bob, didn't you get tired of the different readings between the incident and the spot readings of your Sekonic 508? Also, I hated the constant underexposure the spot readings were giving. I changed for the Sekonic 608 where I can independently correct the spot (or the incident) readings, see the values in the viewfinder and be happy again... In fact, I suppose that Sekonic put there the independent corrections because they heard the criticism of fellow photographers over the spot underexposure and were tired to explain that it is "normal" for this product.

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