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  1. #1

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    Light meter suggestion for a new user.

    As I'm starting to immerse myself into film again after nearly 30 years I was wondering if I might get some suggestions for a handheld lightmeter to use with my old Yashica Mat (and any other older cameras I may have a hankering to use )? Or, on the other hand, will my meter in my Pentax MX or MESuper work fine, other than the fact I'll have to carry it with me?

    I don't want to spend a ton of money (like to keep it $100 or less if possible), and I don't plan on ever shooting portraits or any type of studio work. Right now I've got an old Walz Coronet selenium meter that's fairly close to my MX if I set it's ASA at 1/2 of whatever the MX is set at.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Aron's Avatar
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    I would humbly suggest to do a Google search, not to find the right answer, but to see, everyone will recomend his trusted unit and there are many good ones. This question comes up often and like with many of our tools we are in the fortunate situation that we can base our choice almost purely on ergonomics without worrying about "performance".

    I'd suggest an incident/reflective meter that has a Silicon Blue Cell and takes modern batteries for sake of consistency, like the Sekonic L308, but lots of people use selenium meters. The fewer buttons, the better it is for me.

  3. #3

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    If you are going to take incident light readings only, then any of the older cinema and ordinary light meters will work well enough. If you are going to shoot slide film you will want something that is dead accurate, preferably with a spot meter. That will also help if you want to expose according to the zone system etc. I don't use the zone system much for 35 mm, but I have a Sekonic spot meter that I use with my Mamiya RZ equipment for 6x7, and my method is to select the placement of tones in the scene. It works 100%, and is the only way to make sure you get shadow and/or highlight areas properly exposed. If it costs you a slight bit more than $100 then it will still be worth considering. You have to accept that it will slow you down considerably, and will not really work for fleeting subjects such as street photography in widely varying light levels. In that case, I would simply go by the camera light meter, and note if there is a trend to under or over expose for certain types of lighting conditions and then compensate for those. For instance, your camera might sacrifice the shadows if there are large bright areas in the frame (white walls etc.), as it is working on an average metering. You may then prefer to meter off a known or guestimate reference, and set your exposure manually. Metering is an art in itself, and one that you must learn and practice if you want to achieve success with your photography.

  4. #4

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    Any of the Minolta AutoMeter III, IV or flash meter III would be a good choice and can be had for less than $100. Newer ones are great but would cost more than $100. These are good if you don't need spot meter.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I've had the Minolta IV recommended by a friend as well, so I will probably check into that line.

  6. #6
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    The Minoltas may still not come in in your price range - although they're terrific meters. I'd highly recommend the Sekonic 308. It has two primary advantages over the Minoltas - it's smaller and it's cheaper. It will fit in most shirt pockets - the Minolta requires a jacket pocket or a belt pouch because it's too thick to fit in a shirt pocket.

  7. #7
    MartinCrabtree's Avatar
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    I have about $130 in my Weston Master II w/invercone including a rebuild and calibration by Quality Light-Metric. . Reflective and incident. I have little experience with the incident but we'll see. Seems to be kinda weak in low light situations.

  8. #8

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    To be honest the Weston Master II are more of a collectible than some thing I would use.

  9. #9
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    Although possibly expensive and difficult to find (I'm not sure), I use a Voitlander VCII meter. It's a small meter and fits into a hot/cold shoe nicely, and takes 2 LR44 batteries. Fire and Forget for me .. since I'm not that good at fiddling with light meters.
    Those who know, shoot film

  10. #10
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartinCrabtree View Post
    I have about $130 in my Weston Master II w/invercone including a rebuild and calibration by Quality Light-Metric. . Reflective and incident. I have little experience with the incident but we'll see. Seems to be kinda weak in low light situations.
    I have less invested in mine. I got it so I could put a Zone System sticker on the dial. You should try it.

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