There's one meter I take with me everywhere - the Sekonic L-408. It offers incident, flash and spot metering and is water-proof - a real boon as a landscape photographer; it looks like the more familiar 308s but is quite a bit larger. I have taken this to the mountains, desert, sea and the Arctic - it has never let me down. Even better, it uses a single AA battery so replacements are a breeze virtually anywhere. I always use it to check the meters on my cameras.
I check it against a Minolta Flashmeter IV (not to be confused with the inferior Lightmeter IV) with a 5 or 10 degree Spot if needed and/or Minolta Spotmeter F. The strangest thing is that my old analogue meters have proved more stable and accurate than some of my current digital ones.
makes sense...K also works for anyone who's got an old soviet meter using GOST: for 'калибровка.'
just kidding, really I just wanted to try my Cyrillic keyboard function.
No idea what it means (although wikipedia just told me it means calibration). All those soviet lenses in my cupboard have at least taught me how to read cyrillic (as did those 4 days I was in Saint Petersburg 5 years ago)
An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
Meters are good. Experience is better, a meter and experience is best. An "okay" reflected light averaging meter plus experience will usually get far better results than a super duper spot meter and little experience and understanding.
For the neophyte, its hard to beat an incident meter. ( for the experienced as well ).
Averaging meters can give OK results a reasonable percentage of the time, and in trained hands can make every shot a keeper. So can incident meters. Spot meters, however, require the most experience and understanding of all, and in the hands of one who has not paid their dues with some real testing and mental work on how to put them to correct use, gives the largest percentage of errors, imo. Knowing the dynamic range can tell you a lot, and its easy to determine with a spot meter. But you can also get a real good estimate of dynamic range using an incident meter, if you know how.
The most important thing to calibrate, is your mind, imo. A calibrated meter and wonky shutter speeds is like measuring with a micrometer and cutting with an axe. All the elements need calibration, or testing to prove that what you are about to do when you trip the shutter, is going to give you what you expect when the lights come one after the PRINT is made.
My old luna pro F is still a good standby after 30+ years.