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  1. #1
    snegron's Avatar
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    Light Meter Recommendations.

    I have been somewhat lucky in the past using the in-camera meters of my film cameras. I have recently started experimenting with older cameras, both medium format and 35mm. I know that the meters in these cameras will eventually fail and replacement parts will be almost impossible to obtain (especially with Nikon F metering prisms). I have been thinking about purchasing a handheld meter but I am not sure which one to choose and what the major differences are. I shoot just about anything ranging from portraits to landscape, so walking up to the subject and getting a reading might not always be possible for me. I have seen the spot meters but I am not sure how they differ from the other type of meters out there. Also, I don't want to spend a small fortune either. For the prices I have seen on new multi function meters I could purchase a near mint Nikon F2A with still some juice left in its original meter! Any suggestions?

  2. #2

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    A light meter in the hand is worth two in the camera.

    Pretty much can't go wrong with modern light meters. Sekonic, Minolta, or Gossen, take your pick of features that meet your needs.

    Some have both incident and spot, others also can read flash, and others do it all.

    You know your price range, look at those that meet your budget, and compare features. Easy.

  3. #3
    Gary Holliday's Avatar
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    I don't think you can go wrong with any of the suggestions above. I use the Minolta IVF, considered the industry standard. You will pay a premium for an added spot meter though.

    A spot meter isn't really that necessary for landscapes, you can work without one. Afterall, the light reading in the sun where you are standing is the same as the light reading 10 miles away in the distance! It isn't any closer to the sun

  4. #4
    snegron's Avatar
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    I was under the impression that with incident light meters you have to walk up to the subject, take a reading, then walk back to your camera to take the shot. I thought that with a spot meter it would save the trip because you could stand near the camera, point the spot meter at the subject for a reading, then shoot.

  5. #5
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday
    I don't think you can go wrong with any of the suggestions above. I use the Minolta IVF, considered the industry standard. You will pay a premium for an added spot meter though.

    A spot meter isn't really that necessary for landscapes, you can work without one. Afterall, the light reading in the sun where you are standing is the same as the light reading 10 miles away in the distance! It isn't any closer to the sun

    If I were taking a picture while standing on a city street with tall buildings (like NY for example), would it be beter to use incident or spot?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday
    I don't think you can go wrong with any of the suggestions above. I use the Minolta IVF, considered the industry standard. You will pay a premium for an added spot meter though.

    A spot meter isn't really that necessary for landscapes, you can work without one. Afterall, the light reading in the sun where you are standing is the same as the light reading 10 miles away in the distance! It isn't any closer to the sun
    Even though Gary is correct, many photographers prefer a spot meter. In part this will depend on if you are shooting B&W or color negatives versus Color transparencies. Even for transparencies many shoot with either a reflected or incident averaging meter. However, if you are shooting transparencies (and you did not indicate your film choice in the original post) many transparency and even B&W and color negative shooters prefer the spot meters. In the case of the transparencies you can meter highlights and expose accordingly to maintain detail.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  7. #7
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturephoto1
    Even though Gary is correct, many photographers prefer a spot meter. In part this will depend on if you are shooting B&W or color negatives versus Color transparencies. Even for transparencies many shoot with either a reflected or incident averaging meter. However, if you are shooting transparencies (and you did not indicate your film choice in the original post) many transparency and even B&W and color negative shooters prefer the spot meters. In the case of the transparencies you can meter highlights and expose accordingly to maintain detail.

    Rich

    I forgot to mention, for medium format I usually use Porta 160 VC negative film. For 35mm, I use a variety of films, all negative. I don't do too much BW only because I have been out of touch with developing my own BW negatives for some time now. I have the stainless steel tanks with reels for both 120 and 35mm film, but I have not done any recent research on chemicals.

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    I have very good results from a few years of using a Sekonic L-358. However, it is not that small, and the spot metering attachments are nearly as big as the meter. You might want to check out the Gossen DigiSix and DigiFlash, both very compact units, and reasonalby priced.

    Ciao!

    Gordon

  9. #9

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    My main light meter is a Pentax Analog Spot Meter.

    My backup meter is :

    The Voigtlander VC Meter II, it's an Accessory Shoe meter, Small, lightweight, and easy to use
    Meter angle approximately 30 degrees
    Blue Silicon Metering Cell
    http://www.cameraquest.com/voivcmet2.htm
    Tom Hoskinson
    ______________________________

    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  10. #10
    rfshootist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snegron
    I have been thinking about purchasing a handheld meter but I am not sure which one to choose and what the major differences are. I shoot just about anything ranging from portraits to landscape, so walking up to the subject and getting a reading might not always be possible for me. I have seen the spot meters but I am not sure how they differ from the other type of meters out there. Also, I don't want to spend a small fortune either. For the prices I have seen on new multi function meters I could purchase a near mint Nikon F2A with still some juice left in its original meter! Any suggestions?
    Tho you are right with the price, but a Gossen Starlite ( about $ 600 in Germany) turned out to be for me an invest which I never had to regret.
    It has a built in 1° and 5° spotmeter, and I use it mostly to get a reliable information about the dynamic range of a frame . Metering sequentially the several relevant portions of the frame the Starlite stores all metered values and tells you quickly min, max and average and complete range in fstops..
    I consider myself still beeing at the lower end of the learning curve of getting the dynamic range of slide film perfectlcy under control, and so for me it is a useful and a really fast tool.
    It's got a built in flash meter too and a cine meter, the latter I do not use at all, so what, nowadays there is always something you do not need at all . :-))

    Bertram
    A la recherche du temps perdu: www. bersac.de

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