Exposure Meter Sticker Shock - Do Analog Meters Do The Job?
The last time I bought an exposure meter was in high school, shooting with my trusty Minolta SRT 101B.
Last week I strolled into a downtown camera store, hoping to drop $50-60 on an exposure meter, only to be told that the models they had available were $600 and $900, respectively.
Huh? Since when do exposure meters cost more than camera bodies?
I then saw loads of analog exposure meters on ebay. Are these still good enough?
I actually prefer my old beater analog Pentax spot meter to my new fancy Minolta for low light situations. If all things are equal and weight is not an issue I would go with the analog Pentax everytime.
Hi, Ive got a Weston III (£5 on ebay plus £5 for a difuser at a photo jumble) and recently aquired a calcuflash flashmeter for less than £10. Both are accurate to within 1/3 of a stop vs a Canon SLR meter.
However you can get a good basic exposure meter for less than $600 new
for exampl http://www.sekonic.com/products/products.asp?ID=2 sells for about £60 in the UK
while the digisix (http://www.gossen-photo.de/english/foto_produkte.html) is a similar price - though not a meter I liked when I tried it out, you may have a different view.
Hope this helps CJB
Well, given that I've just bought a mint analogue Pentax Spotmeter V on ebay, I certainly hope so!
The destination is important, but so is the journey
Eric prefers his analog Pentax spot meters. Others of us prefer the digital version of the Pentax Spot or the Digital Soligor Digi Spot II. If you want a spot meter any of these are very good (I like the .1 ev reading capabilities of the Soligor). You can find the Soligor on eBay for very good prices and the analog and digital version from Adorama.
If you want an analog meter, though think in terms of what you want to use the meter for and the kind of meter- reflected light, reflected light spot, or incident. Others can provide you with info for specific meters.
But, if you want those whiz kid do everything meters you can spend the big $$$ you question. Personally, I do not think they are necessary and I shoot almost entirely transparencies relying almost always on my Zone VI modified Soligor Digi Spot II.
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For the most part I use cheap analog meters picked up for $20 or less off eBay. The only time I feel the need for a digital meter is when the light is dim enough for me to have trouble reading the print on the scale. I picked up an old Sekonic for that for less than $100. If I need something like a spot meter, I either put a long lens on an SLR, or carry my Sverdlovsk, which I got free as consideration for late shipping with a camera purchase from a Ukranian.
Check with the online stores such as B&H and Adorama. There are two analog Sekonic meters, the L-208 and the L-188, which sell for under $100.
My trusty ol' Pentax analog spot meter worked just fine "back then." It still works fine now. The physics of light hasn't changed all that much. :-)
I suppose if you need (want?) all the bells and whistles, one of the newer high-speed, low-drag digital meters would be the way to go. They can measure combinatons of ambient light and multiple flashes and they'll add up flash pops and... well, I think they're pretty amazing. But I shoot mainly B&W with existing light, so the spot meter gives me everything I need.
BTW, my other meter is an old Weston II which also still works fine.
I liked my analog Pentax spot meter, but now get by well enough with selenium cell Weston, GE, and Norwood meters. Remember, Edward Weston never used a digital meter.
After sitting on my Gossen meter and crushing it, I ended up buying a Sekonic L-358. That was a few years ago, but the price on this meter is still reasonable. If you prefer a more dial type meter, Sekonic is still making the L-398A, which does not need batteries:
If it is spot meters you want, then many of those can cost more new. There is an option to add a spot metering attachment to the L-358, though it is nearly as big as the meter.
If you want a compact meter, Gossen has some nice choices in the DigiSix and DigiFlash. Both can be fit onto a camera hot shoe or accessory shoe mount.
You can also consider buying used. The really old Selenium meters sometimes go off their readings, though if you find a good deal on a newer item you should be okay. Newer battery type meters used, from either Gossen or Sekonic, can often be serviced or calibrated by the manufacturer. I am not sure if Minolta or Pentax meters are still being serviced by those companies, since I am less familiar with those products; perhaps someone else can be of more help there.