1950s Gossen Sixtomat operation
I have from my father an old Gossen Sixtomat meter (the plastic white/gold ones with the "blinds") but I can't figure out how to read it.
Rjr sent me a pdf of instructions from Gossen but its in german.
Can you help?
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I can explain it to you. Just ask. ;->
Joking aside, I´m gonna explain it in this forum. Ari, "lighting" isn´t exactly the right sub-forum to discuss a lightmeter. ;-)
The german manual can be found at
The blinds act as a diffusor, but the material has a tendency to yellow during time, making it useless.
Looking at the window frame, you´ll see three lines - a fixed horizontal line and two variable lines. One of them is a pointer that moves in relation to the amount of light hitting the selenium cell.
Set your film speed, point the lightmeter to the object and watch that needle pointer move, then turn the dial. The third line will start to move, you´ll have to line it en par with the point the two other lines cross each other.
Thats it, now you can read your shutter/f-stop combination from the table above.
Most of those 1950 Gossen lightmeters actually work. Despite common rumour, selenium cells don´t fail that much due to "abrasion" from incoming light but due to oxidation.
The selenium cells need to be laquered to protect them from oxidation and the quality of that film impacts the "useful life" a lightmeter has - thats probably the reason why some types like the old Westons, the classic Gossen Sixtomat and old soviet Leningrad 2 lightmeters from the late 1950s still work fine despite their age while other types fail after only a few years of usage.
An other common "point of failure" is the copper contact plate behind the selenium cell - they tend to corrode, too.
BTW, there are still few new cells available from Russia, designed for Zenit SLRs, but they should fit many classic meters and cameras. A company in England is selling new cells, too, but at prohibitive cost.
May I ask one question? Is there a special way to adjust the DIN dial? Thank you in advance.
You have to turn the knob on the side until it hits the stop, then turn it some more.
Originally Posted by robbiefritz
The discoloration of the blinds (if it happens - i have a couple that are as good as new) shouldn't be a big deal.
I particularly like the Color Finder that is on some of them. Who needs an expensive colourtemperature meter when you have such a simple thingy? Nice.
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Thank you. I understood it as that but when I tried, it seemed to not want to turn and the last thing I want to do is break it.
Strange. There is no other way to set the film speed.
But, of course, if the film speed is at one end of the scale, you can't rotate the knob, and must try the other direction (which first takes you trhough the indicator setting range, when that hits the stop the knob should turn, rotating the film speed dial).
But perhaps your meter isn't the way it once was and still should be anymore, and needs fixing?
By the way, Ari, make sure the needle is 'nulled' properly when you start using the Sixtomat.
It needs to cross the little red line on the left of the curve line window when the cell is kept dark. The little screw on the back is used to adjust the needle.