THE ONLY METER I WOULD SUGGEST YOU GETTING IS THE "Pocket Spot" by Meter Light company. It is the worlds smallest and best light meter, and will run you the same as all those other meters in cost. go too www.meteredlight.com and take a look.
I love mine!
Pentax Analog 1 degree spot meter in $50 range. Watch for broken meter glass and battery leakage (open battery compartment & look) which may have ruined the meter movement.
Got it, love it, shoot by it. It was 250 new... the nice/not so nice thing about this meter is that it will do Spot metering, although it's not a 500$ meter. You just have to buy a 150$ attatchment. Sooo.... 400$, new.. I'm sure you can find one used somewhere on the net. I like that I didnt pay half a mil for the thing, and still can use reflected, incident, and spot metering as needed. There are 10, 5 & 1 degree spot attatchments for this thing (I believe) I've got the 1deg and use it almost exclusively. It comes in great for speed tests and anywhere you need fine control over tonality.
I use old Soligor 1 degree spot meter, obviously made under Pentax license... costed me about $60 used, but I had to re-calibrate it by myself, though. It works fine but EV2 is a lower limit. I use it just to measure a contrast range of my scenes, or to measure the deepest shadows I want to keep some details in - I've never been crazy about ZS. In the night city scenes I usually take out my spotmeter, measure lights (eh, EV7 or 8), shadows (damn, no reading at all), then I spit on the ground, set EV0 and shoot it with Schwarzschild correction - it always works like magic I thing spitting is the most important part of it all
I bought my Pentax 1 degree spot 16yrs ago. Still accurate. I've used it for just about every shot I've taken, all manual cameras.
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I sold my spot meter off this last year from what i remember and now just use a handheld incident and reflective meter. I can't say it's done my photography any harm as I always seem to get good results. The spot meter just seemed to give me too many options; Sort of like Photoshop if you know what I mean. I've thought about buying another, but an incident handheld meter is just so much more useful, especially for flash and 4x5 portraits. You might want to watch for a incident meter that takes a spot attachment, or you can get the higher priced combo's.
Meters get hashed over frequently, and usually each person responding recommends the meter they use. Funniest thing.
My suggestion is to first give the types of meters a bit more in-depth thought - mostly in relation to how they meter (reflected vs. incident), what that tells you, and how the different styles match your typical shooting situations. Then add a few flash-capability, low light, and battery sprinkles - again, based on what you do.
After having "upgraded" meters a half-dozen times over the years (Westons, Gossens, Pentax spot, etc.), I finally settled on a Sekonic L-508 that does just about everything - ambient/flash, reflected/incident, zoom spot, EV, etc. The later models add other features, such as radio-slave capability, etc. Having everything in one meter is really convenient.
Perhaps the coolest pistol-grip spot meter I've used, and still do on occasion, is the (unfortunately, discontinued) Sekonic L-778. Like the later all-in-one Sekonic meters, it does multiple readings with memory, and displays the results (up to 3) on the screen with little dots in the display. The L-778, however, also has 3 little triangles that can be adjusted as to spread (e.g. shadow, mid-tone, highlight or equivalent Zones), and can be moved in unison to pick the optimal average from the 3 readings. The L-778 was quite expensive when new, but you may be able to find one on the used market.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
Ryan, you mention that you are entering LF photography, have you thought of the Gosson Profisix?
It's an old analogue type with a swinging needle, very easy to read and with the Spot meter attachment will do 1º, 5º & 10º readings.
Then by picking up the Fibre optic attachment, you are able to do TTL readings off the groundglass, trust me when I say it can give you very accurate readings that way. It also allows you to work out just how much fall off is happening, as you get to the edge of the lens covering power.
As a bonus it also has another 7 or so attachments that can make the meter do repro flash work, enlarging meter, flat copy meter etc, etc,.
When I was short of cash and needed a meter to run my cameras, I looked long and hard before settling on this, value for money system meter.
I use a Soligor Digital Spot that I bought used for $76. It's a decent meter, but I'll eventually get Pentax Digital Spot.
Several folks have advised you to get an incident meter. They are good for some uses, but not for others. I wouldn't use an incident meter for shhoting transparencies because I need to place the highlights correctly (overexposure with slide film is a disaster). And I need a spot for B&W when I'm using the Zone System.
Buy a spot meter if you think you might learn to use zones. It really is simple - expose for the shadows and alter development time to bring the highlights to the desired level. Lot's of control.
I second this recommendation. I'm a photo student at the local college and I have had many instructors and fellow student to chew over this problem with. After MUCH deliberation I ended up with the Sekonic L508- but because I wanted the radio transmitter I traded to the L558 (same meter with the transmitter built in) I could have just bought the trans and added it but just got a new meter at student prices. I digress...
Originally Posted by rbarker
I really liked the Pentax spot but wanted incident metering as well. The Sekonic 558 has everything I want/need and more is in a meter!! It has options I have only dreamed of using and some I may never figure out- ha ha! I am very confident that unless it gets broken, lost or stolen it will serve me for decades to come. From amateur to professional shooting.
Now that having been said I do want to get on of them there Pocket Spots!!!
I do attempt to use zone system and I would like to have a small accurate spot meter to carry around with me- always, this however would be purely a luxury!
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