Light meter advice needed!
For a couple years i have been using the meter in a Canon Rebel 35mm for my medium and large format photography. I have decided to take my photography my serious and Im looking at a brand new Pentax digital spotmeter for $499 and was wondering what everyone thought about the meter? The Canon Rebel meter served me fine as a hobbyist but i want to advance in the area of exposure.
I'm sure this is going to get me castigated as a freethinking heretic - but, it won't be the first time....
Personally, I've never seen the need for a spot meter.
A good used Gossen Luna Pro SBC or similar basic handheld meter with a needle and a calculator dial is hard to beat - just be sure to get one that does both incident and reflected readings.
On the used market, I'd look for a Sekonic 308 if you just want a handheld meter like BradS is advocating - nice pocketable meter that does incident and reflected, ambient and flash metering, and gives you the readouts in easy-to-interpret Fstop-plus-graph readings with 1/10th stop precision. For a spotmeter, I'd suggest the Minolta Spotmeter M or F (depends on if you want flash metering as well (spotmeter F), or are concerned about battery availability (Spotmeter F takes an AA battery, the M takes a silver oxide battery). For a nice compromise, the Sekonic 408 has a 5 degree spot (the Minoltas are 1 degree), does ambient and flash, incident and reflected (dome up, dome down), and as a plus is weatherproof. I've owned all of the above mentioned meters, and have liked all of them (I still have the Spotmeter F and the Sekonic 408). In all cases, they're about half the price of the Pentax you're looking at. The 308 is still available new, in fact. It's a shame they killed off the 408, but I guess more people wanted the 1 degree spot metering on the higher end models like the 508.
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And you don't even need that much. All I have used for the past few yearsN with the exception of my N65, with my cameras has been an old Weston Master IV hand held light meter. I have wanted to get a spot meter for some time now but thatfirst number after the $ makes me rethink and buy more film. If you are meticulous you don't need to spend upwards of half a grand to get a mete you can use well.
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I've got a Luna pro SBC and two Pentax spotmeters, a V and the digital . Very seldom do I pick up the SBC over the spot. I shoot 120 and 4x5.
I bought a used digital on a whim, really cheap (under $125 for a really nice meter). Maybe because I've used the V analog for a lot of years, but I don't care that much for the digital dial.
If you could combine the digital readout with a dial on the side like V, it would be a perfect meter for me!
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Originally Posted by BradS
I just made a post on meters at the Large Format forum, so this is a repeat. I have a Sekonic spotmeter (Dual Spot) and a Gossen Luna Pro SBC. Both of them are excellent meters. I use the zone system (BTZS) and have gone through all of the testing, etc. However, I thought I would try the incident metering system advocated by Phil Davis in his books. It works great and I find it much faster and more accurate than my spot metering. So now I use an incident meter. I just picked up a Gossen Digisix for a good deal used (only ~$125 new) and it is a great meter. It is extremely small and light and simply measures the EV which is all I need. You can transfer the EV to the exposure dial by rotating it if you work that way also. So buy the Gossen and use the extra money for 300 sheets of film to practice on.
I use a Sekonic L308B (almost always in incident mode) and a Pentax digital spot, depending on the situation. They are both very reliable meters and I have never had any problems with either. Whether a spot meter is a worthwhile investment for you will depend on what sort of photography you do and how excited you want to get about precise metering of different elements of your scene.
Jerold - I have heard a few people say good things about the Gossen Digisix but I bought one a few years ago and hated it. Felt too cheap and plastic and I found that it used to change modes annoyingly in my pocket due to the placement of the buttons. A nice man on ebay took it off my hands. Anyway, that was just my personal experience of it...
Some Sekonics have everything in one meter, they should be in your price range !
Refelctive reading is for my digi, incedent for 6x6 upto 8x10 inch.
For the Minolta Flashmeter IV I have the 5 degree spot att aswell, but I use it seldom.
Originally Posted by iandavid
You are certainly right that this meter is no tank. It does feel like a plastic lightweight. But it is so small and light. I am inclined to keep the meter on a lanyard around my neck or in a belt pouch anyway. Try to put a Pentax spot meter in your pocket by the way! The dial also has some play in it but don't forget that it costs ~$100.