Light meter questions
I have a couple of vintage cameras that have no metering. I don't want to keep carrying a DSLR to provide my metering, so I was thinking about picking up a vintage (in keeping with my 50s era cameras) meter. I see Weston, Goshen, GE, Setronic, on e-bay with prices ranging from $2 to $500. In a lot of cases shipping costs exceed product cost. First question, are there any brands or models to avoid? I guess whether the device works is just caveat emptor regardless of the assertions of the seller. Any advice and opinion will be greatly appreciated.
If you shoot black & white you can basically do without light meter when you are outside.
If you still need a light meter, I suggest the following:
SBC (silicon blue cell);
Incident and reflected metering;
Modern, currently available battery;
Some of the lightmeters have an analogue reading (a needle) some have a digital display. Both solutions have pros and cons and the choice is personal. Digital display can be better if you are longsighted, they are probably more robust, they can memorize several readings and show them on the display easily, they can show subject brightness range. Needles typically show directly a series of aperture/exposure couple so they can be faster in real-life use.
I would avoid the very cheap Gossen Sixtino (selenium) as they badly fail in incident light metering. I also would avoid CdS based light meters.
That said, anything branded Minolta or Gossen (with the exception of the Sixtino) is certainly very good, and many other light meters are vedy good as well.
If I were you I would not care about the "vintage look". That doesn't mean that you cannot find a perfectly viable and functional vintage light meter, though. But I wouldn't restrict my choice to those.
I'd look at the Weston series like the Weston iii, iv and v meters.
But I particularly like the Weston V, meter and use mine regularly.
As far as the Sixtino, I've had no real issues. Mine is about 1/3 stop off other meters. though. For average readings, I use the Gossen Sixtomat, which is a nice little meter. It has a screen for incident and does reflected. The one I have I picked up at a camera store in Regensburg for 20 Euros, and it even had a long gold chain.
Another good meter for spot metering is the SEI Exposure Photometer, but they run extremely high in price, as they measure down to 1/2 degree and were mentioned by Ansel Adams.
For the most part, a Sixtomat or Weston should be great!
The majority of the vintage meters you are looking at use selenium for the metering element. These decay over time and either don't work or provide non-linear readings. This is a case where getting a newer meter makes the most sense. The Sekonic L-398A is one meter I can think of that has a 'retro' look while using a contemporary meter element. And it will be limited in low-light situations.
Another is the L-208, which I often use very happily.
Originally Posted by Dan Daniel
I use a Zeiss Ikon Ikophot from the 1960s and a Leningrad from the 1970s and both are fine despite their age. Neither needs a battery and both agree with my modern SLRs. If you buy a 1950s light meter, beware that the ASA (aka ISO) scale changed drastically in the mid/late 1950s.
I paid around £5.00 for each - certainly less than £10.00 including postage.
While I would certainly use a Vintage camera circa 50's I don't want to use any meter of the same vintage. What I suggest you to do is to buy a modern meter and then keep it in your pocket or something and shoot most of your shot without the meter. Get out the meter only in tough situation. Also, arriving at a scene/area you could take a few readings that would then help you in selecting the right exposure without the meter later on.
Perhaps not appropriate for APUG but I got an app for my iphone called Pocket Light Meter from NuWaste. Actually I have two Pentax spot meters. an UltraPro and a Luna Pro. When away from home I always consider taking a spare just in case. The app is quite accurate and you can set the ISO and either the f-stop or shutter speed and it will show either. By touching the spot on the screen it will read that area but I don't know how many degrees it reads. It was either 99cents or a $1.99.
another vote for sekonic L-208. It's always in my pocket even if I'm not carrying a camera, it's very light and small. And above all you can buy it new for about 60 GBP.