Ah, I didn't catch where you recanted, fair enough.
Originally Posted by henry finley
If a calibrated strip could be had for $17 it is a good value. At least you would know if you need to calibrate.
I think I found the picture of your auction. You may have spent a little more than I would have paid, but the difference wouldn't buy the family a dinner at McDonalds so don't sweat it. You can get your money's worth from it. If the bulb burns out, go to the hardware store and get a 12v 50w halogen. It's good enough.
In some ways your unit is different than my Macbeth TR-524, where you have an analog meter needle and I have a digital LED readout. My unit has a color turret and a tethered reflective meter on the side, while yours is designed for only black and white transmission. Otherwise they are similar "age".
Despite its age, my unit operates reasonably well and gives me useful readings. I think they used high quality parts. But, as henry finley says I do not expect "laboratory grade" readings.
The photoreceptor is trustworthy. I think it's a "photo-emission" tube type like used in early drum scanners. Cost a fortune new but way better than a CdS cell.
Look under the aperture insert, is there just a mirror there, or does it have a "turret" with two window screens above the mirror? If so, make sure the screen number (2 or 3) matches the aperture plate (looks like 2mm)...
It takes a little practice to read the needle (line up your eye so the needle reflection is behind the needle)... And maybe the gradation makes it hard to get resolution closer than 0.02 density... But really, if you get to work with it, it doesn't really matter if your readings are off a lot. Even if they are off by 0.05, you can still tell how contrasty your negatives are.