fwiw, if you choose to buy a meter you need to look into (a spot meter usually requires this) the one distinct advantage of a digital model is that the ev will be easy to read in low light whereas the analog needle may be very difficult to see in that circumstance.

though the 'zone system' can seem enormously intimidating in its worst and most densitometric moments, it's really just a way of understanding how the film will record the various tonalities of the scene. you can get a great deal out of this method of visualizing without ever having to run a test or calibrate a thing...though such efforts will obviously be worth it in obtaining the utmost precision....by thinking this way about exposure.