Small reliable hand-held light meters: options

Discussion in 'Film Camera Forum' started by stillshunter, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    Talking hand-held meters, any recommendations on a decent (but cheap :blush:) small meter? - must be small as I intend taking it for walks even without the camera to train my eye to better read light :wink:. So far, new, the Sekonic L-208 seems a nice candidate - offering both ambient and reflective readings. But times being as they are, be very keen to know of any other used models that are worth keeping an eye out for. Again, small and reliable is the key for me.
     
  2. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    If you do not mind I would like to correct the meter terms, what you want is a small ambient light meter that reads both incident and reflected light, the Sekonic looks cool but I went with GOSSEN Digisix instead for my new Nikon SP, it is very small, can be mounted on the camera like the Sekonic, but I just like that the incident dome is a little larger. One tends to use the incident reading more with a handheld meter
     
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  3. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Real Name:
    Mark
    Ambient light meter - got it Bob :blush:

    Here I was tossing up between the Sekonic L-208 and the Gossen Digi-Six, but opted for the former as the reviews appeared more favourable, and now you've gone a thrown a spanner in the works :wink: They're about the same price here so....I'll keep looking and reading - unfortunately I've not the option to try any and have to buy on spec and review.

    Then again there are also a few enticing used old models on the market at present including a few Weston Master II, Gossen Sixtino and GE PR-1. Not sure if they'd still be as accurate but for the price point, and build quality they each seem pretty compelling. So I'm considering the low-end new as a back-up plan if buying used doesn't work out or becomes too confusing.

    Any particular old models to seek out or avoid?
     
  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    I don't know if the light meter apps for smartphones any good, but if so they sound like a preferable alternative to buying/carrying a light meter.
     
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  5. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    I think those two are pretty interchangeable, the Sekonic looks to be maybe a little more rugged; I just like a larger dome. Either would be fine, they have both been making light meters for a long time. They are a lot older meters for sale on ebay, most though will generally be bigger than these two. I have used Minolta meters for years, but when Minolta went belly up there went their meters, if you hunt down any of them, the ones with digital displays should be ok. Most of the simpler Gossen (like the lunapro models) and Sekonics would be fine as well, but if you get a battery powered one, check that it uses a battery you can still get and has clean contacts. Do not get nob battery powered ones that are very old, many times the selenium cells might be dying. Other than that the only other thing that can really go wrong with them is dropping one.
     
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  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Hey, that "yous" is what we grammatically challenged Philly-delphians call each other - it doesn't mean the same as "USE"... :biggrin:

    Man, this discussion takes me back just a few years. I haven't shot with a camera that didn't have a good internal light meter in a VERY long time (or used the types of separate lighting setups that might otherwise require an external??) - since the earliest days of my photography life really, and I was very young then. I remember having a hand-held meter from my Dad as a kid and I think then getting a better one. And I'm glad I learned to use it at the time. But the idea of using one again sounds sort of like adding up a huge column of numbers with paper and pencil, but without using a spreadsheet (or at least calculator). I've done it way more than often enough to not have any desire to do it again. But good on you to want to train your eye that well. And if you're going back to shooting with meter-less film cameras, it sounds like a very good idea...

    -Ray
     
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  7. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    Sometimes I think with all these typos I make, that I am keyboard dyslectic
     
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  8. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Real Name:
    Bill Palmer
    Let me put in a vote for Sunny-16. I have a Digisix, a fine meter... Boxed and unused for the past couple of years. Equally, I have two meterless cameras a Leica II and an M2 - which I always use "unplugged" - a mixture of Sunny-16, film latitude and applied experience. I don't remember the last time I had an un-usable exposure. It is quick and liberating to work in this way, I find, and the very best way to train your eye.
     
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  9. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SoCal
    Real Name:
    Bob
    I am as good as any at guessing exposure, and sunny 16 is a great guide to follow (for those unfamiliar with it, it is basically average day, average scene, sun behind you, set the camera aperture at F16, shutter speed at the same value as the ISO), all that is great and if you shoot B&W the film is very forgiving. But in the end you will have more consistent and better exposures if you learn how to use a light meter. One does not need to meter every scene, but your mind can easily misinterpret changes in light values, it adjusts our perception of the light level and color. There are many times when it seems just as bright in an indoor setting where in fact it could be 6 stops darker than outside. The tools are there to help.
     
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