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06-04-2016, 03:27 AM   #1
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hand-held light meters

Can anyone recommend a basic one of these, either old-school (selenium-cell self-powered) but still not too hard to find, or new but accurate for incident light? I do not think my Android app is really up to snuff.

Professional grade Whiz-bang, do-everything bells-and-whistles is not being sought here.

What do people have, and what are the ups and downs they have found with what they use?

06-04-2016, 03:44 AM   #2
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I use the Sekonic L-308S and it's excellent. It's pocket-sized, completely accurate in my experience, and reasonably priced. It'll do incident and reflective metering, plus flash if you need that.

I suppose the only thing that some people might find a disadvantage is that it's shutter priority only: you set the shutter speed and it displays the correct aperture for the ISO you've chosen. But in use it only takes a moment to click through the aperture/shutter combinations for the metered EV to find one that suits you. Personally I just do it in my head.

Highly recommended.
06-04-2016, 04:41 AM   #3
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I have seen a lot of very inexpensive light meters about, but it seems they are literally lux meters - not set up for photography, and unless you know how to do an EV conversion, not much help.
06-04-2016, 04:52 AM   #4
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yes +1 for Gossen

06-04-2016, 05:11 AM   #5
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Sekonic L398a
06-04-2016, 06:24 AM   #6
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Looking about and have come across the Sekonic L208 Twinmate - simple (advantageous) and has the advantage that it will clip onto a hot or cold shoe. Anyone had experience with this one?
06-04-2016, 07:06 AM   #7
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Sekonic and Gossen both know a thing or two about exposure meters, for me I would go with Sekonic but the L308s rather than the Twinmate

One of 4 videos

IMO the L308s has a better feature set including direct LCD readout ( no needle matching) additionally offering flash metering. Personally I do not see any advantage in hot shoe mount as you are likely to want to point your meter directly at the subject or towards camera position.

AFAIK the price differential is only slightly more for the more capable L308s. I have the 758DR model
06-04-2016, 07:12 AM   #8
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I am looking at it from the POV of mounting on a Spotmatic or other M42 camera with the batteries taken out (if it even has any), as much for the convenience of carrying it together with the camera as actually taking on-camera readings. Once the camera was on a tripod, the meter would come off and be used for its intended purpose - but on the camera it would be one thing fewer to be fighting for bag or pocket space when lightly dressed in summer.

06-04-2016, 07:24 AM   #9
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I see now relating to carrying convenience. You do realise that these meters require batteries and AFAIK do not work in any mode without such?
06-04-2016, 07:59 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TonyW Quote
I see now relating to carrying convenience. You do realise that these meters require batteries and AFAIK do not work in any mode without such?
The L208 yes, but its battery is commonly and widely available. I'm well aware also, however (from looking at their own website), that Sekonic still makes a battery-free version. This, admittedly, also has its attractions. The upside of the L208 also seems to be that one can learn to use it from a very short instructional video, and I Iike the analogue approach which displays all the shutter/aperture combinations at once. Very slide rule-like.
06-04-2016, 08:14 AM   #11
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Interesting I did not know that battery free (assume Selenium) meters still produced. If considering that route check the meters low light capabilities as earlier meters could have issue in poor light.

From what you have said it seems you have found your 'ideal' in th L208. Similar meter from Gossen is the Digisix (or the Digisix 2 incl flash) if you have not already considered
GOSSEN Digisix 2
06-04-2016, 08:30 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I am looking at it from the POV of mounting on a Spotmatic or other M42 camera with the batteries taken out (if it even has any), as much for the convenience of carrying it together with the camera as actually taking on-camera readings. Once the camera was on a tripod, the meter would come off and be used for its intended purpose - but on the camera it would be one thing fewer to be fighting for bag or pocket space when lightly dressed in summer.

The little Sekonic L-208 Twinmate will work well in reflective metering mode as a hotshoe mounted alternative on a film camera with a dead/unreliable/no battery meter. But only if your eyesight is up to it. I tried one and found that I couldn't make out the tiny aperture/shutter dials without my reading glasses. That's one of the main reasons I use the L-308S: it's got an easy to read LCD display that I can see without glasses.

As TonyW says, the Gossen Digisix is also worth considering as a hotshoe mounted solution.
06-04-2016, 09:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Can anyone recommend a basic one of these, either old-school (selenium-cell self-powered) but still not too hard to find, or new but accurate for incident light? I do not think my Android app is really up to snuff.

Professional grade Whiz-bang, do-everything bells-and-whistles is not being sought here.

What do people have, and what are the ups and downs they have found with what they use?
My meter has all the bells and whistles, so I won't bother to recommend it, but even if you don't want ALL the bells and whistles, there is one bell you should care about. There are three types of hand held meters, spot meters, ambient light incident meters, and flash incident meters (and some incident meters do both flash and ambient). I'm guessing since you mentioned the Android app you are looking for an incident meter. I would recommend getting something that does flash, or flash and ambient, but stay away from meters that only measure ambient light. They're very limited in their uses, and modern multi-segment metering usually beats them for accuracy (the reason being that the meter doesn't take into account the transmission characteristics of the lens, the profile of the sensor, filter factor, plus you introduce the possibility of operator error; TTL does all that).

I own an old analog Gossen Luna Pro, and it's a great little meter, surprisingly accurate, but it only measures ambient light, so I never really use it. Be careful when purchasing Gossens because a lot of them are like that. Several people have mentioned the Sekonic 308, and it's a nice basic flash + ambient meter, but I would add to the list a used Sekonic 358. It has a lot of those bells and whistles that you don't care for, but you can find them on the used market sometimes for less than $150 . If you see that deal, snatch it up.

Last edited by maxfield_photo; 06-04-2016 at 03:44 PM.
06-04-2016, 01:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
either old-school (selenium-cell self-powered)
Follow my link below, I still use this to this very day.

Sangamo Weston Light Meter Weston Master V reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
06-04-2016, 01:17 PM   #15
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Sekonic L-398a, you can't go wrong! New $200 US (B&H) used, about $100. IT does not use batteries, so it is not as sensitive as newer models, but you never have to worry about batteries going out of style (Mercury) or leaking!

Regards,

BD
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