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08-16-2009, 09:12 AM   #1
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Hand held spot meters?

OK, I finally gave into the fact that my eyes aren't getting any younger (or even staying the same) and got a katzeye split focusing screen. It works great. There is only one unfortunate side effect. I got the optibrite treatment (I figured I needed all the help I could get) and it is playing havoc with my spot metering. Both weighted center and matrix are fine, but the spot considerably underexposes at wider apertures (over 2 fstops) and over exposes the same 2 fstops on the narrower apertures. I don't use spot metering all that often, so I thought that getting a handheld spot meter would work for those times I need it. My problem is that I know bupkiss about spot meters. I know they exist, and I know they are fairly expensive (most I saw at KEH were $200+) That is the sum total of my knowledge. Can anyone point me to someplace where I can read up about them? Does anybody have any recommendations? Since it will be a little used piece of gear, I'd prefer getting it second hand.

NaCl(enquiring minds want to know)H2O

08-16-2009, 09:36 AM   #2
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I really like the Pentax digital spotmeter. The one I have is Zone VI calibrated, so it's colour blind as well (this is a good thing with meters)
08-16-2009, 09:46 AM   #3
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I'm like you, I haven't been able to justify the cost for the amount of times I need to use one.
08-16-2009, 07:36 PM   #4
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NaCl: I have a Pentax digital spotmeter, too. I used to use it frequently, but not so much now. They are not that difficult to use. Just point the spot at a tone and on mine I pull the trigger and it gives me a digital display in EV. Then on the rings around the lens you set your ISO and turn the ring until the indicator equals the value you obtained. Then you read the dial which gives you the various shutter speed and associated f stops for that particular EV and ISO. If you spot off a grey card or a like neutral grey subjectand your subject is in the same light then you have your settings. Of course, if you already understand the zone system then you can make adjustments for tones that are either brighter or darker by 1 or 2 or more stops. It is real nice. That said, I am trying to clean house and I am thinking of putting it up on the marketplace. Send me a pm if you are interested.

08-24-2009, 08:31 AM   #5
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I've found that today the value of handheld meters is not so much for a specific image, but in your general habits and awareness of lighting even when you're not shooting.


From an earlier post on spot meters:

"A Pentax Spot Meter is one of those camera gadgets I always wanted when I couldn't afford one. Besides, I had Spotmatics, right? Don't need one of these silly things today either, right.

So of course I found an older analog meter at a bargain price (<$100) and find I use it almost as much as a camera. Just having this in the bag seems to make one THINK about exposure differently. You start quessing at exposures in situations when you have no intention of taking pictures and then you just have to verify your quess with the meter when you wouldn't bother raising a camera.

That practice has begun to take me back to proficiency in the basics of exposure, pre-set camera functions and manual mode shooting again.

If you've ever thought you might like to have one of these and you can afford it, get one. Not as sexy, but a lot more useful than a standby body. You won't regret it.

[ Besides, it's fun when wise-@ss "pro-brand camera users" try to explain that you don't need to do that any more, there's a meter in your camera -- here, let me show you how to use it, grandpa -- and, see, you don't need to use MANUAL mode any more either -- uhhh, I think your auto-focus is broken though -- and what're all these numbers on the lens for? ] "


I've also acquired a few of the classic handheld meters like the Gossen Luna Pro and Pilot series which provide the opportunity to re-learn 'incident' rather than 'reflected' light exposure techniques.

Note: some older meters were designed to use mercury batteries which are no longer available but there are modern zinc-air solutions that suffice with a slight compensation adjustment keeping in mind that exposure is a relative thing requiring judgement anyway.

[ What? You'd sell a Luna Pro for $10 'cause it's too much trouble to find batteries? I'll take it! ]


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