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08-09-2013, 09:03 PM   #1
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hand held light meters?

I have several old range finder cameras both of which do not have working light meters, was wondering if anyone knows of a hand held meter which could assist in camera settings. hopefully not too expensive or large-
Many thanks-

08-10-2013, 02:50 AM   #2
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How accurate do you need, and how much is the budget?

You can download light meter applications for iphones and android phones, I've used one of the android ones and found it to be pretty accurate in normal lighting.

In dimly lit indoor situations it fell quite short though.

Another option is to practice the Sunny16 rules, after a few rolls you should be able to pick settings pretty well by eye. (just print an exposure table and rbing it with you)
that's how I shoot with my Zorki rangefinder (no metering)
08-10-2013, 06:24 AM   #3
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... or simply do a self test, daily -- guesstimate the exposure, and then check vs. something with a meter. You get very good very quickly that way.

Vintage meters are low cost and work well. They come in two varieties -- the selenium meters require no batteries, but many start having difficulties measuring light in normal indoor lighting. Everything else requires a battery; the main trick here is to research the specific model to see if the battery is still available (i.e. who needs a mercury battery problem when there are plenty of models that don't have that issue)... Gossen and Sekonic are the two big brands, and often the pricing reflects this. Many of the lesser brands work just fine, however - Vivitar etc are good cheap bets.
08-14-2013, 09:54 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
You can download light meter applications for iphones and android phones, I've used one of the android ones and found it to be pretty accurate in normal lighting.
I have tried several on my Andriod phone and have found them to lack both accuracy and precision. The problem is that they don't actually measure light. What they do is glean the EXIF data from a test exposure from the phone's camera.

As Jussi suggested, a vintage meter might be a good option. A couple of things to consider:
  • The Butkus site has manuals for just about any meter ever made and the manuals usually have the specifications and battery requirements (Light Meter Manuals)
  • Selenium meters don't need batteries, but are hard to use in low light (sluggish and poor sensitivity)
  • CdS meters have great sensitivity, but most were made to use no longer legal mercury button-cell batteries. Most can be adapted to use modern silver cells or hearing aid batteries.
  • Silicon (SPD) meters have great sensitivity, are very responsive, and generally use commonly available batteries.
  • It is good to be able to make both incident and reflective metering
  • Sensitivity is important. The better meters have sensitivity many times that of the average SLR.
  • Some meters are large, others are tiny, and it is hard to tell from photos.
I have two hand-held meters. The Gossen Luna-Lux is sensitive and easy to use, but is larger than my Olympus XA camera! (LINK) (about $50 USD used). I also have a Sekonic L-208 Twin Mate...tiny and accurate, but not as sensitive as the Gossen. It is also sort of cheap feeling in the hand ($125 new). You can also find various Sears, Vivitar, and other brands for very cheap. That is where the manuals on the Butkus site come in.

The nice thing is that a hand-held meter can be used with any camera that supports manual exposure mode and allows greater flexibility than is available with any in-camera meter.


Last edited by stevebrot; 08-14-2013 at 10:02 PM.

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