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01-10-2009, 01:46 PM   #1
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Hand Held Lightmeter

For someone like myself, who has never used (or even seen) a hand held lightmeter, could someone explain to me what are the advantages of using a hand held lightmeter as opposed to using TTL metering? Also, what would be a reasonably good h-h lightmeter to use in conjunction with my Spotmatic. Something reasonably cheap and good.
Thanks
Brian

01-10-2009, 01:53 PM   #2
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Two, maybe three:
1) You can point it exactly where you want to
2) you can use it in incident as well as reflective mode
3) they are cool

Sekonic and Gossen are the two big dogs in light meters. Though there are several others.

I always wanted a Sekonic as my parents had one way back. But as luck would have it ended up with two Gossens. (the 'good' one, SBC Luna Lux that runs on a 9v battery, was 'free' with the Voigtlander Bessa 66 I got for $25) My other Gossen is a Pilot - this is the kind that doesn't use a battery - the downside is that it's mainly usable in daylight, even normal interior lighting is a bit dim for it - but it is tiny.

I also ended up with a Vivitar cheapo meter, which works fine.
01-10-2009, 02:04 PM   #3
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I use mine mostly for night shots when the built in just doesn't work. I have a Gossen Luna Pro that I've had for over 30 years. Recently I bought one off another member here just to get the spot attachment for mine his had for mine. Therefore I have two and would be willing to sell one if you are interested.
01-10-2009, 03:47 PM   #4
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As Nesster says you can take incident readings i.e. light falling on the subject as apposed to light being reflected off the subject.

For example; good for Bride and Groom shots, where one is in white, the other in black, camera trys to make both 18% grey.

01-10-2009, 06:22 PM   #5
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I only use mine for non-metered cameras. Otherwise I find it kind of annoying, even if it is more accurate...
01-10-2009, 06:29 PM   #6
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Include me with Finn. I have enough non-metered cameras that it was worthwhile to get a handheld meter to use with them. Come to think of it....I bought the meter after the first non-metered camera and then used the expense of the meter as an excuse to buy more non-metered cameras.

Anyway, I wanted something small, easy to use, and easy to keep up with. I went for the Sekonic L-208. It is easily pocketable, use involves merely pointing and pressing a single button, and it comes with a hotshoe adapter as standard equipment. It also does reflected and incident readings. I am well satisfied with it.
01-10-2009, 06:33 PM   #7
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K10D and HH Lightmemters

I have a Sekonic L398 Studio Deluxe II incident meter (was once the top-of-line analog light meter) I got on ebay for <$50 and a tiny Sekonic L-98 reflective meter I got for free in a camera bag at a garage sale.

I have just started to use them with manual lenses on my K10D because the exposure compensation changes are so dependent on individual lenses and apertures.

ebay prices for analog light meters are amazingly low, given what they traded for just three years ago.

Last edited by monochrome; 01-11-2009 at 06:36 AM.
01-11-2009, 05:48 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the helpful replies and advice. I hadn't figured on light meters being annoying to use. I am glad to hear this before rather than afterwards! Next March I will be abroad for four months and I was planning on documenting my time away by using slide film. I thought a meter might be more accurate for the exactitude required by slide film. Now the thought is emerging that I should get another Takumar lens instead! Tom S I will hold out on that offer for a little while, if you don't mind, until I learn more about light meters and research some of the meters advised and mentioned in this thread.

01-11-2009, 06:39 AM   #9
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Reduce the number of things you have to monkey with and worry about while travelling. If slide film means hauling around an extra piece of gear and adding an extra step to picture taking, then I believe I would use negative film instead. Have more memories of the places you visited and fewer memories of assing around with meters.
01-11-2009, 07:38 AM   #10
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Thanks Mike. There is no doubt there is plenty of humour and good practical advice in this group! I think you hit the nail on the head. I will travel light. Very light. Thanks again.
Brian
01-11-2009, 08:15 AM   #11
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I just purchased a Sekonic Studio Deluxe L-28c2. neat little guy. I haven't used it enough to be annoyed with them like Mike is.
01-11-2009, 08:22 AM   #12
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As Mike said, I think negative film is the way to go. If you are not adverse to on-screen slide shows, you can usually get a CD with the exposures on it at nominal charge from most photodevelopers.
01-11-2009, 10:29 AM   #13
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I do also like hand meters just for the purpose of being discreet out there: it's good in a lot of circumstances to have a sense of the light before anyone sees a camera.
01-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #14
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Get a digital light meter, no moving parts and calibration issues.
Those by Minolta, Kenko or Sekonic are good and robust. Have been a long time user of Minolta meters and I recommend them.

But before you buy one, best to know the differences between incident and reflected light metering. If you are on a tight budget, use a DSLR's meter to assess exposure as you have the benefit of the LCD to check.
01-11-2009, 02:32 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Get a digital light meter, no moving parts and calibration issues.
I second that. I use my grandfather's old Gossen Luna-pro and it is kind of like operating a slide rule to get a reading...
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