Hand Held light meters - advice?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dpaulbarrett, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. dpaulbarrett

    dpaulbarrett TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking for a simple hand-held light meter for outdoor shooting, no studio or strobes. This will be used with a Kodak Land and a Minolta Autolux. Any advice on a decent meter for not too much money -- I'll probably be buying on eBay. Any information would be appreciated; this is for a gift and I know very little about meters.

    Thanks!
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hand held meters thrive mostly in the world of old manual meterless film cameras.

    BTW, you will find out that for any lightmeter reading, you will have at least 4 or more ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings that will still give you correct exposure, but way different results, especially concerning depth of field.

    Look for Bryon Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" if this is not making much sense to you.
     
  3. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    I know pros that don't even use off camera meters...especially when they're not working with strobes or crazy off camera flash setups...
    just learn how to use yoru camera's meter, and you should be fine...
     
  4. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Which country are you in?

    The Gossen Profisix SBC (Luna Pro SBC in the USA) is one of the most sensitive light meters there is, reading down to Ev -8 at ISO 100 (that's the equivalent of 8 minutes at f/1.4 before reciprocity is taken into account - darker than moonlight). It reads in wide-angle reflective and incident modes, and will accept various attachments. They are quite plentiful, and can usually be had for around $50 to $70. They take PP3 type 9 V batteries.

    The Profisix is on the left:

    [​IMG]

    Best,
    Helen
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you really want to get serious about your light meters, check out the Gossen GO 4063 Color-Pro 3F Meter

    For the most part, if one's camera has an integreated meter, there is less of a need for an external unit unless (as mentioned), you go off camera flash.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    That's the Color-Pro 3F on the right hand side of the picture I posted above. It's not very good as a light meter because it only reads in lux (or lux seconds for flash), it isn't very sensitive, and to be honest I would recommend the Minolta Colormeter III F (or the reincarnation of it) instead, if you really want a colour meter. I have both, and recommend the Minolta.

    There is a rudimentary colour temperature metering attachment for the Profisix, but it is nowhere near as sophisticated as the 3F and III F.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. dpaulbarrett

    dpaulbarrett TPF Noob!

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    As I said, this will be used for a couple of cameras without any sort of light meter. The Luna Pro SBC (I'm in the US) seems like just what I'm looking for -- not terribly expensive, but good quality. Is it fairly easy to use? Does anyone else concur on this? I'll do some research on it and check eBay.

    Thanks!
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    It's fairly easy to use in the basic way - there are variations.

    You set the film speed, then take a reading by pressing a button. Knowing how to take a reading is the only part that isn't perfectly straightforward, but it isn't difficult either.

    The meter stores the reading, and you turn the main dial until the needle is centred. The dial now shows the shutter speed / aperture combinations that will give the correct exposure relative to the reading. It also shows you the Exposure Value (Ev or EV).

    There is a spot meter attachment ("Profi-Spot") that is quite large, and a cheaper semi-spot "Tele" attachment that has a simple viewfinder and reads over a 7½° or 15° angle.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I disagree... really disagree!!!

    In difficult lighting conditions it is easier and more accurate to use an ambient handheld light meter. This is true when the viewfinder is filled with bright hi-lights and dark shadows. This is especially true when you introduce strobes. I also found it easier when I'm in pretty even lighting conditions on the street (or snowy conditions) shooting a normal to wide focal length. Just take a meter reading, set the exposure on the camera, and focus on composition.

    In hi contrast areas when it is fairly easy to "fool" the in-camera reflective meter, we are all taught to use a grey card.... essentially turning your camera into an ambient hand held meter.

    If a spot or reflective metering is what you need, the in-camera TTL metering works just fine and is very convenient. Thus I have found higher end (and expensive) meters to be a bit over kill for me. For this reason, my Sekonic L-308 fits the bill; Compact, simple, uses AA batteries which last forever, inexpensive. Kinda reminds me of my ol'Casio watch that just lasts forever. The only things I don't like:

    * Slow to start up
    * Once you take a flash reading, you can't scroll through the equivalent exposure shutter/aperture settings. It is able to do this for ambient readings
    * I wouldn't mind some sort of memory to record (or average) readings. (But this would probably increase the price a lot).

    http://www.sekonic.com/products/products.asp?ID=3

    If you really want to go old fashioned... I REALLY like this one but make sure it is still accurate (mine is). The model number escapes me at the moment:

    [​IMG]

    One of the more easier and intuitive designs I've seen from years past... but really should just stick to the newer digital meters. It is actually pretty darn fun to take shoot with an old stuff... everyone should try it... gives you perspective on how far things have come.
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, at least I did not say "only" or "never"... lol

    I do recognize that a nice external meter can help the modern digital camera user, unfortunately you will note that 99% of users now adays avail them selves of the internal meter exclusively.

    We're getting a little off track with the internal vs external meter conversation, though.

    On a more related note, I did a search on amazon and was quite surprised at how many variants of meters are still available out there. This may be a good thing for the OP to do, at least to see the range of products available.
     
  11. Snyder

    Snyder TPF Noob!

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    I want a color temp meter, I will buy one soon.
     
  12. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I can undrestand the use of a colour temperature meter with film where you want accurate colour rendition with film not matched to the colour temperature of the light, but what is the use of a colour temperature meter with a digital camera when you can shoot RAW and set the white balance at the processing stage?
     

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