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#1 Dan Katz

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 04:06 PM

Hi I am desiding which light meter to buy. I have narrowed it down to a few. Please tell me which one of these you most dislike and why?

Minolta IVF/VF (This is the least expensive out of all of these but also has the least features).

Sekonic L508/L608/L558 Cine Meters (These have the most features, and is the only one to have an option for the meter to automatically calculate shutter angle changes. But I hear that these have the lowest light sensitivity and that the spot meters on them are really not that great).

Gossen Digipro F (On this I hear that the globe is small and that the Gossens are made more for flash photography).

Spectra IV-A Digital (This is supposed to be the most advanced light meter with the highest sensitivity to light. Also this meter has won the academy award for technical achievement and has a really amazing heritage for putting out amazing products. The style however is a bit out-dated).

Thanks,
Daniel Katz
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#2 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 06:17 PM

I changed twice the battery of the Sekonic just because I thought it was giving a wrong reading because I was measuring an incident light whilst the meter was in the "spotmeter" position.... :angry:

When are Minolta or Pentax going to manufacture spotmeters again ? :(

I like much better having two seperated meters, one spotmeter, one for incident reading.

I then would say Spectra and Minolta are on the top of the list
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#3 oscar jimenez

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 02:12 PM

I do agree with that, I didnt beliieve in "combo" meters, now I just got used to them, I love my sekonic
But still like more Pentax V analog/digital spotmeter, they last a lifetime.
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#4 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 05:08 PM

Hi,
I have the spectra incident meter and the minolta spotmeter, I think these two meters are probably the most reliable, and well respected meters around, and have always given me very good resluts. I never used to like the idea of having a combo. meter. Partly because of the fact that if you have two completely independent meters, if one starts to act up you always have another to varify the malfunction with. However my friend recently got a combo meter and it seems excellent, I played around with it and really did think it was a good meter, one thing I really liked that drives me crazy about the Spectra, is that on my friend's combo meter you don't have to replace the diffuser dome with a flat disk you can just rotate a ring around the disk and it retracts into the meter giving you much the same effect as the flat disk. The spectra is fiddly and time consuming (when you are under the gun) to switch the diffuser disk. Having said that I still consider my combination to be the best and I really love my meters, but second to those I would suggest getting the combo. meter my friend has: I will get the name and add it later.
Cheers.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 09:57 PM

As long as it works, I'm not sure it matters too much, although I don't want a meter that is too bulky.

I used a Minolta Auto Meter III for a decade, starting in film school, and I only decided to buy a new meter this year because it seemed like a good idea to own a back-up. So I got the Spectra IV-A and it works fine too, so now I use that. Plus it goes below 10 ASA, unlike the Minolta, which is useful outdoors.

I looked into the combo meter but since I already own a Minolta digital spot meter, and it seemed a little bulkier than the Spectra IV-A, and it was much more expensive, I decided against it. But I suppose if I didn't own a spot meter already, I'd consider it. It works too.

Edited by David Mullen, 12 November 2005 - 09:59 PM.

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#6 Charles Haine

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 12:50 PM

What's interesting about this post is that pretty much everyone I know has a combo meter. It must be a generation thing, as I just got out of USC recently.

I've occaisionally left it in the wrong setting and gotten strange readings, but after awhile you get very habitual about making sure you are in incident and spot. Additionally, I constantly switch back and forth between flat and globe mode.

I have a 508, which doesn't do shutter-angle, but I tend to do all of those compensations with my ASA anyway, and the 508cine needs a special battery (the 508 takes a Double A), and to be honest the convenience of not having to keep two special spare batteries on hand at all times is worth it for me.

I'm occaisionally jealous that friends meters (558s and 608s) will take readings down to a .5, whereas to read under a 1 i have to ramp up to 6400 ASA, take a reading, and do the math in my head to place that where it would be at whatever ASA I am exposing. So, I would consider something newer than the 508, but I wouldn't worry about Shutter-Angle.

Also, I bought mine used for $250, which seems to be the going rate for a used combo, which isn't that much more than a new Spectra IV.

I take my meter to George at QLM every year or so (before any big gig, usually), and it's generally drifted a bit, with the spot drifitng one way and the incident the other, seldom more than a 1/3 of a stop. I have to admit to being slightly clumsy and dropping it occaisionally, which is why I think it drifts. It's also why I don't AC.

chuck haine
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 06:16 PM

I'm really a fan of having separate spot and incident meters. It's not that you can accidentally leave it on spot and take an incident reading, etc. It's reliability. Should your batteries go out and you don't ahve spares, or should it break, you have a totally different meter to fall back on. Personally, I like the minoltas and the spectra from your list, paired with a minolta digital spot meter.
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#8 Dan Katz

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 01:45 PM

The spectra seems like the best but I heard that the best meter ever made for cinematographers was teh Cinemeter II which was a digital meter specifically designed only for cinematography use. Does anyone know if this meter is better than the Spectra IV and where it can be bought used since it is discontinued?

Thanks!
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 02:27 PM

I'm not sure why you need the "best" meter as opposed to one that works, is reliable, not too large, and affordable by you. Most of us get by with any number of meters. I could shoot a whole feature with a classic analog Spectra and the metal slides. Don't overthink this one.

My impression of the Cinemeter -- just from other people's descriptions -- was that it was somewhat bulky compared to a Minolta or Spectra IV-A. You want something that you don't mind hanging off of your belt all day long...
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#10 Chris Keth

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 04:03 PM

I'm not sure why you need the "best" meter as opposed to one that works, is reliable, not too large, and affordable by you. Most of us get by with any number of meters. I could shoot a whole feature with a classic analog Spectra and the metal slides. Don't overthink this one.

My impression of the Cinemeter -- just from other people's descriptions -- was that it was somewhat bulky compared to a Minolta or Spectra IV-A. You want something that you don't mind hanging off of your belt all day long...



Bingo. As long as you know how to read your meter in any and every situation, you don't need something expensive. My favorite incident meter, as a matter of fact, is an old Spectra analog meter. It's so old that the slides go down to EI 32 and only up to 400. The thing works like a champ, I'd love to get slides made for a few higher EI ratings to match modern films.
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#11 Franco Capella

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 09:44 PM

Jumping in on this discussion as I too am looking into buying a light meter, what are your thoughts on the Sekonic L-398M. I've been using one on the past few shorts, and I'm looking into purchasing my own. I don't want to get a light meter that's too expensive, I'm just on the fence on if I should go for a Digital Meter rather then an Analog Meter.
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#12 Patrick Neary

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 12:22 PM

I have a Minolta-III and a Sekonic 398, and I almost never use the minolta. I got a set of direct-reading slides for the Sekonic, and I just really like the size and simplicity of it.
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Visual Products

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