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#1 Nick Norton

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 06:09 PM

I am currently attempting to understand light via a super 8 canon 1014xls.

I know a professional light meter is a necesitty, however i am not sure which one i need.

I've been looking at the Spectra IV, however i feel like i should also have a spot meter to understand different values within the frame.

Also, i shoot 35mm photography and wanted to make sure my meter could read shutter speads as well as fps.



Does anyone have any advice on a light meter that would serve my needs?

Thanks-

Nicholas

(P.S. I was thinking of getting the Spectra IV, and then a seperate spot meter. money is an issue, so maybe a used one from ebay? eh?)
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#2 Andrew Koch

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 11:03 PM

I currently own the Spectra IVA as my incident meter and the Minolta Spotmeter F as my spot meter. Personally I find both of them to be phenomenal meters.

The Spectra has a nice large disc and dome. Whats nice about it is you can switch between footcandles, stops and even lux very easily. It does not have a whole lot of bells and whistles, such as filter compensation buttons, but I find these unnecessary. All you have to do is adjust the ISO to compensate. I actually like the simplicity of this meter. It does what you need and does it well, which is more than enough for me. My only minor complaint is that it is not a physically attractive meter. It is boxy and looks like a toy making it awkward to hold at times, but I think this does not matter if it gets the job done.

The Spotmeter F is amazing. It fits well in the hand and is very easy to use. There are a couple of drawbacks. The most major is that they don't make it anymore. You would have to hunt one down on ebay. It also does not do footlamberts. I have done just fine without footlamberts, but if this is something that is important to you, then maybe you might want to find a meter that does.

I have heard both sides of the argument as to what is better, a combo meter or two separate meters. People I greatly respect are on either side. I think it makes more sense to have two meters and here's why:

Some say that a combo is cheaper because you don't have to buy 2 separate meters. I don't find this entirely true. Most combo meters cost around $700. You could get a quality incident meter for about 300-400 dollars and a spot off of ebay for $150 or so. The numbers can be very close.

Even if for some reason you end up paying a bit more for having two meters, it is worth it because now you have a backup.

If for some reason your combo gets busted on set, now you have essentially destroyed two meters at the same time and you now have to plead with someone on the crew to lend you theirs if they even have one or are willing to lend it to you. If you have two meters and one gets broken, it is a $300 replacement instead of a $700 replacement.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who will disagree with me on this one and I am sure they have good reasons. This is just my personal opinion and what has worked for me. One of my colleagues thought I was being silly having two meters. I told him about a very famous cinematographer who shared my view. He said, "well that's the opinion of an old school cinematographer. All the new cinematographers use the combos."

Personally, I think there is a lot to learn from the "oldschool" cinematographers. Just because it is an older way of working does not mean it is inherently archaic and just because something is a modern trend (ie: HVX w/ mini35 adapter on low budget movies) does not mean it is inherently superior.

Just my 2 cents
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 01:07 AM

I like my Minolta autometer IV. It does everything I need and is quite small and slim. I can put it in my back pocket and it's very comfortable there. As a bonus, you can remove the dome and it's a roughly 40 degree reflected meter.

I have a spotmeter (the minolta spotmeter F. I agree that it is a very good meter) but I don't find myself using it often, honestly.
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