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best beginner light meter


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#1 andrew parrish

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:07 PM

Hi Everybody,

I am learning how to use a light meter, and old one I have doesn't take batteries and is inaccurate. Can anyone recommend one that I can get used for under $150? I shoot mostly arty skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing with the odd wedding and family event thrown in. I use mostly available light, with a couple of reflectors at most.

Thanks for looking

AP
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 11:47 AM

Not taking batteries isn't the reason that the meter is inaccurate, if it's a quality model like a Sekonic it might be worth getting the meter re-calibated. It might just need to be re-zeroed, which is something that analogue require from time to time.

You might get a used Minolta for $150.
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:57 PM

I really enjoy my Sekonic Studio Deluxe II. It's always in my bag as a backup.
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#4 andrew parrish

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:48 PM

Not taking batteries isn't the reason that the meter is inaccurate, if it's a quality model like a Sekonic it might be worth getting the meter re-calibated. It might just need to be re-zeroed, which is something that analogue require from time to time.

You might get a used Minolta for $150.


Thanks for your response Brian. I have had to re-think my problem. My meter is called a weston master II. I think that it is old, but of pretty good quality- solid metal case, and very heavy. It is analog, with a sliding scale. the first is from 0 to 1600. The second is from 0 to 50. The dial measures in 1/3 of a stop-I think that it has the potential to be very accurate. I down-loaded the manual, and rezeroed it. Maybe I did it wrong. I guess this started with my belief that the Selenium photo cells in non-battery powered meters get tired, and fail. Is this wrong?
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:56 AM

Thanks for your response Brian. I have had to re-think my problem. My meter is called a weston master II.


That is an old meter http://www.westonmet...k/westontwo.htm . My first meter was a new Weston EuroMaster, I remember the smell of the leather case when you used it.

I came across this: http://ian-partridge...stonrepair.html Seems he replaces the Selenium cell on the Westons, he might be worth checking out, although he only mentions replacing as far back as the master III.

If you're doing a lot of incident light metering the Sekonic that Adrian nentions is a handy meter. Unfortunately, the Weston's Invercone does tend to drop of the meter.

In the end, I suspect you should be able to get a used Weston for less than repairing your current one.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 16 September 2011 - 01:56 AM.

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#6 Ron Varga

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 02:10 PM

Minolta 4-F. Had it for years since I started and never failed me.
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#7 andrew parrish

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 01:36 PM

[Thanks for the cool sight Brian. My meter looks just like the Grey one, and it is in near mint condition. For the past couple of days I have been playing with it, testing it against my dslr, and zeroing it. The funny thing is that it seems to be getting more accurate. When I started,It was under a full stop at 400 foot candles, and didn't seem too sensitive at low light. Today I did it again for a fourth time, and it was 1/3 under at approximately 60 Fc. The meter was in the pocket of a flea market special, and was not stored well. Is it possible that using it is loosing up old lube?
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#8 Kemalettin Sert

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 04:04 PM

Gossen Luna Pro ?
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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 05:16 PM

Is it possible that using it is loosing up old lube?


Could be... Try using it for a while and see if it fully settles down. You need to test it against a mid grey card, although perhaps I'd check it against another meter rather than with a DSLR.

Seems damp can be an issue.

http://pub20.bravene...9246&catid=3359
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#10 andrew parrish

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:32 PM

I have been using it outside, in overcast skies, and I think now I should be testing it in a studio, with the grey card you mentioned. I found another sight that said that the emulsion dial, if the meter is old enough is not in ASA, but in a Weston scale used before modern ASA, and would be 1/3rd out. Thanks again for the insights.

AP

Edited by andrew parrish, 19 September 2011 - 05:33 PM.

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#11 Chris Burke

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 10:24 PM

I second the Minolta Auto 4F
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#12 andrew parrish

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 10:57 AM

Looks like a lot of people like the Minolta. I am going to hunt one down and play with it.

Thanks,

AP
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#13 Daryn Williams

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 08:35 AM

I really enjoy my Sekonic Studio Deluxe II. It's always in my bag as a backup.


We teach students using a Studio Deluxe... They can be a bit fragile ("You can stupid-proof it, but you can't student-proof it!"), but even then we've been using several of the same meters since before I got here 7 years ago...

It is relatively easy to use, without a ton of math... Yes you do have to do a small (really small) bit of calculating, but that's what you give up in price... There is a slight learning curve with it, and it is absoultely not automatic anything... The Studio Deluxe is an analog meter through and through...

I love em...

-D
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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 09:53 AM

That's one of the reasons I like it so much for beginners, Daryn. It makes them stop and think for a moment. My one big concern (and I'm making my first foray into teaching a small class this year) is that all these quick and easy methods have a tendency to put students on an auto-pilot mode just doing what the gear tells them to do, as opposed to thinking about what the gears telling them and making a choice.
ok rant over.
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#15 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:10 AM

For a really cheap option - I gather it's not too bad on the accuracy front.

http://www.amazon.co...0?&tag=din0a-20

However, you'll need to get your tables out to convert lux into exposure settings. No worse than lighting to foot candles.
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#16 Daryn Williams

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:02 AM

That's one of the reasons I like it so much for beginners, Daryn. It makes them stop and think for a moment. My one big concern (and I'm making my first foray into teaching a small class this year) is that all these quick and easy methods have a tendency to put students on an auto-pilot mode just doing what the gear tells them to do, as opposed to thinking about what the gears telling them and making a choice.
ok rant over.


Oh I'm a BIG believer in making sure students understand the "Why" of the things they do... I also make sure that students understand that putting something on "Auto" means that they are giving artistic control over to some engineer who decided what "Auto" should be...

That is part of the reason why we still shoot film: Super 8, Regular 16 and Super 16... There really is no auto for film, and students are forced to manipulate their tools... Heck we still made students cut mag track on Steenbecks until 3 years ago...
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#17 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:25 AM

Lucky Kids. Last Steennbeck I saw @ a university out here was sitting in a basement, still working, in a sad hallway, forgotten and dusty.
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#18 andrew parrish

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 01:09 PM

The Minolta sounds like A great meter, but I have to say, I like the thinking behind the studio deluxe. I just bought an h8 rex4 to try and expand on my understanding of cinematography, and learn how to slow down and look.

As a side note, how do people feel about Pentax Spotmeter III?
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#19 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 04:58 PM

As a side note, how do people feel about Pentax Spotmeter III?


I've got one, it works fine. The IRE scale is handy for a zone style of exposure readings.
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#20 andrew parrish

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 06:39 PM

I've got one, it works fine. The IRE scale is handy for a zone style of exposure readings.


Thanks for the reply. I was in a camera store, and saw it for 45 bucks in mint condition. They thought the mercury battery issue would make it basically worthless. I showed them the hearing aid trick ( wein cells are not too common here), tested it with a grey card, and now have a seemingly good new tool. The IRE scale looks interesting. I assume that they are only good for Video, because the marks don't seem to match the "straight line portion" of 100d reversal ( I'm just learning this so please bear with me it this is really stupid) The curve on the Kodak page looks like the film will handle 5 stops under, and 3 stops over before you get density issues. The IRE scale looks like 4 up 4 down. Does this mean the IRE scale is only good for video? Am I out to to lunch. The Wiki page on IRE isn't to detailed

Thanks for reading,

AP
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