View Full Version : Meter Madness

John Kasaian
19-Sep-2015, 23:24
I've got way too many meters. Or do I?
I started off an old Adams a friend gave me many decades ago, which died (the meter, not my friend) I replaced the Adams with a Weston Ranger 9 converted to use silver buttons.
Added an old Weston Master VI which Quality LightMetric overhauled, then a Luna Pro SBC which is more responsive for night photography.
Is this too many meters for one hobbyist?
The trouble with having more than one meter is you never know which one to believe, or which one to use to calibrate the others.

Roger Thoms
20-Sep-2015, 00:12
Well, let's see, I have a Gossen Ultraspot II, Pentax Spotmeter V with the super cool Zone VI leather holster (overhauled by QLM), Gossen Lunapro SBC, Gossen Lunapro (which I haven't used), and a Sekonic Zoom Master L-508 Light Meter. So no I certainly don't think that you have too many meters. Now I don't spend a lot of time comparing meters, so that helps, and out of all of them I am favoring the lowly Spotmeter V. I've been on a simpler's better kick lately so you just might see some meters for sale. :D Now I would also keep the SBC as its good in low light plus it takes 9v transistor battery, oh and the Sekonic because it works with my strobes. And the Ultraspot was my first meter and I can only get a fraction of what I paid for it so might as well keep it. Then there's the Lunapro which was only $10 on Craigslist and takes Mercury batteries, couldn't sell that without knowing whether it works or not.

Is there such a thing as MAS? I feel afflicted.


Michael E
20-Sep-2015, 02:01
The trouble with having more than one meter is you never know which one to believe

Exactly. Also, there is a difference between a meter that you use every day and a meter that you pull out of a drawer, not used for ages, and trust it with important images. I use a Sekonic L-488 spot meter for my LF b/w work (zone system) and a Sekonic L-308B for incident metering of studio strobes. I do own a few other meters (Weston Master, Weston Master II and V, a couple of Gossen Lunasixes, etc.). I don't use them, so I don't trust them... On a recent trip, however, I took a tiny old Gossen Sixtino as a backup and found it amazingly consistent with my spot meter readings.

Doremus Scudder
20-Sep-2015, 02:05
I've got three Pentax digital spot meters, one in the U.S., one in Europe and one back-up. They all agree to within 1/3-stop, so no problems there. I still feel the need for another backup here in Europe... If my meter here goes bad, I'll have to buy one.

So, no, you don't have to many meters.

And, you can simply calibrate them to themselves (assuming they are all reading linearly) by adjusting the film speeds on them so the readings agree. Just make sure the reading you calibrate to gives you the results you need.



20-Sep-2015, 05:29
You can never have enough good meters... Just hope you have the right one on hand when needed...

I was shooting distant billboards near LAX (at night) with a long lens, when I reached into my bag for my Pentax digital spot, and what came out??? My Minolta Flashmeter IV incident meter... (Useless for what I was shooting!!!) I suddenly realized that my (then) new (used) Leica R6 had a semi-spotmeter inside that saved the (night)...

That flashmeter saved (someone else's) bacon at a wedding, (where I was a "guest" that was "asked" to bring a camera) and the young photographer that was hired to shoot the formal set-ups did not own a flashmeter, and she told me "It's OK, my flash always works at f16"... I pull out the meter, read it, and it says f8... Lucky her...

My Gossen LunaLux SBC scale will calculate pinhole exposures, but a little large to lug around...

But I will often go out with just one of my Weston Master 6 meters, and take my chances...

Steve K

Drew Bedo
20-Sep-2015, 05:53
When it comes to owning photo gear I live by one controlling principle: Too much is never enough.

Buy whatever you want and cherich it as long as you want.

In the practice of photography however , just having something doesn't mean its going to help you create better images. Working professionals that I know look on their gear as tools, much as a craftsman looks on saws, wrenches or hammers. If it doesn't help him get the job done it is just extra weight.

If you need different meters for different types of photogrsaphy, by all means use them. If a meter is less useful, but you are emotionally attached to it (and I can understand that) then it should go into a display case or a deep bag in a dark closet (my wife's choice).

Myself: I have an old Minolta Autometer IV f with a 9deg spot vattachment. It does ambient, and flash with corde connection and without in both reflected and incident modes. I am used to the buttons and the display.Some day I'd like to have a newer technology meter with a tighter spot, but I.m good for now.

20-Sep-2015, 05:59
I am no expert by any means but I have a Gossen Pilot2 (hardly ever use), a Sekonic L-478DR (which I do not ever use because I do not trust it), and a Pentax Spotmeter modified by Zone VI Studios, which I almost always use. I have been known to use the spot meter in the D800E too.

Jim Jones
20-Sep-2015, 07:28
An inexpensive but reliable meter in every camera kit is logical. It's having a ready-to-go kit for several formats and various subjects that can become unreasonable.

Kirk Gittings
20-Sep-2015, 09:03
I have two that are within 1/3 stop, a Pentax Dig Spot ZVI Modified and recently acquired a Pocket Spot (2'x2.25"x3/4") which I had wanted for decades it seems-they are hard to find new or used. Prior to this I had two Pentax Dig Spots ZVI modified-they were within 1/3 of a stop even after having them both cleaned and adjusted. I sold one during the recession but it left me feeling a bit naked without a backup. Alan Ross suggests simply adjusting the two meters set point so they match and then doing your personal ASA tests etc. based on that-as it doesn't really matter if they are perfect as long as they are consistent. Though 1/3 stop is a trifle it always bugs me a bit.


Alan Gales
20-Sep-2015, 10:08
I''ve got 2 Pentax digital spotmeters and a Pentax Spotmeter V. They all read the same. I also own a Minolta Flashmeter lV for strobes.

Too many different types/brands of meters and I get confused on how to use them.

20-Sep-2015, 10:54
My Pentax Digital came from the factory one stop off. Never got around to sending it back for proper calibration, I just compensated. That was fine when I used it a lot, now I use a meter once or twice a year, and can never remember if it's one-stop high or one-stop low. Totally useless!
Why didn't they teach the 1/ASA@16 rule while I was growing up?

20-Sep-2015, 13:57
My Pentax digital spot overexposes 1/3 stop.

My Sekonic L-308 underexposes 1/3 stop.

Meter madness = remembering this backwards, correcting in the wrong direction, and being off by 2/3 a stop when it matters!

Mostly, I ignore the "1/3 problem," but it bugs me too.

John Layton
23-Sep-2015, 06:21
My main meter is a Z-6 modified Pentax digital spot - recently adjusted by Richard Ritter. Lots of other (mostly older) meters lying around (Weston V's, Sekonics, Gossens) some of which work.

My goal now is to somehow get my recently acquired (flea market bargain at 25.00) SEI photometer working. The prospect of being able to accurately assess something like a very thin (way less than one degree), brightly lit tree branch against a black background is too promising to ignore...and as far as I know, the SEI is the only meter that can do this.

Question: with Huw Finney no longer overhauling (and nicely updating) SEI's...is there anybody else out there who can do this?

23-Sep-2015, 07:09
As a black and white enthusiast, as long as a meter is consistent from one use to the next, my resulting densities set the standard. As long as I am able to put the expected densities on my negative it makes little difference to me whether my meter is calibrated to a national testing standard. That is why I use a detailed exposure record card. I note specific elements in the shot and where I want their densities to fall. I compare the results with a densitometer. That way, every sheet exposed is an ongoing film test that alerts me to any changes in the process (meter, shutter, film, developer, temp or time). This has revealed lens to lens shutter differences that are critical to me.