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Jack Brauer
7-Sep-2007, 08:02
Hello,

I am going on a month long trip to Patagonia in November (woohoo!) and want to make sure that I have backups for certain pieces of equipment that could fail, one such item being a lightmeter.

I currently use a Pentax digital Spotmeter, which I really like. I would like to buy a backup spotmeter, but it doesn't necessarily need to be such a nice/expensive spotmeter - just something basic that will work for me in a pinch. Are there any reliable and inexpensive spotmeters out there that will fit the bill?

Thanks,
Jack

J D Clark
7-Sep-2007, 08:12
I use a Pentax as my primary spotmeter, too, and as a back up I have a Soligor Spot Senser II, which is a good, basic spotmeter that can be bought used for around $100. It works almost identically to the Pentax. The one downside of it is that, because it's an analog meter, accidentally dropping it might destroy it. Ultimately, my goal is to have a second pentax as a backup...

John Clark
www.johndclark.com

Michael Graves
7-Sep-2007, 08:15
I've got the Soligor digital spot and it works very nicely. I use a Gossen Multipro as a backup and as a flash meter when shooting with the speedo kit. Also comes in handy when I want to take an incident reading.

Tony Lakin
7-Sep-2007, 08:29
Hi
I use a Zone VI modified Pentax V analogue meter and a Gossen Starlight as back-up which I know isn't cheap but it does everything else as well and very accurately i.e. spot metering including zone system, flash and incident and more and is also quite light and compact.
Good luck with your Patagonian trip (lucky devil)

naturephoto1
7-Sep-2007, 09:10
Hi Jack,

I have been using one of the Zone VI modified Soligor Digispot II since about 1988. I have found the meter to be very accurate and very reliable.

These can be found used in the stock or the modified form and used to be carried under the Adorama and Tundra badges. The unit reads in .1 eV values which I find more valuable (though I can not say it is more accurate than the Pentax Digital). The unit is larger than the Pentax.

Right now there is one on eBay without the case. It has the Zone VI metering guide on the front of the meter. These labels used to available as through Calumet so I can not say if this is a modified or stock version. The meter does not include the case or instructions. But, it is straight forward to use and I may be able to dig up the instructions.

Here is the eBay listing:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Soligor-Spot-Meter2-light-meter-used-exc-cond_W0QQitemZ330161289098QQihZ014QQcategoryZ88669QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem#ebayphotohosting

Good luck and have a great time.

Rich

David Karp
7-Sep-2007, 09:24
My backup is an analog Pentax Spotmeter V. Works great. It used to be my primary meter before I picked up a nice Pentax Digital.

Both were calibrated by Quality Light Metric on separate occasions and both still give identical readings.

RichardRitter
7-Sep-2007, 09:45
My backup meter is my eye and most of the time I donít use a meter. I learned to do this by forgetting the meter a few to many times and started guessing the exposure before taking the meter reading. Also on a sunny day with clear blue sky the exposure is always the same.

There is a very good exercise in the Finely Focus DVD www.circleofthesunproductions.com on teaching yourself to know the exposure with out the meter.


Richard T Ritter
www.lg4mat.net
www.finefocusworkshops.com

Herb Cunningham
7-Sep-2007, 10:26
I have a pentax zone VI spotmeter, but the really neat one is the tiny spot meter by the guys in San Fran, I think the name is Better Light or some such. it matches the pentax readings and is a bit larger than a zippo lighter.

I can look later and tell you the exact name

Dick Hilker
7-Sep-2007, 10:44
My trusty old Rollei SLR35 and its analog meter serve as both a back-up meter and camera -- especially nice for those opportunistic shots when it takes too long to set up the LF.

Kevin Crisp
7-Sep-2007, 11:19
My backup is a Weston Master 5, after a Quality Light Metric calibration and cell replacement. I zoned the dial, though arguably the dial was already suitable for that. It needs no batteries. I know from testing what ASA to set on it to use it for a spot meter, of sorts, that will give me the same reading as the Pentax digital. Once that testing is done, which takes about a minute, I can hold it close to something discrete I want to measure and get the same reading I would get with my Pentax digital. No, you can't take a distant spot reading of something inaccessible, but often you can find something handy of the same luminescence and get the job done. On the rare occasions when I shoot LF chromes, I have found the Weston as a incident averaging meter (with clip on dome) to be extremely reliable.

C. D. Keth
7-Sep-2007, 12:50
I use my old Spectra Professional as a abckup. it's about 50 years old, needs no batteries, and works just as accurately as my new Sekonic 558. It's not a spotmeter but I rarely spotmeter anyway. I incident meter and then transpose exposure from there, I think it's a movie lighting habit.

http://www.clubfree.com/spectra/spec_cls.htm

Paul O
7-Sep-2007, 12:50
Hi. I did the same thing when I went to Iceland - tried to take as many back-ups to equipemt that could go wrong! Luckily everything performed as it should. My main meter is a Sekonic L508 Zoom Spot and I took a Sekonic L408 as a back-up. have a great trip! Paul

C. D. Keth
7-Sep-2007, 13:24
Get something that doesn't need batteries for your backup.

Gordon Moat
7-Sep-2007, 13:43
If not opposed, nor unfamiliar, with incident readings, a Sekonic L-398M needs no batteries. These are fairly rugged meters, and withstand harsh climates nicely.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Ben R
8-Sep-2007, 13:01
I have a pentax zone VI spotmeter, but the really neat one is the tiny spot meter by the guys in San Fran, I think the name is Better Light or some such. it matches the pentax readings and is a bit larger than a zippo lighter.

I can look later and tell you the exact name

I would appreciate it if you would Herb, sounds facinating and could well be what I want.

Jon Shiu
8-Sep-2007, 13:34
I would appreciate it if you would Herb, sounds facinating and could well be what I want.

Here's a review I found on the web for the Pocket Spot:
http://www.butzi.net/reviews/pocketspot.htm

Appears to be a very nice meter, but may not be available.

Jon

Jack Brauer
8-Sep-2007, 14:59
Thanks for your suggestions so far!

That PocketSpot meter looks awesome but unfortunately it appears unavailable, plus expensive even if it were available.

I definitely want a spotmeter (not ambient) and am looking to spend less than $200... $100 would be great. Sounds like an older analog type would be the best bet.

Ole Tjugen
8-Sep-2007, 15:04
Like many others, my main meter is an analog Pentax Spotmeter.

I have two different backups, depending on circumstances (and weight of bags): A Gossen SBC with 5 degree "spot", and a cheap Leningrad meter. The Leningrad has a selenium cell, and never fails - it doesn't use batteries, is small, cheap and lightweight. :)

Capocheny
8-Sep-2007, 17:48
Thanks for your suggestions so far!

That PocketSpot meter looks awesome but unfortunately it appears unavailable, plus expensive even if it were available.

I definitely want a spotmeter (not ambient) and am looking to spend less than $200... $100 would be great. Sounds like an older analog type would be the best bet.

At that price point... look on ebay for one of the Gossen meters with the spot attachment for 7.5 and 15 degrees.

Very reliable and an old standby for sure.

Alternatively, but certainly not in the price point... the Spotmeter V is a great meter in spite of its larger size.

My 2 cents worth. :)

Cheers

John Kasaian
8-Sep-2007, 23:43
The last time I looked I had 4 meters around here, three very old Westons and a Gossen. I never take more than one meter in the field because they never give identical readings and by the time I guess which is more accurate, I'll have lost the light anyway, so my sugestion is to take one meter ---but I find that as Richard Ritter suggests, learning to do without is invaluable.

My favorite spot meter is an old Weston Ranger 9 converted to run on silver button cells.

Turner Reich
10-Sep-2007, 02:50
Soligor Zone VI mod. with a Luna Pro plus accessories for back up. Would like a Pocket Spot but they have gone out of business.

ken
10-Sep-2007, 03:29
I think Richard Ritter is on the right track. However, I recommend using your eye as your primary meter and your present spot meter as the back up. I have not seen the recommended DVD, however, I would guess it is based on the "Key Day" system Fred Picker discussed in one of his newsletters. It is an excellent, and simple program. I usually set the exposure (and often expose the first sheet of film) before looking at the meter. Exposing first keeps me committed and honest. It is not as difficult as it might seem.

That stated, my old Luna Pro has been a reliable meter for many years.

Ken

Herb Cunningham
13-Sep-2007, 12:37
Jon Shiu is right- it is the pocket spot. I remember they had some web site problems, but if you can get a phone number you will most likely find them.

I have had one for a couple years now and use it all the time. Nowhere near as precise as a Pentax, but hey, it is tiny, and it matches my pentax.

I was at Michael and Paula's place with it, and it matched Michael/s pentax's readings.

sorry to be so long in answering.

Frank Petronio
13-Sep-2007, 13:00
Polaroid is a wonderful lightmeter...

Vaughn
13-Sep-2007, 13:16
I would go with a Gossen SBC with the spot attachment. It has a common battery (9v). The other factor is that then I would have a meter capable of very low light readings that my Pentax Digi spot can't read. YRMD

The idea of training oneself to judge light is intriguing, but most of my stuff is low-light (under the redwoods, etc.). I rarely shoot the grand landscape -- I tend to focus in a little more. I have all my exposure notes, I suppose I could check them for patterns. Who knows, guessing might get me as good of results as metering!:eek:

Vaughn

neil poulsen
14-Sep-2007, 10:21
You could use the digital model, and get the analog model for backup.

I have the Pentax V that Calumet modified for me. For backup, I use a Sekonic 508. They're a nice combination. I use the Pentax for black and white and the Sekonic for color. That latter fills in the gaps, like incident readings, flash, and 1 degree flash and incident spot readings.

Scott Davis
14-Sep-2007, 11:37
For a really nice travel meter, and a backup, the Sekonic 408 is terrific. Weatherproof, very rugged (I don't know how many times I've dropped mine and it still works accurately), has incident, reflected, ambient and strobe, and a 5 degree spot. And it's a lot more compact than most other spot meters. It runs on a single AA battery, so if it goes dead when you're on the road, if you can't find a spare, you're someplace REALLY remote and out of the way, and you should have been carrying spares with you anyway.

Jack Brauer
20-Sep-2007, 15:15
Thanks for all your suggestions.

I ended up buying a Sekonic L-438. I haven't used it in the field yet, but after a quick test in my backyard vs. my Pentax Digital, my first impression is that it is not nearly as nice to use (but that was to be expected).

It's a 3 - 10 degree spot. The 3 degrees is a big difference from the 1 degree of the Pentax. It's more difficult and/or impossible to meter small highlight spots accurately. Also the Pentax exposure dial is so simple to use; Sekonic's not so much.

On the plus side, though it is a little harder to get the readings, it does seem accurate. It takes one AA battery which is a big plus in its role as a backup meter. And at just over $100 used, it fit the bill. Hopefully I'll never have to use it. : )