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Thread: Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    I recently bought a new Gossen Luna Pro S to back up my Sekonic 608. Big mistake.

    I have been testing the two meters in incident mode, thinking both are "state of the art" meters, and both would be somewhat close in readings.

    Rule #1 in photography - Assume NOTHING!

    The readings were consistently off, with the Gossen reading .5 - 1.5 stops higher, at color temp ranging from 2500K to 9500K. I would have been happy with the readings having consistent differences, but this is surely NOT the case.

    At first I thought one of the meters was defective. I assumed the Gossen since I had good exposures using the Sekonic for a few years. (but of course not as perfect as I would like) But, after speaking to Bogen (USA importer of Gossen meters) I made a new, but of course dissapointing discovery.....

    There are no International standards on meter calibration, therefore variances are the norm. Gossen and most European photographic manufactures, calibrate their meters at 5600 degrees Kelvin, i.e. "Daylight" setting. Most Japanese manufacturers calibrate at 3400 degrees Kelvin, a "Tungsten" setting. This 2000 degree Kelvin difference in color temperature causes a difference in readings.

    From my test results, the readings are very sensitive to color temp. It's my guess they are both accurate at the color temperture they were calibrated to. But outside that specific color temperture, it seems the readings are not as accurate. Does anyone have any have further insight into this?

    Armed with this new information, it's not quite so easy to calibrate film to a given meter, as a single calibration test will only calibrate the meter / film when shooting under the same color temperture light which the calibration test was performed at. So, if you shoot under different lighting color temp lighting (such as in Landscape Photography), then ideally, you should calibrate meter / film under a range of color temp lighting.

    To be fully prepared for field photoraphy, it seems you must know the corrections for the light meter under all color temps that can be expected. When in the field, you start with a color temp meter rerading, then take light meter reading. Adjust light meter reading according to a "cheat sheet" you carry. Does anyone have a better suggestion?

    For MF and 4x5, I just bracket, but I plan to shoot a lot of 8x10, whereas brackets can get quite costly. Of course using Negative film vs. color chrome film will add some additional leeway for the calibration issue, but I much prefer the chrome film for scanning. TYIA

  2. #2
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    looks like it's time to get a third top-of-the-line meter. throw it into the bag with the other two and stand back!

  3. #3

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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    Color meter readings in the field is not an exact science, either......If bracketing is too expensive, I'd suggest QT Luong's technique of shooting two transparencies, develop one, and hold the second in reserve for push/pull based on how the first turns out.

  4. #4

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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    I forgot to make one comment.... in a previous post about light meters and how they are influenced by IR light, a poster commented on a new chip that would make for the perfect light meter. The meter would decipher through programmed chips, what the color temperture is, and from there, provide the proper light readings. Also, he suggested the meter be programmed with many films, as it can be pre programed to films sensitivities at different color tempertures.

    A few of us were ready to buy this "theoretical meter".... well, now, after this debacle, sign me up! I REALLY want to buy that meter!!!! I too wish, I had the expertise to design such, it would surely sell well, regardless of the price....

  5. #5

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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    "...in a previous post about light meters and how they are influenced by IR light, a poster commented on a new chip that would make for the perfect light meter."

    Hey - that was me!

    Anyway, in case anyone is interested, the chip is a Taos TCS230 color light to frequency sensor.

    See http://www.taosinc.com/category.asp?cateid=11

    I bought a bunch of Taos light to frequency sensors to try and make an economical microsensitometer http://www.taosinc.com/category.asp?cateid=20 which I have yet to do anything with...

    Kirk

  6. #6

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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    Eric, that still requires two shots...but regardless, its still a slight savings, but a logisticaly nightmare in my opinion. Specially considering I process film long after I shoot it. I tried this once, it became very difficult to hold all these pieces of film mark them accordingly, as I reload film holders constantly when on a photo trip.

    I think if these variables can be nailed down tighter, the liklihood of missing an exposure is much less. Lots of leg work and testing to get there.

    Also, when I used to "hold" one piece of film, it became such a mess trying to keep them all seperate, as I reload film holders constantly when on a photo trip.

  7. #7

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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    I had sent back my Gossen MasterSix to Germany for repair. I was charged about US$150. But the meter could not give good reading. For example, I pointed the meter to a gray card under sunlight with ISO100 setting, it gave a reading of 125s and f22 or f32. Normally, it should be 125s and f16. I had talked to the factory but they insisted my meter had been repaired. Finally, I put this meter into my drawer and bought a Sekonic.

  8. #8

    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.

  9. #9
    windpointphoto's Avatar
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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    "A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
    How true. One meter, one film, do a film test, never have to worry again. This is one of the reason there are so many film speeds for the same film.

  10. #10

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    Gossen vs. Sekonic meters - don't mix em

    I sent 3 meters off to be calibrated once expecting to be a very happy person.
    I now have 3 different exposures.

    I was told that Sekonic and Gossen don't calibrate to the same mid gray standard. I never found out what Minolta used.

    I don't use the Minolta anymore and adjusted the Sekonic to match the Gossen, as I had grown accustomed to working with it.

    Mark

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