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Thread: Fully manual spot meters

  1. #1

    Fully manual spot meters

    I'm fairly new at LF photography, and I'm getting ready to purchase a spot meter. Coming from
    the 35mm world, I want to get a spot meter that i can operate in full manual mode. That is, I want to be able to set my aperature and set my shutter speed(and ISO of course), then depress the meter button and get a reading on an analog type scale -2 -1 0 +1 +2 (such as the ones on 35mm screen), with an indication of exposure. That way i can keep my aperature/shutter speed combination, and meter around my entire scene, seeing where each area falls on the tonal scale. That being said, which spot meters offer such a metering mode that resembles this type of "35mm manual" mode. Thanks all.


  2. #2

    Fully manual spot meters

    I don't know of any meters that do that. All of the meters that I have used do one of two things: require you to set a shutter speed and it will read out iris stops or vice versa, read out in EVs.

    I doubt you'll find one that works like you want.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Fully manual spot meters

    Yeah, just carry your favorite DSLR with you and use that as your meter.

    The Leicaflex SL has a dandy spot meter actually!

    Most people here, myself included, will point you towards really manual meters, like the Pentax Digital Spot or the Metered Light mini-spot meter, both of which are excellent and much-loved by LF photographers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Fully manual spot meters

    Adam, the available models display their readings in a variety of ways, and you may find one that you prefer. I don't think you'll find a separate meter that mimics the null-centered analog bar scale you'll find in most current SLRs. But if you know enough about metering to understand how to use that bar scale, you shouldn't have any trouble learning how to use any of the separate meters to do the sort of measurement you want.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Pasadena, CA

    Fully manual spot meters


    Indeed, many people will suggest the venerable classics such as the Pentax. I've gone digi-wonder with the Sekonic 558R, and since have not looked back, so here are a few thoughts from personal experience with it. Your mileage and preferences may vary, however I'll be devil's advocate for the magic bullet wiz bang device.

    The Sekonic 558R has spot and incident in one digital meter. It has a digital simulation of an analog scale, complete with stops and bars. It allows memorization of 9 readings, which show up as tick marks on the "analog" scale, so that you can neatly see the range of measurements. It also allows you to take a standard reading and then display the delta ( change ) between the standard and each new reading. Added to that is an averaging function as well if you need it. If you somehow like the 558R, adding a lens hood to it really helps accuracy because it keeps stray light from entering spot readings. The 558 shows readings in the viewfinder while taking spot readings too, which makes it handy for looking around a scene and measuring brightness differences. Other meters can at least remember some readings, I think the discontinued Minolta Spotmeter F can remember 3 readings and keep those marked on its scale.

    The general accuracy and utility of the more modern meters can be pretty nice. In the case of the 558, it can even do more nifty things such as accumulate multi-pop flash exposures, track two different ISO readings, and have presets for compensation. So indeed, the digital 558R. The 558R is less expensive than the Cine model, and it fits in about the same space as other spot meters, perhaps slightly less pistol-like.

    I love not having to carry two meters around, and I also enjoy having the same calibration on my incident meter as my spot meter.

    While the 558R will show delta EV ( as you described, no? ) , it also ends up computing that as f stops for you by marking them on the scale. It's very easy to switch modes from Tv to Av while keeping the same reading too, so it is handy to not need to do f stop math. The Sekonic has a baffling array of features, however it has a good PDF booklet and basic operation does not require a manual to figure out. It becomes intuitive fast enough. The battery lasts a long time, although it is not an easy one to find in the field.

    Classic meter users, forgive me. A good used Pentax is not that easy to find!

  6. #6
    Big Negs Rock!
    Join Date
    Mar 2000

    Fully manual spot meters

    Minolta Spotmeter F. It's fabulous. Get the f/stop you want. Hit the "A" (average") button. Then read anything you want and it will display it in + or - stops to the .10 of a stop. Love it. Used it for about 15 years. I have 2 of them in case one pukes (happend once and they both puked together). All the disclaimers, I don't even own stock in Minolta or own one of their digital cameras either.

    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
    Director of Photography
    Pasadena, CA

  7. #7
    unexposed darr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Fully manual spot meters

    I second the 558R . I use the meter for calibrating multiple pops while shooting macros in the studio and I find it to be very precise. When I shoot out in the Everglades and find the need to bracket, I do so via aperture set and shutter speed change and this meter lets me do that so easily. I cannot say anything bad about the meter except it was expensive ($550-$600) at the time of purchase. I think the price may have came down by now. Also, there is a model that does not have the "R" which designates the Pocket Wizard transformer/receiver chip is NOT installed which I would recommend looking into if you are not intending on using the feature. You can always upgrade the meter for it later. This meter does it all and better than my Pentax Digital Spot which is now my backup for ambient shooting.

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  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2002

    Fully manual spot meters

    If you really want/need/justgottahave a 1 degree spot, ignore this. Otherwise, a Gossen Luna-Pro F with the 7.5 degree attachment will do perfectly.

    I do exactly what you describe; I take a reading and set that exposure on the meter, then I hold the metering button down and scan the scene. The needle's scale is calibrated +/- 3 stops, and I can check the highlights and shadows and see where they fall relative to the exposure I've set.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Redmond, WA, USA

    Fully manual spot meters

    Pocket Spotmeter by Meteredlight

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Fully manual spot meters

    I am with Alan on the Gossen Luna-Pro F with the 7.5 degree attachment. It is inexpensive, you will get excatley what you are asking for. I would be lost without mine. It helps to have a manual until you get use to using it. I think you can find them for around $100 +/-.

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