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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Germany, Aalen
    Posts
    850

    Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    Hello,

    After unsuccesfull trial with an older Sekonic Zoom Spotmeter (L-438, was off by ~ 1.5 stops) I am seriously (this time really) considering getting used Pentax Digital Spotmeter. I have actually never hold one in hand but it has stellar name in terms of usability and durability and other abilities.

    I can not afford a new one here in Germany (650 euro !! ~ $850 !!) and ordering one from US together with taxes would still be aroung $600 what I can not afford so I consider a used one.

    Still - if I plug out $200 - $300 (or more) I would better prefere to get one that is 5 years old than one that is 25 years old. I know these are durable but the thing has limited lifetime as everything else does (lightcell, contacts, etc).

    Now - most of the sellers out there do not know the age but can let me know the serial number. So - would you be so kind to let me know the serial nuber and approxiamte age of yours so that I could get and idea?

    At the moment I know about one with SN: 119919

    I gues to expect somebody selling his meter on this forum might be considered immoral ...
    Matus

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
    Posts
    7,695

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    Serial # of mine is 153899. It's about 10 - 11 years old.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    166

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    Mines about four years old #162455

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Germany, Aalen
    Posts
    850

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    thank you guys.

    .. any more data on some older ones - to fix the bottom part of the scale ?
    Matus

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,033

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    #114928 from ZoneVI in the early 1980s (by the way, still my main meter!)

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    27

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    Hey Matus,

    That is a great meter. I would suggest looking for one that was modified by Zone VI. They occasionally show up on Ebay. The modified meter last sold new for around $625 here in the states, by Calumet. They usually go for $450-$550 on Ebay. If you go that route make sure to look for one that has a "Modified by Zone VI" plate on the meter.

    Rick

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    12

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    Matus, you state your present is off by approximately 1.5 stops. Is this consistent throughout the range? If not consistent, you do have a problem. However, if the difference is consistent, all you need to do is adjust the film speed.

    Ken

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Germany, Aalen
    Posts
    850

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    - ken -

    I know and you are right, but I did not feel too comfortable with that meter either. Also - it is one more variable to screw up - especially with BW where I alredy do not shoot the film at its standard ISO. It's low light abilities were also not too impressive.

    - rick -

    there have a been a lot of discussion about the Zone VI modified Pentax Digital Spotmeters and rather often without any significant conclusion (some Infra red precision or so - I appologize if I am wrong here). I personaly would not put out $450 or more for 10 - 20 years old meter just because of the ZONE VI sticker as new one costs $450 without it.
    One "plain" one will get sold today for $360 or more and it is cca 20 years old. I will not be the winning bidder for sure.
    I will either find some (not too old) that I can get up to 250 euro shipped or ask my friend to bring me a new one for Christmas (If I will be still - or - again employed by that time ).

    --

    The age scale is basically fixed but if anyone would be willing share "his numbers" it would be appreciated
    Matus

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    12

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    Matus, if you do not like your present meter, that's ok. However, I believe you are overemphasizing the problems with resetting the ISO. A simple adhesive paper label stuck onto part of the meter would remind you. With any film and any meter, one should make personal tests to determine what works well. The actual number (ISO) is of no importance except to match with your meter. The film speed is the same whether the meter works best with 50 or 400.

    The key is consistency. If your meter is erratic, you have a problem. If, from experience, you know it reads consistently high or low in low light situations, you can adjust. Exposure is less critical in very low light situations.

    Whether or not you replace your present meter is entirely up to you. I would hope you are honest with yourself. If the meter is in fact defective or unreliable, so be it. If, on the other hand, the real problem is operator inexperience, the euros might be better spent on increasing your skill. You alone are the judge.

    If you choose to get another meter, pay careful attention to the battery situation. Some older meters were designed with mercury betteries. My old Soligor II analog spot meter uses one 9 volt battery, which is available anywhere.

    Ken

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Germany, Aalen
    Posts
    850

    Re: Pentax Digital Spotmeter

    - ken -

    Yes , you are right. I might have kept the meter (I've already sent it back to the seller alrady as he agreed on reimbursement).

    Yes - the battery situation is to be taken care about with the older meters. One of the reasons I got the Sekonic L-438 was that it takes one AA battery. I was considering the Gossen Profisix/Lunasix meters at some point but have given up because of the battery problem.

    The investment into Petanx Digital Spotmeter is something I am considering a long time already. There are other spotmeters that can be had for less mony (Soligor Digital II, Minolta M, etc)m but I consider getting the Pentax as a long term investment. It is also one of the few spotmeters being produced and the chance to get it repaired or calibrated in some years from now is quite good. I also want to use it wiht my Rolleiflex so the size and easyness of the operatin matters. I was actually having problems to hande the mentined Seconic just with one hand..

    I fully agree that it is the skill that needs to be improved (and invested in - I still keep in mind your words although the appliciation is harder than I expected) much more than the gear. So often am I tempted by some lens (or filmholders, darkcoth, tripod, you name it) but that I get the bill from the photolab. So I put the temtations aside so that I can go for another photosession.

    I could keep using my DSLR as a lightmeter but I realized that I too much rely on what I get on the screen and gain very little experience or intuitivness. The DLSR takes some part of the thinking out of the game.

    thank you again
    Matus

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