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Thread: meter of choice?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Ellenwood, GA

    meter of choice?

    I have been enjoying my new to me 4x5 Sinar f2 system.
    I have been shooting Fuji instant film using the meter from my Canon 5DMkII in spot mode.
    It seems to work okay, I guess.
    I think I would like to get a separate meter though.
    I see many prefer the Pentax Spot.
    However, I was thinking maybe one of the Sekonics, one that also does flash metering?
    That way I could also use it w/ my 5DMkII.

  2. #2
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Everett, WA

    Re: meter of choice?

    My two favorites: Sekonic L-408 (no longer made), and my first meter, a Pentax Spotmeter V. Yes, I started out with a spotmeter and a Pentax 6x7.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  3. #3
    Preston Birdwell
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Columbia, CA

    Re: meter of choice?

    The Minolta Spotmeter F do what you want.

    I also have used the Pentax Spotmeter V, and currently use a a Pentax Digital.

    Preston-Columbia CA

    "If you want nice fresh oats, you have to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse; that comes a little cheaper."

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Stevens Point, WI

    Re: meter of choice?

    The dual spot/incident Sekonic models and a Gossen /Digiflash incident meter.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Beaverton, OR

    Re: meter of choice?

    L358 Sekonic
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  6. #6
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Los Angeles area

    Re: meter of choice?

    I've chosen to use the Pentax digital spot meters. I have one in each of my kits. Prior to settling on it, I was using a Sekonic L-778. It had flash spot metering capabilities, which proved to be useful when needed. It was a terrific meter, and was extremely accurate.

    Now I use the Sekonic L-358 for ambient and flash readings, and the Pentax for field work.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Northern Virginia

    Re: meter of choice?

    Probably the least expensive is the Sekonic L-488, if you can find one. I like mine a lot--better than the Minolta Spot F, simply because it's less fiddly and has a circular calculation dial which makes zone system measurements much easier. It will easily read EV in the finder, too.

    I also have a Pentax Spot V, which is a lovely older meter, but it does not fulfill you requirements for metering flash. Neither does the Pentax Digital. So, you are stuck with the Minolta Spot F or the L-488 if you want a spot meter that will read flash.

    Here's my comparison of the Sekonic with the Pentax and Minolta:

    Rick "noting the Sekonic will also do a 21-degree average reading" Denney

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Pac. NW, USA

    Re: meter of choice?

    It's always nice to have everything you want. Excellent 1 degree spot metering, plus flash metering, all in one device.
    That often comes at a high cost though. Either a high cost of the meter itself, or a compromise of capabilities.
    Used Pentax digital spot meters still often fetch $350 or more. Some offerings from Sekonic can exceed $400-$500 on the used market.
    They're all excellent meters, but they can be pricey.

    Some flash meters can perform limited spot metering, sometimes with spot attachments,
    and maybe only down to a 5 degree spot or wider.
    These are the Swiss Army knife of meters. They perform many incident/flash functions well,
    but sometimes the spot capabilities are lacking.
    On the other hand, the excellent Pentax V, one degree spot meter works great, but being analog, no flash metering.

    So, I too, wanted it all. A one degree spot meter and flash metering. I ended up with two used meters, at a cost of about $100 each.
    A Pentax V spot meter, and a digital Gossen Luna Pro. Both meters are easy to use, with the menu and function commands of the
    Gossen being one of the easiest to learn compared to many other digital meters. Yes, I have the added bulk of two meters instead of one
    (the Gossen fits in a shirt pocket), but I also have 2 meters to compare accuracy against each other, which is helpful when buying used gear.

    I started off with the Pentax analog spot. If you tackle this the way I did, in your case, I might start with a digital flash-capable meter,
    and continue using the spot metering in your 5D for the interim, until a dedicated one degree spot meter comes your way.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: meter of choice?

    The Pentax Digital Spot is so much better than everything else for non-flash work that you should just suck it up and get one.

    For Flash I have been using an older Minolta Auto-Meter IVF, it is nice and simple, runs on AAs, does second duty as a good general ambient meter. They are still made new by Kenko from the same design, albeit at new prices.

    I find most meters overly-complicated and burdened by feature creep, or they are almost illegible (which leads to errors), or they just don't work as well as these two.

    Digital cameras work better than many people suspect, I often use both meter and digital camera along with a bit of intuition, voodoo, and experience. Even Polaroids!

  10. #10

    Re: meter of choice?

    Get a Sekonic that has spot and incident and learn to use the incident for the majority of your photography. Personally I find an analog incident the best. Not only is it quicker, it forces one to use their eyes and learn to see an exposure as opposed to reliance upon an instrument. It took me a long time to figure this out as being an engineer I was the ultimate geek early on with my spot meter checking and double checking my scene till it drove me nuts with results less than I expected. Since I started using my eyes instead of first reaching for my spot meter and checking it with the incident, the lights came on.

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