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Thread: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    Hello, yes another light meter thread!!

    I've read through previous threads on this topic but some things are not lining up for me. I'm told by several forum users that low cost incident light meters are out there that also use standard modern batteries for under $100, even less than that!

    Can anyone please suggest a specific model that you can recommend to a new guy that will help me get the right exposure and also use standard batteries for under $100?

    I've found lots of posts recommending much more expensive ones, but also told that spending that kind of money is not necessary. IDK...help!!

  2. #2

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    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    If your usage plans are primarily outdoors, consider the Sekonic L398, successor to the Norwood Director (I have both, the Norwood from film school days in the 70s, and the Sekonic more recently since I can no longer read the dials on the Norwood). These are available used for well under $100. One upside: no batteries. The tradeoff is that metering suffers in low light applications, but can be compensated for if you're shooting indoors with hot lights or LED/fluorescent lighting.

    https://www.sekonic.com/united-state...ck_english.pdf

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3

    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    Under $100 your only options are to buy used, or use a smart phone app (I like Cine Meter II which works with the Luxi incident dome).

    The cheapest reliable meter I have used is the Sekonic L-308, but at $220 it is the same price as the L398 (also great, but different) and beyond your price range. Two cheaper options are the Sekonic L-208 and the Gossen Digisix, but both are over $100 and I would rather buy used...

  4. #4
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    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    With patience you should be able to find the original Sekonic L-308 second-hand for around $100. Failing that, the earlier L-318 would also be a good choice and is likely to be available for well under $100. The L-318 is different from the L-308 in having the meter cell on a swiveling head. This is a plus in that it provides flexibility in how you hold the meter, and also allows it to accept a spot-metering attachment if that's of interest. But it's also a minus in that the L-318 is slightly larger and definitely more fragile if you want to stuff it in your pocket. (The plastic cover of the swiveling head on mine is now taped back on... )

    Though I use mostly the L-308 these days because it's more easily and safely pocketable, if I were on a very tight budget I could happily live with the L-318.

  5. #5

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    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    Less known, low cost and reliable.

    http://cameras.alfredklomp.com/sverdlovsk4/

    I’d look in to later models.

    I used it a lot in studio and field with CR123 cell

  6. #6

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    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    The Gossen Luna Pro Digital is a nice, compact, light meter that can do incident. It uses 1xAA which is really convenient! The current version is called Sixtomat F2 and costs about $190 new, which is more than you asked for but a relative bargain. I got the earlier model about 20 years ago in one of my rare purchases of new equipment and have not regretted it. Sekonic's rough equivalent is the L-308.

    The earlier Gossen Luna Pros with needle scale are a completely different design and can be found used for not too much, but make sure you get one that is tested working. These are heavy duty professional items but they are old. Unfortunately, most of the Luna Pros used 1.35v mercury batteries; the newer Luna Pro sbc uses something else (I think 9v) but is less common.

  7. #7

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    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    B&H is listing the Sekonic 208 for $126.

    I have a couple of them and they're fine - have (had actually - I lost it somewhere - a small digital Gossen about the same size but the digital version is a PITA to change ISO etc)

    The little Sekonic has a slider to convert to incident and it's small enough to go in any pocket. Did I say that it works just fine???

  8. #8
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    I've got two of the Sekonic 208. Very rugged and light weight; seems like an oxymoron, but not with this meter. Battery lasts forever. I changed one's battery out after five years and it wasn't even having a problem. Cheap CR2032 common button battery. One in my LF bag and one in my MF kit.

  9. #9

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    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    Ok. Pretty good suggestions.

    Here's a spin-off question....

    When using a DSLR camera meter or a reflection meter, how/what changes do you need to make to the given exposure for film?

    Before I get an incident meter, I'll use my camera. If I'm using 125 speed film and I set my DSLR to ISO 125, and I set my f-stop to say f11 and the camera gives me a 1/20 shutter speed, what do I do with that? Do I just take that number and run with it? Lots of debate here at to multi matrix metering verse spot metering, but basically do you just set the LF lens to whatever the DSLR says?

  10. #10
    Foamer
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    Re: Suggestions for a low cost incident light meter

    The black & white film has a lot of latitude, so a good reading from a DSLR will be very close if not spot on.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

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