View Full Version : which small meter?
In the near future I plan on buying a small clip-on light meter for my M2. So far I'm considering the VC II and the Sekonic one. I have not seen/handled either one and will not be able to do so before purchase, so I was hoping some forum members have first-hand experience with either, or best of all, both.
The VC II meter is more expensive but made of metal and has a vintage look to it. I believe it is reflected light measuring only.
The Sekonic meter (I'm not sure of the model designation) is made of plastic and is about $70 cheaper. I think it is capable of incident readings.
As you know by now, most of my gear dates from a half century ago. I tried a clip-on meter and to me they seem awkard. I find a small hand-held to be much easier to work with.
My Gossen Digisix is about 2 years old. It's small enough to tuck into a pocket T. Gives readings in EV, which then require an adjustment of a traditional dial. If it had traditional dial for adjusting the film speed and lacked an acutrement of other functions, (such as time, temp, & count down timer) it would be perfect.
Take the above with a grain of salt, as I still prefer my ancient Luna Pro.
Oh yeah, I'd go with the $70 Sekonic, if it takes incident readings.
I agree about the Digisix Andrew. I don't use most of the other functions. But its a great meter. I use t with most my cameras from my Bessa R to OM's.
if it's for outdoor use then i would recommend the gossen pilot/pilot 2.
very small & accurate, at least with b&w film.
i have 3 (one soon to go) i paid 20 bucks each for 2 of them and 30 bucks for the third, which also had the small foot attached to fit in a camera shoe.
i don't really care for attaching it to the camera, kind of a pain to use and kills the lines of the p. (vanity issues)
What about a Metraphot? I saw one the other day and it looked nice, but I did not use it. Does anyone on the list use this meter and do you recommend it?
I have a first-series VC meter which I use on my LTM Leicas and Canons. I am extremely well satisfied with it. You will not have this problem with your M-2, but I had to be able to accomodate the meter plus a universall finder. This was simply solved by purchasing a VC dual accessory shoe. I now have the finder mounted center camera with the meter to the left. This adds some vertical bulk so if I am certain I will only use the 50mm lens I take off the accessory shoe and mount the meter directly to the camera. Either way I have found it to be much handier than using a separate hand-held meter.
I usually take incident readings, and a handheld is a little more convenient for that, I think. The Gossen Digisix is sensitive enough for available light shooting, and it only weighs about 1-1/2 oz (including lanyard). It can be mounted on the accessory shoe using an adapter, but it is awkward to use that way, and it looks funny.
I have the VC Meter II that I use with my Kievs. It is only reflective light, but it is a nice compact and consistant meter. I have it on a double shoe mount and find it fits my needs perfectly. It looks good and is well constructed so I do feel worried about leaving it on my camera all the time.
Looks like it boils down to VC II, Gossen Digisix, and Sekonic L-208. Low light capability is important.
I guess this is a question of personal preference..
A handheld meter is a much better value IMHO, and you learn a lot about light using it. After some time you will become a pretty reliable meter yourself, which is even more convenient. ;)
I have a digiflash (bought it as a photo fair demo for less than a digisix) and like it a lot.
Cheap, small , light and easy to carry arround, most of the time I just sling it arround my neck, take some readings sun/lamps/shade and happily shoot away eventually compensating according to changing lighting conditions.
I checked and calibrated it against my big sekonic 558 and I found it to be dead on even in the darkest places.
The non iluminated display may be a lay off for some, but personally I really hate flashy LEDs, especially in viewfinders.
The readout is in EV, which is odd in the beginning but allows for very fast adjustments once you know how to interpret the values..
It shares the digisix gadgetry arsenal, but actually they can be quite handy, like the countdown for night-exposures.
changing film speed takes much more time than on the old dial equipped meters since as you have to cycle through all the ISOs first. Doesn't bother me much since I use mostly 400speed film anyways...
I used to carry arround a seconic studio 368 but dropped it since it is almost unusable in low light.
The digisix/digiflash may feel cheap compared to the old sekonic, but it is much more capable and a lot faster to operate and weighs almost nothing.
And back on the to clip or not to clip question: I can't think of one situation where you would get a better (read more exact) reading with a clip on meter than with a handheld one.
Speed is a non issue once you get used to handheld metering, for me it has proven to be a lot faster and most of all a lot more comforting than using a built in meter.
My .02c (for what it's worth.....)
I have a couple of hand held meters, a Sekonic, a Weston, plus one or two cheapies. I also have a VC II.
The only one that gets used now is the VC II. I find it gives me consistent, accurate metering that results in good photos - which after all is the whole point. Yes it doesn't do incident metering, but for a lot of what I do that's not important.
The main reason it gets used and the others don't is the very reason I got into rangefinders in the first place - wanting a compact kit. I HATE carrying round bags of extra gear. The VC II is either a zero fuss item worn on a cord around my neck, or clips in the shoe of the IIIf or IIa, where it adds almost nothing to the bulk of the camera.
Best thing since sliced bread, IMO.....
Well, according to cameraquest, the VC Meter II can do EV 1 to EV 20. I have used it a in a couple of available darkness situations (there are a couple of night shots in my gallery) and have no complaints.
Low light capability is important.
Frank, this definetly is a strong point of the gossen..
Also, you can use it as a reflective meter, which has proven to be very convenient.
I recently used it on a short trip to Hamburg shooting mostly (very! :) ) low light, and got only keepers...
The VC II looks nicer and is probably better built and of course you can handhold it if you want to...
However, after I found out about the reflective feature of the gossen and its weight I was sold.
Enclosed some shots to illustrate the gossens gorgeous low light capabilites..#1 and #3 metered in incident mode and #2 using the reflective feature...
I'd say, ...just get both :D
I'm just looking for something smaller. Being able to clip a meter into the flash shoe simplifies the kit. I at least like the idea of having that option.
Dang! That must be one of those Minox Leica copies, judging by the size of the meter.
Frank, I'll throw my support behind the Gossen Digisix. Small, light and accurate, it has greater low-light capabilities than most - if not all - selenium cell meters. It has great range and reads incident and reflected light. Slip it into your shirt pocket and never know it's there until you need it. It's a neat little meter and I really like mine.
Felipe, that first shot has really lovely dark tones. Incident metering was the best way to meter that one... and indeed I'm inclined toward incident metering whenever I use a hand-held meter. Unfortunately, I've become lazy with automatic exposure cameras; I should set them to Manual more often, and use the hand-held incident meter!
Frank, I'm not familiar with the digisix or the VC II, I had a VC and sold it, but I have a bunch of meters, old and new, and the SKL-208 almost always goes in a pocket when I go out. It's small and ligh enough not to add to the burden and the incident reading ability is worth having it with you. It's also very accurate and reliable. I've got an old Vivitar clip on that I use a lot. It's smaller than the 208 and it's been tuned by Quality Light Metric but even when I have that on a camera the 208 is in my pocket.
I have the Digisix and am relatively happy. I'll usually use it as an incident meter, but I've used it as a reflected meter while I'm out and about. My complaints are twofold. First, you have to scroll through all of the film speeds if you want to go from a faster to slower film. My second complaint is more serious. It has only two buttons and Sekonic simply tried to pack too many functions into the meter. In addition to a meter, it is a clock, timer, thermometer, and possibly an altimiter (I can't remember and am too lazy to go grab the manual). I don't really need to know what temperature it is to set my aperture and shutter speed. If you press the wrong button, or accidentally press it while it is in your pocket, it will change the function won't be ready to meter. As there is only one button for selecting the function, you have to go through all of the other functions to get back to the meter function. It can be annoying. But, considering the cost, it ok.
I like Gossen meters, having three, but when it comes to the small pocket meters I'd take the Sekonic L-208, because I like an analog interface. The 208 is match-needle with the traditional rotating calculator dial, and unlike the Gossen Digi-Six and Digi-Flash you don't have to transfer EV numbers to the dial. There is a slightly less expensive Sekonic model (177?), but it doesn't have the incident feature.
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