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View Poll Results: What is your favorite <compact> Light Meter?
Sekonic (Twin-mate, or other small models) 272 36.61%
Gossen (Pilot, or other diminutive types) 220 29.61%
Weston (don't know the models) 58 7.81%
Minolta (are there any small ones?) 20 2.69%
Pentax (any small ones?) 4 0.54%
Leica Meter 35 4.71%
CV Meter 121 16.29%
Brand X (no offense intended) 58 7.81%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 743. You may not vote on this poll

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Favorite <compact> Light Meter
Old 11-25-2007   #1
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Favorite <compact> Light Meter

Since many vintage rangefinders do not have builtin light meters (I personally do not have a Leica M6-M7-M8), and since some of us are not proficient at judging EV values (visual equivalent of perfect pitch, IMHO) with our eyes, and since we don't like to totally misjudge exposure, and thus miss a great shot, we are reduced to carrying around hand held light meters.

What is your favorite compact hand held light meter for RF photography?

What is your favorite "type" of metering (analog vs. digital)?

I acquired a used Gossen Luna-Pro F, and it's great, but it's almost as large as my Leica III. I'm looking for something much much smaller (pocket sized), and reasonably accurate.

I admit I'm ingtrigued by the selenium cell models, requiring no batteries. My Canon 7 has such as a builtin meter, and it's pretty accurate at low light, and not so much for bright light. So anyway, I'm curious about your impressions. I think it's kind of cool that the major vendors still make some selenium models.
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Old 11-25-2007   #2
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I like my VC-II meter. Its small, it sits easily on top of the camera (where I find it more convenient than pocketed or on a neck strap) and I prefer setting manual exposure myself, with occasional "sanity checks" from the meter. That's just me, though, and I'm sure others work differently.

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Old 11-25-2007   #3
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OK, what is a VC-II meter? When I made the poll, I said "CV" meter. For some reason I thought it was Voigtlander, hence CV. I guess this pretty well documents my ignorance on the matter.
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Old 11-25-2007   #4
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Gossen Digisix
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Old 11-25-2007   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfunnell
I like my VC-II meter. Its small, it sits easily on top of the camera (where I find it more convenient than pocketed or on a neck strap) and I prefer setting manual exposure myself, with occasional "sanity checks" from the meter. That's just me, though, and I'm sure others work differently.

...Mike
The VC is a good meter for this style of use and I must admit I'm with you and tend to use it more as reference. I usually take a light reading in the open wherever I'm shooting and then mentally adjust either side of that reading as I move around. Palm of the hand seems to give me an accurate incident reading ... I used to use the back of my hand but my skin colour leads to slight overexposure that way.
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Old 11-25-2007   #6
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I recently acquired a Gossen Luna-Pro Digital F, a compact meter. It agrees with my full size Luna Pro F about 90% of the time and it is easily shirt pocket small and it is packed with plenty of features.
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Old 11-25-2007   #7
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The VC II is my favorite carry around small meter.

My Weston Ranger 9 isn't small but it gets a lot of use too..
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Old 11-25-2007   #8
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The VC II - sees more use than my Gossen Digisix or my old Luna Pro.
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Old 11-25-2007   #9
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Gossen Digi-Six, clipped to a little magnet clip available from fly fishing stores. Its a nice strong but small pair of magnets that allows you to grab the meter from its clip on your bag or belt loop, use it and and put it back with one hand. The two magnets find each other without having to look and visually verify that its hanging back on its clip. Extremely convenient.
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Old 11-25-2007   #10
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I use the VC II meter as well; compact and fits well on the IIIf, Konica III, GW690III, even the Argus C3. Checked against some bodies with internal meters it is quite accurate. I still haul out an ancient selenium Sekonic Auto-Lumi L-158 every now and again.

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Old 11-25-2007   #11
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Gossen Digisix. Sometimes the ~ 60 years old selenium meter of my Rolleiflex 3.5E.

Attaching the Gossen with a couple of magnets to a belt sounds like a very good idea.
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Old 11-25-2007   #12
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The brand-X I voted up there is for a Quantum Calcu-Light XP - the very best low-light meter out there.
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Old 11-25-2007   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoc
Gossen Digisix. Sometimes the ~ 60 years old selenium meter of my Rolleiflex 3.5E.

Attaching the Gossen with a couple of magnets to a belt sounds like a very good idea.
I'd be worried about the long term effects of the magnetic field on the workings of the meter.
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Old 11-25-2007   #14
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Compact? Nothing beats the small cylindrical selenium Petri meter - from the 60's(?) I have. It's smaller than the modern ones, clips on to the hot shoe (without a ridiculously expensive and hard to procure "add on"), does not require batteries, and is - I think, amazingly accurate and sensitive in ambient light conditions (indoors in a reasonably naturally lit room).

I also have a nice Yashica (branded I'm sure) square selenium light meter that also clips on to the hot shoe. It's even smaller than the Petri but not as sensitive in low light.

Think I spent $10 plus ship apiece for them, from eBay.
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Old 11-25-2007   #15
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CV meter II, and Sekonic 308 for incident and flash.
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Old 11-25-2007   #16
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Then there's the classic Sekonic Studio Deluxe from my film school days. Still use that from time to time.
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Old 11-25-2007   #17
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I had the VC Meter II and foolishly sold it. I have a Sekonic Studio Deluxe that suddenly stopped working last month (went from perfect accuracy to no movement essentially overnight ) I now have a Gossen Super Pilot coming from a ebay win and since that will be my only handheld unless I can fix the Sekonic, it is why I chose Gossen in the poll...

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Old 11-25-2007   #18
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Well, this sure depends on what we mean by "compact."

My fave "compact" meter was a Sekonic L-398 selenium job that I used to borrow from my HS photography class (early-mid '70s) with near-religious reglularity. Never actually owned a meter of my own until a few years ago, when I acquired a not-quite-as-small Sekonic L-428, used, with most of its trimmings (spot and enlarger attachments, among a few others). It's bigger, but has a silicon cell powered by still-easily-purchased silver-oxide batteries, and quite usable in quite low-light situations. Not too bad for fifty bucks.




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Old 11-25-2007   #19
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gossen digisix is the great pocket size meter that is very dependable when i am unsure...especially when shooting slides. and, did i mention that it is small?
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Old 11-25-2007   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith
I'd be worried about the long term effects of the magnetic field on the workings of the meter.
Might influence linear polarized light though ....
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Old 11-25-2007   #21
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The "Capital" Cds - light meter is small and light, and cheap on e-bay. Runs on hearing-aid cells, i have used one for about 10-12 years with good results, i think.
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Old 11-25-2007   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith
I'd be worried about the long term effects of the magnetic field on the workings of the meter.
With the Digisix there shouldn't be much of a problem, as it has no moving metal parts for the readout. The electronics shouldn't be too much affected, and the field is more or less constant anyway with no movement.

The only thing worrying me about the Digisix would be the readout issues Karen Nakamura describes with the gate time of the electronics and artificial fluerescent lighting with old tubes that are in effect flickering at the frequency of the power grid. It would be interesting to hear if this has led to real-world problems for anyone.

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Old 11-25-2007   #23
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The Digisix has a reputation for eating through batteries very quickly. Mine certainly does. A battery lasts a very short time, whether in use or not. Perhaps it's just an occasional defect, though it's worth knowing about.

/T
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Old 11-26-2007   #24
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I have a few old selenium cell meters but they all read low and can't be trusted. The Weston Master 1V lloks impressive though.

In practice I tend to use a mixture of guesswork and my wife's digicompact.
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Old 11-26-2007   #25
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I'm quite happy so far with my recently acquired Gossen DigiFlash (same as digisix but does flash metering). Certainly much more convenient than carrying around a Pentax digital spotmeter as I used to do.
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Old 11-26-2007   #26
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The Sekonic TwinMate is a great little analog meter with incident and reflective modes. It's the perfect traveling companion for a vintage rangefinder.
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Old 11-26-2007   #27
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Sekonic 308 for my meterless Leica. I feel slightly guilty about the battery needed, but the low-light range is handy (EV 0), and it can meter flash for my studio SLR.
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Old 11-26-2007   #28
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I have a Digisix (it does not eat batteries) but I would buy the Digiflash if I could do it all over again.
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Old 11-26-2007   #29
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Another vote for Gossen Digisix. Used to own a legacy Polaris Digital which was good enough, yet not that compact for my liking (I tend to lug meter in the pocket).
Acquired Digisix few weeks back, used it nearly daily, a friend of mine has taken it for a week-long shoot abroad and relied on it. Performed flawlessly, no particular battery drain has been noticed, though perhaps need a bit more excercising...
I'd be tempted to get it strapped to my hand as kind of watch - could prove to be very handy for a continuous street shot...

The only compliant about it would be the flimsy lugging ear - will not be suprised for one to get broken quickly with constant use..
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Old 11-26-2007   #30
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Gossen Lunasix, but compact?!
Compact add-on meter: CANON METER for P, VI series. The best selenium meter I had, incl. my old (now dead) Gossen Sixtino...
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Old 11-26-2007   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rxmd
With the Digisix there shouldn't be much of a problem, as it has no moving metal parts for the readout. The electronics shouldn't be too much affected, and the field is more or less constant anyway with no movement.

The only thing worrying me about the Digisix would be the readout issues Karen Nakamura describes with the gate time of the electronics and artificial fluerescent lighting with old tubes that are in effect flickering at the frequency of the power grid. It would be interesting to hear if this has led to real-world problems for anyone.

Philipp
Jeez, I hadn't even thought about the effect the magnetic field might have. I've been doing this for a year or more and haven't noticed any change in the meter's reliability. Its always hanging from its magnetic clip in the front pocket if the domke bag. I'll keep an eye on its consistency with this in mind although it seems to me that the field from this dime sized magnet would be pretty small, its plenty strong to hold the meter but its a very light meter, pun intended.
As far as the battery issue goes I've replaced the battery once in the year or more that I've been using it. It may be closer to 2 years but I have a lousy memory so I'm not absolutely sure. It does seem like an "off" switch would have been easy enough to add although it hasn't been as issue for me. On a side note I have always found a big discrepancy between the digisix's reflected reading and the reading from my M6. The incident reading seems much more reliable to me.
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Old 11-26-2007   #32
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I'm sure the VC-II meters are more accurate, but the Leica MR's work just fine, and at least they're coupled to the speed...easy to adjust aperture up or down. But your M3 isn't small anymore.
With a barenaked M3 I pretend I'm going meterless, but have a Sekonic 308 in my back pocket.
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Old 11-26-2007   #33
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I love the Sekonic Twinmate. hang it around the neck and shove it in my front pocket- it does come with a shoe mount but it would be pretty bulbous on my IIIa or IIIc!
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Old 11-27-2007   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B
Jeez, I hadn't even thought about the effect the magnetic field might have.
As I said, it shouldn't have any effect at all. There are no moving metal parts in the meter which would be affected by the field. The mere presence of a magnetic field doesn't affect electronics anyway, at least in the orders of magnitude we are talking about. Also remember that currents are only induced when wires are moved relative to the magnetic field, and we are talking about really small fields here. I would be very, very surprised if there was any effect at all.

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Old 11-27-2007   #35
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I use the VC II, but next time I'm in the US I'm buying the Sekonic 208. The VC's ASA setting keeps getting knocked out of position on my M3 (altho not on my Kiev II) - almost invariably when I'm guessing an exposure and the meter reading is radically different, it's because the meter got knocked out of whack.
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Old 11-27-2007   #36
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I used Gossen Sixtinos (Pilots)....but mnaged to break them both (although not beyond repair.... but I am not a great repairperson).
Now I use a Digisix. I also bought the additional shoemount.
Ordered it straight from their website. If you look at this piece of plastic and the single screw (I nearly lostthe add on when I opend the parcel and started rifling thorugh the styrofoam flakes) It seems to be a very high price but seem s that the ittem itself is free and you pay for the process of boxing an delivering it.
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Old 11-27-2007   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider67
I used Gossen Sixtinos (Pilots)....but mnaged to break them both..
Same experience here. Had two, broke both. Well, I didn't do that all by myself actually, but nonetheless. They're so vulnerable that you can't even hand them over to someone else.. The outside dial is connected to a disk inside with two weeny plastic tabs that are just not designed to last.
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Old 11-27-2007   #38
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I just had to dis-assemble / re-assemble my Gossen Digisix after having some raw oysters and puring some water over the Digisix ... Lot's of small screws and one very tiny spring under the contact lever but cleaning worked out
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Old 11-27-2007   #39
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Small meters?

I do use and like my Gossen Sixtomat Digital. I tried the smaller one´s like digisix or digiflash (lovely blue colour!) but my fingers can´t handle them because they were too small.

The Sixtomat is of acceptable size and weight. The AA-batterie lasts very long. It´s fine.

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Old 11-28-2007   #40
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My favorite is my Gossen Super Pilot. I've also got a Pentax Spot meter V, a Sekonic Studio Deluxe, a Digisix and a Sekonic 380 (?). But by far my favorite is the Super Pilot. Too bad it's not currently made with current battery power.
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