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The light meter on a Retina 111c
Old 11-22-2015   #1
Tim Murphy
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The light meter on a Retina 111c

Dear Board,

I recently acquired a Retina 111c. It's maybe 60 years old and no matter what light meter I compare it to it's within a half of a stop and more times than not it's dead on. Measuring reflective or incident doesn't change the results.

My question is, do my newer light meters need to be checked or is the old girl actually that good?


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Old 11-22-2015   #2
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Either the camera's meter and your reference meter are both accurate, or they are both off by the same amount and direction. I'd go with the first possibility.
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Old 11-22-2015   #3
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Get a 18% reflectance gray card. Next set both meters to 100asa. In bright sunlight check the reading with both meters by measuring just the card. Usually 6-8 inches from the center of the card.

Most times 2 hours after sun up and 2 hours before sundown you should usually get 125th @ f/16 but it could vary slightly depending on atmospheric hazing..

Now here is the part most people don't understand. Meters in the normal usage don't always meter the same. You may get say 250th @ f/11 with on but get a different reading with the other. This is because of angle of view. In other words one meter may read a larger scene while the other will read less of the scene. This is why you never base a meters accuracy on normal reading..

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Old 11-22-2015   #4
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Sixty year old German selenium meters are not always fully functional--but sometimes they can still be very accurate. Its quite plausible that your Kodaks meter is fine. It's far from unheard of. Old Voigtlanders are sometimes still well calibrated, too. The better German cameras made in the 1950s really were made to last a very long time, and if they've been cared for, they usually will.
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Old 11-22-2015   #5
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I have a lamp with a nice big frosted bowl for a shade next to my desk I use for a standard light source for meter checking. If I get f4 or 5.6 at 1/100 or 1/125, I'm happy with it. But the grey card check is more accurate.

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Old 11-22-2015   #6
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I suppose the other point is the re-calibration in film ASA, which would have occurred since the manufacture of the Kodak, yes? With this in mind, the meter may not actually be out at all?
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Old 11-23-2015   #7
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The biggest difference between the selenium meter in the Retina and a newer meter will be low light sensitivity. But in light sufficient for handheld photography it should be fine, if it's reasonably accurate.

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Old 12-03-2015   #8
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I had a lot of Kodak Retina cameras with selenium meter. Most (more than 90%) had well working meters accurate enough to expose negatives in a correct way. With other brands however of comparable age I had to note, that most of the meters didn't work correctly or were compoletely dead.
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Old 12-04-2015   #9
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Put a roll of film in the camera. Shoot film. Develop. Is the improperly exposed? If it is than the meter and shutter is goog.
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Old 12-06-2015   #10
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I have two IIIc's, in one the meter does not work at all but in the other one it checks well with a modern light meter.
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