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Spot meter recommendation
Old 03-29-2018   #1
PunkFunkDunk
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Spot meter recommendation

Hi RFF

I would like to buy a spot meter to use with my medium format gear. I have only ever owned a Gossen Lunasix 3. I would prefer a spot and incident meter in the one unit, that way I can sell the Gossen to subsidise the new purchase. Looking for recommendations along these lines:

1) A new meter on the market that costs no more than US$400

2) A used meter that has proved reliable for less than US$250

Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 03-29-2018   #2
Chriscrawfordphoto
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You're going to have a hard time finding one in your price range. You can get a used Sekonic L-758 or L-558 for $300-$400. Both are discontinued and replaced by the L-858, which is $599.

I have a Sekonic L-758, and I love it. I would not hesitate to buy another if mine died. If you can't afford the new L-858, get a used L-758. It'll cost you more than you wanted for a used one, but less than you wanted to pay for a new one.

There are a couple of older Sekonics with incident and spot built in, but I would avoid them.

The L-508, which I used to have, was a good meter but it had poor lowlight capability in spot mode. I think EV+3 was the lowest it went, and most spotmeters meter down to EV+1. The L-558 and L-758 also meter down to EV+1 in spot mode. The other problem with the L-508 is that it does not show spot reading in its viewfinder; you have to take the meter away from your eye to look at the big LCD on the side of the meter. Its a real pain. The newer Sekonics have the readings display in the finder.

Gossen also made two spot-incident meters, the Starlight and Starlight 2. I would not buy one; both were plagued with reliability problems and had poor lowlight capability compared to the Sekonics, and they were very expensive. Gossen will not repair the original Starlight at all anymore, while Sekonic still services the L-558 and L-758.

The New Sekonic L-858 differs from the older models in two ways. One, it has a touchscreen. I do not particularly like these on meters. I have Sekonic's color meter, the C-700U, and it is a pain to use. Second, it has much greater lowlight capability than ANY other meter made today! That interests me, and despite the touchscreen, I'd buy one if I had the money. It meters down to EV-2 in spot mode and EV-5 in incident mode.
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Old 03-29-2018   #3
shimokita
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My recommendation would be the Sekonic L-858D but it's above your budget...

You might check out the Kenko KFM-2200 which comes in at around USD 480.00 list price
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Old 03-29-2018   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shimokita View Post
My recommendation would be the Sekonic L-858D but it's above your budget...

You might check out the Kenko KFM-2200 which comes in at around USD 480.00 list price

Oh yeah, I forgot about the Kenko. I used to have a Minolta Flash Meter VI, which is the same thing. Kenko bought Minolta's meter division and slightly changed the outside appearance of the meters, but inside they're the same. It was a great meter, too. I think the Sekonics I recommended have better lowlight capability in spot mode, though. That's the one thing I didn't like about my Minolta.
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Old 03-29-2018   #5
Deardorff38
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If you want a spotmeter, the Pentax digital is the way to go. I see you want both....but I'd go with the pentax and then buy a cheap used incident meter. In my case I use the Pentax and a Digisix 2....both bought used.
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Old 03-29-2018   #6
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I own a Sekonic 758 as well and it's an excellent meter but really prefer using singular application meters like my Pentax 1 degree and Minolta IV.
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Old 03-29-2018   #7
Bill Clark
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Would this work?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EEJY4S2...l_98uxy9mpkr_b

Can’t beat the price! Several are listed with this link.

Look at reviews.

Another thought, I use the histogram with my digital camera. For the type of photography I did this is mostly what I did. All digital RAW capture, develop with ACR.

I own and have used this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Sekonic-L-308...C5QMHTF12M21EZ
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Old 03-29-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
Would this work?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EEJY4S2...l_98uxy9mpkr_b

Canít beat the price! Several are listed with this link.

No. Those are absolutely worthless for photography. They're for industrial use, and read out in Lux, a unit of measure for light. You have to do math do translate that to camera settings. Also, it has a flat, or nearly flat, diffuser. For photography, you want a round hemisphere diffuser for incident light work.
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Old 03-29-2018   #9
Bill Clark
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I figured it was too good to be true!
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Old 03-29-2018   #10
Chriscrawfordphoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
I figured it was too good to be true!

The fact that industrial meters can be sold so cheap shows that photographers are being screwed by manufacturers. Modern digital meters are cheap to make. That said, companies like Minolta, Sekonic, and Gossen do make industrial lux-meters that cost FAR MORE than photographic meters. So, maybe the cheap ones aren't that good even for non-photo use?
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I know it's clunky, but...............
Old 03-29-2018   #11
Tim Murphy
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I know it's clunky, but...............

Dear pfd,

You can buy a working Canon EOS Elan, or Nikon 8008S for $ 8.00, it know because I've done it 4 times to get metal mount nifty 50's and 28-80 USM's. I never paid more than $ 50.00 and often got two lenses which I sold. In essence, the cameras were free, but I figured $ 8.00 was a fair figure because I bought both a working an Elan and an 8008S for that figure. Add a cheap 28 -105 lens and a battery and for $ 25.00 - $ 30.00 you have yourself a spot meter.

It's certainly not handy, but it'll work just as well and keep a pile of do-re-mi in your pocket.

Just a thought.

Regards,

Tim Murphy

Harrisburg, PA
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Old 03-29-2018   #12
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I'll throw in my 2 cents and also highly recommend the 1 deg Pentax digital spot. Great meter. For low cost incident meter the Sekonic L-398 or even a good working 20+ year old L-28C. But, my favorite incident meter is the 1970's Spectra.
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Old 03-29-2018   #13
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The Pentax Digital Meter, while a good meter, is very overpriced because its been fetishized by large format landscape photographers who wish they could be Ansel Adams. The meter was discontinued over a decade ago, and the oldest ones are 40 years old now. I would not recommend buying old meters of any kind.
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Old 03-29-2018   #14
Barry Kirsten
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I agree that the Pentax 1 degree digital spot meters are expensive, but they're good and I've been very happy with mine. The older analog version is just as accurate and cheaper than the digital. Their disadvantage is that the analog meter might cause trouble, but I had one of these for years and it didn't miss a beat. There is also the Soligor Spot Sensor; they're getting a bit old now, but they are accurate and can be found very cheaply.
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Old 03-29-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
... large format landscape photographers who wish they could be Ansel Adams.
Anything wrong with that?
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Old 03-29-2018   #16
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Anything wrong with that?

No, but owning the same gear Adams used won't make you a great landscape photographer anymore than owning a Leica will make you the next Cartier-Bresson. Given that the Pentax meter's price is greatly inflated because of such silliness, and that there are much more capable meters available for less, I cannot recommend it as a good choice.
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Old 03-30-2018   #17
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I wholeheartedly second Chris's recommendations. I still have both digital and analogue Pentax spot meters and a Gossen (a monster, and not easy to use) and I have had on extended loan from the manufacturers both Minolta and Sekonic. I also have an SEI Photometer.

The truth is that it doesn't really matter much which one you use, because they will all give the same results once you have learned how to use them, so it's a question of convenience and reliability.

The idea of using a camera as a spot meter is however a non-starter as far as I am concerned: the spot is simply too big.

Finally, a lot of LF users are saved by the ability of negative films to tolerate quite massive overexposure without significant loss of quality.

Cheers,

R.
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Gossen Luna Star F
Old 03-30-2018   #18
Marcuza
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Gossen Luna Star F

Both the Gossen Luna Star F, which I use, and the Luna Star F 2 have an optional 5' spot attachment. Both meters can be found for $200 and under.
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Old 03-30-2018   #19
Deardorff38
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The pentax spot meters are highly reliable. I've seen the analog version for $100 and if you watch the fora, the digital for as low as $250. There are several places that service them. considering we're on a forum where people are calmly chatting about dropping $9k for a Leica M10 body without lenses....$250 or $300 doesn't seem outrageous for a product that is small, and easily pocketable or can be worn on the hip...& offers years of trouble free service.
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Old 03-30-2018   #20
PunkFunkDunk
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Many thanks Chris, and everyone else for the advice. Sounds like the L-758 is the way to go. Will just have to save up more coin and keep using my old Gossen until then. Your advice is very helpful as I was eyeing a used L-508 but had not noticed that the EV rating is so poor. Money saved.
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Old 03-30-2018   #21
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Although discontinued, the Sekonic L-758, which Chris recommends, is still available from Adorama for $439.
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Old 03-30-2018   #22
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I'll just chime in here...I use the Pentax digital spot (Zone VI modified) and yes I am an Ansel Adams wannabe (thanks for that, Chris). It's a great meter. I use it for more than just landscape with my 4x5. Lately I've been using with with a (gasp) Rolleiflex. Ansel must be turning in his grave.

I better not mention my Leica, because HCB, I surely am not - more of a Ralph Gibson flavor.

I don't recommend it to the OP only because he wanted a meter that could do both spot and incident and his budget is $400.
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Old 03-30-2018   #23
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Another vote for the Pentax spot meter V. It was a great tool when I was in college learning the zone system and even if you are not using the zone system it is a great tool for finding out how deep your shadows are and how high your highlights are and then you can make an exposure then a processing decision based on that information. I wish I still had mine.
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Old 03-30-2018   #24
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I'm not a landscape photographer but have been using a Pentax spot meter since before Christmas was born. I originally used it in commercial photo work but use it when I want to measure the contrast range and exposure accurately. There's no equal to the digital Pentax meter imo.

Spot meters require a much higher level of skill and knowledge than incident meters to use them properly. In unskilled hands they're worse than nothing at all.

As to the See nice meters, the spot function is just an ok compromise. They're usable but not as refined as the Pentax and subject to issues like flare in the optics in backlit subjects. Reading and calculating contrast ranges is more cumbersome than with the Pentax. You can get by with one in most cases but having owned and using it regularly I find the spot function falls well short of the pentax. The only thing that the Sekonic spot does that the Pentax doesn't is read flash.

I've found do all devices are usually a compramize. I think in time most people find spot meters aren't for them because they're more difficult to use and you really need to understand how they work in terms of reading values. Unless you really have a reason to use aspkt meter I'd just suggest a good incident meter and save yourself money and frustration and wasted film. A dedicated incident meter will be easier to use, cheaper and much smaller. You'll most likely get better exposures unless you're ready to really learn how to use a spot meter.

No Chris's, not every one is an Angel wannabe or a landscape photographer.
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