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HighEnd Light Meters

S

spluff

Hi,

Has anybody had experience of using the Minolta Flash Meter VI? I'm looking for a spot meter and flash meter - and I am trying to compare this model to the Sekonic's and to the Gossen Starlite. The Minolta has a latitude function whereby you can compare a range of spot-meterings against the latitude of your film. Does anybody know if any of the other meters have this facility?

Also, has anybody ever tried to calibrate their meter to their camera, or at least try to compare the meter readings from different cameras for the same subject?

Cheers, Saras
 
M

mike_nunan

Hi Saras,

Do you specifically want a spot-flash meter, or do you anticipate using the functions separately but just don't want the expense and hassle of having more than one meter?

I ask because I have tried both a Sekonic 608 and a Gossen Starlite, and neither of them can compare with a Pentax Digital when it comes to the spot metering. The Minolta is very bulky but seems like quite a decent unit (I've briefly tried it in a store).

I would not recommend the Gossen or Sekonic for low-light use, as their sensitivity range is worse than a good SLR meter. Both of them have a very annoying way of displaying partial stops, by using a tenth-stop scale expressed as a decimal. So, instead of telling you to set f/1.7, they display 1.4.5. Yuck.

Also, in Av mode the Gossen only allows you to select whole stops, but then it picks the nearest whole-stop shutter speed and adjusts the APERTURE (the bit that you've tried to set) in order to yield the correct overall EV. It has a multi-spot zone mode that looks useful, but again don't try it in low light because as soon as you s&le off an area that's too dark for its sensitivity range, it throws all your accumulated readings away. And on top of that, the build quality is flimsy.

If you really want a do-it-all meter, then I would recommend the Sekonic over the Gossen. Also, Sekonic's support for PocketWizard flash triggering makes a lot of sense if you're going for a full-on studio flash setup. Personally I would tend to have a dedicated Sekonic flash meter for that, and get a Pentax digital for ambient spot metering. If you put a zone scale on the lens barrel, it is beautifully quick and easy to use, and gives you exactly what you need without any poorly thought out gadget features getting in your way. I have one of these and a Gossen Digisix for incident readings, and it's a fine combo that will deal with anything except really low light. You might also want to look at the Digiflash if your flash metering requirements are only occasional, as it will do the job in a very small package. I haven't tried one personally though.

HTH

-= mike =-
 
S

spluff

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your feedback - that has been very informative.

Answering your main question; I am really looking for a spot meter (with the flash meter being a bonus). Generally speaking, I don't tend to use incident readings, but occasionally they can be useful.

I have a Profisix which can handle any flash metering needs I have in a basic studio (although I'm not sure if it will handle macro photography - which is an area I'm keen to get into). And, in addition, I don't tend to have a huge requirement for flash photography when I'm travelling.

My main use for the spot-meter would be for landscapes. By metering different areas I can then work out if I want to expose for the highlights, the shadows or an average. I am led to believe that the Pentax has certain functionality that would assist if you were using the Zone System. In essence, I believe the Minolta has this functionality as it indicates the range of tones that your film would record.

And of course one of the most important factors that you have mentioned - but which often is ignored by the manufacturer - is the durability and portability of the unit.

The price difference between the Minolta and the Pentax is only around £25 and since your post I have I have found some very favourable reviews of the Pentax - so thanks for pointing me in that particular direction - I will now go and investigate!!

Thanks & Rgds, Saras
 
M

mike_nunan

Hi Saras,

The Pentax is easy to use for zone work, all you need is a little label that you wrap around the lens barrel next to the scale of the exposure calculator. You used to be able to buy these scales, but I made mine easily enough using a Dymo label printer. All you do is meter from the part of the scene you wish to "place" and then rotate the exposure calculator so that the given reading value is opposite the zone number (on the sticker) you want to place it in. Then if you meter from elsewhere in the scene, you can immediately see what zones they fall into, just by looking to see what number on the sticker each reading value is lined up against.

The Minolta will do a similar sort of thing electronically, in that you take a reading then move it up or down to the intended zone. Further readings appear along the same scale in the display, opposite their zone numbers. I guess if you take a lot of readings from one scene, and have a poor short-term memory, the Minolta system is preferable. Personally, I found the reduced bulk of the Pentax to be a more compelling feature, but it would be worth getting your hands on both if you can. They're both well-respected products that many pro shops hold in stock.

-= mike =-
 
S

spluff

Hi Mike,

I decided to look into getting a Pentax - but after phoning a few reputable dealers I discovered that there is a shortage of them. One of the dealers had back-orders but couldn't tell me when they expected them to come in. So I've taken the plunge and gone for the Minolta.

I received it over the weekend and I'm still digesting the instruction book - but hopefully I'll be out and about pointing in all sorts of directions very soon.

Thanks for your assistance - much appreciated.

Rgds, Saras
 
M

mike_nunan

You're welcome. I'll be interested to hear what you make of the Minolta after using it for a while. Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be a better option... I think a lot of Pentax meters get sold because it's the accepted standard for a lot of pros, and it appears in Ansel Adams' books!

TTFN

-= mike =-
 

glarson

Active Member
Saras-
If you are looking for the Pentax Digital Spot Meter, search EBAY once and a while. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted one and couldn't find them anywhere. I started watching EBAY and found 3 of them. I ended up buying one for about $300 that was a demo for an east coast camera dealer. My other meter is a Sekonic 508 Zoom Master. ---Greg "Al" Larson
 

colin

Well-Known Member
Mike, So does the Weston Master appear in Ansel Adams' books.. I certainly never leave home without mine.I have the Master 1V, V and Euromaster.
Colin
 
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