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I use one on my IIIf and also on my small collection of 1950's cameras. Very usefull little gadget. A bit pricey - you would get a decent conventional hand-held meter for the same price, however the idea is that it remains with the camera in use so it is unfair to compare it in this way.
Accuracy is pretty good as compared to my M6/Nikon FM2 and other centre-weighted cameras , obviously you have to make judgements in tricky lighting situations. For print film I generally have no problems, for slide film the usual decisions about bracketing have to be made.
There is fairly low clearance between the underside of the meter and the camera top plate so if you have a recessed shoe you have to check that the meter will not foul anything else on the top plate. It is fine on the IIIf although if you want to use an accessory finder you may need to get the Voigtlander adapter that allows 2 auxilliaries to be attached to the camera's shoe; I have no experience of these. I use the old Leica VIHOO finder which has a shoe on top so I can mount the meter on this. It looks (and is) a bit clumsy but it works OK.
Another option to consider is the Sekonic Twin Mate L-208 meter. I bought one a couple of years ago and I am quite pleased with it for use with my IIIf and M4. It's a little larger than the Voigtlander meter (it's a 2 in. by 2.5 in. oval shape), so although it can be mounted on the hot shoe, it's a little bulky when used that way. Instead, I just pop it into my pocket in its little felt pouch and I'm ready to go. I particularly like having the option of taking incident readings via the little diffuser that slides over the meter cell. If you're specifically looking for a meter to clip on your hot shoe, the Voigtlander is probably better. But if your overall goal is simply to have a meter that doesn't get in the way, the Sekonic is worth looking at.
I have two of these very handy accessories, a black one and a silver one. They're fine for b&w photography (I never do color) and I can recommend them. But... watch out, because dust and fine sand can easely get under the tiny dials on top. Last year I was shooting in the south of Belorussia (it was very dry and windy) and after a while one of the dials didn't move anymore. With extreme care I removed the dial and cleaned it, so no problem anymore, but there is a risk of serious damage. It is also possible hanging it around your neck with a cord, but then you lose the handyness of a clip-on meter.
I bought one of these meters new three weeks ago. I am now selling it. It is one of the worst accessories I have ever bought, for one reason. The ISO dial on the top moves almost if you breathe on it. As a result (since I wear contact lenses and can't easily check the setting without reading glasses) quite a few frames have been lost because the ISO changes. This strikes me as being poor design, especially for something which is quite expensive.
Also bought the double accessory shoe. It is not tight enough, and the meter fell off my M2 while getting it out of the bag. It also costs a fortune for what it is.
I'm not getting at Voigtlander - I have their 15mm lens, and think it is great value. Using these little meters if you need reading glasses is a problem, so I'm now reluctantly selling my M2 and getting a Voigtlander Bessa R2 as the second body. The camera isn't as good as the Leica (what is?). but I need to be able to set the exposure.
Do not sell your M2 - get a good handheld digital meter instead like a sekonic with large values on the screen (even for glass/contact lens users)- they even have a spot meter adapter for it, and once you get the hang of it it works just as quickly as the mounted meter IMHO
Is there a reason why you don't buy a Leicameter MR or MR4? I've used them for years with great success, and they never slip off as they're doubly connected to the camera, via the hot shoe and a pin in the speed dial. This makes them much faster than the Voigtlander meter as half the settings are chosen (completed) when taking the reading. regards, Jem Kime
Personally I'd follow Jem advice: I'm using my Leicameter MR with my M3 and had no problem at all with both B/W negatives and slides except when I have misinterpretated the meter readings.
Everything changes, of course, if you have a screw mount Leica: I have no experience with the CV meter but I agree it is greatly overpriced (I suspect CV is planning to make money with some lens, shades and accessories while keeping low margin on bodies) and probably its quality it's not the highest available.
Still if you want a nice looking clip on meter for your LTM Leica there are no real options and personally I'm going to buy one, sooner or later, for my IIIf.
I hope that the guys from CV will develop something new and better made in the future: they demostrated a real willingness to improve their product line in the past.
All the best
I agree with Ruben, Jem and Enrico. I sold my M2 with MR meter a few months ago and have been regretting it ever since.
As for the VC meter, which I use with my IIIf and other oldies, it is a convenience matter. It will not compare in value or performance with a good hand-held meter but it stays with the camera (except when using the VL double shoe apparently). I can't say I have experienced the problem of the ISO setting turning and it may be that yours is actually faulty.
After I bought my M3 I thought I had to have a meter on the camera, and not just my hand-held Sekonic, so I got a beat-up Leicameter and sent it to Quality Light-Metric, for an overhaul and adaptation to the 625 alkaline batteries. They charged me $90.
The result? I am $140 poorer and have a functioning Leicameter I have never used, gathering dust somewhere. I find it awkward to use, and for me it detracts from the form and function of the Ms. I use the Sekonic, I try to learn to estimate exposure by eye and -most important- I use B&W at ISO 400. This gives me enough latitude to get printable results most of the time.
It is a matter of taste. Now that I am used to it, I don't freak out if I realize I left the Sekonic at home. I would not try this with Kodachrome, but for B&W (and, I would guess, most color negative) it works just fine.
I've had a VC meter for four years and it has displayed the same problem with a loose ISO dial as Andrew's since day one. AFAIK, this is a common trait. I've unsuccessfully tried to tighten it but I probably lack the proper tools. Pity, otherwise it's very convenient.
I was going to buy a VC for my IIf but this thread has put me off. I do have a Polaris spotmeter but it is hardly pocket size (only if you have a big pocket). I find Kodachrome gives as much latitude on exposure estimation as most films, as long as you err on the overexposure side rather than underexposure. Wilson
My experience with Kodachrome has been different, to the point that I usually bracket my exposure half a stop over and under. I would not dare using it without a meter except under the most forgiving light conditions. Then again, I am sure it is possible (albeit, I am sure, not easy) if one has enough experience. Until then, I will stick with negative film in the M3.
I wouldn't be too quick to abandon the VC meter. The gadget is necessarily a compromise and like all compromises some people will live with it and some won't. Its price and performance reflect the design limitations and the resricted market.
Mine is a good fit on my IIIf and, until it was pointed out in this thread, I had not noticed the potential problem with the ISO disk. It is a convenience accessory, personally I have never been able to get on with hand-held meters, I either forget them or can't get them out of the bag or my pocket in time. The difficulty Andrew reports about the double shoe adaptor is disappointing as the problem with clip-ons in general is they block the accessory shoe.
If you have not already done so you might like to look at Stephem Gandy's CameraQuest site, he has an informative article on the VC meter.
I would suggest that you see if you can get one on a sale or return basis and test it for yourself. Try it - you might like it.
My VoigtlÃ¤nder VC meter arrived a couple of years ago, and I have not experienced the problem of the speed or ISO dial movement. As Erwin Puts has said Cosina/VoigtlÃ¤nder quality control and consistency is not to Leica standards. It will not replace my hand-held meters, but for casual photography attached to the carrying-cord available from VoigtlÃ¤nder, it is a very "pocketable" little meter. Beforehand I thought it incongrous, when using a screw-thread Leica, to be also carrying a meter that was bigger than it.
An update on the Voigtlander meter. Thanks for all the posts about this issue. Tried it again, and was going to try to 'crimp' the ISO dial so that it would rub against the shutter speed dial and thus not turn so easily. However, decided not to try it - after all, it would remove a lot of the value from the meter if I tried it and it didn't work. I was surprised, and pleased, by Jem's recommendation. Was going to try one of these Leica meters (a lot cheaper than the Voigtlander!), but I assumed that after all these years the meter cells would be on their way out. Have a big Sekonic (L508) for large format work, which is excellent, but that rather defeats the object of having a camera such as the Leica - the meter is like having a second Leica body on you. No, I think I will try the Leica meter. Oh, yes - couldn't bring myself to sell the M2, so I now have a Bessa R2 as well (nice camera, by the way, though clumsy compared to a Leica).
The Voigtlander is awful compared to the Leica - it sounds clunky. Will be selling it when I've finished the film. I'm probably a snob, but there is a kind of almost tangible pleasure in taking a picture with a Leica. The Voiglander just feels tinny.
The meter problem is solved. Bought a Sekonic Twinmate L-208 for the M2, and it is great. Basic, but does the job, incident too! I can also see it with my contact lenses!