I post this here because I think it's the best place for it...!
I'd like to try to spotmeter and set my own exposure rather than rely on the CW pattern of my Mamiya 645. To me, it would be a learning experience, and may in time allow me to move to a cheap Hasselblad unmetered 6x6 system (I like the format, I don't like cropping and wasting 645 negative, and if I do invest in a 6x6 system, I have no intention of spending money on a metering prism). My question is what FOV of spotmeter should I look for (1 degree? 5 degree? 10 degree?) in order to take landscape images ranging from general views of hills, valleys etc to isolating groups of boulders, trees or fence posts? Beyond spotFOV and metering accuracy, is there any other particular feature I should look for? I have read a few books and articles, and believe I have the theory of metering. The practice is what counts though!
I have read about Sekonic and Pentax digital meters, but cannot compare them directly because I have no practical experience just yet. There could well be others I don't yet know about. I'd be looking to buy used unless persuaded otherwise, but luckily money is not absolutely the driver (up to a point... at most £400/$700). I have no use of flash metering modes or anysuch.
And the thing has got to be solid and reliable enough for me to trust it for years to come, even if it is routinely squeezed into a coat pocket with the dog leash and car keys (OK - it can live in a slipcase in the pocket). It shouldn't have any fancy batteries or recharging regime - AA or easier. Any ideas or suggestions?
#1. "RE: Spotmetering" | In response to Reply # 0DWGimages Nikonian since 02nd Sep 2003Thu 30-Dec-04 01:23 PM
My knowledge of the various hand held meters is limited, however, I can speak of the Sekonic L-558 and the reasons why that's the one I bought for my Mamiya M645.
First: The name. I have used Sekonic meters before and loved the ease. I have friends who also use Sekonic (and other brands) and say they prefer the Sekonic.
Second: I was looking for a meter to do everything: Spot, Ambient and Flash metering. This one "seemed" to be the first one (at the best price) to do it all. Less expensive models either were missing features I wanted or just didn't come close.
Third: 1-degree spot. This seems to be a breakthrough in technology and the L-558 boasted about it as being the first to have it. Now - as far as what is necessary for Landscapes - that I couldn't tell you - but this was one of those purchases for me where (even though I was looking for the cheapest meter dollar wise) I would spare no expense to get everything I wanted in a meter all at once. So $500 later, I was the owner of a L-558.
Dual Meter: This function allows you to set in two ISO speeds and be able to flip between the two with one reading.
Averaging: The L-558 allows you to do a 9 point average meter. Take readings from up to 9 areas, save them in the unit and find the "average" reading for that scene. Haven’t used this much - yet - but I intend to play with it.
Filter Compensation: You can dial in exposure values for various filters and the meter will automatically adjust the exposure settings for you.
POWER Source?: CR123A battery! Pretty standard issue for photography equipment. I personally would have preferred AAs myself as well. Oh well!
And so much more. Here is a link to the Sekonic site and the Dualmaster L-558 page.
Hope this was of some help to you. Good luck and enjoy!
#2. "RE: Spotmetering" | In response to Reply # 0walkerr Nikonian since 05th May 2002Thu 30-Dec-04 11:02 PM
Both Sekonic and Pentax spotmeters are good. For that matter, so are Gossen and Minolta. Which one you pick just depends on individual preferences and what you plan to shoot.
The Pentax Digital Spotmeter is dirt simple, reliable and easy to use. Many medium and large format landscape photographers use these because they do just what is required and nothing more. Simplicity is a virtue in many ways. The battery for the Pentax is a 544, which is getting harder to find at stores that don't sell camera equipment.
The newer Sekonic meters have many more features, yet are still reliable and easy to use. I have a 608 that I like really well. I find the variable spot size (1-5 degrees) handy, but it's not hard to live with just a 1 degree spotmeter. This meter, as well as many other recent Sekonics, uses the more common CR123 battery.
One thing to think about is whether or not you need your meter to handle flash exposures. If not, you can get by with a simpler, cheaper meter (like the Pentax).