Light Meter Prices

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Russell, May 23, 2005.

  1. Russell

    Russell Guest

    Why does the price of light meters vary so much?

    Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
    do) that the mid to low priced ones?
     
    Russell, May 23, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Russell

    Roger Guest

    On Mon, 23 May 2005 23:02:42 +0100, "Russell" <>
    wrote:

    >Why does the price of light meters vary so much?
    >
    >Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
    >do) that the mid to low priced ones?


    Hi Russell,

    Light meters come is several flavors, I'll take a crude attempt at
    listing them feature wise in terms of ascending features/price. The
    features are:

    a) simple reflective light metering
    b) incident light metering
    c) flash metering
    d) spot metering


    Meters come in combinations of these features and you are likely to
    find meters that are:

    1) simple reflective meter
    2) reflective meter with incident metering capability
    3) flash metering in a reflective or incident or both mode
    4) reflective meter with spot capability
    5) reflective meter with spot capability and separate incident
    metering mode

    Add to that the ability to store one, two or multiple exposure
    readings. Display those readings on a common scale. Add a feature to
    "integrate" these multiple readings into a single readout, etc. and
    the price escalates.

    My personal favorite is a Sekonic 803BII, compact reflective, incident
    meter with flash metering in either mode. I have a spot meter in my
    camera the works very well for my limited spot metering usage - often
    dominates when needed but the camera still provides this function for
    me.

    Hope this helps,
    Regards,
    Roger
     
    Roger, May 23, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Russell

    Colin D Guest

    Russell wrote:
    >
    > Why does the price of light meters vary so much?
    >
    > Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
    > do) that the mid to low priced ones?


    Yes. Not only in accuracy and versatility, but in reliability under
    adverse conditions as well. I had an early (nameless) spotmeter,
    boasting a silicon blue cell and variable 1 to 5 degree spot size that
    was totally useless because flare was so great that the image was almost
    lost under the wash of light.

    There are four general types of meter; reflected-light meters covering
    the total scene, from the old Weston Masters to TTL meters like Nikon's
    1,005-segment in-camera meters; spot meters which measure the brightness
    of a very small area of a subject; incident meters which measure the
    light incident to (falling on) a subject; and flash meters which can
    integrate and measure the very brief flash from electronic flash units.

    Most of the high-end meters like Minolta and Sekonic can measure at
    least three of these modes with the one meter - spot, incident, and
    flash. Further, meters like the Sekonic L-558 can measure and store up
    to nine spot readings of a subject, display the readings on a graph-like
    scale, and calculate the correct exposure to cover the measured spot
    brightnesses.

    Without going into the details, the exposure information provided by
    these meters is very useful for photographers who do the highest quality
    work, specially with medium or large-format cameras. One can't say
    these meters are essential, since many photogs will say that experience
    allows them to set exposure without such aids, but I prefer to be sure
    rather than sorry, although I no longer use MF or LF cameras. But, I
    still use the hand-held incident/spotmeter with my Canon digital for
    landscape and similar shots, particularly for unusual or backlit scenes.

    Colin
     
    Colin D, May 24, 2005
    #3
  4. Russell

    Backbone Guest

    > My personal favorite is a Sekonic 803BII, compact reflective, incident

    don't freak me out i.e. no such thing as a Sekonic 803BII - well, I never heard
    of such a thing!
     
    Backbone, May 24, 2005
    #4
  5. Russell

    Colin D Guest

    Backbone wrote:
    >
    > > My personal favorite is a Sekonic 803BII, compact reflective, incident

    >
    > don't freak me out i.e. no such thing as a Sekonic 803BII - well, I never heard
    > of such a thing!


    He meant a Sekonic L-308 BII

    Colin
     
    Colin D, May 24, 2005
    #5
  6. Russell

    Roger Guest

    On Tue, 24 May 2005 14:32:04 +1200, Colin D
    <ColinD@killspam.127.0.0.1> wrote:

    >
    >
    >Backbone wrote:
    >>
    >> > My personal favorite is a Sekonic 803BII, compact reflective, incident

    >>
    >> don't freak me out i.e. no such thing as a Sekonic 803BII - well, I never heard
    >> of such a thing!

    >
    >He meant a Sekonic L-308 BII
    >
    >Colin


    Colin,

    Thank you for clearing that up.

    Roger
     
    Roger, May 24, 2005
    #6
  7. Russell

    Alan Browne Guest

    Russell wrote:

    > Why does the price of light meters vary so much?
    >
    > Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
    > do) that the mid to low priced ones?



    What are your requirements? If you need ambient as well as flash; and
    spot as well as incident metering, then the price will be a bit higher.

    I had a Sekonic L508, and it was a wonderful flash. Foolishly I sold
    it. Some months later I bought a less capable Minolta VF.

    Two things I miss from the Sekonic:
    1) It would automatically display exposure every time it detected a
    flash firing. (With the VF, I have to depress the arming button every
    time).

    2) The Sekonic had a zoomable spot meter. This is no big use when I'm
    using my Maxxum 9 (has spot meter), but when I rent MF cameras I'm
    forced to use the Maxxum 9 as a a spot meter. The Sekonic would have
    been perfect.

    So, first determine your neeeds, then determine which models fill those
    needs.

    Cheers,
    Alan

    --
    -- r.p.e.35mm user resource: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
    -- r.p.d.slr-systems: http://www.aliasimages.com/rpdslrsysur.htm
    -- [SI] gallery & rulz: http://www.pbase.com/shootin
    -- e-meil: Remove FreeLunch.
     
    Alan Browne, May 24, 2005
    #7
  8. Russell

    Colin D Guest

    eatmorepies wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > Without going into the details, the exposure information provided by
    > > these meters is very useful for photographers who do the highest quality
    > > work, specially with medium or large-format cameras. One can't say
    > > these meters are essential, since many photogs will say that experience
    > > allows them to set exposure without such aids, but I prefer to be sure
    > > rather than sorry, although I no longer use MF or LF cameras. But, I
    > > still use the hand-held incident/spotmeter with my Canon digital for
    > > landscape and similar shots, particularly for unusual or backlit scenes.
    > >

    >
    > Why not just bracket the exposure? It's cost free with the digital camera.
    >
    > John


    Right, perhaps it's force of habit, but I like playing with expensive
    toys, and measuring exposure and hitting the bullseye in one is more
    satisfying than the shotgun approach of bracketing. I have been known to
    bracket though, with a film slr when testing the camera with a
    particular film - but there I'm really testing the film/camera fit.

    Colin
     
    Colin D, May 25, 2005
    #8
  9. Russell

    Tony Polson Guest

    "Russell" <> wrote:
    >
    >Why does the price of light meters vary so much?
    >
    >Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
    >do) that the mid to low priced ones?



    As with most photo gear, you pay more to get a better feature set,
    better performance and a more rugged construction.

    A better feature set might include one or all of: incident metering,
    spot metering, flash metering and analysis of the contrast of a scene.

    Better performance will probably mean more accuracy - the best meters
    have a precision of 1/10 stop as against 1/3 stop of cheaper meters.

    Finally, the most expensive meters are designed for professional use
    and they are rugged enough to withstand rough handling yet still
    deliver accurate performance - for years.

    As with any photo gear, you should start out with something fairly
    inexpensive. Only trade up when you find that the limitations of your
    gear prevent you from doing what you want with your photography.
     
    Tony Polson, May 25, 2005
    #9
  10. Russell

    Roger Guest

    On Tue, 24 May 2005 16:44:19 +0100, "eatmorepies"
    <> wrote:

    >Why not just bracket the exposure? It's cost free with the digital camera.
    >
    >John


    Bracketing is a perfectly valid way of "nailing" exposure. There are
    some venues where the photographer is trying to work more
    unobtrusively and a handheld meter is a bit more convenient for
    mapping out light levels before an event occurs. Lighting for stage
    productions, weddings, etc. come to mind. You can still bracket if the
    venue allows, and with some cameras the bracketing itself is just a
    burst, with others it's a more involved process for the photographer
    and it's likely to miss the "action" (e.g. leaping dancer).

    I find a hand held incident light meter convenient to use, even with
    my digital P&S. I could probably live without one, but I really got
    hooked on incident light meter evaluations when photographing with a
    35mm camera that did not have a meter. When using negative film, it
    wasn't nearly so essential as when shooting with transparencies (at
    least for my skill level).

    Regards,
    Roger
     
    Roger, May 25, 2005
    #10
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. sjh

    Light Meter for Digital Photography

    sjh, Jul 11, 2003, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    8
    Views:
    9,024
    Gary Eickmeier
    Jul 13, 2003
  2. Dr. Slick
    Replies:
    20
    Views:
    1,248
    Andrew D
    Sep 9, 2003
  3. Matthew

    El Cheapo digital camera as a light meter

    Matthew, Dec 10, 2003, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    10
    Views:
    695
    Alan Browne
    Dec 13, 2003
  4. Replies:
    5
    Views:
    464
    Helge Olsen
    Jun 18, 2004
  5. Alan

    Light meter suggestions

    Alan, Jun 27, 2004, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    5
    Views:
    513
    Jonathan Wilson
    Jun 29, 2004
Loading...

Share This Page