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Need Suggestions For A Light Meter
Old 07-15-2007, 03:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have to say that it seems like every time I follow the herd I get stung. I am in the position of having to replace a Minolta Autometer 4F that I have had for less that a year and have had to repair twice and I am at the point where I have had enough and I need to move on for the sake of my own sanity.

For many years I used and loved a Sekonic L328 Ambient/Flash meter. I used it mostly for studio proposes but as my photography grew and expanded I found myself using my meter more and more outdoors and I started looking for a more robust meter and a lot of people suggested the Minolta Autometer 4F so I took the advice of the herd and I bought an Autometer 4F and it has been a very bumpy ride ever since. The largest problem I think is poor design on the part of Minolta. Minolta has tried to make this meter do everything and it is at the point where it will do nothing at all. Minolta has I think 20 or so accessory heads for this meter and none of them work reliably and this is what a photographer needs the most, reliability. I have been told by Minolta technicians and also by independent, seasoned, experienced repair technicians that the head of Minolta meters haveseveral sets of contacts in it so it can "work" with all the various accessories that Minolta offers and these contacts get dirty and cause the meter to radically underexpose and there is no way to prevent this. When I was first told this I had to laugh because there is an expression that says: "form follows function" and obviously Minolta's engineers never bothered to learn this and this is probably why Minolta is standing on the brink of extinction today and my response is that I hope they get what they deserve. If a company makes a sub-standard product sooner or later it will catch up with them.

All of this is very small consolation to me because I have shoots coming up and I need a light meter and I need it quick and even though I am sure I will live to regret it I would like to hear from G1 members as to what light meter they use.

I am leaning very strongly towards getting another Sekonic L328 but I am also looking at the light meter that Polaris has out and I am also open to other meters but whatever I get it has to be dead on reliable or it is just a waste of my time and money so the question is what kind of meters are the G1 members using and why?

Thanks.
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Re: Need Suggestions For A Light Meter
Old 07-15-2007, 05:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I love my Seconic L - 358 . It has the transmitter built in to trigger the pocket wizards.
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Re: Need Suggestions For A Light Meter
Old 07-15-2007, 07:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I use a Minolta Autometer V F. It works perfectly. Before that I used a Minolta Autometer IV F for several years. It worked perfectly, too, until some idiot got his hands on it one day. Sorry to hear about your difficulties.

I have no experience with Polaris meters. Everyone that I know that has used Sekonic meters has been happy with them. Except for the (different) idiot who refused to read the instructions and spent the first two weeks looking through the the wrong end of the spot meter. You can imagine how successful that was.
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Re: Need Suggestions For A Light Meter
Old 07-15-2007, 07:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've been using the Minolta Flash Meter IV since I bought it back in 1989. It has worked perfectly all these many years and so have the attachments. Since going all digital 3 or 4 years ago, I have stopped using a meter except in the studio and then mostly for lighting ratios. I just use the histogram in the camera along with a black/gray/white target and that gets me the most accurate readings possible.
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Re: Need Suggestions For A Light Meter
Old 07-16-2007, 11:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Unless you need a spot meter, I'd recommend the Sekonic 358. If you need a spot meter I'd recommend the Sekonic 758DR (or the 558R if you can still find it). You can get a spot attachment for the 358, but by the time you equip the 358 with the features of the 558/758 you'll spend the same money and the spot meter on the 558/758 is 4 stops more sensitive to light. They are weatherproof and solidly constructed, very much more so than the 308 or 328 (BTW - the 328 isn't manufactured anymore).

I've seen two Polaris meters in the last 3 years. One read under by 1/3 of a stop and the other read over by 1/3 of a stop. Both were fresh out of the box and metered the same scene. My statistical sampling of two units isn't particularly useful in establishing the accuracy of the brand in general, but a 2/3 stop variance between two units of the same model leads me to recommend other manufacturers.

I use a Sekonic 558R and have a 358 as a backup. They are accurate and rugged. I use them because they have PocketWizard transmitters in them, make scene evaluation easy, and measure multiple strobe pops (very useful in large format product and architectural photography). The 358 is about half the size and weight of the 558/758, which is nice when you need to travel light.

I have also used Gossen and Minolta meters. I found the Minoltas accurate but fragile and the Gossens accurate but overpriced.

-Chip
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