View Full Version : Old analog light meter

Tom Camilleri
9th of March 2005 (Wed), 08:11
A few tears back and as a complete newbie I bought a relatively cheap Gossen Pilot 2 analog light meter, with honeycomb cell and dial, to experiment with using a light meter. Never used it much but now I have a need. Are these things useable? The analog dial arrangement means I'm going to have to interpolate exposure times, which will be a pain, but I won't be making too many readings per session. I will be using it as an incident light meter with a built-in diffuser. Accurate enough to get me in the ball park? I hate to spring for a couple hundred bucks for something I don't absolutely need at any given time, although I'm tempted.

9th of March 2005 (Wed), 08:20
what/why the need now, may help answer Are these things useable?

9th of March 2005 (Wed), 08:33
The problem with a light meter using selenium is that they deteriorate with use because light breaks them down. I'm just guessing but it may be due to the photo-chemical reaction occurring within it that generates their own energy to work the light meter (i.e. no batteries needed).

However, if the meter is still working fine (and you can verify this by shooting a couple of test shots and checking the exposure) then you should be good to go.

As for it's usage, all you should have to do is set the ISO, put the diffuser on and then take a reading, matching the yellow pointer to the needle. Your shutter speed and aperture is read from the dial. You'll just have to decide which shutter/aperture combo you want to use. No interpolation should be required unless the ISO you're using isn't on the meter or the EV is beyond the capability of the meter.

Good luck with the meter and have fun :D

9th of March 2005 (Wed), 09:04
I have 2 old light meter, one is a very very old Sekonic, that look like this one http://homepage.newschool.edu/~schlemoj/film_courses/sekonic_controls.html . But still older than this.

The other even older, look more like the laser gun in old StarTrek.

They are too old that I can't remember how to use them.

From time to time I will use these 2 meter and compair the value with the built in meter in the EOS to see whether they are working fine.

I will post the pictures of them tomorrow.

Tom Camilleri
9th of March 2005 (Wed), 09:06
My problem is described in sharing knowhow section thread: "Right" exposure for given setup?

I'm shooting many subjects (actually, objects) against a white background under the same lighting. Rather than bother with grey cards it was suggested I try incident light metering.

9th of March 2005 (Wed), 09:11
Yes, incident light measurement is the way to go. But get a digital one as Sekonic L-308B or up scale to L-558R.

Tom Camilleri
9th of March 2005 (Wed), 09:14
Not really interpolation I guess, but the way the scale is drawn I'll have to guess how far between two fractional time values the needle falls and then do some math. Fortunately, I shouldn't need to do this often.

9th of March 2005 (Wed), 09:23
Not really interpolation I guess, but the way the scale is drawn I'll have to guess how far between two fractional time values the needle falls and then do some math. Fortunately, I shouldn't need to do this often.

I hate this, this is why the old photo taking waste sooooo much time. Not sure where exactly the needle scale, + the film processing was so costly.

9th of March 2005 (Wed), 09:58
When the film rangefinder bug hit me, I purchase a Weston Master II light meter. Yes it works, but once I snapped out of my fondness for old cameras, I realized that they are more of a PITA than they are worth. My lightmeter in my digital camera is just fine, and with a histogram, can't be beat!

9th of March 2005 (Wed), 10:09
I agree with pradeep1, and imagine that this topic will be hammered to death as the previous ones were.
Learn to use the histogram, & when NOT to trust it, & you'll be OK. ;-)
If you haven't done it already, see the "Gray card" threads at:

Tom Camilleri
9th of March 2005 (Wed), 12:44
I just took some excellent (for me) shots using the cheapie meter for incident light metering. It takes a lot of interpretation out of the analysis, as you don't need to worry about tonal makeup of the background and/or subject. I think as I work with the meter a bit I will get a feel for things and will be better able to use the camera's (300D) metering system and histograms. The histograms I got using the meter were beautiful! Can't wait to process...

9th of March 2005 (Wed), 12:49
maybe somethings wrong with the 300D meter - or you have it on spot metering by mistake - I have had a Sekonic L-308B for about 7years and on my EOS5 with a normal exposure subject there was no difference between the internal reflective meter in the camera and an incident reading, on slide film and I took loads of slides then to learn from. I use the meter rarely these days, for you to notice a huge difference I suspect something must be wrong?

Mark Kemp
9th of March 2005 (Wed), 13:02
If you want to check your light meter you can use a camera with a built in meter to measure the exposure for a scene (ideally a bit of grass or grey pavement) and then take a reading of the same scene with the meter. If you set the same ISO speed you should get the same reading, give or take no more than about half a stop. If not, and you trust your camers, maybe the meter is not so good. Mine always agrees with my 20D and my D30 pretty well. However having said that this also proves that the meter is no better than the camera for general reflected readings. I only use mine occasionally for incident readings or with an old film camera that has no meter in it.