Nice to have news from the east side from time to time.
The subject you bring is quite interesting in our frenetic and disoriented "Latest up to date" consumption world ...
Tools are just tools , and the reference you pointed are really
good standards for years like the L398 analogue is a very reliable
and very handy Light meter.
The new Digital light Meters advertising about brand new products,
accurate readings, shutter angle and filters compensation etc etc
does not improve your craft or foot-candle reading or even talent
Vittorio Storaro had done all his "Writing with light master-piece
work" with an L398 and still work with it ,because he knows
his light meter like no one does!
Trust your emotions and mainly your eyes relevant to your talent.
Jerome Fournier Lanzoni.
European Based Cinematographer.
Tools are just tools, but there are advantages to digital and analog
I own both, but I tend to use my digital meters more. One reason
is that they are more rugged. If you drop an analog meter even once
even gently, it may need to be recalibrated. It might not, but it
may change slightly, and you have to check it against another light
If you drop an electronic meter, it is less likely to be damaged,
and, more importantly, when id does fail from being dropped, it
is more likely to be either completely non-functional or to be 10
stops off or something - you immediately notice that you have a
For me, the most compelling improvement I have with my electronic
meters is low light sensitivity. If you plan to do a lot of low-light
work, an electronic meter might be the way to go.
On the other hand, I think that the way the analog scale is laid
out gives you a better visual reminder of how light is logarithmic
non-linear in the way it works for exposure. Also, analog meters
do not require batteries to work.
I think I would recommend the digital meter these days - especially
since there are fewer and fewer people out there that can repair
and calibrate analog equipment properly when you do drop it...and
you will drop it some time.
>For me, the most compelling
improvement I have with my electronic >meters is low light sensitivity.
If you plan to do a lot of low-light work, an >electronic meter
might be the way to go.
I would add to that good advice that modern meters can be more reliable
throughout their range (shadow to highlight) as well as having somewhat
better color sensitivity characteristics.
As far as choosing a meter goes...Personal preference I guess, but
I don't know why a professional DP would want to use one of the
new dual purpose meters. Aside from it being good to carry two separate
meters, the dual meters make poor spot meters. The zoom meters are
known to be unreliable as the sensor doesn't respond well to that
design. The others have shabby optics for the most part and all
seem prone to flare
from lack of snoot and baffle. The meter that sadly replaces the
wonderful "Spot F" is pretty worthless as a spot meter,
and not a tool that I would want to use as my primary light measuring
instrument, not a comfortable, ergonomic tool like the dedicated
spot meters were/are.
ICG, New York
Well I have a case full of meters from Minolta, Sekonic, Spectra,
Pentax & Gossen.
The meter I find myself using all the time now is the Minolta 6
If you can only afford one meter, I would highly recommend the Spectra
IV. I find it to be the most accurate on the market. And, if you
are just starting out and work on productions that starved for lights,
the meter will read down to f/0.5. On night exteriors, I find it
to be particularly valuable.
As others have mentioned, I would also avoid the dual meter Sekonics.
The spot meter in particular is very poor. On a night exterior I
was trying to get a reading on some deep background trees that I
No reading at all ... My gaffer let me borrow his meter and low
and behold I had a F/1.0. I never used the meter again.
â€œIn his youth, Carter had believed everything was possible. Then
in grief, he believed everything was impossible. And now ... he
felt that when you had lived enough of your life, there was no difference
between the two.â€
-- Glen David Gold, â€œCarter Beats the Devilâ€
I've had great results with the Sekonic L-608Cine. Although the
supplied pouch is too tight that I already dropped the meter from
trying to pull it out. I think the Spectra IV is still the best
priced and worth every penny though.
My two cents.
San Francisco, CA
Rick Lopez wrote :
>If you can only afford one
meter, I would highly recommend the Spectra >IV. I find it to
be the most accurate on the market.
The Spectra IV is excellent, especially for the money, if you are
shooting film. If you are doing stills it is a bit awkward. To change
shutter speeds you have to press a "lock" button, then
click through to the one you want, then press the "lock"
button again if you want to change ASA. To change ASA you press
another "lock" button, etc. It's all a bit slow. But the
meter can be switched to read footcandles or lux and has ratio and
It uses batteries rather quickly and they are 6v. PX28's that you
won't find at Walgreen's. Be sure you have a couple of new spares
in your kit.
Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614