Analog or digital meter?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by jaimeb82, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. jaimeb82

    jaimeb82 Member

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    for someone who just started with film and with 4x5, will it be better to buy an analog spot meter or a digital one. Is one easier than the other to understand and learn the zone system. I am currently looking at the Pentax V analog and at the Pentax digital.

    I currently have a sekonik L-358, they sell a spot meter adaptor to put on top that costs around $160 or so. Not sure if that would be better than buying a used analog/digital pentax one.

    Any advice on the issue would be appreciated, thanks.
     
  2. OP
    OP
    jaimeb82

    jaimeb82 Member

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    an addition to my question.. some pentax asahi models lack a small white circle on the left side of the handle is that a difference in models? If so is the one without the circle on the handle a much worse model, I am saying this because I saw a cheap one. thanks!
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have both, it makes no difference. they are equally as good. I also use a spot attachment on my Gossen Luna Pro (Lunasix 3) but it's not as good - only a 7° spot.

    You might find a Spot attachment for youir Sekonic on Ebay, but the Soligor(Capital) and Pentax Spotmeter V's aren't very much second-hand and both are excellent (Ihave both).

    Ian
     
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Moderators I would rephrase this title and quick.

    Jaime. It really does not matter. If you already have a light meter and are familiar with it then I would stay there until your skills require more. Same if you have to acquire one. If you have limited budget then pick up a used Weston Master from ebay. If you have the funds, start with something like a Sekonic L358C and a one degree attachment.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's the backlight so you can see the needle in very low light levels, it works :D

    Ian
     
  6. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I do think some people tend to lump the Pentax 1/21 spot in with the V model.

    I have both the Pentax V and Pentax digital, I always pickup the V first. I would trade a very nice Pentax digital for a zone VI modified V in a heartbeat.

    Mike
     
  7. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Thanks
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I use the Sekonic L 358 too, and have the one degree spot attachment, I like it a lot because you can use all the meters facilities with it, you can take up to nine spot readings put them in the memory and get the average of them, and use it to take multiple spot readings with flash, the only drawback is that it's big and when It's fitted to the 358 it reminds me of a Swedish Anti-tank weapon I learned to use in the military a long time ago, but that's another story.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2009
  9. Galah

    Galah Member

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    I have several of each.

    Personally, I find the analogue more satisfactory, as I am able to view all the relevant equivalent exposures at a glance, whereas many of the digitals provide only a single reading at one shutter-speed or one aperture.:smile:
     
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  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Your Sekonic would work fine. Shell out for the spot attachment when you can.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    +1
     
  12. Ponysoldier

    Ponysoldier Member

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    Having used both, I still prefer the analog to digital - I suppose my preference is based on the fact that I spent years calibrating meters and (for me) the analog gives me more information than just the EV. The truth is that either of the technologies, properly calibrated and maintained, is satisfactory.
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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  14. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I had a L358 and sold it a couple of years ago for about $250. It worked very well but I was on a go analog kick and that funded a lot of gear including its replacement. Weston Master IV. And as I never had the spot attachment I didn't miss anything.

    I would suggest that you use whatever it is you use most and are the most familiar with. This will lend itself to ease of use and a lack of creative hinderance.

    Have fun.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    jaimeb82

    jaimeb82 Member

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    I went the Pentax asahi way and got a $50 one, sad to find out no mercury batteries for this babies anymore. Looking for alternatives batteries at the moment, someone sells a $30 replacement. Thanks for the feedback.
     
  16. nicefor88

    nicefor88 Member

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    Hand cell metering can make me miss a good street scene. And, when it's too late it's too late...
     
  17. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I doubt the OP is doing to much street scene work with his 4x5.

    Mike
     
  18. OP
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    jaimeb82

    jaimeb82 Member

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    I can't find a replacement battery, I went for the the closest match, but the size is to small and a bunch of foil paper didn't do the trick at all...any suggestions
     
  19. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    Mike,

    What is the real difference (and advantage) between the original Pentax digital spot and the zone VI modified one?

    Philippe
     
  20. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Subscriber

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    I used the pentax V and now am using the Pentax Digital. Benefit for the Digital one is that it us much smaller/ easier to grip.
    Second with the digital the reading is easy to read out. With the analog one in dark parts it is not that easy to see the needle.
    With the digital one you can not make a reading mistake, with the anaog one a reading error is easier to make.

    For the modified zone VI one, I checked the graph with adjustments it's make. The largiest amount of difference between a normal one and a zone VI adjusted one is 1/3 stop, so who cares!

    We always measure wrong, so who cares.
    Go into the woods, stand still, measure the shadow part of a tree which is 10 meter away, Now walk towards that tree and measure that part again.
    You will see that the difference will be 1-2 stops!
    A spotmeter is a good tool, but be aware of the errors you could make in underexpose the scene when using it alone.
     
  21. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Subscriber

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    I used a simple Weston of some sort during my Arts degree 20 years ago.
    From 1998 to 2003 I used a Polaris (Sekonic L308 copy) until that was stolen. Nowadays I use the Sekonic (digital); the straightforward (and precise) readout (both on display and in viewfinder) appeal to me; no need to squint / guesstimate at dials. Some people like digi watches; some like analog. Go for either, live with it for a while then maybe change to the other. Though analog exposure meters are often seen in photo stores and second hand windows, they kind of strike me as nostalgic. Personally I wouldn't go back to a dial-type exposure meter. :tongue:
     
  22. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I would go ahead and just get the spot attachment. That way, you are always using the same meter. I prefer the Pentax V or Digital Spotmeter, but if I already had the one you have, I would get the attachment for sake of consistency. It is cheesier, but also cheaper, and like I said before, this will cause your one meter to lead you to the same middle grey tone regardless of whether you are using it to meter incident light, reflected light, spot reflected light, or flash.

    I like the split scale of the 1/21. However, it has a battery issue, as of last I used one (borrowed from my school several years ago). The battery for either the low scale or the high scale is no longer made. I forget which scale it is, but am thinking it is the low scale.

    As for analog vs. digital Pentax Spotmeters, I prefer the way the analog ones read in the viewfinder (higher precision due to infinite "in-between" positions of the needle, while with the digital, you only have 1/3 stop precision). I prefer the weight of the digital. The digital is also smaller, so fits more easily in smaller pockets than you would need for the V. The exposure/EV/EI scale on the digital is quicker and easier to operate (though your settings can get accidentally changed a lot more easily because of this). Also, the digitals can be bought new, while you are limited to used meters with the analog. Both seem to hold decent value on the used market. I think that the digital can meter one EV lower than the analog. It may seem that the digital is not as solid, but after using both, I think it is actually the analog that is less solid. It seems like the casing of the analog is a hard plastic, while it is a lightweight metal on the digital. My digital meter fared very well in two accidents that I though would have fried the meter (one mechanically and one electronically).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2009