Gossen StarLite AND Kenko KFM-2200

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Kodiak, Jan 11, 2019 at 5:45 PM.

  1. Kodiak

    Kodiak Member
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    Mar 16, 2017
    Even having Gossen StarLite-1 I often had to use my old Minolta FlashMeter-v and Minolta SpotMeter-F. Whenever I use StarLite-1 I always remember Minolta FlashMere-vi which I could not afford. I knew Kenko makes it but I never was sure is it as good as original Minolta-vi and is it still Made in Japan.

    Having problems with Gossen StarLite-1 I finely I decided to buy a new 1 deg spot meter, and it came down to Gossen StarLite-2 or Kenko-Tokina (minolta) FlashMeter-vi.

    Here is a list of problems I had with Gossen StarLite-1 which made me to go shopping for the spot-meter again

    -Very hard to turn the switch from one to another measuring system (1 deg, to 5 deg, to diffuser)

    -It is housed into cheap plumbing plastic

    -Switch to activate measuring sometimes does not and sometimes does works so one never know what is showing old or new measuring. It is way too small to operate normally and without shaking the unit. It is hard to press it.

    -Battery chamber door is really bad

    -no data reading in the viewfinder. After EACH measuring with spot meter one have to remove unit from eye, turn it and read the large screen.

    -incident light with flat diffuser is replaced with a dome. Well this is now long story, long short I never had confidence in this compromise.

    -1 deg spot shows different result from 5 deg spot, and the difference is more than one F opening in many cases

    -no way to use it in darkroom for enlarging

    -brightness difference measuring is, long short, not possible (pan with unit, which Gossen recommends, is not working)

    -the joint of turning head is so flimsy that I really worry it will soon detach

    -the plastic housing looks to me is the same plastic as cheap plumbing-pipe is made from, very bad feeling

    -the circle of the 1 deg measuring spot in viewfinder is very thick line which telegraphing question where is cut-off for reading, is it really 1 deg

    - 1 deg. spot measuring accuracy is OK when it works

    -just so many times when I take it to use it will not turn on, battery dead. Very short life for the battery, so lithium 1.5 v is recommended for longer life, but one always have to have around a spare battery.

    -I spent a lot of time to find out is StarLite-2 still made in Germany, but could not find the answer, and finely gave-up.

    Having experience with Minoltas and Gossen StaLite-1 I ordered Kenko KFM-2200. THANK YOU GOD FOR SOOO WISE DECESION. I am in Canada and no return on order form USA.

    Kenko KFM-2200

    Kenko got license form Minolta for FlashMeter-vi and renamed to KFM-2200 which is a new version of original KFM-2100.

    Incident Light
    There are two incident Light meas options: the real-flat diffuser and dome diffuser. I have tested both and found very good agreement with spot-meter, even I am a little hesitant to use dome diffuser on any meter just because I do not like some average reading. When Light comes from side the reading is lined up with sine law. I did use this Flat diffuser a lot with Minolta-FlashMeter-V with high confidence. Using Leica grey-card with 18% reflectance, Kenko is right on the spot with all measurements, spot meas from the card is the same as flat diffuser reading.

    Reflected Light
    Kenko has only 1 deg spot measurement, and it just works. The spot mark is a black circle in the centre of the viewfinder which is similar to 35 mm camera finder. At bottom of the viewfinder is digital reading as aperture, exposure-time or ISO, and there are other information too (like brightness difference, ..). During use the meter does not need to be removed from eye. Even more the eyepiece has diopter adjustment so one can adjust the image in the viewfinder (no glasses needed).

    Viewfinder is very similar to Minolta-Spot-meter-F, but I think it is now much better for it is with more information and image looks brighter and sharper.

    There is no cover for either side of the viewfinder.

    When Light is just outside the spot-circle-mark it is not taken like there is Light measuring cut-off at the circle border-line. The cell is very well centered which can be seen by rotating the meter and measuring at the edge of the Light.

    The Screen backlight can be switched to turn on at each press on the button or just when the Light is “low”.

    With memo button the unit can measure and compare reflected Light (shown at right side of F-numbers) and incident Light (shown at left side of F-numbers).

    For measuring the contrast range, the same as on FlashMeter-V, the screen switch from F-numbers to -3 .. 0 .. +3 opening. This range can be followed in the view-finder too but only with +/-F-numbers from the reference

    The Flash meter works with single and multiple flashes and can shows ratio Flash to Day Light. It works with Flash-cord and without cord.

    The exposure correction can be made in + or in – direction.

    The Zone-system works the same way as on FlashMeter-V, and there are very nice feature to instantly shows exposure for the darkest or for brightest part of the scene. These limits can be changed in accordance with Film and photo-paper test. Really, I mean really good approach to zone system.

    There two switches, one for reflected Light and one for the incident Light reading. The results are also shown on separate analog scales, next to each other, and both reading can be seen simultaneously.

    The meter can be used as a LightMeter to set the Camera, in darkroom, or as a densitometer for Film-speed test.

    I use one rechargeable NiMh (less than 1.5 V) which is OK too even Kenko recommendation is only Alkaline 1.5 V. I put inside nearly dead NiMh battery and still works after 2 months of heavy use. Looks the battery last forever like on FlashMeter-V.

    The Spot measuring size: Kenko is a real 1 deg spot. The Light is cut-off at the 1 deg. Mark circle inside the viewfinder.

    No more Switches in the battery chamber. Setting are available through ALT-mode, and there are much more settings than Gossen with switches.


    Housing is casted on very high quality plastic and felling is very nice.

    The head with incident Light measuring can be turned and is just rock-solid (at least on the sample I got from B&H).

    This meter is minolta FlashMeter-V PLUS SpotMeter-F PLUS many added or revised features.

    Lux, cd/sq.m, ..., can be found with easy.

    Overall quality, to me, is better than original minolta.

    Kenko KMF-2200 is clearly made for practical Photography-use and no other meter can come and close. You will find just anything you need be it pro, studio, advanced amateur, digital or Film use.

    This unit is more oriented to practical-Photography than to Movie and no shutter-angle, ...

    I am now Gossen-StarLite free and have

    -Kenko-2200 for all my photo-works
    -Gossen Luna-Pro-S (made much better than Star.Lite) with Tele and Lab attachments, because I still like needle in the meter
    -Minolta-FlashMeter-V, just because I like it.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 6:00 PM
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