Lightmeter and Leica m4

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Thrain

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Hello fellas!
I have a Leica m4, and to get the correct exposure i rely on the sunny 16 but... of course in tricky lighting situations sometimes i miss the target, so i'm planning to buy an incident light meter (the other kind is more pricy - i guess).
But wich one?
A handheld one ore one you can mount on the hotshoe of the camera, like the leicameter mr4?
I tend to prefere the second option, since the regulations are made much faster (the speed dial goes on top of the camera one so it's two birds one stone), thus you might miss less shot possibilities. The only con i see is that it may scratch the camera, but i also read that you can simply tighten some screws and bye bye scatches.
SO... what's your experience? Any suggestion?
Thanks n advance :D
 

Kodachromeguy

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Wow, this is a complicated topic. Some suggestions:

1. You wrote incident light meter. In that case, you need a hand-held meter with an incident dome. Any one of the recent Sekonic or Gossen meters would suit your needs. The Gossens are handy because they have a dome that slides back and forth in front of the sensor.

2. If a reflected meter is sufficient for your use, than a Leicameter MR4 or other shoe-mount meter would be convenient. Two problems with the MR4:
a. You need to find one that still works. I do not know if they are repairable now.
b. You should use hearing aide batteries or one of the battery converter devices to substitute for the mercury batteries that the MR4 originally specified. An alkaline or silver battery will have the problem of drifting voltage over time, although some photographers use the newer batteries and claim they do not have exposure problems.
 
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AgX

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I have a Leica m4, and to get the correct exposure i rely on the sunny 16 but... of course in tricky lighting situations sometimes i miss the target, so i'm planning to buy an incident light meter (the other kind is more pricy - i guess).

Except of two high-end models and their common accessories, I bought all my meters locally and each for less than 5€, and most of them would be better than your sunny-16 approach. So there are alternatives to being pricey.
If you want to use a lightmeter on top of your camera you could fix it to it either by velcro tape directly, or by velcro tape to a flash-foot, or by cementing such foot to your meter. So one not necessarily needs one of these few meter made to tbe mounted on the flash shoe. Also such mounting was rather uncommon, most meters were used handheld.
 
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saambaam

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Personally, I just use a reflective meter app on my cell phone and call it a day. If you're shooting negative film and just want something to give you a confirmation in those tough situations, it's perfect. Obviously won't work if you need flash metering, want to be extra sure of readings for slide film, or various other use cases. But for the bare minimum, it works great.
 

Saganich

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My 1st choice is Leica MR4 with a Wein cell and/or MR9 battery adaptor, second is Voigtlander VC2. MR4s are hard to find in good working condition but worth it price wise if you do find one. I don't find using the VC2 any more convenient then hand held except that I don't have to have a meter in my pocket or around my neck.
 

abruzzi

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The Sekonic L208 can ride in a shoe. Its not the smallest out there, but its new, with a warranty, and uses current, easy to find batteries which has its benefits.
 

btaylor

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Gotta have a meter. I have an M2 which I dearly love. I have a lot of handheld meters. When taking out the M2 I usually take the Gossen Digisix. Very small. I do have an MR4 and I know how far it is off (using the Digisix as a reference) so I can compensate for it-- I use a battery conversion holder I got from CRIS. The MR4 looks nice on the camera and it is easy to use but
 

guangong

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Used MR meters on my M4 Leicas in late 60s and 70s. Meters eventually died and I began to use hand held meters. I now prefer a hand held meter because profile of camera is lower. I have a bunch of meters, but for small nothing beats a Gossen Digisix (and you are ready for Polaroid if it ever comes back...with thermometer and timer included). For small without battery but not as sensitive the Gossen Pilot.
Once you decide on hand held there are, as already mentioned by other contributors, many choices available.
 

Chan Tran

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I wouldn't buy the MR-4 except for look. If you think you use mostly incident then something like a Minolta Autometer III or IV would be very accurate and cheap.
 

Colin Corneau

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I use the Gossen Digisix meter - tiny, can give you incident or reflected, even has a clock and alarm built into it! It's been 100% accurate in the years I've had mine, even shooting chromes. Highly recommend with your M4.
 

MattKing

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The Digiflash I have is great - small, accurate, flash metering capability and my local Dollar store sells the lithium batteries (for all the Gossen Digi models) at $1.25 for a pack of three.
 
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I also use the Gossen Digisix in the shoes of many of my manual cameras ,so even if they have a meter I don,t have to put in batteries. Really good but make sure you order the necessary foot bit which didn,t come with the meter.
 

jim10219

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I use an old Sekonic LC2 for your purposes. It's a selenium meter, and it now reads a stop low. But it's a consistent stop low. So I just compensate by setting my ISO to half of what is actually in the camera. It's a lot cheaper than the L-208, which might also be a good choice (and since you own a Leica, I'm assuming money probably isn't your biggest concern here).

I wouldn't discount the cell phone app. I have the free Pocket Light Meter app and it works really well, except for the most complex scenes. For those, only a one degree spot meter will do. For everything else, that app works really well. And it's really convenient to carry around since I almost always have my phone on me. Even if you don't use it, I'd recommend downloading it and trying it out. For the price of free, it's worth keeping around in case of emergencies.

Otherwise, I would ask if you have any other need for a meter. For instance, if you also have a need for a flash meter, then I might suggest something like a Minolta Flashmeter. That way you can get double duty out of it.

Though to be honest, learning Sunny 16 better might be your best option. The simple rule of f:16 at 1/ISO in full sun is just the beginning. There are also tricks to figuring different times of day, different latitudes and altitudes, different seasons, different weather conditions, different colors within a scene, different skin tones, differences in stops between shadows and well lit areas, and even rules for night photography under different phases of the moon! I know many people who can meter the light with incredible precision just using their eyes. Some can even do it indoors! It takes years of practice, but once you learn how, it's a really handy skill to have, especially if you shoot a lot of film in manual mode without a meter. I myself, can do a pretty decent job of it. Enough so that I am familiar with the types of scenes that might give me trouble beforehand so I can bracket those shots. Becoming a Sunny 16 master will speed your process up because you won't ever have to check a meter.
 
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