Recommended reading

Happy New Year!

💻 New Year’s resolutions are silly, says Daniel Miessler. Spend time optimizing your life instead. He shares how he does that. Read What to Do Instead of New Year’s Resolutions

On Illinois Street
Pentax K1000, 55mm f/1.8 SMC Pentax, Kodak Gold 400, 2017

📷 When you shoot vintage cameras, you often need an external light meter (unless you are the master of Sunny 16). Vince Curletta looks at a classic light meter you can still buy new today: the Sekonic L-398A. This is the one I keep thinking I ought to buy. Read Vintage Light Meter: Sekonic L-398A

📷 I didn’t know that Fujifilm’s Instax cameras and films have been around for more than 20 years until Peggy reviewed the 1999 Fujifilm Instax 100 camera. Read Fujifilm Instax 100

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4 thoughts on “Recommended reading

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    Can’t say enough abut this Sekonic meter. I owned one for years until I sold it in the early 2000’s. For incident metering fans (vs. reflective), this is a great meter to use. I will say, if you’re going to own one hand-held meter, this is probably not it! Curletta kind of glosses over one of the main problems, and it’s since this meter doesn’t use batteries, it has to generate power to get the reading, and that makes it not so hot in low lighting situation where you would probably most need accurate meter readings.

    It comes with a slide you place in a slot, to be used in high-lighting situations, which you take out and keep in a storage slot on the back for lower lighting situations. The problem being that there is a cross-over area where you can’t tell if the reading with the slide or without is more correct, and you guessed it, low enough light where you’d really need an accurate setting.

    The area this meter really shines, is how I used it with my 16mm Bolex camera. I bought the additional slide set (shown below), which allowed you to set the meter to work with certain asa’s and shutter speeds, and then the meter just reads the f/stops right across the top. Since older 16mm camera really had only one shutter speed (at 24 fps), you could set the correct slide in there, and when the f/stop bottomed out, you just had to find more light, or use a faster film!

    If you only have one meter, you want the Sekonic L-308 series. I’ve owned a version of this for 20 years. Wildly accurate (especially in low light), and works with strobe as well, without being ridiculously complicated (3/4’s of what I shoot is with professional lighting). Literally the same price. B&H has the L-308 UX for 219.00, and the L-398 for 218.00! And BTW, never buy a used meter, you can never tell how it’s been knocked around and how off it is. Non-solid state “needle” meters, like the L-398 can go out of whack far easier than solid state meters.

  2. The Seconic L-398 and its ancestors have been around with different manufacturers and different names, but the same design, for 75 years. The Norwood Director Model B of 1947 looks very much like, and works exactly like the Seconic. Seconic acquired the rights to the design in about 1956 when the name was changed to Seconic Studio S. My father had a Norwood Director.

    Because the Seconic measures incident light rather that light reflected by the subject there is no need for the meter to be located at the subject and pointed at the camera. It only has to be in the same light as the subject and pointed in a direction parallel to an imaginary line from the subject to the camera. If the subject is in the shade and the meter is in the sun shading the white photosphere with your hand gives a good first order approximation.

    The Weston Master meters were also battery-free selenium cell meters. They were primarily used as reflected light meters but they came with an “Invercone” for incident light readings with the same benefits and issues the author discusses. I have and use a Weston Master IV.

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