A Beginner’s Guide to 6 Different Types of Light Meters

A Beginner's Guide to 6 Different Types of Light Meters

Guides and Tips

A Beginner’s Guide to 6 Different Types of Light Meters

Today, I want to discuss something essential for our craft: light meters. I have six different meters on hand, each with its own unique features and functions. I’ll be going through each one to help you decide which light meter is perfect for you. So, let’s dive in!

Why do you need an external light meter?

  • Some film cameras simply don’t come with a built-in light meter.
  • Even if your camera has one, it might be worn out or inaccurate, especially in vintage models.
  • With the rising cost of film, it’s more important than ever to ensure precision in your readings – every shot counts!
  • If you’re using slide film, accurate metering is crucial for capturing the perfect exposure.
  • External light meters are generally easy to carry and offer a wide range of functionality, making them a valuable tool for film photographers.

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Sekonic L558, Reflx lab, Doomo S, Voigtlander VCII (bottom left), Doomo D, Sekonic L308S
Reflx lab (top left), Doomo S, Voigtlander VCII (bottom left), Doomo D

1. Sekonic L558

The Sekonic L558 is the most sophisticated and reliable meter I’ve come across, with a spot meter that makes it easy to calculate average readings. It’s excellent for all-purpose photography, but it’s a bit on the larger side. The L558 is powered by one CR123A battery, which means you don’t have to worry about constantly replacing it.

2. Sekonic L308X

If you’re looking for something smaller, the Sekonic L308X is a great alternative to the L558. It has both incident and reflective metering, making it suitable for daily use. This light meter is powered by one AA battery, which is convenient and easy to find.

3. Reflx Lab Light Meter

For those who need something compact and easy to use, the Reflx Lab light meter is half the size of the Voigtlander VCII! Adjusting the settings is a breeze, and there’s no need to turn the ISO dial. However, it doesn’t have a +/- sign to show how over or underexposed your shots are, which might be a downside for some users.

Reflx lab (top left), Doomo S, Voigtlander VCII (bottom left), Doomo D

4. Voigtlander VC II Light Meter

The Voigtlander VC II was my first light meter, and it holds a special place in my heart. It’s simple, intuitive, and quick to use, with two dials and three LEDs for the readout. The right dial is for shutter speed, while the left dial is for aperture and film speed. Although the ISO dial can be easily changed when it’s in your bag, it’s still a very solid light meter for reflective readings.

5. Doomo Meter S Brass Version

The Doomo Meter S is a sleek-looking light meter with an OLED display screen. All parameters are displayed on the screen, and the built-in lithium battery is rechargeable via Type-C charging. The Meter S is smaller, faster, and simpler to operate compared to the Meter D. Its real-time metering is its standout feature, measuring light without manual operation.

6. Doomo Meter D Brass Version

The Doomo Meter D has a dual-dial design similar to a camera’s M gear. This meter is more manual, requiring you to turn the mechanical turntable and use the indicator light to determine your exposure combination. The exterior design matches older cameras beautifully, and the CR1632 button battery offers a long standby battery life (up to six months or one year, depending on usage).

Choosing the Right Meter for You

Now that we’ve gone through each light meter, here are some recommendations based on different needs and preferences:

  • For professional work, go for the Sekonic L558.
  • If you’re on a budget and into street photography, the Reflx Lab light meter is perfect.
  • For a good-looking, classic meter, choose the Doomo S or D.
  • If you prefer digital readings, the Doomo S is your best bet.
  • For traditional readings by adjusting dials, consider the Doomo D or Voigtlander VCII.

As a side note, I tried the Kek meter, but I sold it after a while since I prefer looking at readings from the top.

Widelux F8, Reflx Lab 800

If you’re new to the world of metering modes or need a refresher, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. I highly recommend checking out my previous post on Understanding Metering Modes to learn the basics and gain a better understanding of how different metering modes work. Once you’re familiar with the concepts, it’ll be much easier to choose the right light meter and make the most of your film photography experience. Remember, the key to great photos lies in mastering the essentials, so don’t hesitate to brush up on your knowledge and build a strong foundation.

Remember, the importance of a light meter for film cameras cannot be too overstated. Over or underexposure can make or break your photos, so it’s crucial to find a light meter that suits your needs. Personally, I prefer less digitised meters for my street photography, but it’s ultimately up to you to choose the right one for you. Happy shooting!

Reflx Lab 800
Reflx Lab 400D
Reflx Lab 100R
Orwo NC500
CatLABS X 320 (120)
Reflx Lab 500T (120)

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