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flash meters?

 
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rugbyducky



Joined: 07 Sep 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:38 pm    Post subject: flash meters? Reply with quote

so i'm looking at getting a flash only meter (nothing fancy) and there are a couple on ebay that look great, but i'm curious if anyone has any experience with them or their manufactures in general as i can't find much about them online. one is a spiratone sss and the other is a bowens ssr. as i said, both look great, the sellers seem reputable, and they're priced about the same, so it seems to (uneducated) me that it's a bit of a toss up. i'm leaning toward the bowens because of their lighting experience and it looks slimmer, but if anybody has any input it would be greatly appreciated.

thanks guys.

reed
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1425
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My only experience with a flash meter is with the Gossen Luna-Pro F. If you run across one of them, you might find it suitable. It's a clunky old design, but OTOH our Graphics aren't exactly streamliners either. Now for regular metering, in all but very low-light situations, I use the GE DW-68: no batteries, fits in a Tamrac cell phone case, ASA range 1.2 (yes!) to 800, calibrated for "our" shutter speeds (1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, etc., as opposed to 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, etc.), and takes incident as well as reflected light readings. Simplicity itself, and very accurate. $15 at a camera show, with original box and instructions---hard to beat!
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1862
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Um, I have an ancient Minolta Flash Meter. The original one, from the late '60s. Nice meter with useful features, requires Mercury batteries but hearing aid batteries will do. I like it, would never recommend it to anyone. Too old, too big, too klunky ...

I'd be leery of the ones you're looking at because they're old and, probably, not well supported. Bowens are still in business but Spiratone's long gone. You might want to find Quality Light Metric (Google for 'em, and expect to get some obsolete phone numbers), call 'em and ask George whether he advises against either.

Have you considered getting one of the little Gossen or Sekonic meters? The Digiflash and L-308S, respectively, are very well respected. If I ever replace the antique, I'll get one or the other.

Cheers,

Dan
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tsgrimm



Joined: 04 Apr 2004
Posts: 158
Location: SE Michigan

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the Sekonic L-308S that Dan mentioned. Works fine for my occasional flash measurement. I find that I use it for daylight incident and reflected measurement far more than flash.

Available at your local camera shop, the big web retailers or eBay.

http://www.sekonic.com
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rugbyducky



Joined: 07 Sep 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks everyone for your input! after much consideration i'm going with the bowens. the sekonic l-308s is really nice, but as i'm living on financial aid, i just can't get myself to spend 60 bucks more. i'm pushing it as it is. i have a gossen luna pro already for ambient and i've been very pleased with it. when the bowens shows up i'll post on how it all works out. the fact that it uses two 9 volts is kind of insane, but i'm okay with that (and i actually find it strangely appealling). i'll only be using it for studio-ish work, which isn't that frequent. i've got a strobist set-up going and i've gotten tired all the test shots that i've had to do. the strobist system is easy if you have a dslr and can guess first exposures at no cost, but i don't like guessing at 2 bucks a sheet plus processing.

cheers!
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1862
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RD, about y'r strobist setup. I use manual flash a bit. Here's how I deal with it:

Use a 35 mm reversal film and a tape measure to find the flashes' guide numbers. Should take at most one roll of film, and the results will be good as long as the flashes work. If you have and will use more than one flash, you'll have to test each one. In my experience there's some variation in output from flash to flash.

Then use a tape measure and guide number arithmetic when setting up to find the right aperture. If using more than one flash, use GN arithmetic to calculate the right f/number for each flash. 16, 8, and 22, for example. The aggregate f/number is the square root of sum of the individual f/numbers.

My macro flash rigs have fixed flash-camera-subject geometry. For them I spent a roll of 35 mm reversal film finding the right aperture for each of a small number of magnifications, and then I was set.

This all works very well, and a tape measure, a roll of 35 mm film, and processing will cost you much less than a flash meter.

You don't always need a machine if you have brains.

I got my flash meter for a project -- making and calibrating a projected flash rig with variable magnification -- that required a lot of test shots. The meter paid for itself in film and processing saved. But I'm not sure your situation is like mine.
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