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Manual Light Meter

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  • #1744
    LeicaLens
    Participant

    My father-in-law gave me some of his old camera equipment recently, including a Sekonic manual light meter. It’s quite nifty, but it’s also quite old, and he couldn’t find the manual for it. I think I have figured out how to use it, but does anyone have experience with these things? The model is a Sekonic Type L-3b. I found some place on line that has old manuals, but they weren’t cheap.
    Also, is there any chance that the light sensor might have detoriated over the years?
    I will come back in a day or two to put up pictures of it, in case that helps.
    Yoroshiku!

    #25633
    sleeping
    Participant

    I don’t know that particular model, but in general there are probably 2 needles on the display. One moves with the light level, and th other you turn to match it. When the needles match, the dial indicates the correct exposure. Depending, you may also need to turn a ring on the main dial to set the ISO.

    If it doesn’t take batteries, it’s using a selenium cell to generate a tiny current based on the amount of incoming light. Those tend to degrade over time, but with handheld meters there’s a better chance of it still working than the ones built in to cameras, which get exposed to a lot more light. You need to check it against a good meter before trusting it, though (or you can get an estimate by using the sunny 16 rule – if it indicates 1/125 & F16 @ ISO 100 in direct sunlight it’s close to correct.

    #25634
    LeicaLens
    Participant

    I don’t know that particular model, but in general there are probably 2 needles on the display. One moves with the light level, and th other you turn to match it. When the needles match, the dial indicates the correct exposure. Depending, you may also need to turn a ring on the main dial to set the ISO.

    If it doesn’t take batteries, it’s using a selenium cell to generate a tiny current based on the amount of incoming light. Those tend to degrade over time, but with handheld meters there’s a better chance of it still working than the ones built in to cameras, which get exposed to a lot more light. You need to check it against a good meter before trusting it, though (or you can get an estimate by using the sunny 16 rule – if it indicates 1/125 & F16 @ ISO 100 in direct sunlight it’s close to correct.

    Thanks sleeping. I will try the sunny day reading…as soon as we get some decent sunshine here. Should I point it upwards towards the sun when I do that reading, or is it for normal reflected sunlight?

    #25635
    sleeping
    Participant

    That’s for a normal scene under direct sunlight, not pointed at the sun itself (the meter probably wouldn’t meter high enough to give you a correct reading for that).

    #25636
    LeicaLens
    Participant

    Got it. Thanks. Now I’m off to do a sundance. Here, I hope, are couple of pictures of it, for what it’s worth. It’s quite stylish, so I really hope it still works.

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