Vintage Light Meters

Tomas Webb has written an interesting article on Feeling Negative. The catch phrase of the Feeling Negative Web site is “Hang in there… film isn’t dead yet!”

Webb gives a great overview of old meters, and details what happens as selenium cells age and go bad. Remember, if you’re relying on an old battery-less meter utilizing selenium cells, make sure you’re either well-aware of how many f-stops it’s off due to age (you can do some simple exposure experiments to figure this out), or you have a reliable and accurate backup meter to reference.

In going against the grain of most collectables, the older models are generally less expensive because their functional accuracy is not as great. This makes vintage light meters an excellent value for collectors not interested in using them for professional photography jobs.

©2010 Feeling Negative

Have at it, eBay speculators!

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3 Responses to Vintage Light Meters

  1. I have come across a Baby Sekonic, I think it’s fairly unusual as it is translucent, any thoughts/comments ?

    • Morrbo says:

      These are uncommon – especially outside of Japan. Two versions were made – the Baby Sekonic B-I, and the B-II.  The B-I came primarily in the translucent plastic rather than the bakelite of the B-2s.  It was installed (nearly whole) into the Yashicaflex S TLR camera, making the S the =first= Japanese camera with a built in meter (I believe it was 54.)

      The Baby meters have always seemed to me, aesthetically speaking, to be not only a showcase of the company’s ability to miniaturize, but fashioned after the traditional netsuke 根付, small objects (often without any flat side for the object to rest on) worn on a cord attached the obi of a traditional kosode or kimono. Netsuke were considered to be objects of art, but with roots in utility; I cannot imagine a more apt design idea.

      Most of the earliest Sekonic meters were strongly patterned on the DeJur Model 50 (L-1) and the Weston Masters, (Sekonic’s L-II and L-II-2) and (P-1, P-1-II, L-III, L-3a & L-5.) It wasn’t until the L-VI/L-6 that Sekonic had an original case design.  But the B-1 and B-II meters preceded most of those models, and had a unique and attractive design.  As collectible Sekonic meters go, the Baby are prized and interesting.

      Other interesting trivia – made in the early 50s and discontinued before 55, most of the Baby Sekonics I own still work!

      I hope the information is of some help. 


          Greg Krasichynski

  2. Eric Holub says:

    I just found my father’s Sekonic Model-II Incident Exposure Meter. (It also says Sekonic Perfect on the back plate.) Unlike the Weston meters, the photo cell is on the end of the meter, not the back, and it has a plastic bulb that snaps over the end for incident readings.
    And unlike most of his other Weston and Sekonic meters, this still works.

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