Pentax Spot meters : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


Other than a display and physical size difference, are there any functional differences between the analog and digital versions of the Pentax spot meters? Why would one choose the analog version over the digital version (discounting the price factor).

Thanks, Robert

-- Robert Ruderman (, April 23, 1998


I have had a Pentax digital spot meter for 9 years. It's been dropped more times than I care to remember. "Takes a lickin' an' keeps on tickin'" or whatever.

The analog meter uses a galvenometer. It is more susceptable to drift over time and is also somewhat more delicate. If you use your equipment out of doors, I'd go with a digital meter.

You might also consider the new Sekonic 508(?). It incorporates both a spot and an incident meter in a weather-resistant body.

Good luck!

-- Bruce M. Herman (, April 23, 1998.

A friend of mine has the analog and I have the digital meter. They were both modified by Zone VI a few years back and still are within 1/3 of a stop of each other in all lighting conditions. The main appeal of the digital over the analog, for me, is the way it works in low light situations. The digital diplay is much easier to read in low light, with out having to push an extra button to turn on a light in the display, as some meters have. It is also less prone to reading errors, you know that a 14 is a 14, and don't have to track a needle along the number scale. Otherwise, they both have performed admirably over the years, and either is a good choice for the long haul.

-- Marv Thompson (, April 23, 1998.

I use the analog spot meter. I prefer it to the digital meter. Why? Have you ever noticed that aircraft, nuclear power plants, and other mechanical devices that require careful operator monitoring use analog displays rather than digital? It is partially because it is easier to scan and mentally process something visual than look at a digital number and process the meaning in your head. For example, it might make a BIG difference if a temperature gauge in a nuclear power plant read 1800 degrees rather than 1200 degrees. A readout that says "1800" rather than "1200" may not catch someones attention as much as a gauge that has a green zone and a red zone.

What does this have to do with spot meters?

When I read a scene for the highlight and shadow areas, I think about the latitude of the film I am using and watch the needle swing as I look at different areas. I get a more "visual" impression of how many stops of light I see and can place the exposure with ease by eyeballing the central reading on the meter after watching where the needle swings. This technique more closely corresponds to how I think about stops of light than a numeric display.

Digital may be more shock proof, less prone to wander, etc. etc. It does not correspond to how I think about light.

My 0.02 cents

-- Doug Herta (, April 24, 1998.

I know this is a little off the subject of this post, but I was wondering what to do about the battery in my Pentax Spotmeter. It is an older analog style (there is a picture of it in the Ansel Adams book). I can't seem to find a replacement battery. Wein makes something that is too small to fit. Radio Shack has a battery that is about .15 volts too hot, it fits... but doesn't work. Anyone with a idea for this?

-- chuck kleesattel (, May 20, 1998.

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