Minolta Autometer III F

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I bought a used Minolta Autometer III F in great condition. My problem is that it didn't have a manual. I'm trying to use it to follow the Phill Davis method. I can't get it to give me a high value reading, and low value reading, only F stop, and exposure time. Will it not work for my application?

-- Tim Kimbler (gandy@gte.net), April 11, 2002


Tim, I am confused, does your meter reading change at all? I would expect most meters would read only F stop and shutter speed. Some do give the EV value but that really isn't necessary for what you are doing. Could you clarify what your problem is?

-- Dave Schneider (dschneider@arjaynet.com), April 11, 2002.

Yes, my friends meter is a Minolta IIII F. When he takes readings it gives him a number for his shadow, and a number for his bright area. Like 5 for shadow, and 9 for bright. You use those values in the Phill Davis system to get exposure.

-- Tim Kimbler (gandy@gte.net), April 11, 2002.

Use the memory function. A pencil and paper are also handy to keep track of how the readings relate to each other. The Autometer IIIf is a fine meter.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), April 11, 2002.

It might be a fine ambient meter (although I don't think so) but it's a horrible flash meter. I had one that I traded away and I have another that a friend was so sick of he was going to throw it out. The problem with both of these meters (and with yet another IIIf that I know of) is that the meter simply doesn't work everytime you pop a flash. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't, and it's the same way with all three of these meters.

Then there's the basic design. It has no on/off switch and if you leave the battery in, it'll kill the very expensive little battery in a mattery of days. There is no way to plug a synch cord into this meter so you have to pop the flash manually. Which means that you push in the meter button, prop the meter against something and run and pop the strobe while hoping that you haven't waited too long and the darn thing'll work anyway!

You also can't see the ISO while in taking mode, a little issue but one that'll mess you up eventually. This meter also defaults to EV and while EV may have its uses it won't to most of us!

In any event every problem that Minolta had with this meter they fixed in the Autometer IVf which I have as well. The IVf is extremely reliable. It takes a AA battery and it has an on/off switch. You can plug a synch cord into the meter and you always can see the shooting ISO, and the meter defaults a more common and infinitely more useful shutterspeed/aperture readout.

Before anyone writes and says that their flashmeter III is great I just want to say that this is the Minolta AUTOMETER IIIf I'm talking about, not the Flashmeter III.

-- David Grandy (dgrandy@grandyphoto.com), April 11, 2002.

One of the best meters ever for both reflected/ambient or for flash ..but... Minolta hasn't supplied either parts or repair/service for over 4 years...get a grip and either get the IV or V and get on with the program.....

F. William Baker

-- F. William Baker (atelfwb@aol.com), April 12, 2002.

The manual for the Minolta autometer IIIF is on Minolta's website in PDF format. Here's a great link to a page of links to Minola manuals.
Unfortunately, the Minolta USA site seems unreachable at the moment, please try again later, as they say.

BTW, that highlight and shadoww incident reading method tells you nothing at all about the subject brightness (luminance) range. You need to know the SBR to properly implement the zone system. Otherwise you might as well just take one straightforward incident reading from the subject position and eyeball the subject to see if it looks contrasty or flat.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), April 12, 2002.

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