1. Hallsy

    Hallsy

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    I've been looking at lightmeters over the last couple of days and would appreciate some practical advise :)

    So far I have been using whichever digital I have with me, but I would prefer a dedicated meter. Initially I was thinking of something like a Sekonic L-308, but I think I would actually prefer an analog display - I'm not sure why, but I just think they would be more intuitive once you have got used to them?

    One thing I am confused about, the Sekonic L-398 is often suggested as a good no-nonsense meter, but this is a selenium cell - correct? Yet whenever someone mentions say a Weston meter, it will be followed up with someone saying that old Selenium cells lose their sensitivity over time and can't be trusted!?

    I only really plan to use it for incident readings, for spot metering I would probably still use a digital camera. I do occasionally use flash, and having a flash meter would be handy, but I'd maybe considering getting a second meter to use for when I was playing around with strobes.

    I had a bid on a Gossen Profisix SBC this morning (same as Luna Pro SBC) but it went for about £50 plus postage which seemed a bit steep. From what I have read, the Gossen SBC models are good for low light (which would suit me) but a bit of a brick, which does lead me back to the L-398 but I think I'd still prefer an SBC cell over a Selenium cell. I have seen a Lunalite SBC at a fair price, but it has the three led's rather than needle read out.

    Any suggestions for a good quality meter, preferably analog, without breaking the bank would be appreciated :)
     
  2. excalibur2

    excalibur2 My F4's Broken...

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    Well just to add... I use the camera's light meter now, but many moons ago used to use Western IV and III and they are still accurate now kept in their leather cases (which might help keeping them in the dark?)...but the only annoying thing about them is they are not much good in low light....so would give them a miss if I wanted to buy another light meter.
     
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  3. Hallsy

    Hallsy

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    Many people do seem to suggest that the old Weston meters are still accurate, but it is often followed up by someone else telling you to avoid Selenium meters these days. I just find it funny that no-one suggests that an L-398 or L-398M should be avoided for the same reasons (latest model L-398A has a different cell I believe)!!

    How about an L-208?

    I don't really want to amass too much kit (honestly!!), but I suppose I could cope with a meter that didn't read too low levels for general out and about use in good light, where something small and lightweight would be handy - and maybe a low light & flash capable meter for indoor use. The old Minolta meters seem like a good option for the latter.
     
  4. freecom2

    freecom2

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    I really like my L-208. Fits your requirements (analog display, doesn't break the bank), and it's very small and lightweight.
     
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  5. FishyFish

    FishyFish

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  6. medwaygreen

    medwaygreen

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    I use the L-208 Twinmate and it is a very accurate meter, the main reasons I choose this model was that it can mount on my Fuji GW690 and also small enough to pop in your pocket.

    The price is also at an affordable level £73.50 I think from Digitalrev on here.

    https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/ask-prices-here.281220/
     
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  7. robhooley167

    robhooley167 Sir, my fingers are stuck together

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    I'll throw a different recommendation into the ring, the Gossen Lunasix F - capable of flash measurements, and with a removable adaptor spot metering. I got one based off a recommendation from @Woodsy and it's been a solid performer over the last 6 years I've had it.
     
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  8. Hallsy

    Hallsy

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    Funnily enough I have a Lunasix F in my watch list. It's the same as the Luna Pro SBC/Profisix SBC other than the built in flash metering and slightly less sensitivity I believe.

    I'm now thinking I was a little stingy suggesting £50 was too much for the Profisix SBC earlier, Ffordes have one for £99 so maybe it was a fair price!
     
  9. AnthonyJC

    AnthonyJC

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    I have a Lunasix 3 currently listed on E-bay ending this Sunday.

    Open to offers if you are interested.

    Item number is: 232694798716

    Regards

    Anthony
     
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  10. Andysnap

    Andysnap POTY (Film) 2015

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    Sekonic l-208 all day. Super little analogue meter, very light and accurate.
     
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  11. ChrisR

    ChrisR

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    I have one too, and it's very nice... but only meters down to LV 4 I think (the OP did mention a desire to meter low light). Mind you, at that level, it's pretty hard to read the settings!
     
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  12. Retune

    Retune

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    I have a modern digital silicon cell based meter (a Gossen Sixtomat Flash) and an old Weston Master II. Much as I like the Weston (it's a beautifully made piece of functional - and still pretty accurate - 1940s solar-powered technology!) I actually find the digital display easier to work with, and the Sixtomat Digital range is slim and pocketable (they start at about £100 on ebay). This is the current, updated version of mine:

    https://gossen-photo.de/en/sixtomat-f2/

    A silicon cell meter of whatever type will also be more sensitive than a selenium meter. However, it's still possible to buy a calibrated and refurbished Weston that will be accurate over its metering range from this site:

    https://ian-partridge.com

    There are lots of (much cheaper) Westons on ebay and at camera fairs, but it's a lottery whether you'll get one that still works well. Anecdotally, it is claimed that the earlier meters (which supposedly had very well sealed cells) may be a better bet than the later models. Mine is actually so old that it uses the pre-ASA Weston scale (Weston 80 = ISO 100) which adds to the 'fun'. I think ASA (equivalent to ISO) came in with the Master III. More than you probably want to know about Westons here:

    http://www.westonmeter.org.uk/

    And a nice article by Roger & Frances Hicks on choosing a meter here:

    http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/meter models.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  13. realspeed

    realspeed

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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  14. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    About 3 years ago I downloaded a free lightmeter app for my Android Sony smartphone and I found it worked rather well, about 1/3 of a stop off my digital 35mm SLR's meter and within the 'range of difference' between the two Gossen Lunasix 3 meters I own. After using this app for a few weeks I threw caution to the wind and spent £1.99p on the advert free version that has an expanded ISO range and other 'premium' features. The result being that I have a light meter with me at all times, as it's on my phone. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dq.fotometroNa&hl=en_GB I also have a couple of semi-redundant Lunasix 3 meters (that can't quite agree with each other what the light reading is!).

    So, if you have an Android based smartphone with a reasonable camera on it then perhaps have a think about downloading the free light meter app and see how it compares with the meters you've got (on your camera or a stand alone light meter). If you find it works then you too can part with £1.99p for the advert-free 'de-lux' version (which you can alter the EV on).

    On the other hand you can snail around junk shops, boot sales and flea-markets and see if you can find a working and accurate Weston meter that actually has ASA on the dial, or struggle to find a battery voltage conversion adapter so you can use a Lunasix 3 meter (that used to take the long since banned and unobtainable mercury batteries) and hope that still works and is accurate. On the other hand, you could spend over £200 on a modern light meter.

    Yes, there's something nice about pulling a traditional old light meter out of your coat pocket and taking your time over plotting the correct exposure. On the other hand, you can try something free of charge that may well do the same (or perhaps even a better) job. No, I don't have anything to do with the app's creator or work on commission for sales, but if I find something that I think seems to work OK then I think it's only fair to tell my photography forum mates bout it. I suppose its accuracy may depend on the phone you use it on, but as there's a fee version to try at least you can find out. Hope this is useful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  15. StephenM

    StephenM I know a Blithering Idiot

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    I have a Weston Master V, a Sekonic 508 Spotmeter and a couple of Lunasixes, a Lunasix 3 and a Lunasix 3S (and that means 2 original Lunasixes making 4 in all although I think I might have missed a Lunasix somewhere...). When I bought my second or third Lunasix, I did actually check it against my original one (bought December 1965) and found that they agreed. They do have a means of calibrating built in. The later models were designed to use silver cells; from memory if the case is all black, they don't need mercury cells. My mercury meters have been fitted with the adapter to use silver cells.

    Like the OP, I prefer the analogue dial as it saves me calculating or button pressing - I can read off all the combinations of aperture and shutter speeds at a glance.

    If you can't get a reading in dim light, you can take a reading from a white handkerchief (or white anything) which will reflect more than a grey card and give a response in lower light levels. You then simply give less exposure; the amount depending on how clean your handkerchief is :D
     
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  16. soeren

    soeren

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    I still use my Sekonic 308B for off camera flash. I find it very easy and intuitive to use.
     
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  17. Woodsy

    Woodsy POTY Winner 2009

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    The lunasix F is a great meter, and the additional spot adapter is very useful as well. Critically, it uses 9V batteries, unlike some other old meters which use now obsolete batteries. I use a Sekonic L-758D now, but I still have the lunasix F tucked away just in case.
     
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  18. niko

    niko

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    ive got a Sekonic l-208 and an older Jessops own brand both work very well
     
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  19. Hallsy

    Hallsy

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    Thanks for all of the replies guys - lots of good info!

    Thanks for the heads up Anthony - I think if I go down the Gossen route it would be for an SBC or F model, but thanks anyway :)

    Lots of good info there - thanks :)

    I have actually had the lightmeter app installed on my LG G5 for quite some time, I paid the £1.99 for the improved version. I just find it a bit hit & miss, in my case it seemed OK in reflective mode, but not so good in incident. In fairness it has been on my mind to give it another try in various light conditions and see what the results were on one of my digital bodies. The trouble was, as I didn't fully trust it, I wouldn't rely on it when out & about, and so stopped using it.

    The Lunasix F I am leading towards at the moment, I like the null metering setup to do quick comparative/zone measurements, it can meter for flash, and I also just like that with an analog display you can see all aperture/shutter combinations at a glance without having to work it out in your head, or scroll through a menu on a digital meter.

    The 308 does look like a good meter, but again, being shutter priority, for thosr who tend to work with aperture priority does it mean you have to do a bit of button scrolling, or converting in your head? Not a deal breaker I know, just another consideration.

    The L-208 sounds like it is well recommended, so I will definitely be considering one of these - as I suggested, I'd perhaps look for a low light and flash capable meter for general use and then pickup something tiny like the L-208 for when I want to travel light in good light.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  20. excalibur2

    excalibur2 My F4's Broken...

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    Well guys if you are a 35mm user I just don't see the point in getting a super duper exposure meter for high prices.I'd wager my T90 (for half the price) and other cameras (with info in the viewfinder lit up) that can do spot metering and for low light, are just as good as expensive meters when considering there is no guarantee the shutter speeds are accurate or if the lens iris say at f5.6 is really f5.4 or is the batch of film 400 ISO or 395 ISO..all due to manufacturing tolerances. And then you have to read the meter correctly for the subject, there is a tolerance there and we rely on the latitude of neg and pos film to get it right to what suits the film. Phew :grumpy:
     
  21. FruitFlakes

    FruitFlakes

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    I use a Sekonic L-358 that I bought last year, but for years before that I used a L-308S (it's probably the most common meter you see on stills sets). I still pack it in my bag when I go on longer trips since it's quite small/flat and takes AA batteries.
     
  22. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    The sekonic L398M is still made and they are highly accurate. And I have one as well as a working Norwood Director that it is based on.
    Incident light meters are in most circumstances the most accurate way to peg exposures.
    More modern digital versions are perhaps easier to use especially if useing fill flash.

    However in practice they are most useful in the studio to measure and balance lights.

    In day to day use a digigital camera produces just as usable results using its inbuilt meter.and judicial use of the histogram.
     
  23. Woodsy

    Woodsy POTY Winner 2009

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    Unless I've missed it in my scanning over the thread, no one has yet stipulated a format that they are using the meters for? I mostly agree with your point, the vast majority of 35mm cameras do indeed come with a perfectly adequate meter for most scenarios.

    However.

    When getting into slide film for the first time back when I shot landscapes with my RB67, I didn't have a light meter, and instead used my D700 with single (center) zone metering as a spot meter. Because the meters in this camera, and indeed a lot of newer film bodies (I'm thinking F5 kind of age, possibly older as well) are RGB meters, the readings I got from metering say a red cloud at sunrise were way out and blew the highlights on the slide frame taken on the RB67. This is because the camera takes an average across the three colour meters and hence over exposed the red channel because the other two read basically nothing by comparison.

    A further example was in the Lakes with @Marcel and @Jimmy_Lemon some 6 odd years ago now. Marcel was using his DSLR and took a frame using, I believe, full matrix metering of a high-ish contrast scene. On chimping, the highlights were beyond gone while the rest of the frame was ok. On discussing it, I suggested using my Lunasinx F to spot the shadows and highlights and average the readings. The resulting exposure sat perfectly within the dynamic range of the sensor and was a perfectly usable shot.

    So my advice would be to consider what kit you use based on A) how confident you are of your camera, and B) how important the shot it to you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  24. juggler

    juggler

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    I use a Sekonic l-558. It's the cheapest meter I could find (second hand) which does ambient & flash, incident & reflected metering and has a 1 degree spot.
     
  25. excalibur2

    excalibur2 My F4's Broken...

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    Well yes old cameras without light meters are a problem but then same as above i.e. are the shutter speeds accurate etc..IIRC correctly one of the Olympus models could take 8 readings of a scene and average the exposure out, Canon (probably others) copied them with the T90 in that it too could take 8 readings hold them in memory and when you take the shot averages the exposures out....well a Canon T90 for about £60 is more useful IMO than a super duper expensive meter (erm at least it can take pictures) and with a MF or LF camera can be used as a backup camera (erm well unless you want to take a digi :eek: ).
    Anyway it's nice to have an expensive separate exposure meter if money isn't a problem and if it can measure flash even more useful (y)
     
  26. Nomad Z

    Nomad Z

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    I have a Minolta Spotmeter F and a Minolta Autometer VF. Both do flash by coincidence - I don't use flash. They both run on a single AA battery. The spot meter has an averaging function which is very handy (read highlight, store, read shadow, store, press A button to get average). Both digital, shutter priority, but I don't have a problem with changing the shutter speed to get an aperture that I want to use (it's hardly hard work, and it's rarely far away anyway). The Autometer is incident light, and I'm evaluating a 3D-printed replacement for the dome for doing reflected light.

    The spot meter is used with large format, and the incident/reflected meter looks like it will stay with the medium format kit (ETRS with WLF).

    For nearly everything else, it's a Weston Master V or sunny 16. Only my Nikon FM and Olympus XA have built in meters that work and that I trust. Of the rest, some need a mercury battery or the meter is old selenium or too small and fiddly, but most have no meter at all. The Zorki kit is used with a Leningrad meter because that's the proper thing to use. The Weston and Leningrad tend to be used at the start to get a general idea of the light and only really come back out if there's been a big change and I want to check - I mostly wing it after the initial readings.
     
  27. Hallsy

    Hallsy

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    I have tried sunny 16 in the past, but find sunny 11 is more realistic in the UK!!

    Just to clarify, for 35mm I have a Canon Sure Shot Supreme (auto p&s) and a Yashica Electro 35 (aperture priority) - so obviously I don't need a meter for those.

    I want a meter to use with my MF bodies - Mamiya C330f, RB67 and Yashica Mat 124G (although the meter on that seems usable). I'm more interested in incident readings for this, which will hopefully teach me to better evaulate a scene when the light isn't changing too much. I do use a digital camera at the moment as I usually have one with me, but if I havr that setup for actually taking photos rather than using it as a meter for my film camera, then i'm often swapping settings back & forth to suit whichever I am using it for which can be a faff!!

    For digital I leave it on evaluative and check the histogram. This may be considered chimping, but I find it just as quick to quickly check the histogram and adjust the exposure if needed for a second frame - unless it's a one opportunity frame, in which case, evaluative is normally close enough for me with Lightroom to fall back on!!

    I understand that in a studio setup you would use flash meters to save lots of chimping and test shots, but even then, I imagine a professional will still glance at the histogram between shots and adjust as necessary.

    I'm not looking to spend lots on a meter, and from what I have seen on the used market - you don't have to. Plenty of options for less than £100, if not half that :)
     
  28. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg

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    I have a habit of forgetting my meter but with a bit of practise you don't really need one outdoors during the day (with print film). You don't really need one at night out doors either tbh (open the shutter, go for coffee).

    I've got a 308 that I use indoors and I'm never sure if I'm using it right but its ideal with strobes or interesting light situations. I've also got a spot meter the name of which escapes me just now but mostly used for zone work if I'm being very precise other wise I just wing it.
     
  29. StephenM

    StephenM I know a Blithering Idiot

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    If you want to base your exposure on the amount of light falling on the subject rather than the amount of light reflected back, you can use a reflected light meter and meter from an object of known reflectance placed in the same light as the subject and make the appropriate adjustment. Personally, I use the palm of my hand and open up one stop. Use a white handkerchief or card if the light isn't bright enough - I had to do this in a dark church when I only had my Sekonic meter. In passing, from memory the original Lunasix meters were the most light sensitive; the later Gossen meters needed more light to register, to judge from the published specs, which I why I've stuck to Lunasix variants.

    I once made the grave mistake of referring to this method as an incident light method because it depended only on the light incident on the subject, and got into a long argument with someone who defined incident light readings as those taken using a white plastic dome :(

    I did once arrive on location at Hadrian's Wall and found I'd left my meter in the car. I carried on regardless with my 5x4 and had no problems with exposure; it doesn't take much time using a meter to be able to estimate light pretty well. Automatic exposure cameras hide this from me, as I don't don't note shutter speeds and apertures for each shot as I'm making them, and so don't get a feel for the values.
     
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  30. excalibur2

    excalibur2 My F4's Broken...

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    ..or if a pauper make your own Kodak grey card for pennies with some old paint...come to think of it, a Grey towel in the bathroom looks about Kodak grey, useful to fold up to carry but erm could be a problem on a windy day o_O :D
     
  31. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    A bit of trivia for Stephen M; I believe the original Lunasix meter apparently got the name as it was sensitive enough to meter a scene illuminated by the light from a full moon when taking night shots outdoors.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  32. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg

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    One should always know where ones towel is!
     
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  33. StephenM

    StephenM I know a Blithering Idiot

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    That was my understanding - having the Latin word for moon in the name was a bit of a giveaway. It's possible to get a reading and then need a torch to see what it is.

    In passing, I find all this mention of phone apps interesting in what is assumed. In my case, I'll assume that my £10 phone from Asda that doesn't have a camera probably won't double as a meter :D.
     
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  34. excalibur2

    excalibur2 My F4's Broken...

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    .....used before more modern cameras? as I've found in tests even some ordinary cameras that can meter down to 30secs plus on auto can give some good results in say moonlight...I'm sure the Om fan club could say what their cameras can do. ;)
     
  35. excalibur2

    excalibur2 My F4's Broken...

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    F&C gets me doing things...I was going to meter my Kodak grey card next to the grey towel to see if any difference erm but spent about 10 mins looking for my card and given up. :(
     
  36. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    Snip:
    That's why I was careful to mention the words 'smartphone' and 'camera' in my post. Never mind, you can still use your phone to make phone calls, which is probably quite unusual these days. ;)

    Never mind, at a pinch outdoors you could always try metering off a conveniently placed woodpigeon! :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  37. Jimmy_Lemon

    Jimmy_Lemon Spanko! Staff Member

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    Meanwhile I just bracketed and HDR'ed ftw :D (P.S Holy crap was that 6 years ago!?)
     
  38. Woodsy

    Woodsy POTY Winner 2009

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    Correction, 7 years, 1 month ago!
     
  39. Retune

    Retune

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    I suspect reflective (with a grey card if necessary) may be a better bet for the smartphone apps. There's no diffuser on the phone, and on at least some of these apps the 'incident' reading is from the sensor that is used to measure ambient light to adjust screen brightness rather than from the selfie cam. The reflective reading will be from the main camera. According to one developer, an app that uses this camera can be very accurate if correctly designed:

    https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/15182/how-well-do-smart-phone-light-meter-apps-work
     
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  40. excalibur2

    excalibur2 My F4's Broken...

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    and carry around perched on my shoulder :jimlad:
     
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