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Do you really need to spend £££ on a light meter?

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

In today's talk about stop spending all of your money, we're talking light meters and more so, do you really need to spend big money on one?

The light meter in question is this one the Rank Elektra analogue light meter.

No, it's not very fancy, it doesn't have a screen and you have to do everything yourself, BUT, it cost me the princely sum of £4.50.

It's very simple and more importantly, it actually provides accurate metering.

All it has is one main dial and a sub-dial.

Firstly you set your ISO with the sub-dial in the middle, this alters the placement of the F stops, then all you do is press the button on the side and the red needle moves to where your exposure should be, then all you have to do is rotate the main dial, this moves the blue arm, so all you have to do is line the blue arm with the red needle, and this is your exposure. Simple right?

The thing I like about this meter is that it has shutter speed ratings ranging between 1/8000 all the way down to 8 minutes.

The ISO range on this meter range between 6 and all the way up to 6400.

Let's have a look at some images metered using this meter.

Both of these images are raws straight out of the camera, both shot indoors in my little office, both at 400 ISO and F/1.4

The Minolta SR-1 (A blog post to come on this camera at a later date) was shot at 1/125 and the mat was shot at 1/250.

No special lighting was used just normal ambient light.

You may have a different opinion from me, but I think they look to be exposed pretty well, for SOOC raw files.

Could I have gotten more scientific results using a £300 digital meter? Yes, I could, but do I need to? No, no I do not.

I'm all about money saving, so if a £4.50 meter does the job, that's what I'll use.

So do you really need to spend £££ on a top-of-the-range meter with a bunch of features that you'll likely never use? Well, simply put, if your budget stretches to it, and it's what you want, sure go for it, but do you NEED it? No, not really.

If you just need the basics, grab yourself a Rank Elektra analogue light meter for under a fiver and save yourself some money, get out there, shoot what you love and just enjoy yourself.

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