This is the first of 2 pages .. updated 2014 ..... I have photographed the items beside a 9v battery to help appreciate their size. I owe a great thanks to John Hiller (ex- Smithsonian Institution USA) who has given me lots of extra information.

I have no idea why I started to collect old light meters but its an interesting glimpse into a vast market. Most photographers own far too much equipment, I for one have more junk in the attic than I care to admit. I am sorry to inform you that the salesman saw us coming well before we could take aim, focus & shoot.... The first meters on this page used light sensitive paper which was exposed till it changed to the colour of the permanent grey card next to it. The photographer counted off with his pocket watch & converted this time with the given scale (some engraved into the meter).

I started in the 70's with a Mamiya 330 & used either 120 or 220 roll film. I strutted about with my Bewi strung round my neck hoping (& often praying) that it wouldn't be in the noose when the film came back from the lab.

I will let you into a secret, most of our exposures were wrong. Most of the nice portraits you bought from us were the result of a good lab saving our bacon. Most of the time we should have been rechecking our readings. Just like the bad golfer who changes his clubs, why not pop along to the local shop & buy a new meter.

Even after I bought my digital Minolta I still sweated till my "bacon curer" handed me my stack of proofs. I was tempted into getting a proper job on several occasions.

Today with digital SLR's we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can monitor as we shoot (I love a little slide show before I change locations). Just close your eyes a 'mo' & put yourself behind a 6x9 Kodak Autographic, Its 1930 & you need to make a good set of images for the local Parish mag. Don't panic, I will use my trusted extinction meter.....on 2nd thoughts ----- P A N I C.

Most of the early gadgets you can see on this page were just made to make cash for the traders. Most early light meters were just a stab in the darkroom.

As you glance at some of these blasts from the past spare a thought for the poor photographer who had to use them. Some still work today but were never meant to be anything more than a guide. See if you can spot the selenium models!

I hope you enjoy them as much as this collector. I will add more examples as ebay digs 'em out for me. Many thanks to Richard Holzman for his expert knowledge. On the next page I will endeavour to get technical.

Please email me your comments.

Barry Levinson (c) 2014

Every word is written with my lawyer (from his prison cell)


Barry Levinson (c) 2014