The Weston Master V Exposure Meter

When I was shooting a lot of my photos on 35mm film, most of my camera’s had a built in light meter or some form of light meter on them and I felt my photos exposed ok so I never felt the need to buy an external light meter.

Since I’ve been getting into medium format photography more, I knew at some point a light meter would be a good investment.

When I was using the Diana F+ medium format camera it had settings on the camera for sunshine, cloudy etc so I never felt the need to get one then either. Also, when I was using the Lubitel 166B, I pretty much went by the sunny 16 rule and would stop it down and change shutter speed by guess work depending on how cloudy or sunny the day was.

Once I knew that I was going to invest in a more expensive medium format camera, I felt it was essential for me to get a light meter so I could hopefully do the camera justice and get the best photos possible to my ability.

I really didn’t know where to begin when looking for a light meter. The choice to me was overwhelming!

The costs were also greatly different and I really wasn’t sure what make to buy or what to spend.

After researching light meters online, I felt I perhaps wanted to pay a bit more to ensure I got a better quality one and had in mind a budget between £80-£150 but I still wasn’t sure what to buy.

I also didn’t know if I wanted an electronic or manual one. Again, so much choice.

I was going to visit my local camera shop and have a chat with them about what would be best for me but as luck would have it, a fellow blogger had read one of my Lubitel posts and asked me if I had thought of investing in a light meter.

After having a chat with him, he suggested the Weston Light meter range. After looking into those light meters in more depth I did like the fact they were british made, looked of great quality, were nice and manual and also didn’t require batteries due to the selenium light cell.

These light meters appeared to have been mainly produced from the 1950s-1970s and I was a little concerned how accurate the reading would be today and if I would be better off buying a modern digital one.

However, my fellow blogger suggested a website called http://www.ian-partridge.com 

Ian fully rebuilds, refinishes, and restores these old light meters with a new selenium cell.

I checked out the website and saw he had a variety of the light meters for sale. I knew from looking at them I would prefer a Weston IV or Weston V. I read some good reviews online about these particular models. I also liked how both styles looked.

To purchase one would cost me around £139.00 which was within the maximum budget I had in mind. I loved the fact they are fully restored so that gave me great confidence in how well they would work.

Before I decided to take the plunge and purchase one from the website, I decided to have a quick look at the Weston Master IV and V light meters on eBay.

I found several on there quite cheap but they obviously were old and hadn’t been restored so I was happy to pay more money for a refurbished one.

However, I was drawn to a particular one for sale on eBay which was the Weston Master V, as the seller stated that it had been refurbished back in 2014. He described it as being in excellent condition but he would only reveal who had refurbished it to the winning bidder.

This was all rather intriguing and I was really hoping, judging by everything that was included in the photos (manual and cases) that it was refurbished by Ian Partridge.

When I looked at the listing, a couple of people were bidding on the item and it was going for £10.50. I had looked at it on a Sunday and the listing was actually ending that evening!

I decided to take a punt and put in a last minute bid of around £60. I ended up winning the light meter for £31.15 with postage.

The light meter arrived with the original restoration paperwork and it was refurbished by Ian Partridge! I was over the moon!

The light meter looked shiny and brand new and felt of amazing quality in my hands and had a lovely weight to it.

I wasn’t sure how to use this light meter but since the manual was provided, I quickly learnt what I needed to do to make best use of it.

I first used it with My Hasselblad last week and in my previous blog I provided photos of what I took. I was really happy that the light meter seems to work perfectly as I was very happy with the exposure of the photos.

I feel extremely lucky that I was able to pick up an amazing light meter for a great price that will hopefully last me for years to come.

Here are some close ups of the light meter and invercone with their cases:

On a final note, I would like to say thank you to my fellow blogger, 35mm Film Shootist, for all his help on this.

My first roll of film on my Hasselblad 500 C/M Camera

From my previous blog I explained that the Camera Museum in London provided me with a free roll of film when I purchased my Hasselblad camera from them.

The film they provided me with was the Ilford Delta 400 black and white film, which I had never used before.

I also explained in my previous blog that I didn’t have time to try out the camera in London and had to wait until I got back home to Brighton.

I was keen to try out the camera asap so the first photo I took was of one of my cats in my living room:

I balanced the camera on a foot stool to take this image and I was still getting used to the focusing screen so it’s the corner of the blanket which is really in focus. However, I still quite like the image and the way the corner of the blanket is nice and crisp. The exposure could be improved since my cat is really dark in this image.

The actual negative itself is marked and I’m not sure if that was because it was my first time loading film into the camera and perhaps I accidentally marked the beginning of the negative whilst loading since the rest of the negatives are absolutely fine.

I decided for the remainder of the film that I would go to Hove Cemetery since it’s nice and quiet there, which meant I could really concentrate and focus on how to use the Hasselblad.

I personally think it’s essential to use an external light meter when using the Hasselblad and I used one for most of the photos I took. I’m going to blog about the light meter I used separately.

When I took the camera outside and started to use it, I was extremely impressed by the bright viewfinder:

I’ve personally never owned a camera with an amazing viewfinder like this before. I also felt it really helped me in composing my shots.

Here are the photos I took:

This was the first time I had used an external light meter and I was extremely impressed with the results from using one.

I scanned all my images using an Epson V600 scanner and I didn’t have to ‘tweak’ any of the photos for the exposure.

For my first roll, I’m very happy with the results. I handheld the camera when taking the photos rather than using a tripod and I’m impressed with how crisp the images are. The lens is amazing.

I found the camera really easy to hold and use. It still felt fairly light to me and with the strap it just felt like I had a handbag over my shoulder.

I am so happy I purchased this camera, I definitely have no regrets and I’m really excited about shooting some more images with it. I can’t wait!

Lubitel 166B TLR Camera

I recently became aware of the Lubitel range of cameras when I arranged for my husband, a couple of friends and myself to go on a photography workshop with Lomography in London.

We were to choose one of their range of cameras for the workshop which, involved an evening of wondering around Soho for a couple of hours taking night time shots with one of their loaned cameras.

We had to decide on which camera’s we would like to try beforehand so they could make sure it was available at the workshop. I therefore showed my husband the range of camera’s on the Lomography website and he decided that he liked the look of their Lubitel 166+ camera.

I asked him what he liked about it over the other cameras and he said he liked the fact it was a medium format camera using 120mm film (as he likes the square photos) and that you have to look down into the viewfinder rather than a standard camera that you put up to your eye. He also liked the fact it had two lenses rather than one and just the general box style of it.

I had never been particularly interested in this style of camera before. However, the more I researched it, the more fascinated I was by it.

When I booked the workshop, Lomography informed me that they may not have a spare Lubitel 166+ camera for my husband to try as they had already loaned one out and wasn’t sure if it would be back in the shop in time for the workshop.

I thought this would be a shame since he seemed so keen on trying it out so I thought about buying him one as a surprise so he would have his own to keep instead.

However, I wasn’t prepared to pay £289.00! I therefore began the hunt of finding a second hand cheaper one….

I quickly discovered that the actual Lomography 166+ Camera doesn’t seem to come up for sale second hand that often. There was one on eBay for £40 but it didn’t have it’s original box or any of the accessories that it would have originally come with. It also wasn’t in great condition with marks on the paintwork.

I knew from my research that this camera was based on the original Lomo Russian Lubitel camera and quickly found that various models of the original Lubitel camera are for sale in abundance second hand and at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

I quickly decided that I would like to buy him the Lubitel 166B model since it was a bit more simplified than the earlier models, plus it is easy to do multiple exposures if you wanted to because you have to wind the film on manually with this particular model.

Ideally I wanted to buy one that had the original box, instruction manual and accessories. A few complete ones I found on eBay in great condition unfortunately also came with a higher asking price of £60-£80 plus.

As luck would have it, I ended up purchasing one completely boxed in mint working condition (looked like it had hardly ever been used) with the original box, a film winding spool, soft case, lens cap, neck strap (still in packet!), english instruction manual and cable release from a guy in Littlehampton, which had recently been listed on Etsy for £34.50. What was even more lovely was that the date of manufacture is handwritten on the back of the instruction manual (February 1986):

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So I attended the Lomography Workshop and fortunately they were able to loan my husband the Lubitel 166+ camera. Since he isn’t that familiar with film camera’s, it quickly became clear that he had picked a rather complex camera to try out since it doesn’t have a built in light meter and the way of winding the film on in this camera and how to point and shoot it was extremely unusual to him.

On this particular evening in London, there was a constant heavy down pour of rain throughout the whole evening and we got completely drenched. It meant that it was very difficult for any of us to try and take decent photos outside and I found myself constantly apologising to my friends and husband for dragging them all they way from Brighton on the train (which had engineering works so was a long journey each way) to an event that none of us were really enjoying due to the bad weather.

What made things worse is that within 5-10 minutes of us leaving the Lomography shop to take our photos, it became clear that there seemed to be a fault with the Lubitel 166+ camera my husband was trying to use and it just didn’t seem to wind on properly and we weren’t sure if any of it was actually working at all. By this point we had lost the leader of the lomography workshop and was doing our own thing until it was time to return back to the shop and hand back our loan cameras and the films to be developed.

The following week, once our films had been developed by Lomography, we discovered that the Lubitel 166+ hadn’t produced any photos whatsoever and the roll came back blank so the camera hadn’t worked at all which was a shame.

This in turn, put my husband off completely using this style of camera. I then had to break the news to him that I had actually treated him to a version of one and as you can imagine, he wasn’t very excited by this.

So the camera arrived in the post and since I knew my husband wouldn’t be using it anytime soon I decided I would try it out for myself.

I managed to pick up a copy of the ‘Lubitel+ Love from the waist level’ book by Lomography cheaply on eBay (since Lomography have currently sold out of this book) and after reading that (which I really enjoyed) and watching various youtube videos and reading the actual Lubitel 166B instruction manual, I took the camera out to play and test that it actually worked.

As mentioned before, it doesn’t have a built in light meter and the photos I took was on a cloudy day. I was using Lomography Colour ISO 400 120mm film in the camera and rather than use a light meter, I went by my gut and my experience from using my Pentax K1000 camera and shot the film at aperture f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/125.

After my husband’s experience with the camera in London, I was quite nervous about getting the photos developed as I wasn’t sure I had done anything right on the camera and if there would be any photos. The main reason for this is because the shutter button releases so fast when pressed that it almost doesn’t feel like the camera has taken an actual photo.

Yesterday, I picked up the negatives from Colourstream in Brighton and thankfully there were photos…..11 in total! I knew I had missed a frame because I accidentally wound the camera on over one frame in error and couldn’t figure out how to wind it back.

Here are the photos:

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To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect which in my opinion is part of the fun of film photography.

However, I am quite impressed by the colours and detail in these photos! I really love the overall feel and style of photo that the camera produces. The last image is a double exposure as I wanted to see how that would look but I chose a tree and a bush to photograph which seem to merge so it may be difficult to tell that it’s actually a double exposure.

I really love this camera which I’m quite surprised at. I’ve much to learn still as some of the photos are wonky because I’m not used to shooting a camera ‘from the hip’ so to speak so I’m currently working out the best way of holding the camera to keep the image as straight as possible without having to use a tripod.

I feel this camera actually suits my style of photography because it is a slow camera. By that I mean that you have to take your time in taking a photograph as it’s not easy to point and shoot. You have to really work on getting the photo as you want it in the viewfinder and it shows as a reversed image which I’m actually fine with but I can imagine some people may find that quite tricky to work with if they want absolute precision of an image. As I work quite artistically with my photography, there is give in my style of photos so they don’t have to be 100% accurate to what I’m actually seeing.

A lot of my photos tend to be of still objects so I can patiently take my time perfecting the shot to how I want it to be. I would imagine in other fields of photography such as street photography that this camera would be an absolute nightmare to use because I would imagine the moment would have passed in the time it would have taken to line up the shot, get the exposure correct and distance etc.

I also need to work on the distance scale. From my first attempt, I couldn’t seem to see the focus in the viewfinder making any difference if I changed the lens from 1 metre to infinity. Apparently from what I’ve read the camera has a well know flaw for this and most people just tend to shoot with it on infinity.

You’ll see that some of my photos do seem out of focus so I’m hoping as I use the camera more, I’ll become more accurate with the focusing and if not, then perhaps I’ll just have to see that as being a fun quirk of the camera!

Now I know it can take photos, I’m going to be using it a lot to learn more about how it works. This camera is also quite light weight as I suppose it is cheap and cheerful in comparison to better made TLR’s but I actually like that because it is easy for me to walk around with it.

I look forward to blogging further about this camera as and when I take more photos with it.

I’m also hoping that when I show my husband the photos, it may encourage him to try it out again.