Gossen Digipro F Review

Getting an accurate light reading is critical in photography and a light meter will do just that. The Gossen Digipro F is a budget model that reads both incidental and reflected light and costs 149.99.

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Handling and build quality

Gossen Digipro F main image
Matt Grayson, ePHOTOzine reviewer, puts the Gossen Digipro F digital light meter to the test.

At £149.99, it's a good price, but does that mean it lacks certain features or a decent build quality?

This test will find out.

Gossen Digipro F: Features
The Gossen Digipro F light meter is an incidental light meter with a rotating integrated sphere so it can be used as a reflected light meter if you desire. Costing £149.99 from Warehouse Express, it has an aperture range of f/1 – f/90, sync speed range of 1sec – 1/1000sec and ISO range of ISO3.2 – ISO8000. There are a few other meters around for the same price, such as the Polaris Digital from Aspen. Priced at £139.99, it has a slightly better ISO and aperture range but doesn't feature the rotating head to incorporate reflected light. Alternatively, the Sekonic L-308S at £128.99 has an aperture range of f/1.4 – f/90.9, the same ISO range but has half the flash sync speed range, stopping at 1/500sec. The Sekonic also features incident and reflected metering options.

Gossen Digipro F incidental and reflected light
Incidental and reflected light can be measured by rotating the light receptor dome.
Aimed at serious amateurs and professionals, the Gossen Digipro F light meter takes light readings from both incidental and reflected light which makes it more versatile than a lot of other meters. It also give light readings for cine and this is done by choosing the shutter speed option and moving the setting past the 1/8000sec setting.

Values and settings can be adjusted for ISO, shutter speed, aperture and flash. They're performed by pressing the function button left and right then adjusting the value by pressing the up and down arrows.

The M button measures the light and the meter will fire the flash if it's connected using a PC sync cable. It's a very simple process and it's difficult to go wrong with a light meter such as this.

The buttons are soft rubber and look like the type that need firm presses to work although this is untrue. Personally I prefer the plastic clicky button types but it's really not important and completely subjective.

Gossen Digipro F: Handling and build quality
The Digipro F is made of plastic all over and it's a plastic that has a fine roughness to it. I'd prefer to see some glossy plastic to give it a bit more glitz. If I was using this as a family
Gossen Digipro F size
The Gossen is a comfortable size and the trigger in the middle means it can be used by left and right handed people.
portrait photographer, I feel that this looks cheaper than other models at a similar price and this would make me self conscious. However, the design of the light meter is good as I think it's perfect for left or right-handed users due to the buttons being on the front.

I asked Nikita in the office to try the Gossen Digipro F and the Sekonic Flashmate L-308 as she's left-handed and while she thought they were both easy-to-use, she preferred the Gossen over the Sekonic. I tried both and found that the Sekonic wasn't easy-to-use as a right-handed person especially using features such as the ISO button because it has to be held down. The beauty of the Gossen is that choosing the ISO function leaves it on that mode for you to change the values at your leisure.

A single AA battery is required to power the light meter and when a new battery is inserted the microprocessor will perform a full diagnostic to ensure everything is working. This is indicated by all the liquid crystal in the LCD appearing for around ten seconds before it settles into the default mode.

Gossen Digipro F: Performance
I photographed a still life subject using tungsten lighting without flash and I got slightly differing results from the camera, Gossen meter and my own Sekonic Flashmate L308. The Olympus decided that 1.3sec at f/11 was the correct exposure while the Sekonic opted for slightly less time at 1sec, darkening the image by around a third of a stop. However, the Gossen went for a 2sec exposure pouring much more light into the image and whitening the white background. The camera and Sekonic had both given a grey background which isn't correct for this type of photography. Obviously neither the Olympus or the Sekonic knew what I wanted, but the Gossen managed to get the right exposure.

Gossen Digipro F Olympus E-3 metered image
A product shot metered by the Olympus E-3 Digital SLR camera. The result is neutral with a slight grey background.
Gossen Digipro F Gossen metered image
The Gossen has produced a nice exposure with a white background.
Gossen Digipro F Sekonic metered image
A slightly shorter exposure means an under exposed image from the Sekonic.

Using flash, the Gossen can give a reading with or without a sync cable attached. Ensure the meter is set to the flash setting and set the correct ISO and shutter speed. Pressing the M button while the meter is in place will only prime the meter. You then have to trigger the flash independently to get a reading. In my tests, the Gossen gave a reading of f/16 at 1/125sec ISO100. To the eye, the camera gets the best results at f/11, a full stop over the meter reading.

Gossen Digipro F portrait at f/11
The camera read the exposure as f/11 and I prefer this aperture as I think the exposure is more dramatic.
Gossen Digipro F portrait at f/16
An aperture of f/16 appears to underexpose but the histogram doesn't lie and it's slap bang in the middle.
Gossen Digipro F histogram at f/11
The histogram at f/11 shows a narrow tonal range leaning towards the highlights.
Gossen Digipro F histogram at f/16
The tonal range at f/16 is closer to the mid-range which is better for manipulation of portraits.

However, loading the images into Camera Raw, the histogram tells a different story that the Gossen meter is in fact the accurate reading. The Sekonic gave the same reading as the Gossen, proving that using an incidental light meter is far more accurate for studio work.

Gossen Digipro F: Verdict
In my tests with the Gossen Digipro F, it constantly gave the best exposed results against the Sekonic light meter and the Olympus E-3 DSLR camera. It's slightly more expensive than comparable models but if it gives much better results, is a tenner really that much to gripe about? I think not.

This is the best meter I've seen in this price range and if you're on a budget but need a reliable meter that can be used both left or right handed and gives accurate exposure results, I'd recommend that this is one you get.

Gossen Digipro F: Pros
Ambidextrous design
Rotating light dome for incidental and reflected light readings
Gives cine readings

Gossen Digipro F: Cons
Doesn't feel very well made
Non manual power off option


Gossen Digipro F: Specification
Measuring methods Incident, reflected, contrast measurement flash
Sensor Silicon blue cell photodiode
Measure range LW -2.5 - +18
Exposure times 1/8000sec - 60sec
Aperture range f/1 - f/90
Flash sync speeds 1sec - 1/1000sec (inc. 1/90sec)
Video speeds Yes, 8 - 64fps (inc. 25 & 30fps)
Film speeds (ISO) ISO3.2 - 8000
Battery 1x 1.5v AA-type
Size 118x65x19mm
Weight 95g (excl. battery)

The Gossen Digipro F costs around £149.99 and is available at Warehouse Express here:

Gossen Digipro F

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