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Wonderful Weston


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Wonderful Weston

14 Sep 2020 10:28AM   Views : 509 Unique : 297


You might be thinking this will be about someone called Edward, or Cole, or Brett, and will involve nudes and peppers.

No. Not today. This is a very British Weston, my first light meter, and still my favourite, a Weston Master V, complete with leather case and grey cord lanyard, and the incomparable Invercone.

It isnít just a device for measuring light, though within its sensitivity parameters the Weston does that better than anything else Iíve met. Itís a delightful piece of engineering, an object to caress and treasure, and a lesson in photographic exposure.


There are three big pluses to the Weston, apart from the standard of manufacture: first, it uses a selenium cell, so that its colour sensitivity is not a mismatch for eyes and film, as CdS meters were at the time. As the selenium cell generates current when light strikes it, no battery is required. And the Invercone.

While Sangamo Weston still existed, Invercone was a trademark: itís still incorrect to call the centimetre hemisphere that most modern meters have by that name, but thereís no risk of legal action. The Invercone is bigger, more complex, and more accurate, because its shape collects light hitting it from a greater range of angles, as real, three-dimensional subjects do.

And the essence of it is that when you fit the Invercone, you use the meter by placing it in front of the subject, with the cone facing towards the camera position. It measures the light falling on the subject, instead of the light it reflects. So it will give the same reading held in front of a white sheet or black velvet Ė which may, at first, sound odd.


Think, though. You want the sheet to come out light in the picture, and the velvet dark. If you simply take a reading from each, both will come out grey, which is obviously wrong. An incident light reading will give correct exposureÖ

The Weston can also take reflected light readings, without the Invercone, and the grey baffle that sits over the cell for bright daylight folds back to give greater sensitivity for less bright conditions. It runs out of sensitivity in dim indoor lighting Ė but then, when it was made, so did conventional film, even with a very fast lens.

Iíve bought other meters since, because a Weston doesnít read flash exposures, and because I sometimes want to shoot in light that demands a tripod Ė but it still has a special place in my heart and in my gadget bag.


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dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
14 Sep 2020 11:35AM
I have, somewhere, my father's Weston light meter though I'm not sure of the model number. I do know that it had a black casing and came in a brown leather case.

Just reading your blog title I thought you'd taken a visit to Much Marcle in Herefordshire Smile
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
14 Sep 2020 11:51AM

There is, I think, a firm still fettling old Westons - the selenium cell does, eventually, give up the ghost. If anyone is interested, I still have contact details from when I had this one sorted a few years ago. The website is still active, and offering work on Weston IV, V and Euro Master meters, the last three in the line. If memory serves, the older models used a smaller cell.

And, like a Page 3 girl, the meters have their own fan site, HERE! It's an informative site, and includes history of the idea that the Invercone embodies.
DaveRyder Avatar
DaveRyder Plus
9 7.2k 22 United Kingdom
14 Sep 2020 3:04PM
Never had a handheld meter of my own as my first SLR was a Zenit E with built in meter - although my brother had with his 'B'.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
14 Sep 2020 3:57PM
Even with a built-in meter - and I use them a lot, of course - a handheld meter can teach a lot about exposure, which is very definitely a 'dark art'...
PaulCox Avatar
14 Sep 2020 4:34PM
Couldnít afford a Weston so had to make do with a Sixon I think thatís how you spelt it, it was OK and did a good job. Now retired I have via a well now Auction Site, managed to purchase a few a lll, IV, V, and a Euro, just for the fun of collecting them. I use the V quite often with older lenses on a Micro 4/3 body, just for the fun of it. Paul.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
14 Sep 2020 6:16PM
Gossen made decent meters, and my Dad had one with a roll-top incident adaptor, various names, all playing with 'Six' and varying specifications. At one time, I owned a Lunasix CdS meter - so called because it could (just) read in bright moonlight.
whatriveristhis Avatar
15 Sep 2020 10:20AM
I have one of those, and the case. I also have the Invercone, though I'm damned if I can find it... it'll be in a dark corner somewhere under a pie of dust BlushBlushBlush
I don't use it now, but I keep it to look at sometimes and play with, because it's such a beautiful thing.

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