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A useful addition for a photographer – a Stitz M40 Light Meter

A light meter was one of the very first accessories many amateur photographers would purchase when they began their journey into picture taking and this article takes a look at a typical unit they may have purchased, the Stitz M40.

Pictures of the Stitz M40

Description of the Stitz M40

The M40 is a no frills light meter which just measures the light reflected from objects. There are no complex settings and a very simple mode of operation, which made it an inexpensive first accessory for photographers with their first camera.

To use the unit it’s as simple as just pointing it at the subject, pressing the button on the side, so the meter needle measures the light, and then turning the dial, so the green indicator matches the position of the needle.

Once the reading has been taken the scale at the bottom of the dial shows the exposure settings to use. There are also EV readings available in a little window at the top of the dial.

For any reader unaware, the EV system (Exposure Value) was used on many cameras in the early 1960s which allowed the photographer to dial in a single reading, and then change the shutter speed / aperture combination to obtain the photographic effect they were after without altering the exposure. In many ways it was the forerunner to the modern Program Shift mode found on many digital cameras.

The only setting which needs to be made is to initially set the film speed, which is done using a small scale in the centre of the dial. The unit has a healthy range of film speeds running from ASA 6 all the way up to ASA 25000.

The light meter uses a button cell to provide the power and although I couldn’t find an exact fit in my store of batteries, I found an LR44 1.5 volt cell fitted well enough to get the unit working.

Because the unit is light weight and easy to carry with a neck strap and flip open leather (or probably fake leather) case, it’s easy to see how it would be regularly used for most pictures a photographer took, and in my trials I found it to me both easy to use and still quite accurate for day to day use.

Stitz M40 specifications.

  • Stitz M40 light meter
  • Simple operation
  • Works with EV scale and shutter speed / aperture
  • Wide range of film speeds (ASA 6 to 25000)
  • ASA or DIN scale
  • Also has cine scale
  • Works with LR44 button cell

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I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

  1. andy pearce says:

    I still have my Weston analogue lightmeter and the selenium cell still gives accurate readings, I still use light metres although modern and battery powered for everything as almost all my cameras are manual and those that aren’t are used in manual mode, and you can’t beat a meter for flash settings in the studio tethered or hand held.

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