I have been on a quest to find a small, pocketable light meter to accompany me on hikes and photo walks with my meter-less cameras. I got pretty close to what I wanted with an old Gossen Pilot I picked up on eBay. Nice and small, Easily fits into a pocket and light enough to wear around my neck all day and still be comfortable. The only issue with the Pilot is that the numbers on the calculator dial are pretty small. At my age, I need to wear +1.50 readers for close work and don't always have them with me in the field. Finding a small light meter with larger numbers would make life easier.
As wonderful as online shopping is, I do miss the ability to stroll into a retail store and hold something in my hand before I buy it. A call to my local camera shop revealed that they didn't stock any light meters, but could order me whatever I wanted. So online I went.
I stumbled across the Sekonic L-208 Twin Mate while browsing B&H Photo's Web site. Honestly, I am surprised that Sekonic still makes a simple, analog light meter. Scrolling through the various models that are offered, most every other one is digital and there's a trend now towards smartphone type displays on many of the pricier models. Reading the reviews, it appeared that the L-208 would be perfect: a simple, small and lightweight light meter. I ordered (about $100) and of course B&H delivered promptly.
I had no doubt that the Sekonic meter would perform as advertised. I have several larger Sekonic meters and they're all quite good. The big question, as I unboxed my new meter, was if the numbers on the calculator dial were larger than my little Pilot. As I held it in my hand for the first time without my readers--yes! I could see the settings clearly! Mission accomplished.
The L-208 is powered by a readily available CR2032 3 volt coin battery. You can measure both reflective and incident light by sliding the little diffuser on the front of the meter. Set your ISO on the face of the meter and press the little button. The red needle registers the amount of light. Turn the calculator dial until the green pointer and the red needle line up and read your camera settings. Simple. There's even a presentation of EV, which is nice when I shoot my Hasselblad.
The one thing I do like about analog dial light meters is that you get a lot more information presented to you than a digital display or iPhone app. In the sample reading above, you can see all of the f/stop and shutter speed combinations that will give a proper exposure.
The L-208 comes with an adapter that will allow you to slide this meter on to the accessory shoe of your camera, but it would be pretty big and dorky on any of my small rangefinder cameras. As a small hand held meter though, it does exactly what I need and the numbers are big enough for my old eyes.