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Gossen Sixticolor WB Kelvin meter ???

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by andreasb, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. Since the WB metering on any of my cameras (D2X and D100) isn't always right I have been pondering getting a Kelvin measuring meter of some kind. Rory has a Minolta Color meter III, a fine device but a bit to pricey for my experiments. So I went about to look through what was available on the market, hoping to buy a used one of some kind.

    On Ebay I stumbled on the Sixticolor meter by Gossen (German company). From what I gather it was made in the sixties? So I bought one for $58 USD to check it out.

    Nice little device and a cute black leather box. Small light and unobtrusive, great for hikes, well built. It does not need a battery, seems to have been made to help film photograpers fix their color balance. Say you had a daylight film balanced at 5800 kelvin, then the sliding scale on this device would tell you what red or blue filter combination would bring you back to the color temperature that the film was design for. Seems like a precursor to White Balance on modern digital cameras :)  (I'm sure this is old hand for all you experienced photograpers)

    My questions to anyone who would know out there:
    1. How accurate are these meters?
    2. Can they be calibrated and who would be able to do that? (My idea to check its accuracy would be to fire flash at it (several times as it is slow to react) to see if it says 5400 on the meter if not adjust it, any better ideas?
    3. I had an idea for application with this meter. Say you want to simulate golden hour, you would measure the actual kelvin then through the sliding scale figure out what filter combo would take you to a desired golden hour Kelvin value?
    4. Other brands of less expensive meters to consider?

    Comments suggestions?

    Here it is:
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    View attachment 14948

    View attachment 14949
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2005
  2. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    Selenium sensor this meter is based on should be completely dead by this time.
  3. ok, intersting news, I probably wasted $58, but it is metering, seems to figure out Daylight pretty well at about 5000-5700 K, shade at around 8000 etc.
  4. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    Maybe it was not used and stored in dry place. All mine are dead by now. Can you compare it to Rory's side by side to see if its readings are in the ballpark? Selenium is really reacting slow, and most consider it not good with flashes.
  5. I remember when they came out, they were well thought of at the time. I do own a Gossen Luna Pro meter and it works great.
  6. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    AFAIR, it is CdS - based...
  7. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Yep - the standard Luna Pro has a cadmium sulfide photoresistor sensor. The Luna Pro SBC has a photodiode that is more accurate.

    Iliah, why would a selenium cell die over time - it won't run out of electrons. I have a General Electric selenium meter which works quite well - within a stop of my camera meter. I think it's old:
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2005
  8. Sorry to disappoint, but I do not have a color meter :Sad: I do have a sekonic incident meter though. :smile:
  9. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    From my experience, selenium elements usually die after 20-30 years. Reasons said to be exposure to light, heat, and humidity. I think humidity is the main factor, as well-sealed hand-held light meters last longer then those in cameras, still they do die too.
    I beleive Edward Faraday Weston was one of the greatest authorities in selenium meters, and he payed extreme attention to assembling meters in dry environment and sealing. Nevertheless, those hand-held selenium meters that were made in early 60s shoud be at the end of their life span by now IMHO.
  10. Sorry my mistake....

  11. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    Dear Andreas,

    Is it made in West Germany? What are the first 4 digits of serial number?

    One of the ways to check color meter is to cover it with CC/CT filters (Lee Filters, polyester, high quality, double coating, rather cheap) and to see that the readings are following the shift indicated for the filter. You can use a halogen lamp through a stabilised power source, let it warm for 15-20 minutes. Thus you will have an idea of linearity of the meter. Systematic error, if any, is easy to account for.
  12. it says made in Germany on the leather cover, That usually means west germany (DDR called themselves German democratic republic in English)

    Serial is 3B2227

    How accurate where they when they where new?

    I just measured against the regular Incandescent light inside and it measured 2800K, not to bad it seems?

    I wish someone would pick up the production of a small gadget like this, they could probably make a killing on them at a reasonable price....
  13. gvk


    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    Wow Chris, that GE in your picture was my first light meter. I got it as a hand me down from my father around 1961 or so (during the summer before I entered high school) along with a Kodak 35mm rangefinder camera. It had that metal door on the front that you could pop open to let more light onto the photocell to increase the sensitivity in low light, or you could take off the entire front hood and almost use it in the dark! The needle bearing began to degrade on mine by 1970, and the photocell died a few years later.

    I replaced it, probably around 1965, with a GE PR-3 that was smaller and had a push button to activate the meter and lock the reading when released. This one had an internal aperture for the cell behind a glass window for high/low sensitivity, and came with a clip on diffuser for incident readings. It worked ok from the mid 1960's until about 1990 when the cell sensitivity started to degrade. It is now completely dead. So my experience with Selenium cells agrees with Illiah's statement.

    In the early 1970's I obtained a Gossen Luna Pro (with CdS cell as mentioned above). Although you can no longer get the PX13 batteries for it, Wein makes a replacement battery without Mercury that is still available. I also have a bunch of attachments for spot metering and darkroom use. Mine still works, and I use it regularly, mostly when I want to compare incident light readings with the camera's metering.

    Thanks for awakening these memories!
  14. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    Dear Andreas,

    3xxxxx is one of pretty late numbers, as far as I know. Mine was 2xxxxx. Those meters were accurate, +/-100K
  15. Thanks Iliah, 100 degrees accuracy for a mechanical device! Thats is really good! I might just drop Gossen and email and ask them as well.
  16. rebrewer


    Aug 1, 2005
    Davis, CA
    I have one of these. Same vintage, I would guess. Still works. I checked it against known light sources and it seems pretty accurate. Note that it is likely giving you an average reading, as light is a normally a spectrum of wavelengths, so it's looking at the distribution under the curve, rather than just the highest value. I think....

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