Minolta Flash Meter
The Minolta Flash Meter series was started in 1969 with a light meter bearing the same name. The photographic meter line was discontinued in 2006 and sold off to Kenko shortly after Sony took over the merged Konica Minolta photographic division.
The Minolta Flash Meter was an analog measuring instrument with a color-corrected silicon photo cell as light sensor. This element was developed and produced by Minolta itself, as well as the whole flash meter. The meter needs one AA-battery for illumination and five PX625 batteries for measurement. The analog instrument's scale changes when the ASA-preselector on the meter's top is re-adjusted. Then the EV-value scale stays, but the scale of corresponding apertures is shifted right or left. When the right ASA film speed value appears over the scales the measuring can be done. The meter's front side shows the instrument and the preselector for the shutter speed. The instrument's needle shows an approriate aperture value for the preselected film an shutter speeds. Therefore the big metal button on the meter's side must be pressed down. Then the needle shows the EV of the moment of pressing down the button. On the bottom are two connectors, one for a remote sensor and one for a flash firing cable. When a flashgun is connected the meter can be used in a dark room. When its big button is pressed the flash is triggered synchronized to the moment of measuring. The instrument's needle keeps staying over the measuring value as long as the button is pressed, and a little lamp over the scale makes it readable in the darkness until the button is released. Another small button serves for the battery check. The sensor is located behind a round hole in the meter's back. The hole is a screw mount for the diffusor. One of several different diffusors can be chosen.
Flash Meter II
| Minolta Flash Meter II|
image by Troy Stains (Image rights)
In 1976 the series was continued with the Minolta Flash Meter II which had an LED display instead of an analog instrument scale. It improves upon the previous model by having a swiveling measuring sphere. That makes it much easier to measure from multiple areas while still being able to view the display. A calibration adjustment can also be made from -1 to +1 in 1/3 EV stops. The film speed scale has also expanded for use with higher speed film. A tripod socket is also provided. Originally included is the reflective attachment and carrying pouch. The meter is now powered by a single 9v (6LR61) battery.
Flash Meter III
|image by DiegoCass (Image rights)|
In 1980 the Minolta Flash meter III followed. It had a more versatile LCD display and a built-in digital micro-controller.
|image by Luke Healey (Image rights)|
Flash Meter IV
| Flash Meter IV + Viewfinder 10|
image by Mikel Adell (Image rights)
The Flash Meter IV is a newer update of the Flash Meter III. This unit offers more memory functions enabling it to compare multiple measurements to get a more accurate reading in complex lighting environments. The meter is also compatible with many of the accessories from the previous Flash Meter III. One unique accessory to this meter is called DR-1000. The DR-1000 is an accessory for the Minolta 7000 and Minolta 9000 cameras that enables the Flash Meter IV to send metering data via IR to those cameras by pressing the "Data out" button on the back of the meter. Along with the 1x AA battery used to operate the meter, this feature requires an additional 6v 5LR44 battery. A calibration adjustment can also be made from -0.08 to +0.07, this is useful when using multiple meters. A tripod socket is also provided.
While this meter is a great improvement in features compared to the Flash Meter III, many initially find it confusing to master the more advanced features because of the extra ordinary number of dedicated buttons and slider controls on the unit.
Flash Meter V
| Minolta Flash Meter V with cover up,|
and viewfinder 5 degree attachment
image by 惡虎 (Image rights)
The flash meter was further developed with the appeareance of the Flash Meter V in 1995. This version of the meter features a sliding lid. When slid upwards the mode, memory, S/A/H and difference buttons are shown. Slide it down it reveals the ISO button and dedicated instant film ISO override button. The meter is also compatible with many of the accessories from the previous Flash Meter III and above. A tripod socket is also provided.
There are four dip switch settings in the battery compartment to customize the meter. This included switching between photo or cine mode; EV or F. no mode; 1 stop or half stop shutter mode. There is also a switch to turn on or off the tone when measuring flash in wireless mode. A calibration adjustment can also be made from -0.08 to +0.07, this is useful when using multiple meters.
Flash Meter VI
|image by nik.jalopx (Image rights)|
The Flash Meter VI became available in 2003. It was Minoltas last photographic meter, before they merged with Konica. After Sony took over, they sold the manufacturing to Kenko. It then became available as the model KFM-2100.
|Flash Meter||Flash Meter II||Flash Meter III||Flash Meter IV||Flash Meter V|
|Measuring system||incident and reflected; flash|
|Measuring element||Silicon Blue Cell|
|Measuring range incident||22 to 2800 lux sec|| 20 to 10,240 lux sec
3 to 20 EV (100 ASA)
|1 to 18.2 EV (100 ASA)||- 2 to 19.5 EV (100 ISO)|
|Measuring range reflected||1 to 128cd. sec./m²|| 8 to 4,096cd. sec./m²
6 to 23 EV (100 ASA)
|1 to 18.2 EV (100 ASA)|| ref40: 1 to 25.5 EV
vf10: 1 to 25.5 EV
vf5: 2.2 to 23.7 EV
| ref40: 1.2 to 23.1 EV|
vf10: 1.2 to 23.1 EV
vf5: 2.5 to 24.4 EV
|ASA/ISO||12 to 1,600 ASA||12 to 3,200 ASA||8 to 6400 ISO||3 to 8,000 ISO|
|Time||1/30 to 1/250||1 to 1/250||30s to 1/1000||30m to 1/8000|| 30m to 1/6000|
flash: 30m to 1/1000
|Aperture||ƒ1 to 128||ƒ1 to 90||ƒ0.7 to 90|
|Cine||N/A||8 to 64 fps||8 to 128 fps|
|Power|| 5x 1.35v PX625 mercury
1x 1.5v AA / LR6 battery
|9v battery / PP3 / 6LR61||6x 1.55v SR44 silver oxide|| 1x 1.5v AA
1x 6v 4LR44
|1x 1.5v AA|
|Dimensions||131 x 72 x 35 mm||146 x 74 x 42 mm||157 x 56 x 30 mm||153 x 68 x 28 mm||158 x 68 x 28|