Voigtlander VCii Light Meter Review
The Voigtlander VCii is a shoe-mount meter. It is a really good and useful meter that has few features but is perfect for what it is: small and simple.
I was given this meter by my wife for Christmas a few years back. I recently lost my Gossen Digisix on a trip in South Africa and wanted to try something else when I replaced it. At the time, I was using a Minolta AL or Yashica EM as my meterless cameras. The EM has a cold shoe mount on the side (added by Mark Hama during CLA) and the Minolta has a cold shoe flash mount. The Voigtlander seemed like a perfect companion for either of these, owing to the fact that the meter would just stay on either camera, whereas the Gossen I’d always have to remember to carry it around my neck.
Overall, the Voigtlander has done everything I need it to do, and it has done it well. Currently, I’m using it on my Nikon S3 and prior to that, was using it on my Hasselblad 501c as a hood or side rail mounted meter. The only issue with using it on my Hasselblad was that it added quite a bit of bulk when mounted to the hood, as I never use the hood. Or, it protruded from the side and fell off every time I’d pull it out of the bag. Currently, the only issue I’m having with it on the S3 is it falling off when removing from my bag, and the battery door keeps swinging open, making me think the batteries are dead.
Using the meter is extremely simple. There are two dials, Aperture and Shutter speed. The indicator lights are a green dot, a red arrow left and a red arrow right. There is a button on the back to activate the meter and take a reading. ISO is set on the aperture dial (the left dial), at which point you point the meter at something and take a meter reading. You then waggle the dials until the green dot lights up. The red arrow pointing right indicates the settings are overexposed and need to increase your shutter or aperture, the red arrow pointing left indicates the opposite. Between the dials are five white lines, the center gives you the exposure you’d like based on how people look at stuff. For example, you set the dial to F8 and then move the shutter speed dial to line up with F8 until the green light appears. However, the white lines above and below the center give you proper exposure for the same scene with F5.6, F11, F4, and F16, which is pretty handy.
Shutter speeds go from 1 second to 1/2000th (clicked)
Aperture goes from F1 to F22 (clickless)
ISO range from 25 to F3200 with no exposure compensation.
Batteries are LR44
One feature that comes in very handy, is that the shoe itself can be removed and shifted. While you can only move it to one of two positions, this is a very useful feature, depending on the camera you’re using it on.
If you need a bare bones meter that will give you accurate readings but not much else, this is perfect. If you need a meter that is compact and unobtrusive, easy to carry and does not require much thinking, this is perfect. I do have a few other meters that serve purposes, however the Voigtlander is perfect for what I need it for: A shoe-mount meter to give me a meter reading to put into my camera, one that I can trust. It is a little pricey, around $200 if you buy brand new. You can get one at most places, but I’d suggest Camera Quest. Hamish Gill over at 35mmc also has a great write up on his site, if you’d like a more well put together review than mine.