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Older equipment advice needed

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#1 CharlieInDayton


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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:19 AM

Well, I'm back after forever and a day...

A friend was cleaning out his back room and ran across some old(er) photo equipment. He was going to throw it out, but for some reason my name came across his mind. So now I'm the proud owner of a Nikkormat FT2 35mm camera (and a double handful of filters) and a Gossen Luna Pro light meter.

All the batteries are dead in everything, but other than that, I may have some good stuff here. It's just that the batteries are vintage/odd enough that they're either no longer made (mercury cells) or horribly expensive (a buck or better a pop). So I'm interested in what might be acceptable replacements.

The camera had a Varta V76PX (silver oxide) cell in it. Various substitution lists say that: 357 / 357A / SR44 / SR44W / AG13 / EPX76 will work for the internal light meter.

The meter manual (lucky me, I had instructions for both camera and meter) lists either Mallory PX13 or Mallory PX625 cells, which are no longer made because they're mercury cells. The meter takes two batteries. There are numerous replacement ideas here -- LR9's, V625U's, an adapter that holds two SR44 silver oxide cells (ye olde adapter can be found at several places for about $40), and the simplest one is two silver oxide 326 cells inside a #9 faucet o-ring (as a spacer) -- I think I have that battery type correct...
Getting the meter running is a nice, not a need. The camera has a meter in it, and basically I just want to learn to use a meter. If the batteries only last a few weeks, that's long enough to learn...

Any comments about any of these substitutions? The camera substitution seems fairly logical, just keep it a silver oxide cell.

The meter is another story. I'd like to keep it cheap, as the camera has a meter in it. The 326's in the o-ring are appealing (if nothing more than getting the meter running so I can learn how to use one), but the voltages may be a tad off (PX625's are 1.35v, 326's are 1.5v).


Comments from anyone on these substitutions are welcome. I need a little guidance here...

#2 rutherfordt



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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:46 AM


Some old equipment can actually be modified to run off of 1.5V-- they have potentiometers inside that can be adjusted-- I don't know if what you have can be adjusted or not.

Many people, including myself, use air-zinc hearing aid batteries. They are inexpensive and give a voltage (1.4V) that is close enough to the original 1.35V that they usually work well-- that is what I do with my old Canon SLRs. They are smaller than the mercury cells so you might have to put some sort of rubber O-ring around them to keep them from sliding around in the battery compartment although they work fine in my cameras. You will have to replace them every few weeks as they dry out, but its not too much of a headache. There are also other, more expensive options, but this works well for me.


#3 CharlieInDayton


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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

The camera doesn't seem to be a problem.
A few air-zincs for a few weeks just to learn how to use the meter...oughtta be cheap...that Wally World gift card for Xmas sounds like it's about to come in handy...

#4 Nebhunter


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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:22 AM

The Luna Pro meter is a great meter. I use mine and prefer it over in camera unless your camera has a small spot meter reading. The Luna is great for very low light and even night exposures. It will give a good idea of what to use whereas the in camera is of no use sometimes.

You can also walk up closer to your target and meter eg: the tree truck which could be very dark - and then meter the brighter areas to get an idea of the number of stops from light to dark. It acts like a spot meter when up close. Negative film and slide films are different as well as B&W in the number of stops and recording shadow or bright details. Now you don't need to worry about the in camera meter as the Luna should be using a 9 v battery?

Hope this helps.


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