James's Light Meter Collection: Bertram Bewi Automat
Bertram Bewi Automat A click for manual
Maker: Bertram
Model: Bewi Automat A
Circa: 1955
Price (new): $29.50
Cell type: Selenium
Measure type: Reflecting / Averaging

click for larger adI love Bertram meters: they have character. They may not be the best, but they're fun to look at and fool with. So many other meters are functional but dull.

This is the second of the Automat series. The first was simply called "Automat." Subsequent models were given letters: this Automat A, the Automat B, Automat C and Automat C2.

Automat means automatic, and the idea was that you set the the film speed by turning the knurled ring on the side, then you aim it, press and hold the button for a couple seconds, and when you let go, the ƒ/stop-shutter speed combinations appeared in the window in the center. A pretty easy to use meter—if it works properly.

Mine suffers from the same problem as my others: it doesn't work. I'm told that the weak spot in these is a rubber band which deteriorates with age. Some day I'll get the courage to open one of these up, but frankly I'm afraid it'll explode in my hand and send a shower of tiny parts flying around the room, and it'll never go back together again.

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