James's Light Meter Collection: Fotomatic Foto-Meter Model 92 Exposure Meter
Fotomatic Foto-Meter Model 92 exposure meter
Maker: Fotomatic Corp (aka Elwood)
Model: Foto-Meter Model 92
Circa: 1960
Price (new): $47.95
Likely Designer: Elwood C. Rogers
Cell type: CdS
Measure type: Spot

click for larger adThis was one of the first CdS meters made--at that time CdS cells were just starting to be manufactured and they were very expensive.

This meter looks like a prototype—something I might have made in metal shop when I was high school. The case is (I believe) cast aluminum, with a nicely roughed surface so that it doesn't slip in a sweaty hand. It's been shaped so that it fits nicely in the right hand—you can turn the dial with your fingertips and bump the switch with the fleshy part under the base of your thumb.

Inside, it looks a lot like my Pentax 3/21. There are two aiming tools in the middle of the field, so if you superimpose them you and tell precisely what you're metering. The meter face rolls across the bottom of the field and it's easy to read. You read the light level, match that number against your film speed on the calculator dial, and that tells you the LVS and speed/aperture pairs. Pretty easy.

Less easy is replacing the battery. You have to remove a screw in the bottom that holds the cover in place. The cover holds the battery contacts and that red push-button switch all together, and the wires go back into the body of the meter. The nice thing is that the wires tether the battery cover so you won't lose it. The bad part is that you risk breaking the wires somewhere. I think they would have been better mounting everything directly into the body.

The killer, however, is putting it back together. You really have to be careful to get the screw started in the hole because it's easy to miss. Several times I thought I had the cover screwed down, then turned it over and it fell off again. Fine in a prototype, but not too hot on a production model.

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