James's Light Meter Collection: Sekonic L-216 Auto Range
Sekonic L-216 Auto-Range Japanclick for manual
Maker: Sekonic
Model: L-216 "Auto Range"
Circa: 1966 - 1978
Price (new): $19.95
Cell type: CdS
Measure type: Wide
Battery (orig): 1.35V Mercury (H-D)

For some reason this looks larger in photos. I expected it to be a little larger than a pack of cigarettes, but it's really just a little thing--maybe 1/3rd the size.

I like Sekonic—they made a lot of very good meters. But they made some junk and this is a prime example. I still don't know why they felt compelled to make it. It's basically the same concept as a Weston 617 from the mid 1930s: there's a meter scale at the bottom and a disconnected calculator wheel. The only advantage is that this has a CdS cell.

Scale readings are great but the scale needs to be long, and this is pretty tiny. For my money, you could get a Sekonic L-98, which also CdS and has match-needle operation, which is a better system on something like this. The L-98 is a little larger and heavier, but not enough to matter.

Seriously, if it didn't say Sekonic on it, I'd have sworn it was Russian or behind-the-curtain somewhere. They were always 20 years behind.

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