TTArtisans Light Meter: All is good after a bit of unplanned DIY.

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Impatience strikes again.

Had come very close to picking up a Voigtlander VC Meter II Shoe Mounted Speed Meter more than once. But I could never get past the price. While not excessive for camera gear or a light meter I did not have a great enough need to justify a price north of $200. A tried and true Sekonic costs a bit less.

Had a bit of a high end top mounted light meter experience before…

…and wanted to replicate the experience in a less expensive pairing.

A few inexpensive light hot shoe lightmeters have been released recently. But while often less expensive than the Voigtlander above they are also often made of plastic and not what one would call inexpensive. There are options with metal in their construction, but also cost a bit more than I would like to spend for lesser known brands. Here is yet another one. All are great options. But while tempted I never acted. Then TTArtisans entered the fray.

Sony ZV-1

Both issues above solved.

Name.

Already familiar with TTArtisans products courtesy of their great full-frame f/2.8 fisheye lens.

TTArtisans 11mm f/2.8 Fisheye
TTArtisans 11mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Price.

$62. That is it. Half the price of some of the other less expensive light meters above.

So buy it right? This is where my impatience mentioned above worked against me. At the moment I decided I wanted to buy one these light meters were either out of stock at the online retailers I usually use (here and here). Instead of doing the rational thing and waiting for it to be in stock I went and bought it from a TTArtisans myshopify website. Shipped from China. No big deal. What could happen? Welp.

Box looked great.

Sony ZV-1

Took it out and it looked great. All metal build including the bottom assembly even on the bottom where most are plastic.

Sony ZV-1

Put in a battery and we are good to… wait a minute.

TTArtisan Lights misaligned out of the box. - Sony ZV-1
TTArtisan Lights misaligned out of the box. - Sony ZV-1

Center and plus misaligned and minus did not light up at all… Buzzkill.

Was not looking forward to the prospect of executing an exchange from a store in China, but I was sure they will do right by me.

Let the emailing and store chats begin! Sent then an email with the pictures above… By chat they asked for a video. Ok. So I made a video.

Then another day or so passes and nothing. No big. Might be a time zone or scrappy small company with a small staff thing. I message them again. I was updated that they forwarded the video to engineering and they would check with them for an update. Was privy to a little inside company email action while I was at it. Fine. Wait another day or so and I am…

  • Starting to regret not waiting for this to be in stock at a retailer that would have likely already sent a replacement by this point.
  • Greatly fighting the urge to take it all apart and attempt a fix myself.
  • Also concerned that I will void my warranty by doing so.

So I email and chat message them again. I must say all exchanges were quite polite and showed concern even if it fell short of the immediate exchange I had expected. And then it happened. A chat message to check my email for instructions… Instructions? While some may have been bothered to be expected to fix their own lightmeter I was quite pleased. Clearance to take it apart myself? Yes, please. A bit of nerdery and no exchange with China means a faster remedy. Instructions consisted of marked up pics.

1. TTArtisans Provided Light Meter Repair Instructions
2. TTArtisans Provided Light Meter Repair Instructions
3. TTArtisans Provided Light Meter Repair Instructions
4. TTArtisans Provided Light Meter Repair Instructions
5. TTArtisans Provided Light Meter Repair Instructions
6. TTArtisans Provided Light Meter Repair Instructions

Result? Success… …with caveats.

  • Not mentioned above in step 3 once you loosen that particular screw a very tiny clear plastic or glass screen will come completely loose. Dropped it on a white carpet. Most of my repair time was spent searching for it with an LED light.
  • With no instructions on how to reassemble this little clear window it took a bit of trial and error to work out that it goes between the sensor and the internal cover and not between the internal cover and the external housing… I hope.
  • Back button fell into the case and it took a few beats to work out what it was. That is all. Sorted that out quick enough though.
  • Once disassembled the issue was very apparent. The “frame” for lack of a better descriptor in step 5 above had rotated. Spun it back, tightened down the screw, and we were good to go.
  • That is about it.

Success!

So now that we are back in business is it any good? Yes.

Tested it out comparing it to a rock-solid Sekonic meter and this little dealie is dead accurate.

Not much more to say. Ok, a little more.

  • Great build quality. Seriously. All metal build feels 100% quality.
  • Looks great. Every bit as good looking as the much more expensive Voigtlander and better looking than most others in my opinion.
Sony ZV-1
  • $62.

So what next? More on that once I fully sort the camera I intend to pair with it. WIll wrap it up here for now.

Even with this less than optimal experience I would still highly recommend this light meter.

Sony ZV-1

-ELW

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