dante stella stories photographs technical guestbook

Someone at Bogen is laughing.
Gossen Digisix

The Gossen Digisix had a lot of promise. Imagine a tiny, lightweight meter that runs on a flat 2032 lithium cell, measures exposure and temperature, times your long exposures, and even has an alarm clock. All you would have to give up is ultra low-light applications. Best of all, it can fit in a camera's accessory shoe with the "optional adapter."

In practice, it's a little bit underwhelming. The Digisix does three things well: being cheap, light and metering an exposure when you press the button. That's it. It has some other issues which would not be apparent from merely perusing the specs in a catalog, but are immediately apparent in practice.

— Sometimes you get a different reading the first time you press the button than subsequent times. I wasn't aware that SBC cells jumped around in conductivity like CdS ones, but I think that's what's happening.

— This is nowhere nearly as nicely made as a Luna-Pro. Granted, 1960s Luna-Pros were very nice units; the modern ones are okay, but the Digisix isn't even close. It feels cheap, and mine was delivered with a sliver of plastic in the EV window. That sliver floates as you change the dial.

— All of the "extras" tend to get in the way. Every time you want to meter it seems that the unit has switched into countdown timer, or alarm clock, or temperature. This is most likely the result of having two buttons (which feel exacly alike) govern the functions of taking a reading and changing the mode. Or, as Olga is fond of asking, "what is that beeping?"

— It is very cumbersome to set the film speed on this unit. You have to cycle through all film speeds from 6 to 3200. This is a far cry from the instant changes you can make on a Luna-Pro.

— The maximum shutter speed shown is 1/2000 sec. Come on, Gossen, let's get into at least the 20th century. It has been 20 years since the first camera with a 1/4000 speed came out; the Luna-Pro has had this speed since the 1960s.

— Power consumption is not "extremely low" as the manual states. My Digisix (manual date January 6, 2002) was delivered in October 2002 with a 2032 battery. After very light use, the battery warning was coming on by November. Either the power consumption is high or the battery was bad, but this is unwelcome either way. These same batteries last years in other applications.

— It does not appear that anyone carries the hot shoe adapter (the only reason I bought this item). B&H will sell you a Bogen 3298 tripod adapter, but this sits the meter too far back on the camera, poking you in the forehead when you try to take a picture. The same adapter allows the meter to slide off the shoe easily and to rotate. Gee, it would be nice if this accessory were available...

Go back to the drawing board. If I were making this meter again, I would probably

— Fix the above-mentioned problems.

— Eliminate the alarm clock, thermometer and timer functions. This has nothing to do with metering and makes what could be an easy system too complicated and error-prone.

— Make the readout direct, not an exercise in reading and then matching EV scales, with the master control ring shifting between aperture/shutter pairings.