Early Years

Edward Weston founded the company in 1888 and started manufacturing general instrumentation in Newark, New Jersey. A British factory was opened in Enfileld a year later. But it wasn't until 1932 that the first purpose-designed camera exposure meter was made. 

Essentially there is no mechanical difference between a basic luminance meter and a camera exposure meter. The luminance (or Lux) meter will give a reading in foot-candles. The camera exposure meter provides a reading in Candles per Square Foot, then allows the user to translate it into a combination of aperture (f number) and shutter speed settings for a photographic plate or film of a known sensitivity.

There was, at the time, little standardisation internationally of photographic emulsion speeds - the measure of a photographic material's reaction to light. Weston used their own standard - Weston Speed - on their meters, which became internationally accepted as the meters themselves achieved worldwide popularity. It was also used by other meter manufacturers and specified by photographic plate and film manufacturers. Later Weston Meters used the international ASA (American Standards Association) standard which, along with the European D.I.N. system, became the world standards. It is a measure of the robustness of the Weston Speed ratings in that it differs from the ASA scale by just a single value.

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USA

1932

Very first model of Weston meter designed specifically for the calculation of camera exposure. Reads Light Values (Candles / SqFt). Twin cells and a push switch to give single or double cell use - two ranges. Reflected light use only

Weston Photronic Cells Model 594 Types 1, 2 & 3

USA

1933

The 594 Photronic cell is the basic building block of all Weston meters. These bakelite housed units were sold for experimental, systems designs and industrial applications. They were made in three types from 1933 to 1936.

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Weston Cine Exposure Meter Model 627 / 1 (Loupe)

USA

1933

The first Weston meter designed just for cine camera use. In the form of a large loupe with a metal cover. For 16 frames per second shooting rate, the meter is marked up directly in f stops. A metal table round the side  lists adjustments for different film stock.

USA

1933

The first model of exposure meter dedicated to the Leica 35mm Camera. The needle indicates shutter speeds for an aperture of f6.3 across 2 scales for super pan and ortho films. A metal table on the side gives adjustments for different film speeds and desired apertures.

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Weston Photronic Exposure Meter Model 617 / 2

USA

1934

The second version of the original twin cell meter. It uses the same dial and the meter displays in foot candles. This compact design for single handed use endured throughout the production life of the Weston meter series. Instructions on back.

Weston Cine Exposure Meter Model 627 / 2 (loupe)

USA

1934

Almost identical to the first model. A different legend on the meter face indicates that it is type 2. The meter f stop scale extends one stop to f40 (f45). The film reference table round the side may have been updated. Versions of the 627 were also made for the Leica 35mm and Filmo Cine cameras.

USA

1934

A Photronic Model 617 type 2 designed specifically for use with the early screw thread Leica 35mm cameras with non-linear calibrated focal plane shutters. Shutter speeds are marked up directly on the meter face for 23 deg. Scheiner and f6.3. The dial adjusts for other values. 

USA

1935

Classic horizontally configured hand held meter of alternative design to the model 617. Still measuring foot candles, this model features a memorable Art Deco fan moulding in the Bakelite, displaying the 'Weston' name. Scribing panel on back.

USA

1937

A variation on the classic model 650, this version specifiucally designed for cine camera use. The first model of Weston to have the meter readings marked up in 'Relative Brightness' - a simple linear numerical scale easily used on the calculator dial.

USA

1938

A close adaptation of the universal model 650. For the Leica 35mm rangefinder camera, the meter reads off shutter speeds directly, for 23 Scheiner film speed and f6.3 aperture. The dial is used to correct for other film speeds and apertures. Uses the German Scheiner film speed ratings system in place of Weston speeds.

Weston Photoronic Exposure Meter Model 650 (Transparent)

USA

1938

This perspex housed model 650 is likely to be one of a very few made as special gifts for the Weston Company's management in 1938 on their 50th anniversary. the Serial no: W-2000-W.N.G. suggests it belonged to William Nelson Goodwin, Head of Meter Engineering. (information courtesy of Simon A Spaans).

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Weston Model 628 Studio Exposure Meter (617 cell)

USA

1935

A rare Studio configured photographic exposure meter which combines the three range model 603 luminance meter with the model 617 twin cell exposure meter. There is no meter built into the 617 cell unit and two calculator dials are present: one for low level lighting and one for higher range. 

Weston Model 628 Studio Exposure Meter (650 cell)

USA

1938

The second issue of the model 628 Studio exposure meter, this time using the newer 650 Universal Photronic single cell meter as the mobile capture unit. As with the former version, two calculator dials are present for high & low ranges, one of which replaces the meter face.

Weston Filmo Cine Exposure Meter Model 627 (Loupe)

USA

1934

This was a special issue of the model 627 loupe cine meter designed for use specifically with the popular Bell & Howell Filmo cine camera. Only available to order, relatively few were made and it is subsequently very rare.

Weston Filmo Cine Exposure Meter Model 650

USA

1937

This was a special issue of the model 650 photronic meter, designed for use specifically with the popular Bell & Howell Filmo cine camera. Instead of a luminance scale, the meter face is marked up in f numbers. Relatively few were made so it is very rare.

FILMO 650 INSTRUCTION BOOK