The Masters

The Weston Master family of exposure meters is, perhaps, the most famous and iconic range of light meters produced. The later versions - from the British Master IV through to the Euromaster II - are still in use by photography professionals and enthusiasts to this day. Indeed it is still possible to get the these meters serviced and the cells replaced. They are easily differentiated from the earlier black bakelite Masters by their distinctive brushed aluminium top casing.

Weston abandoned their design forays into the earlier Art Deco horizontal profile meters - such as the model 650, and there are no simplified Direct Reading (DR) versions in the Master family. They returned to the vertical hand held arrangement of the Type 2 version of the very first model 617. of 1933. This proven configuration, with the meter face sitting directly above the calculator dial obviously proved the most popular, and endures in many designs of meter made by other manufacturers. 

Interestingly, the original model - the Master Universal - was substantially larger and heavier than the model 617/2. This may have been necessitated by the arrangement of the baffle, which was hinged to lock over the cell for the high illumination range, or swung back to lock flush against the meter body when using the low range. The baffle was also linked to the meter scale, which rotated to the lower brightness scale when the baffle was swung out. An invercone attachment fitted over the cell with the baffle swung back, to provide incident light measurements. This was was the preferred method of obtaining the correct exposure for colour transparency film that became generally available post-war.

The Masters were also the first (and only) family of Weston exposure meters to be made in the United Kingdom. Up until 1951 the Enfield factory had only been producing general instrumentation and luminance meters. British Masters differed from the American ones in their meter face designs and back plate legends. They carry a model number prefixed by an 'S' (for Sangamo). The American Weston factory ceased manufacture of light meters in 1973. Weston Masters continued to be made and sold world-wide (including back to America) by Sangamo in the UK until 1980. The cheaper Master VI was made briefly in Japan and legacy manufacturing of the Euromaster continued in the UK until 2010. The last model was the Euromaster II made by Megatron.

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USA / UK

1939/1951*

The first model of exposure meter to be produced in the UK from 1951*. Hinged baffle to give two ranges and values rotate on meter face. Larger and heavier than the model 617 type 2, the vertical arrangement of meter and dial proved popular world-wide. Invercone available for incident light measurement. (* This is according to Lester Pfeffer's list. An advertisement in Amateur Photographer indicates 1948 or earlier)

Weston Master Cine Exposure Meter Model 720

USA / UK

1939/ 1951

The Weston Master Cine meters have a dial assembly adapted for use with cine cameras of the time. The shutter speed markings are replaced with frames per second and type A / B denotes different angular settings of a rotating shutter. They use a simplified 'Relative Brightness' scale.

USA

1941

The last of four models of Weston exposure meter made dedicated to the Leica 35mm camera, and the only one in the 'Master' family. It operates in the same manner as the others save that the film speeds are in Weston ratings and there are two reference pointers for the different baffle positions. Very rare.

Weston Master II Universal Exposure Meter Model 735 / S141

USA / UK

1945 /1952

Though retaining the meter face and dial arrangement of the original 'Universal', the post-war model was significantly more compact and metal, rather than bakelite cased. Made in Britain from 1952. USA model also made in dark grey finish. Styling is more rounded than in the earlier model.

Weston Master II Cine Exposure MeterModel 736 / S141 

USA / UK

1946 /1954

This model of cine exposure meter is derived from the Master II Universal 735. Rounded compact shape, steel cased and available in dark matt grey as well as glossy black. Dial legend variations. Continuing to use the Relative Brightness scale.

Weston Master III Universal Exposure Meter Model 737 / S141.3

USA / UK

1956

Essentially the same physical model as the Master II but calibrated for the A.S.A. film speed ratings system. Also includes dial settings for Exposure Values (EV). American model has striking brushed steel finish. UK model is gloss black with white meter face - redressed dial face. Also rare red dial variant. 

Weston Master III Cine Exposure Meter Model S217.3

UK

1957

The last 'Master' to be made specifically for Cine use, and only in the UK. Derived from the model III universal. As with other Cine variants, the scale reads in units of relative brightness and the dial incorporates frames per second in place of shutter speeds.

UK

1960

Made in UK only, this major modern compact redesign is squared off at the top. An aluminium top shell is mounted on a black plastic chassis. Has the black meter face and US model number designation instead of S'. Has a needle lock making incident light reading easier. Invercone available. Inward facing pointer.

UK

1963

Same shell as Master IV, but has silver/white meter face. Dial retains inwards pointer but in more intuitive layout. Intermediate shutter speeds and f numbers are restored. Meter needle lock is push button rather than slider. Has D.I.N. film speed ratings in addition to A.S.A. Aluminium and light grey casing.

Weston Master 6 Universal Exposure Meter Model 560

Japan

1972

Budget model made under licence in Japan. Uses the foot candle scale. ASA and EV ratings. Does not have intermediate f numbers and shutter speeds printed. Knurled wheel central dial setting for ASA. Needle lock. Push button film speed release. Baffle slides back - not hinged. Plastic lenticular cell element.

Weston Euro-Master Exposure Meter Model S461.6

UK

1973

Last Model of Master made by Weston. Apart from the dial, identical to the Weston V. Dial is simplified and reverts back to the anchor shutter speeds and f numbers. Supports DIN and ASA speed ratings and EV system. Uses the linear relative brightness values as in the Weston V.

Euro-Master Exposure Meter (East Kilbride)

UK

1980

By 1980 Weston had ceased manufacture exposure meters in Britain. Tooling was transferred to East Kilbride who continued to make the Euromaster for 4 years. The model is identical to the original but does not include the name 'Weston'.

Euro-Master II Exposure Meter (Megatron) 

UK

1985

Last 'Master' made by legacy manufacturer Megatron. The name 'Weston; does not appear on it. Virtually identical to the Weston Euromaster but meter mechanism has been entirely re-engineered by Megatron. No red legends on meter range or dial.

USA

1941

This rare special issue of the classic model 715 was cased in transparent perspex. As with the transparent model 650 this may be a special presentation issue but there is no identifying serial number which would indicate the occasion it was made for, to whom it may have been presented or how many were made.

Weston Master Model 715 Bolexmeter

USA

1941

The model 715 Bolexmeter was a Variant of the Weston Cine meter designed specifically for the popular Bolex 16mm professional range of cine cameras. Available only to request order, it is very rare. Framing rates specific to the Bolex appear on the calculator dial. Marked up on back for the American Bolex Co. Inc.

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