The beautifully minimal DOOMO meter

6 minutes read

A newly released hot-shoe mounted light meter with a familiar design. How does it compare to its older cousin?


A familiar form and function

A Mockup magazing ad for the Doomo Meter

Perhaps that is what a magazine ad would look like if we were transported back to the 1970s. This is a newly released shoe mounted light meter from DOOMO that I got from ebay about a year ago and it's time for a review!

Disclaimer - I purchased this meter myself and I am in no way sponsored by DOOMO

Metering is something that I have struggled with throughout my time with film photography so far. My earlier attempts relied solely on the camera's in-built meter. But, at the sacrifice of a few rolls of holiday shots I found out quickly that these can vary wildly in accuracy, possibly due to age, calibration issues etc - the worst example being my Pentax MX that consistently underexposes which is rarely a good thing when it comes to shooting film.

This meter stood out not least because of its price tag - which was only 80 pounds at the time of purchase, but because it had a striking resemblance to a meter that I already had in my posession. The Voigtlander VC lightmeter which is a near identical hot shoe mounted reflective light meter.

A photo of The DOOMO Meter
A well machined, rounded shape with grat fitting dials
A photo of the DOOMO Meter and the Voigtlander VC Meter
The resemblance of the DOOMO Meter D to the voigtlander is undeniable

So, with two almost identical light meters, what are the similarities and differences between them? I will talk about this later in the article but first, let's take a closer look at the DOOMO meter-D


What do you get inside?

The DOOMO Meter comes in a lovely matte black box with their Logo embossed on the front, a small detail that helps push the feeling of quality, an often overlooked experience in my opinion. Opening the box you have a perfectly fitted foam surround that keeps the meter nice and snug on transit.

Under this you find a small silicone bag with some spare screws, a little stick-on rubber spacer which prevents scratching your camera (a nice touch), a composite hotshoe as a spare or one that won't risk scratching your hot shoe mount and a mini flathead screwdriver to aid with removing the very flush fitting battery cover.

The DOOMO Meter on top of its box
The box contents
The spares and accessories bag
The underside of the DOOMO meter
The hot shoe can be moved depending on where the controls are on your camera

It's worth noting here that the battery that the DOOMO Meter needs is unfortunately not the classic LR44, but the CR1632 which will no doubt be harder to find in a highstreet store but they are easily found online. Fortunately you're unlikely to go through many batteries with a battery life of between 6 months to a year depending on your use.


How does it look?

So, the battery is fitted, how does it look and feel on different cameras? It's worth noting here that the DOOMO meter also comes in silver if you wanted a perfect colour match with your camera.

The DOOMO Meter mounted on a Canon-P
Fitted to a Canon-P
The DOOMO Meter mounted on a Olympus OM1
Fitted on an Olympus OM1
The DOOMO Meter mounted on a Bronica ETRS
Fitted to a Bronica ETRS speed grip

Subjective opinion here, I think the meter looks great! Its nice large round dials compliments the round dials of the exposure dial and film advance on the SLR and Canon very well, its slim profile also makes it feel unobtrusive when mounted and also meant that it is less likely to get caught on your clothing.

The mount itself was a snug fit, not too tight but not loose on these particular examples so you feel confident that even with the camera swinging by your side or around your neck, you were unlikely to hear it bouncing off the pavement.

In use

What's is like to use?

Using the meter couldn't be simpler. The operation is identical to it's older Voigtlander cousin, you simply set the inner dial of the aperture adjustment to your film's ASA - anywhere from 25 to 6400, push the little button on the back of the meter to turn it on, and it will constantly meter the scene for you for 10 seconds before automatically switching itself off.

Three indicators on the top of the meter light up depending on if your current settings will cause an over, good or under exposure. All you need to do is adjust the exposure or aperture dials until you reach a good exposure and then match these settings on your camera. The aperture range is from f1 - f22 and the exposure range goes from 1s - 1/2000s.

And finally, the DOOMO meter has an angle of view of about 30 degrees which on 35mm film is like using a 65mm lens. This is good news as it ensures you can point it at a specific area of highlight or shadow and get an accurate reading.

The DOOMO Meter taking a meter reading
A simple touch of a button will active the light meter

In use I find the indicator LED's are easily visible even in bright light. The dials themselves have a nice click and resistance to them, I didn't find that even after an afternoon of use, the dials had moved away from their last-used settings.


How accurate is it?

How a meter looks is secondary to how well it meters. How does the meter compare to other options available? It's worth bearing in mind here that unfortunately you cannot calibrate the meter yourself so we're hoping it's well calibrated from the factory, otherwise, manually setting the ISO dial to adjust for any inaccuracies is the best way forward.

In this test I compared it to a number of other meters that one might already own, a Digital camera, a phone app, a handheld minolta meter and also its older cousin, the Voigtlander meter.

The DOOMO Meter and other meters

Pointing all metering devices at the same light source, dialling the same settings of 400 iso or equivalent and metering for f4 aperture in each and using what was as close to a reading from the same area as possible I had the following results.

Meter Light Shadow
DOOMO Meter D 1/1000 1/60
Voightlander VC 1/1000 1/60
Sony A7 1/1500 1/125
Phone Meter App 1/1000 1/60
Minolta Auto Meter III 1/500 1/60

So we can see from the above results that the DOOMO meter tends to read somewhere between the Minolta Auto Meter III's measurement and the Sony A7's measurement. Which from experience means results in a slight overexposure which for colour negative and black and white is rarely a bad thing. For slide film on the other hand this may cause issues with blowing out highlights but I have not tested this myself.

But I can confidently say that in use, so far, the DOOMO meter has never produced an unusable shot through underexposure at least.

Final words

An economical and attractive light meter

Let's go back to the beginning, the DOOMO meter at the time of purchase was only 90 pounds. The closest physical equivalent is the Voigtlander VC or VC II which cost around 130 - 200 pounds depending on condition and location on the used market. From that standpoint, the DOOMO can safely be considered as a no-brainer.

From a general usability point of view, there's very little to fault, the dials all feel reliably secure, the overall build quality is excellent, the only exception is the shoe mount occasionally comes a bit loose in my case, likely from vibration from day-to-day use or it could be a sample variation issue, but this is quickly fixed using the screwdriver that came with the meter.

One thing that must be mentioned about the general feel is that it's weight and general slight 'Chunky-ness' over its Voigtlander equivalent make it feel more robust and capable of taking a knock or two - with its main strength being cost, means that even it does, it won't break the bank to replace it.

Overall, this meter exceeded my expectations and is now finding its way on most of my photowalks mounted comfortably on top of whichever camera I am using. The photos taken with it so far have been exposed perfectly and so perhaps at last I can finally stop worrying about this key attribute of my film photography.