The Konica Minolta VF is an affordable flash light meter at $100-$150. Taking auto flash readings is the key feature. Earlier meters need PC sync cables, which is nice to avoid.
Konica Minolta exited the camera business in 2006. At that time, Kenko took over manufacturing the meters.
The meter is still being sold as the Kenko KFM-1100. Accessories and replacement diffusion domes are also still being produced.
Used Prices and Where to Buy
Minolta and Kenko versions of the light meter are widely available.
A used Minolta meter should be the lowest priced option, followed by a used Kenko version, and finally a new Kenko version.
I don't think buying a new copy of the KFM-1100 would be a good idea. For that kind of money, I think a Sekonic L-478D would be a better option.
The Sekonic has significantly more features for a comparable price.
ISO & Shutter Speed - Bad For Video
The most important part of the light meter is the ISO and shutter speed settings. Non-existant settings make the meter undesirable for some types of video work.
There is a large ISO range that covers all of the native ISOs (50, 64, 100, 200) you'll see in digital cameras. The maximum ISO settings is 8000. It also goes down to 3, which might be useful for ND filters.
ISO: 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 25, 32, 40, 50, 64, 80, 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200, 4000, 5000, 6400, 8000
The meter is able to take ambient light readings. Not having 1/25 or 1/50 shutter speeds makes the meter undesirable for 24fps video.
Shutter speeds range from 1s to 1/500 of second in whole stop jumps. The range is fine for flash photography. Flash duration is shorter than a camera's maximum flash sync speed. I set the meter to 1/250 shutter speed for my cameras with maximum sync speeds of 1/160 and 1/200.
Shutter Speeds: 1s, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500
- Ambient mode takes a reading of the available light. Useful for natural and continuous light.
- Non-Cord mode takes a reading when the meter detects a flash has fired.
- Cord mode takes a reading when the meter is triggered through a PC sync cable or 2.5mm jack.
Build Quality & Physical Characteristics
The shell is made of plastic with a rubber strip along the side and bottom. An LCD screen with no backlight displays information.
With an AA battery, the meter weighs 158g (5.5oz). The soft storage case weighs 52g (1.8oz).
A PC sync port is on the front of the meter near the bottom. On the side, there is a rubber plug that covers a 2.5mm jack.
The head can rotate 270 degrees. The white diffusion dome can be removed so reflective light metering can be done. There are also different attachments that can be used.
A single AA battery powers the meter. It will work with a rechargeable Ni-MH battery.
The battery life is great. I have no idea how long a battery will last. I have used mine for months without issue.
A single value can be stored in the meter's memory. The stored value will show up as a mark above the aperture index at the top of the screen.
The value can also be recalled. When the meter is turned off, the memory is cleared.
This feature may be useful for calculating lighting ratios. I don't use the memory function. If you need a memory feature, a newer meter that will do the calculations for you is a better choice.
Case - There is a belt loop on the back. A small pocket is in the inside flap. It is made from nylon and vinyl.
- Replacement Spherical Diffuser KFM-300 ($21)
- Minolta/Kenko 5 degree viewfinder KFM-100 ($50-$120)
- Kenko KFM-200 Flat Diffuser ($40)
The Kenko product numbers were given as they are readily available. You might be able to find original Konica Minolta parts when you search.
The Konica Minolta Auto Meter VF is good for flash photography. They hold their value, so they can easily be sold if you decide to upgrade.
Not having 1/25 or 1/50 shutter speeds make it a bad choice for video. It also isn't going to be good for ambient light photography.
For landscapes, a spot meter, like the Minolta Spotmeter F, is going to be better. For other types of photography, the camera's meter should be better than having to carry around another piece of gear.
- Minolta Auto Meter IVF
- Minolta Flash Meter VI
- Sekonic L-478D
- Sekonic L-358