Review: Doomo Meter D Brass & Reflx Lab 800
The year is 2022 and competition is fierce in the light meter arena so makers need to distinguish themselves such as the Doomo Meter D Brass & Reflx Lab 800. The peeps over at Doomo Made have been busy bees and now offer a brass version of the analogue-aesthetique Meter D with customizable engraving as well as releasing a tungsten 35mm color negative film. The news made me go from 6 to midnight. How does the Doomo fare against a sea of other similarly-priced offerings? Does it have the light moves?
Doomo Meter D Brass
For years, the go-to option for meter-challenged Leicas was the Voigtlander VCII and it gained a loyal following for its old-school looks with actual dials. However, its price point, limitations such as battery compartment weakness and fixed hot shoe mount position, opened the door for competition from the likes of TTArtisan and the Doomo D. All are essentially cheaper copies of the VCII with claimed improved details. What differs with the Doomo D?
- Material: Brass
- Dimensions: 3.5cm x 4cm x 2.2cm (including mount)
- Weight: 76g
- Metering angle: about 30° average
- Cold shoe position: left, center, right
- ISO Range：25 – 6400
- Aperture range: f1.0 – 22
- Shutter Speed Range: 1 sec – 1/2000th sec.
- Battery: 1x CR1632
In the Box
First off, as the name implies, the Doomo Meter D Brass is made of brass. While brass is awesome for that patina you get with use, the penalty is weight. At 76g it makes it almost double the 39g of the VCII. Speaking of brassing, the meter comes with an OPI nail filer in case you want to channel your inner Lenny Kravitz and need to artificially distress your light meter.
It also comes with a set of handy tools, extra screws and even cushion stickers for the gap between meter and camera. It’s a welcome touch, though I don’t know why provide a tiny little flat head screwdriver when the mount screws are Philips. I mean it works but not ideal, just seems like a little missed detail.
Vs. the Voightlander VCII
Another big draw for the Doomo Meter D Brass is the customizable engraving. We had ours done with the “JCH” letter logo and the engraving is clean and crisp. You can clearly see the shutter button on the “H” even at such a small size.
While the Doomo D is much heavier, it is slightly narrower and taller than the VCII. The diameter of the dials too are 1mm less but 1mm thicker. Personally, I prefer the Doomo’s thicker dials and feels more satisfyingly solid. The brass circular button on the back is also more satisfying than the orange plastic square of the Voightlander. The aperture dial moves smoothly on the Doomo but like the Voightlander does not have clicks like the shutter speed dial. Why? I really don’t know. I feel that would really help with the awkward ISO changing slippage that persists on both.
The “- +” light indicators is indeed more intuitive and easier to read for most people than the triangles of the VCII. However, the triangles keeps with the Leica motif so it makes more sense on Leicas. Personally, I’m just used to the triangles and I prefer the symmetry.
An understated update from the regular Meter D is the new lens tube design, which is supposedly more accurate under extreme lighting conditions. The lens on the Voightlander is much more recessed so it makes it a bit more difficult to clean so I welcome the shallower lens depth of the Doomo.
Another nice little detail is the shrapnel shoe mount adapter. It is great to prevent slipping on a variety of different cameras as hot/cold shoe mounts come in varying depths.
It does look pretty sweet on a Rolleiflex SL66 doesn’t it? Not too shabby on a Nikon SP either.
Reflx Lab 800
Alright, what better way to test the meter than with their new film, Reflx Lab 800. Made from fresh 5219 motion picture film and the rem-jet layer removed, this tungsten balanced film has that distinctive halation effect like Cinestill 800T.
Inside the box, you will find an aluminum canister with not only the film but some interesting extras inside.
The custom embossed canister is aluminum so it can be reused or recycled. You’ll even find a ring to attach to the film canister once you’ve used it to have a little keychain accessory. Nice touch!
What’s baffling to me is the inclusion of the ISO 800 DX code sticker for automatic cameras that can’t set the ISO. I don’t know if I’m missing something here but the canister is already set to 800!
Reflx Lab 800 Sample Images
Alright, let’s put the film and meter to work. I popped a Konica Hexanon 28mm f2.8 onto my M6, pounded some coffee and hit the streets. Yeah an M6 doesn’t need a meter but I wanted to see how the Doomo Meter D brass compares to the Leica’s meter. The following samples were shot at box speed, developed with fresh Cinestill CS41 and then scanned on a Plustek Opticfilm 8200i.
Doomo Meter D Brass & Reflx Lab 800 Final Thoughts
Doomo Meter D Brass
Besides some of the baffling choices mentioned earlier, I appreciate Doomo’s attempt to differentiate themselves from the competition with some thoughtful touches. The engraving is a nice idea and of good quality, the brassing patina is something to look forward to, and the shrapnel shoe mount makes it versatile to use with many cameras. I really wish there were clicks on the aperture dial however.
In terms of accuracy, it mostly matched the meter reading from my M6. There were situations with side light however, when compared with the Voigtlander VCII, that the Doomo Meter D would underexpose by half a stop. It is not tweakable unfortunately so it is just something to bear in mind.
For the price point, Doomo makes a compelling statement. If you’re not a weight weenie, the brass feels solid and luxurious and the details in the mount make it a great companion for other classics like my Rolleiflex SL66 or Hassy 501cm. I do wish it had a rechargeable battery however, as opposed to the semi-obscure CR1632. That and tweakability in the sensitivity and it would be perfect.
Reflx Lab 800
We will be getting some more rolls to try out pushing/pulling and x-pro so a more in-depth review will be coming soon. But from this initial roll, it appears to basically be Cinestill 800T, but the shadows seem a little more purple, especially in lower light for some reason. Not sure why since both films are essentially Kodak Vision 3 5219 500T with the rem-jet removed. I like the little details like the canister and keychain, making some use of the canisters instead of just becoming trash. And it’s cheaper than Cinestill so if you don’t mind buying the drug store generic version of medication then Reflx Lab 800 is for you.
They are on sale now and can be purchased here. What was your experience like with the Doomo Meter D Brass versus the competition? Would you shoot Reflx Lab or stick to Cinestill? As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.