Many older subminis used selenium photocells in their meters. These are very rugged, do not need a battery, and can last for decades. Unfortunately, if the camera is not put back in the case when not in use, the cell will deteriorate in a much shorter period of time. If this happens you'll need to replace the cell. The good news is that selenium replacement parts are still being made. One company is Megatron. The cost of a custom made cell with leads would be in the neighborhood of $30 US for a one piece order.
For more information, visit their website at: http://www.megatron.co.uk/page.html.
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