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Light Meters.... Recommendations


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#1 Art

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 11:44 PM

Hi Everyone,

 

In the Photography Class I am taking, we have been playing with Light Meters.  My limited experience with them so far has shown them to be an excellent tool to have in the Photography grab-bag.

 

If you have experience with Light Meters, can you recommend a reasonably priced one?

 

Any pros or cons to using them?

 

Thanks

 

I have been looking at this particular model:

 

Sekonic Corporation 401-478 LITEMASTER PRO L-478D Photographic Light Meter


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#2 Islander

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 12:51 AM

Are you referring to a flash meter?

I have a Polaris.

http://www.photograp...93_3115crx.aspx

 

Easy to use.


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#3 Dennis

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:18 AM

I'm on my phone, so I will have to add later a more complete response. There are a few thing to consider. I have one, older sekonic, I for get the number. I carried it with me when I used it with my FM2 with slide film. It weather proof. I also used it for studio and landscapes. Mow, some will even trigger picket wizards. Figure all the uses. One for the studio will not be so hot outside.

One thing, after the bells and whistles, they all do it the same way. Understand that part, and it won't matter what you get, as you will be able to use it for everything. Bells and whistles help specific things. The more they have, the more complicated it will be.
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Thanks, Dennis.

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#4 Black Pearl

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 06:13 AM

I've used pretty much every variation of this meter over the years (its up to an S model now) and it has always proven reliable, easy to use and its very reasonably priced.

 

http://www.sekonic.c...s/overview.aspx

 

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#5 Ron W

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 09:30 AM

Art, I have and use a Sekonic L-758DR. It is a great tool when doing long exposure imaging. I highly recommend it.


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 09:47 AM

I have an older Sekonic 358. It works great. Make sure which ever one you get it will trigger remotely.
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#7 Art

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 12:49 PM

Gordon,

 

Thanks for the tip, greatly appreciated.  Locally, everyone uses Sekonic. I tried researching Polaris with the LCS and no one stocks it. For any service issues or support, I think I will focus on Sekonic.  Every LCS I checked carries these.

 

Ron,

 

The 758DR is about $300 more that what I want to spend, although the feature set is a nice one.

 

Robin,

 

The 308 is about $30 cheaper, so I think I will decide on either the 478 or the 478DR.

 

Dennis and Charles, I have to research the DR version for remote trigger.  It says it is compatible with Pocket Wizard.  Will this trigger a Nikon SB-910?


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#8 james23p

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:05 PM

I also have the older Sekonic 308BII model very reliable and easy to use and the price is also easy to deal with.


Jim
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#9 james23p

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:31 PM

Art here the 308 is around $110 cheaper than the 478. But the 478 looks a lot more detailed the 308 is fairly basic.

Jim
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Nikon P900 Nikon P330

F100 w MB-15, N80, FM3a, FE2(Black and Silver) and EM.

Nikkor 24-85G ED AF-S VR, 70-300G ED AF-S VR, 28-105 3.5-4.5 AF-D, 50 1.8 AF-D

Nikon Series E lens, 28mm, 100mm, 135mm, 75-150mm, 70-210 f4.

MF Nikkor's 50 f2 Ai, 500 f4 ED Ai-P.

 

MF Rokinon 14mm f2.8 ED AE UMC(Ai-P)

MF Rokinon 85mm f1.4 ASP AE UMC(Ai-P)

 



Pro Manfrotto 055XV with Markins M10 ,Sirui P-326 6-Section Carbon Fiber Monopod with Markins Q3 Emille, Manfrotto Compact MKC3-H01M with Combo Head, 3Pod PTT1H Table Top Tripod with Giottos MH1304 Ballhead.


#10 Gary Poole

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:33 PM

I have a Sekonic L-358.  It does incident ambient and flash metering with the standard hemispherical lens.  Optional interchangeable lenses for reflective and spot metering are also available, but when using modern cameras I don't see any need for using a meter for reflective or spot metering.

 

The L-358 can auto trigger when a flash fires.  So if you are using Nikon CLS it will get fooled by the preflash, although there are ways around it.  (CLS preflash will be a problem for almost any flash meter.)  For normal studio strobes there is no problem.  The L-358 will allow you to add together the exposure from multiple individual flashes.  The L-358 has a PC connector and allows adding an optional Pocket Wizard trigger to fire remote flashes from the meter when setting up strobes in the studio.

 

I don't know how the L-358 compares with other meters.  Within the Sekonic line the capabilities increase as the model number goes up.  I have no knowledge to make comparisons with other brands.

 

The L-358 is powered by a rectangular 9 volt type 123 3 volt battery.  Mine has run on the same battery since I bought it in 2007, although it only gets occasional use.  There is an automatic shutoff time out, so you can't inadvertently leave it on for long periods of time.

 

I bought my Sekonic L-358 used on eBay in 2007.  Apparently they are no longer made, but still available on eBay.  The metering lenses and remote trigger plugins appear to be common with other current Sekonic models and are still available through B&H and other on line sources.


Edited by Gary Poole, 30 January 2016 - 01:49 PM.

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#11 Art

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 02:26 PM

Tried finding the 358 on BH, no longer available.

That's OK, I think it might be more prudent to get a current version of one. No surprise, on eBay and Craig's List too! Couple of hundred locally.

Here is what I found out...

In order to trigger lights like in a studio, you need a pocket wizard. The 478DR will trigger remote lights only with that. They cut a deal with pocket wizard, won't work with other triggers. Everyone here seems to use Pocket Wizards. Don't need any now, but a thought for the future. I am on my phone, can't remember the cheapo triggers I purchased, but they are out, I guess. Unless I can use one to trigger my flashes off camera. I have more triggers than flashes! That would work nicely for now.

I may drop the extra $100 so I have the capability.

It all seems like a money pit!!
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#12 Gary Poole

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 03:06 PM

,,,
Here is what I found out...

In order to trigger lights like in a studio, you need a pocket wizard. The 478DR will trigger remote lights only with that. They cut a deal with pocket wizard, won't work with other triggers. Everyone here seems to use Pocket Wizards. Don't need any now, but a thought for the future. I am on my phone, can't remember the cheapo triggers I purchased, but they are out, I guess. Unless I can use one to trigger my flashes off camera. I have more triggers than flashes! That would work nicely for now.
...

You don't need to trigger the lights from the meter.   The L-358 and I expect other meters can be set in a mode in which it detects the light from the flash and meters it.  Just trigger the lights from the transmitter in the hot shoe of your camera (I assume it has a "test" push button} and the meter will measure the brightness.  Not quite as elegant as triggering from a button on the meter, but still very workable.

 

Don't use CLS.   If you are using Nikon or Nikon compatible flashes, use the remotes in SU-4 mode.  This eliminates the preflash and avoids getting false meter triggers from a master flash.  You will have to set each flash including the master manually.


Edited by Gary Poole, 30 January 2016 - 03:11 PM.

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#13 Black Pearl

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 03:35 PM

I'm with Gary on this one - no need to find a PW compatible meter just trigger your flashes with the transmitter. You can wander around with both in your hands which is hardly a hardship and will save you money.


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#14 Art

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 04:08 PM

I hear you both, thanks.  Let me look further into this and see if I can rig it for test.

 

Thanks!! :) you guys are the BEST!! 


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#15 Rebel

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 06:42 PM

I've still got my old analogue Gossen meter. It's great for doing incident light readings which can still be useful in the digital age.

 

I used to use a flash meter back in the film days but I don't have one now, it doesn't seem worth the trouble. 


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#16 Black Pearl

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 01:26 AM

I used to use a flash meter back in the film days but I don't have one now, it doesn't seem worth the trouble. 


As Art has recently enrolled on a portrait based photography course where a major element is learning to use flash equipment I would suggest a meter that makes it possible to read, balance and expose correctly for multiple sources of light was not only 'worth the trouble' but a basic requirement.
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#17 Dennis

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:03 PM

When I used to work in a studio, I use the place's lightmeter, a gossen. later, I would borrow one when I needed it. Then, I decided to buy one sometime in the nighties. A Sekonic L-408, it is weathered sealed. I used it all over the place, and now I use it for my home studio. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of the ones you can get today, but it does the job.

As long as you know what you want to use it for, like for studio stuff like your learning, it is a good investment. And, it's is an investment, in money and time. Mine doesn't trigger a flash, but like Gary said, it can read a flash. I also don't recommend getting one that will trigger a light. I use one of the pocket wizards in my hand to to trigger and measure the lights. Works like a champ. You won't be tied to any one trigger.

I don't use it for landscapes anymore. But, it's in the bag. And, if I intend to take a black and white, I sometimes use it to avenge the light with multiple spot readings. It can average it for me, and I can do the same for flash. Back to the black and white, I use it, well, for figuring out zones. Especially if it is not at the good time for lights, I can calculate what an ND might do.

I can't add anymore than what has already been said. You will have to learn it, the camera meter is far faster. But, not in complicated lighting situations. Get one used is all I could recommend. A lot of folks get them, and then never use them. You can get a class act on the cheap. They are pretty rugged and should last a long time.
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Thanks, Dennis.

Photography: 100 percent art, 100 percent technical. It takes a photographer to blend them into an image.

​Film: That tangible image that you can see and hold.

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#18 Art

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:43 PM

Thanks, Dennis.  I will make a decision in the next few days.  Checking over the local used market and it is surprising sparse!


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#19 Don Kondra

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 10:19 PM

When I first started shooting in the studio, I purchased the Sekonic L-358.

 

At the time I was using three Cactus wireless V5 transceivers.  One on camera, one on strobe (flash would fire other strobes) and one attached to the meter with a short cable to fire the strobes and take a reading.  

 

It wasn't long before I found I just didn't need it and sold it.

 

Mostly shooting product you get a "feel" for your light settings and it only takes a shot or three to dial in the power.  

 

Of course, shooting tethered makes that easier to "see"... 

 

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Cheers, Don 

 


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#20 Art

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 12:03 PM

Don,

 

Thanks for the info.  Sekonic seems to be the brand of choice.  I visited a friends studio this weekend, he had the exact same model, so I got a change to try it.

 

Appreciate the information.


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