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Thread: Light meters

  1. #1

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    Rod

    Light meters

    Hey all,

    A quick question about light meters; I've been looking at the Sekonic L358 for a beginners starter; was wondering if this would be a good choice or if there's another for the same price that's better i.e. more reliable and such.

  2. #2
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Phil Page

    Re: Light meters

    I was on a studio lighting course recently and the instructor recommended the same (no affiliations though)

  3. #3
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Light meters

    I have the unit and find it great. It is well built and accurate. While it is a flash meter (and what I use it for most often), it also does regular light metering, cine/video readings and incident light readings. It comes with the standard incident light dome (which I use virtually all the time), as well as a reflective head. You can also integrate it with radio triggered flash with an add-on module (lets you fire your studio lights from your meansuring points) and you can also get tight range spot metering heads,

    Great unit; highly recommended; I don't need anything more and expect it will last me a lifetime.

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Richard

    Re: Light meters

    Any exposure meter is meant to provide you with an approximation of the exposure needed to determine "correct" exposure. In all cases, with any meter, you must run the information provided by the exposure meter through your "between the ears computer" in order to ascertain correct exposure.

    The mental computations are different when using a reflected meter and when using an incident meter.

    As an example when using a reflected light meter (which as per its name, measures the light reflected back from your subject) and shooting a very light scene (snow for example) you must INCREASE the exposure indicated by the meter. When shooting a dark scene (the proverbial black cat in the coal bin) you must decrease the indicated exposure. This is because the meter is providing you with exposure information which will result in an 18% gray image. Your snow scene without extra exposure will be too dark and your black cat will be too light.

    Conversely, when shooting with an incident meter (which meters the light falling on the subject), you must decrease the indicated exposure when shooting a bright subject and increase the exposure when shooting a dark subject. Otherwise your light subject will be too bright and your dark subject will be too dim.

    Another time you need to compensate with increased or decreased exposure is when your subject and the background have totally different values such as a black dog on a white background. You can either use a spot meter (some hand held meters and most cameras have some sort of a spot capablity) or mentally compensate for the difference in exposure values.

    Since you are the one who should decide on the correct exposure, not your meter... Any accurate meter will put you in the ballpark exposure wise. Some meters have more bells and whistles than other meters and are easier to use. Many photographers prefer the present Sekonic L358 and L398 meters which are absolutely great.

    However I still use an old Sekonic L718 meter which doesn't have many of the bells and whistles of the more modern meters. However the L718 provides me with the accurate guidance that I need when shooting. I purchased this meter, used, many years ago for less than one hundred U.S. Dollars and it has given me great service.

    If I were to buy a meter today, I would look at the L358 or L398. However, they do not have enough bells and whistles to convince me to abondon my old standby and shift models since I am still getting correct exposure from the L718 with its information run through my "between the ears" computer. That is all I require from any meter.

    Actually, for a long while I was able to obtain quite accurate exposures using a Wein WP500 flash meter which is a very basic meter and has virtually no bells or whistles.

    The reason that many people use flash or incident light exposure meters is to determine the ratio of your lights, especially in portraiture. However, I am so used to my non-TTL White Lightning studio flashes that I can pretty well judge the light ratio as well as guestimate the exposure required by only viewing the modeling lights. I can almost always get accurate exposures with only one or two test shots. This, of course, is not as easy when you are shooting "blind" using hotshoe flashes for portraiture as with the Strobist doctrine.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 13th September 2012 at 05:11 PM.

  5. #5

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    Rod

    Re: Light meters

    Thanks all for your replies; thanks Richard for the information you provided me, It's much appreciated.

  6. #6

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    Andrew

    Re: Light meters

    My son bought the L358 during the years towards his degree. Going professional I thought he may upgrade and I'd buy it. He didn't. #*&#@

  7. #7

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Light meters

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    My son bought the L358 during the years towards his degree. Going professional I thought he may upgrade and I'd buy it. He didn't. #*&#@
    Tell him he NEEDS the L758

  8. #8

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    Andre Burger

    Re: Light meters

    Hi Rod,
    I have no experience with light meters but reading a lot of stuff from Pro's it seems the Sekonic meters are the ones of choice.

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