Need a new meter

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Matt5791, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    Wondering if anyone has some advice.

    I currently use a Sekonic L308B - the small, and very handy, digital read out meter.

    I need also to get a spot meter.

    Anyone got any ideas of the best ones, bearing in mind this will be used on wedding shoots and I will have limited time.

    Therefore I need something that is fast to operate.

    I am thinking about the Sekonic dual meters. I can probably streach to £250 - £300 and I want to buy a new one.

    Any advice very gratefully received.

    Matt
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    How about the 308s big brother the 558? That's the one I'm looking at.

    Everything including the kitchen sink it seems.
     
  3. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Matt,

    I am in Ohio USA so I am not sure what discounted prices are available in London. The Sekonic 558 is available in New York for $499 at B&H. That converts to 285 pounds and change. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...s&Q=&sku=359423&is=REG&addedTroughType=search

    Perhaps a less expensive method if you are willing to stretch your “buy it new idea” is what I will call the fringe market. I bought my 508 just before the 558 came out. There were several dealers selling 508s on eBay 30% off the best discounted retail prices. Supposedly they were either demo or serviced by the factory and warranted for the normal “New”. I think many were unsold new stock they wanted to unload before the 558s arrived. It worked for me.

    I like to have as many options open to me as possible before I make a decision.

    Good Luck.

    John Powers
     
  4. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    Robert White has the Sekonic L558 on special for 260 £.

    I use a Pentax digital spotmeter (ambient only), and am very happy with it. RW has it for 277 £.

    Prices exclude VAT.

    Charlie
     
  5. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    I feel I would be bset off with the Sekonic 558, but the Pentax is the sort of classic spot meter.

    What I am most concerned with is speed of use. I want to be able to take accurate meter readings fast.

    How fast is the Pentax?

    Thanks,

    Matt
     
  6. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    I'd say as fast as can be done. Press and hold the trigger, and it displays the reading. You can very quickly scan a scene through the viewfinder, as it shows about the normal view (roughly equivalent to 50 mm lens view on a 35mm camera). There's a central spot outlined in a fine black circle that shows where it is reading.

    Scan the scene to see the darkest setting and the lightest, and transfer one or the other to the appropriate setting on the dial. The dial around the circumference of the lens, and it shows the f/ stops & shutter speed combinations, with film speed on the outter ring; all very visible at a glance; fast and easy to read & set.

    I have a zone system label on mine; the unit includes IRE (Instititute of Radio Engineer's) settings on its dial, which is a light/dark ratio that matches TV cameras, but would also be very suitable for film to make sure you're within the dynamic range of the film if you don't do zones.

    I can't say for any other spot meters. I chose digital reading over analog for 2 reasons: the LED display can be seen even in light settings, and I think an LED readout is far more rugged than an analog meter. I've had the unit since early 1980's so it's a bit of a workhorse.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    Thanks for the info. I have heard of many people swearing by the Pentax. So I may well go this way.

    Matt
     
  8. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    I doubt that you would be disappointed with the Pentax. I switched this year from the Sekonic 508 and have found it a very good move. Only drawback might be for your wedding application if you are trying to meter for the flash etc and of course incident metering is not covered.

    The single AA battery of the Sekonic 508 is a nice feature, but I think this has gone with the 558.
     
  9. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    So does this meant the Sekonic can take spot readings for flash?

    Baxter, why do you think switching to the Pentax has been a good move?

    In terms of flash I would still have my small Sekonic 308 which can take incident flash readings.

    Difficult decisions!
    Matt
     
  10. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    I find that I have to pull/push less than with the Sekonic. When testing, side by side there seemed to be about 1/2 to 2/3 stop difference. I realise that I should have tested more rather than trust the Sekonic.

    The way of working is more intuitive (to me) once I had learnt what to do. Tape on the IRE scale for 3 1/2 stops latitude (2 under mid tone, 1 1/2 above) has worked out easier to check than counting the marks on the LED scale.

    In terms of Flash, I never use it, so never looked at this part of the handbook and only used the Incident mode a handful of times, thus the Pentax is more up my street, a better match for what I do - Landscape.

    The Sekonic is not a bad product and certainly better than the basic Gossen it replaced after my son had mistaken the latter for a Conker........ a good excuse to upgrade!

    Since the meter is used so often, the ergonomics are very important and my likes/dislikes may well be very different from the next APUG member. For instance, I have friends who love the new Minolta spot meter, but the handling, in particular the button position relative to eyepiece would do my head in.

    So to get something which really suits you (Sir), I think it would be best to go to a dealer, who stocks the ones of interest and make an informed choice.
     
  11. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    558 is supposed to do flash spot metering. But it's less sensitive then incident flash if that matters to you. At least that's what I remember.
     
  12. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    If you are doing weddings and want to get a meter that will operate with the highest accuracy and be quick about it there is only one meter for you. The Spectra Combi 500. They are the standard meter for the movie industry and are sold and supported by Spectra Cine in California with calibrations and parts. It is an incident meter that can be had for $50-$75 on that auction site. New they go for over $400. I have literally abandoned the Zone system and my Pentax digital spot meters in favor of the quick and easy BTZS incident metering system that provides me with an exposure error rate that is nearly zero plus it takes me less than a minute to make an accurate base exposure and subject brightness Range (SBR) for my development objectives with my LF and ULF cameras. My only disappointment is that it took me many frustrating years to discover this technique.

    This meter has one of the largest diffusion domes I have ever seen and is the most precise and diverse light measurement instruments I have ever used. Why spend $350+ for a Sekonic when you can get this one for a song.

    Save you money for film...

    Cheers!