Sekonic L-398 A Studio DeluxeIII

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by baachitraka, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,311
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Bremen, Germany.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I like to hear good and bad things about this meter. I am planning to use this for street or landscape photography.


    If you have any other suggestions other than this meter, I will be happy to know.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,416
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've had one of these for years, my favorite meter.
     
  3. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Plus:
    Proven design
    Cheap used
    Battery-free
    DIY recalibration

    Minus:
    Heavy
    So-so to poor low light accuracy/sensitivity
    Must use high slide for full sun metering(easy to loose, too)
    Mechanical, not shock-proof
    Incident/reflected only

    I got one 10 years ago and rarely used it. Got the small Sekonic 308(a very sweet little meter)and a Sekonic 558 a couple of years ago mainly for spot metering. Probably use the 308 the most due to its size(think deck of cards dimensions, perfect for street shooting). My 398 just doesn't see any action.
     
  4. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It has very poor low-light ability and is really only usable as an incident light meter. The reflected light attachment for it gives an extremely large angle of view. For the money, you can get a used Sekonic L-508, which gives you incident and spotmetering, a lot more low light sensitivity, flash metering if you ever want to do studio strobe work, and a lot more accuracy. The L-398 was made for studio work in the days before strobes.
     
  5. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

    Messages:
    1,887
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    .
    The 398 is an excellent meter ! I wish I had two of them !!
    But, not very useful in low light situations, you will definitely need another
    meter for night work or dim interiors. I use an olde Gossen Luna Pro also.
    I paid $8.00 for the Luna Pro, and keep a supply of Z/A batteries for it.

    Ron
    .
     
  6. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,311
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Bremen, Germany.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How do you evaluate its(Sekonic L-398 A Studio DeluxeIII) accuracy under bright light and overcast conditions?

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2011
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,508
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Incident metering is great and by far gives me the most reliable results but all metering takes thought and a good dose of experience, none are magic bullets.

    Most any meter can be used well once you understand what the meter in question is telling you.

    I have the L358 which is my favorite.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

    Messages:
    2,797
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It's a reliable meter, accurate meter for those conditions. Like others have already said, though, your brain is what makes it work.
     
  9. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a selenium 398 (non-A) and it's really an incident meter above all. The reflected readings are one to two stops off, but the incident readings are spot on. I think it may be because the meter is keyed for highlights. Perhaps one day I'll ask Quality Light Metrics to calibrate it properly, but I love it for shooting slides and Ektar 100 outdoors. It's light, quick, and accurate.

    I just hate the easy-to-loose high slide, and wish it wasn't so damn magnetic.

    I got myself a Weston III (calibrated by QLM) for quick reflected metering, and I have a Sekonic Spot/Flash meter when I want more precision. I wish the 398 would be more precise in reflected readings, because it's really a nice tool. But so is the Weston.
     
  10. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,311
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Bremen, Germany.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How much compensation you will set to the camera when meter reads

    Under Sunlight: F8.0 1/500s.

    Under Shadow: F8.0 1/30s or 1/60s.

    so to keep the shadow detail?
     
  11. Timestep

    Timestep Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Have used this since the original Norwood "Director in 1956, Welcomed Seconic's version especially as it incorporated pointer lock. My wife has two—1996, and a new one purchased two years ago. I have since moved to a Gossen Digipro, but strongly recommend the Norwood as the ultimate backup ( needing no battery)

    For Street work, it will serve you especially well; giving the ability to quickly "sniff the light"— to thius end, you might consider acquiring a set of the direct reading slides; with which you can just read f stops directly from the dial.

    Unless you are doing Zone System, you will get into far less trouble with an incident meter.