SeKonic L-758D and the Zone System - how?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by hadeer, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. hadeer

    hadeer Subscriber

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    Does anybody have experience using the Seconic L-758D in connection with the Zone System? I am somewhat confused about the best way to use this meter for that purpose. Generally I feel that the meter gives more consistent results than the average metering mode of my camera (Bronica ETRSi) but still I would like to be more precise than just using a middle value.
    Thanks, Hans.
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    Use the spot meter. Since the spot meter assumes it is reading middle gray, or Zone V, adjust your shutter/aperture to place the reading on the Zone you want in your print.
     
  3. hadeer

    hadeer Subscriber

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    That is what I do, I measure a middle grey. But is is also possible with this meter to determine the contrast range of the subject and superpose that on the dynamic range of the film by taking more than one measurement. Doing this I should be able to place the low values and/or the high values on a favourable point in the range (that is, in relation to my subject). It should be predictable that way whether I use the whole ten zones, or just part of it. There the confusion comes in, because, how do I do that?
     
  4. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    Try this and see if it is what you want:

    -Set the meter to ambient light with the shutter speed highlighted and use the spot meter
    -Meter the low area of your scene
    -Hold the MID.TONE button and scroll the wheel while watching the smaller aperture numbers and the mark. You should see the small arrows shift as you scroll.
    -Continue scrolling until the mark is on the Zone you want.
    -Press the memory button.
    -Meter the high area of you scene. You should now see a mark under the low aperture and the high aperture, giving you the dynamic range of the scene.
     
  5. hadeer

    hadeer Subscriber

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    Greg, Thanks. Works well for me. Hans
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    "Doing this I should be able to place the low values and/or the high values on a favourable point in the range (that is, in relation to my subject). It should be predictable that way whether I use the whole ten zones, or just part of it. "

    The Zone System, when used to its true purpose and benefit, works so that you can do what you want to do with the luminances you are photographing, on a shot-by-shot basis. It was designed with an aesthetic end, not a technical one. The technique of it is simply a means to this aesthetic end. Please do not get stuck in the rut of thinking that every print must "use the whole ten zones," that certain parts of the composition must be placed "favourabl[y]" by anyone's definition of the word but your own, or that what is favorable for one shot is universally favorable for all shots. The perfect negative is simply the one that allows you to make the print closest to the print that you want, not the negative that satisfies some universal and absolute definition of what a negative and a print ought to look like. The Zone System is a tool (and just one of many tools) to let you make your print look like you want it to look, not a guide or a set of rules that tells you what to make your prints look like. It is a misused technical exercise without the human heart and brain behind it to employ it in order to obtain ones specific aesthetic goals – to make an aesthetic decision about ones work, and use the tools at ones disposal to follow this decision through to a successful end. Once you start using the Zone System simply to achieve the technical end of making every negative match a predetermined standard for negatives, you have entirely lost sight of its purpose, and it is no different in results than using an incident meter combined with an eye for luminance range, and blanket over-or-under-exposing and over-or-under-developing.

    To use your meter for the Zone System is simple, as it should be. IMHO, once the Zone System becomes complicated (which all those digital features and buttons can help it to do), it has lost its usefulness and strayed far from its original intent. With some experience, you'd do better off using incident meters and educated guesses than you would be fiddling with a bunch of gizmos that remember this and that and tell you how to do this and that. With the Zone System, K.I.S.S. is key. What you do is meter anything. The meter tells you how to expose if you want that thing to be middle grey. If you don't want it to be middle grey, you use a different exposure to make it either darker or lighter. Once you have "placed" that tone, you measure others to see where they "fall." If they do not fall where you want them to fall, you alter development (and sometimes alter exposure again) so that they do.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2010
  7. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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  8. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    You would need to learn the Zone system. The Zone system calls for the use of a spotmeter but just about any accurate spotmeter will do. Your meter has a number of calculation functions which may or may not applicable to the Zone system. You need to learn and understand the Zone system first and then study the meter manual to find out what kind of calculations it can do and see if you can make use some of them. A spotmeter that simply make and exposure reading is sufficient for practicing Zone system.
     
  9. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I agree with Chan a sound understanding of the principals of exposure are needed before using a light meter at all to get good results and the Zone System in particular, and many spot meters can be used its just that some spot meters like the Gossen Spot Master 2 and the Starlite make it easier to place the selected metered area in the right Zone without having to do a lot of mental arithmetic to arrive at the right answer, which is what I think the O.P. is asking.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2010
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I agree with benjiboy, I understand that the OP is asking for the specific usage of the 758 for the Zone system. But like I have said, if you understand the Zone system well, a reading of the manual for the meter will tell you how you want to use it. Once you have good understanding of the Zone system and how each function of the meter works, you can then devise for yourself a procedure to use it. Each person would work differenrently.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2010
  12. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    I've been using the Sekonic L-758D for a few years now with film cameras and have never had a problem. It's the best meter I've ever used, and I don't miss my Gossen one bit.

    To each their own.
     
  13. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    The test target is only for calibrating digital cameras, not film.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    To each his or her own is absolutely correct. For some, a multi-meter of the modern digital variety makes sense. For others, like myself, it does not. I rarely use flash, and I prefer simple single-purpose meters with analog scales, so a Pentax spot meter and an separate incident meter work best for me.
     
  16. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Indeed. Thank God for options, eh?
     
  17. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    The Sekonic can be calbrated, but doesn't have to be. This is an optional feature, and the meter works great without worrying about it.

    For that matter, most meters can be calibrated, just not by the end user.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I know it can be used without calibration Jeff I did a lot of research before buying my last light meter, but the point I was trying to make was it can be calibrated for individual films as well digital sensors with the test target, but If you aren't going to use the calibration facility, the Gossen Starlte that has a specific Zone facility, which is what the original question was about, is the most suitable for the OPs requirements and IMO the Gossen is a better buy.
     
  19. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    I have no experience with the Starlite, so I can't offer a hands-on comparison.
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    "A man with one clock always knows the time. A man with two or more is never sure."

    This sums up the calibration issue for me. IIRC, most of the hi-end Sekonics(e.g., 508, 558, 608, 758)have a calibration function in 1/10 stop increments. I'm a little dubious about the Gossen on-board "zone" calibration feature--sounds nice but...The Sekonic target method seems vulnerable to error. Besides, I've got enough USB ports in my life already!
     
  21. benjiboy

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    I didn't buy the Starlite Jeff because I don't use the Zone System as such personally' but I tried all the top of the range light meters hands on at my local pro dealers before I actually bought a Kenko KFM 2100 http://kenkoglobal.com/kfm-2100.html ( formally the Minolta Flash meter V1) proved to be perfect for my requirements, but if I was A Zoner in particular I would have got the Gossen.
     
  22. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    No you are wrong Greg, you can download the profiles of up to four different films to your computer after making several exposures of the test target to calibrate the computer to their response using the software provided before downloading them to the 758D. Read this http://www.karlu.com/sekonic-flashmate-l758d-p-11847.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2010
  23. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Sounds pretty neat - I'm going to have to check this feature out. Do you remember the cost of the targets by any chance?
     
  24. benjiboy

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    Yes Jeff I can here you are http://www.amazon.com/Sekonic-EP2-E...3?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1291819518&sr=8-3, I told you they were expensive and the're much more expensive in the U.K, if you add this to the cost of the meter was the reason I bought the Kenko KFM 2010 in preference it has the facility to set the clip points for a films latitude in whole stops and fractions without a test target because it was designed before digital imaging came to prominence I thought it more suitable and a cheaper option for me because I only shoot film and can't see me ever shooting anything else. :smile:
     
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  25. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    The problem with profiling film is that you have to scan the film and lie to the computer to think it is a digital camera exposure. But your scanner may, and most likely will, influence the final result. I spoke with a Sekonic rep about this just a couple weeks ago. The profiling is only for digital cameras regardless of what the literature says. Even so, the profile is only supposed to inform the user of the dynamic range of the camera/film, but cannot take into account development procedure, paper used, etc. I have this meter for a while and can see no reason to try and profile a film. I know more about the characteristics of the film I use than any meter can be programmed.
     
  26. hadeer

    hadeer Subscriber

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    Is this referring to the standard profile of the meter as it comes from the maker? Do you happen to know if there are any profiles available for different types of film?
    Hans