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  1. #1

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    Need Help Deciding on Light Meter

    I'm trying to decide between the following light meters:
    - Sekonic L758DR
    - Kenko KFM-2100 (identical to the Minolta Flash Meter VI)
    - Gossen Starlight 2

    One differentiating factor is how the Kenko measures indicident light for lighting ratios and flat subjects. For the Kenko, you take off the half-dome diffuser disk and put on a flat diffuser disk; for the Sekonic and Gossen, you retract the half-dome diffuser disk into the body of the meter. I currently use a Minolta AutoMeter III, which uses dedicated flat and half-dome diffuser disks, same as the Kenko. A lot of my subjects are flat (macro, artwork, etc.) and so I use the flat diffuser quite a bit. The Sekonic/Gossen retraction method seems fine for measuring lighting contrast ratios wherein you point the meter directly at the light, and in circumstances where light is falling directly on the subject more or less from camera angle. However, if you are measuring a flat subject and the light is coming in at an oblique angle (i.e. sidelit), the retracted half-dome would be partially in shade from the collar that surrounds the half-dome and from the half-dome itself. In such cases, the Sekonic and Gossen would seem to inject a lot of error into the measuring process.

    - Am I wrong about the flat vs. retracted half-dome issue in side-lit setups, and if so, why?
    - When Kenko cloned the Minolta AutoMeter VI, it made no changes to the original design. In what way would it be dated relative to the newer offerings from Sekonic and Gossen.
    - Any other factors to consider?
    - Any recommendations?

    Any insight would be very helpful, and thanks in advance.
    Last edited by jaydub; 09-02-2012 at 06:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Welcome to APUG.

    I have a Seconic L-358 that I really enjoy, as I understand it the L-758 basically just adds spot metering on top of what I have, and I do my best not to spot meter so I kept the price difference in my wallet.

    Using the meter per Sekonics instructions has always given me great exposures.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  3. #3
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    Sekonic has the retractable hemisphere primarily for convenience, when needing to measure the relative intensity of light sources (without turning of the lights off). But Sekonic does offer an accessory specifically for meauring light falling upon flat art.

    [edit: Uh-oh, the L758 does not offer that flat disk option!]

    Essentially you can somewhat mimic the retracted hemisphere simply by shielding the meter hemisphere from the unmeasured light source simply with your hand as a gobo!


    I recently learned that the Sekonic L358 (and, after reading its owner manual, the L758) cannot be set for 1/3EV increments of shutter speed while also supporting 0.1EV increments of f/stop...the f/stop assumes the 1/3EV increment as well. Not terrific if you have 0.1EV precision on studio light power, since it would always round to the nearest 1/3EV. This is not merely speculation, but one member on another forum bought and returned the Sekonic meter for that very reason.
    Last edited by wiltw; 09-02-2012 at 07:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydub View Post
    I'm trying to decide between the following light meters:
    - Sekonic L758DR
    - Kenko KFM-2100 (identical to the Minolta Flash Meter VI)
    - Gossen Starlight 2

    One differentiating factor is how the Kenko measures indicident light for lighting ratios and flat subjects. For the Kenko, you take off the half-dome diffuser disk and put on a flat diffuser disk; for the Sekonic and Gossen, you retract the half-dome diffuser disk into the body of the meter. I currently use a Minolta AutoMeter III, which uses dedicated flat and half-dome diffuser disks, same as the Kenko. A lot of my subjects are flat (macro, artwork, etc.) and so I use the flat diffuser quite a bit. The Sekonic/Gossen retraction method seems fine for measuring lighting contrast ratios wherein you point the meter directly at the light, and in circumstances where light is falling directly on the subject more or less from camera angle. However, if you are measuring a flat subject and the light is coming in at an oblique angle (i.e. sidelit), the retracted half-dome would be partially in shade from the collar that surrounds the half-dome and from the half-dome itself. In such cases, the Sekonic and Gossen would seem to inject a lot of error into the measuring process.

    - Am I wrong about the flat vs. retracted half-dome issue in side-lit setups, and if so, why?
    - When Kenko cloned the Minolta AutoMeter VI, it made no changes to the original design. In what way would it be dated relative to the newer offerings from Sekonic and Gossen.
    - Any other factors to consider?
    - Any recommendations?

    Any insight would be very helpful, and thanks in advance.
    I am kind of wondering about the same thing with the retracted dome.
    The flashmeter VI doesn't have digital curve function like the L758DR. I don't know what Sekonic calls it but basically you program the response curve of your digital camera into the meter.
    The flashmeter VI which I have only has what Sekonic calls shutter priority mode and to measure flash with the spot meter it has to be in cord mode. Spotmeter doesn't work in non-cord mode. Also you can't install a pocket wizard unit in the flashmeter VI. Ambient/flash ratio is rather crude.
    My recommendation is that all 3 meters are about the same in quality (I think the Sekonic is a bit less built quality but you should check it out for yourself). Accuracy I think they are about the same. So check them out in the store for ergonomic and built quality. Download the manuals, check their specs, learn how to use them and then you can decide which is best for you.

  5. #5
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chan Tran View Post
    I am kind of wondering about the same thing with the retracted dome.
    The flashmeter VI doesn't have digital curve function like the L758DR. I don't know what Sekonic calls it but basically you program the response curve of your digital camera into the meter.
    The flashmeter VI which I have only has what Sekonic calls shutter priority mode and to measure flash with the spot meter it has to be in cord mode. Spotmeter doesn't work in non-cord mode. Also you can't install a pocket wizard unit in the flashmeter VI. Ambient/flash ratio is rather crude.
    My recommendation is that all 3 meters are about the same in quality (I think the Sekonic is a bit less built quality but you should check it out for yourself). Accuracy I think they are about the same. So check them out in the store for ergonomic and built quality. Download the manuals, check their specs, learn how to use them and then you can decide which is best for you.


    The Sekonic L758 can be flash-metered either in corded or non-corded mode. All flashmeters are incident reading types.
    Kenko's flashmeter is an interesting beast, but having toyed with it in the dealer's, it's not a patch on the highly variable and customised functions of the L758.

    Speaking of which, read the instructions for the L758; there is no design shortfall regarding the dome being retracted for specific flat-plane work — it's the skill one should have to use it correctly.


  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour View Post
    The Sekonic L758 can be flash-metered either in corded or non-corded mode. All flashmeters are incident reading types.
    Kenko's flashmeter is an interesting beast, but having toyed with it in the dealer's, it's not a patch on the highly variable and customised functions of the L758.

    Speaking of which, read the instructions for the L758; there is no design shortfall regarding the dome being retracted for specific flat-plane work — it's the skill one should have to use it correctly.
    All flashmeters that I know of do have incident reading but many do offer flash reading in reflective and spot. I have owned the Minolta flashmeter II, flashmeter III and flashmeter VI. Both the II and III can take 40 degree reflective flash reading. The VI can take 1 degree spot flash reading. The Minolta spotmeter F also can read flash (uh oh this is a flash meter that can't do incident) of course in spot mode. I just read the manual for the L758 and yes it does flash reading also in spot mode. So flash metering isn't something that is in incident mode only although flash metering is often used in incident mode.

  7. #7
    wiltw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chan Tran
    Spotmeter doesn't work in non-cord mode.
    It makes no sense to offer a spotmeter function, when you are at the flash to trigger the flash, and not able to aim the meter where you want!

  8. #8
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Spot metering would be reflected readings.


  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour View Post
    Spot metering would be reflected readings.
    Yes it is reflective but what's your point?

  10. #10
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Why a spot meter? It has its place in non-flash for measuring individual luminances, but why do that with ambient/flash illumination?


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