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  1. #1
    Matt5791's Avatar
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    Need a new meter

    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. #2

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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. #3
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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/cont...ughType=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. #4

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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. #5
    Matt5791's Avatar
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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. #6

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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.


  7. #7
    Matt5791's Avatar
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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. #8
    Baxter Bradford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt5791
    Thanks for the info. I have heard of many people swearing by the Pentax. So I may well go this way.

    Matt
    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. #9
    Matt5791's Avatar
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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. #10
    Baxter Bradford's Avatar
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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.

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