Sekonic L-208 meter
I just would like to ask what kind of benefit/s (if ever) will I get if I start to use a Sekonic L-208 light meter instead of using the matrix metering in my Nikon F90X.
I shoot colour and b&w as well.
Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Alessandro Serrao; 08-28-2012 at 05:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I wouldn't spend the money on that meter, it will not give you substantially different results. I use a handheld spot meter, which allows me to more precisely determine the exposure and developing time via the Zone System. Your camera has built in spotmetering if you know how to do that, so I probably wouldn't bother with a handheld at all. My cameras are mostly ones that do not have built in spotmeters, though with my Olympus OM-4T, I do not use a handheld meter either.
incident light meter readings will always be more accurate than reflected light readings because they measure the light falling on the subject, not the light reflected, which can be higher or lower depending on whether it is a light colored object or dark colored.
However, ALL light meter readings must be considered as being advisory -- you have to determine what you want the final image to look like and adjust accordingly.
There are two schools which has developed its own metering technique.
- Zone System.
- Beyond The Zone System.
Zone System: Basically rely on spot-metering(reflected meter) the important shadows and placing it on appropriate zones. Mostly on Zone III or Zone IV. This technique works well for the negatives but you may need to test your film.
Beyond The Zone System(BTZS): Though it has some arguments favouring reflected meter, it emphasis mainly on Incident meter. This technique works remarkable well but you need to test the film and have the curves ready. I may recommend you to read the book with the same title.
In the mean-while I got some amazing negs from Italy shooting in Venice, Rome, Pisa and Florence will post them soon.
Last edited by baachitraka; 08-28-2012 at 07:28 AM. Click to view previous post history.
OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
Rolleicord Va: Humble.
Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.
Light meter of any kind won't change your picture. Based on where it is placed and where it is pointing to, it will suggest what shutter speed/aperture to use. It will require interpretation of a figure that it will give you. All it does is measure light based on a standard.
Your camera can do the same thing, IF you know how to use it.
Is correct exposure one of your problems? Matrix metering on these cameras do pretty well unless you are working with tricky situations - in which case, you can switch to spot metering.
If you are going to get a light meter, I'd suggest little more advanced model, like 308 or higher.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
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I'm going to differ with the posts above.
I find that using a hand meter gives me a much better understanding of exposure issues than most of my cameras' built in meters. When I apply that understanding and actually think carefully about the choices available I usually end up with better results.
It is important to understand though that it is primarily the ability to use the hand meter for both incident and reflected readings that makes it more versatile than in-camera meters.
The Sekonic L-208 appeals to me, due mostly to its size and price, but I would suggest instead a meter that also offers a flash meter function - something like the 308 or a Gossen Digiflash (which I have).
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I chose the Sekonic L-508 for both 1 degree spot, and incident metering, in one package. You'll have to find one used though, if you want to go that route. If you're worried about a used one not being accurate, you can always have it calibrated by George of QLM Co.
Any kind of meter can be used successfully if you know how to use it. I use cameras with semi-spot metering (Canon F-1) spot metering (Nikon N90S), average metering (Pentax Spotmatic) and center weighted metering (Konica Autoreflex T3). They all work well if you point them toward a middle gray tone and go from there. I will use a hand held meter or a spare 35mm camera to meter when using meterless medium format cameras.
The OP talked about the L-208 vs Matrix. The matrix meter is one that is most difficult to master.
I would never use an external meter on any camera with a built in meter. The center-weighted meters on my OM's work great, as do the body mounted meters on the RF's. You should be aware enough of the light variation across the scene to adjust the exposure accordingly. The few times the spot metering on the OM-4 is used is mainly for curiosity and education.
In having used various hand-helds with my folders and other unmetered cameras, the results have alwasy been spotty. It is impossible to know exactly what the meter is "seeing", or if it is pointed in exactly the same place as the camera. I probable run about 50-75% correct exposure with a hand -held, vs 99.9999999% correct with an in camera.
Of course, if you are shooting print film it doesn't matter either way.