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Archive 2012 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter
  
 
jzucker
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p.1 #1 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


I have been using a Minolta Autometer VF for quite some time. I love it except it gets annoying that you need to click the "read" button everytime you want to take a flash reading. So if I'm taking a flash reading, adjusting the power, taking another reading, etc., I have to keep pressing the read button. (Yeah, I know - Shouldn't be that big a deal...)

On a whim, I picked up a used sekonic L358, thinking it would be a more professional and accurate meter and additionally, the cordless flash setting stays in "read" mode continuously (for 90 seconds after the last reading) without you continually having to press the button.

However, the thing I hate about it is that there is no way to get 1/3 shutter speed *AND* 1/10 F stop at the same time. For example, on the Minolta, I can set the reading to 1/200 (necessary if I'm shooting with flash) and then see the aperture as 8.0 .6 which means approximately F10.

The only way you can get 1/10 stops with the sekonic is to set the scale to whole stops so then I can't set the shutter speed to 1/200 but have to use 1/250.

Yeah, I know it shouldn't be a big deal and it's easy to convert but the meter needs a firmware revision update!!!

I'd rather have the meter do the conversions for me. And I also found that my minolta matched the readings of the sekonic exactly so I don't think there is any more accuracy with the sekonic.

Anyway, I'm going to sell the sekonic and keep the minolta. Just wondering what other folks think of the Sekonic vs. the Minolta. (I don't need the PW module so that's not a factor for me...)



Aug 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM
HungV
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p.1 #2 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


You must did some thing wrong, mine work just fine. Check out these links:

To get the meter showing the same 1/3 stop increments as the camera set DIP switches in battery compartment WITH POWER OFF to UP-DOWN-UP-UP

http://super.nova.org/DPR/Ratios/

http://ilovephotography.com/L358.html



Aug 15, 2012 at 03:47 PM
colinm
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p.1 #3 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


As HungV said, you're doing something wrong. You want Direct mode set to OFF (off displays tenth stops, on rounds).


Aug 15, 2012 at 04:22 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #4 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


Maybe I didn't explain it properly. I have no problem setting the dip switch to get 1/3 stops but when doing so, your exposure reading can be off by up to 20% of a stop.

What I want is 1/3 shutter speed and F stops in whole steps *PLUS* 0.1" reading.

As in 1/200 & 8.0.6

Are you saying that's possible with the sekonic?



Aug 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #5 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


and my dip switch settings are off, off, on, on

Direct Off, EV Off, Enable 4th switch, 1/3 stops



Aug 15, 2012 at 04:59 PM
RDKirk
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p.1 #6 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


your exposure reading can be off by up to 20% of a stop.

Not that that would be discernible in a print or on the monitor.



Aug 15, 2012 at 05:58 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #7 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


RDKirk wrote:
Not that that would be discernible in a print or on the monitor.


You're assuming every reading has 100% control. Say you're shooting ambient and flash. You take a reading, you're off by .2 stops. Then the sun peeks out from behind the cloud, or the model move a foot away from the flash. Now you're off by even more. It all adds up.

The most accurate reading you can get is best. The sekonic is a much more expensive meter than the autometer. You should be improving your accuracy when going to that meter, not losing it.



Aug 15, 2012 at 06:18 PM
RDKirk
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p.1 #8 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


You're assuming every reading has 100% control. Say you're shooting ambient and flash. You take a reading, you're off by .2 stops. Then the sun peeks out from behind the cloud, or the model move a foot away from the flash. Now you're off by even more. It all adds up.

Or it might subtract.

And both your shutter and your apertures could vary from what the meter thinks they are by at least that much (and probably do) in either direction.

And you could vary the direction you're pointing the meter by a degree or so and get that much variation.

The most accurate reading you can get is best. The sekonic is a much more expensive meter than the autometer. You should be improving your accuracy when going to that meter, not losing it.

I could take two prints that are .2 stops exposure difference, show them to ten photographers, ask "which is the correct exposure?" and probably two of them wouldn't see a difference, four would choose one, and four would choose the other.

Those numbers might change a bit if the image is at the extreme end of the sensor's dynamic range, but in general, 0.2 stops is well within personal judgment as to what "correct" might be.

And since you're taking incident readings anyway, the actual reflectance of the subject might be anywhere--you have to make your own subjective call as to where you want the tones of the subject to fall relative to the incident reading.

What you actually need is consistency.




Aug 15, 2012 at 08:03 PM
 

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jzucker
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p.1 #9 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


What I actually need is something that works within the parameters I'm comfortable. The variations you list about over or under just support the fact that you want the meter to give you the most accurate reading. It's just sillyness to say that nobody could tell the difference between .2 stops because you have to add that .2 to everything else that's going on. Whether that's significant when you're entire exposure is +-1 or +-2 may be a different story.


Aug 15, 2012 at 08:58 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #10 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


jzucker wrote:
and my dip switch settings are off, off, on, on



Try on, off, on, on.



Aug 16, 2012 at 03:52 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #11 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


BrianO wrote:
Try on, off, on, on.


That just toggles EV mode. Doesn't do anything for the shutter/aperture granularity. Just for grins, It tried it. No change.

Just seems like a limitation. I can set the minolta to allow me to toggle shutter speed in 1/3rds and aperture in .1 stops. That's ideal for me.



Aug 16, 2012 at 10:36 AM
wilt
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p.1 #12 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


Yes, on page 8 of the owner manual it says

Direct settingsIf DIP switch 3 is on, it is possible to display the shutter speed and Aperture in the stop that are
set by DIP switch 4.
If turned off, shutter speed is displayed in full stop and the Aperture is displayed in 1/10 stop.
Stop settingsThe combination of shutter speed and Aperture is displayed in 1/2 stop when DIP switch 4 is off and in 1/3 stop when it is on.

And then it shows pictures illustrating the fact that one cannot have 1/3EV shutter speed in conjunction with 1/10EV aperture display.

For those using dSLR with 1/200 X-sync max, it would be impossible to select the actual shutter speed setting of the camera, and be able to take advantage of 1/10EV flash output variator controls with the L358. Sensitometrically it might not truly make that much of a difference, but when the flash:ambient dial shows ratios with such a small increment of 10% for the ratio of ambient:flash contribution, suddenly the precision becomes even more meaningless when the shutter speed cannot be set to the value on the camera, but only with 33% error built into the contribution ratio!



Aug 17, 2012 at 05:38 AM
tedwca
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p.1 #13 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


If I remember correctly if you scroll past the normal shutter speed settings it has a 1/200 setting regardless whether you are set to full or 1/3 stops.

Edit: I just checked and it does have 1/200 right after you scroll past 1/1000 in flash mode. It also has it right after 1/8000 in ambient light mode. The manual does make a mention of these special shutter speeds.



Aug 17, 2012 at 09:33 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #14 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


thanks Ted. I want more than just the 1/200 though. I want 1/3 shutter speed stops and 10ths of a stop "overage" like the minolta. Anyway, i solved the problem. I sold the meter and am sticking with the minolta.


Aug 17, 2012 at 11:17 AM
PShizzy
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p.1 #15 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


jzucker, you're right. there is no way to show all shutter speeds in third stops while showing exposure in tenth stops.

I believe this is because thirds are difficult fractions. Remember, its .33 if you consider it in tenths and hundreds. And in reality, even the variation of shutter speeds on the camera is different. look at 1/60th. A stop up is 1/125th, not 1/120th. And 1/80th is not a third stop from 1/125th.

Anyhow, this may sound like I'm being a jerk about it, but I'm not. Do what I do (I have the 358): Just know that each .3 or .4 is about a third stop and make a judgement call. It's an artform as much as a technical skill, I guess this is that part of it



Aug 17, 2012 at 04:53 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #16 · Disappointed in the Sekonic L-358 meter


I do, pShizzy. That's why I use the 1/3 shutter speed and the 1/10 of a stop additional exposure overage on the minolta. It's just what I'm used to I guess but it seems that any digital meter ought to be able to be configured to do that. After all, i could make the case that we don't need calculators either.


Aug 17, 2012 at 05:06 PM





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