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Archive 2012 · Light Meters?
  
 
buckeyeguy1
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Light Meters?


I have been enjoying my time playing around with my AB800 and two speedlights, but would like to speed up the process of changing lighting setups for kid portraits. To do this, I am wanting to get a light meter. However, my knowledge of them are from YouTube videos and a couple on Kelby Training. I don't have a clue on what to look for or what brands to look at or stay away from. It seems that the Sekonic meters are the industry standards.

What meters should I take a look at? I was looking at the Sekonic L-308S which was about what I was wanting to pay. Any other brands to look at too?

Note: I don't use PWs nor do I plan on changing to them any time soon. I currently use the CyberSyncs for triggering.



Oct 22, 2012 at 07:53 PM
xtremediver
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Light Meters?


I love my Sekonic L-358, it is a very nice meter, I see them on the buy/sell forum frequently at very reasonable prices.


Oct 22, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Tom Dix
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Light Meters?


Another vote for the L358


Oct 23, 2012 at 03:57 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Light Meters?


buckeyeguy1 wrote:
...What meters should I take a look at? I was looking at the Sekonic L-308S which was about what I was wanting to pay.


You're right about Sekonic being the big name in light meters. Minolta also used to be a major player, but, well...

If you want a new meter, the L-308S is a good choice for a basic meter. I myself have the L-758DR, but that's over-kill for many people, and priced to match. The L-358 sits between the L-308S and the L-758DR.

If you wouldn't mind used, you may be able to find a good deal on a Minolta Flash Meter IV or, as mentioned, an L-358.



Oct 23, 2012 at 04:41 AM
rico
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Light Meters?


I have mixed feelings about my L-308. Pros: cheap, comprehensive flash+ambient metering, reflective/incident modes, cord/cordless capability. Cons: cheap construction, shutter-priority only. If buying again, I would go L-358 for better build and added aperture-priority mode.



Oct 23, 2012 at 07:10 AM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Light Meters?


I would strongly suggest going for a used Minolta Flash Meter IV (I have the III which I use on occasion). It's a great meter with the main features. "Today's" meters have many extra gadgets that you may or may not use. Spend $50 and be on your way.


Oct 23, 2012 at 01:46 PM
GraceNFaith
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Light Meters?


+1 for Sekonic L-358. Have one and they are all I need in a light meter.


Oct 23, 2012 at 10:12 PM
lukeb
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Light Meters?


Tom Dix wrote:
Another vote for the L358


+1



Oct 23, 2012 at 10:22 PM
markymarc
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Light Meters?


Plenty of L-358s on ebay. I opted for a used one to save a few bucks.


Oct 24, 2012 at 01:47 PM
nick53097
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Light Meters?


+ 2 for Sekonic L-358


Oct 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Peter Figen
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Light Meters?


Best meter I've ever had is the Minolta Flashmeter VI, the last version they made. For all the Sekonics out there, the Minolta has the best ergonomics and design I've ever used. It looks good, feels good and performs flawlessly. You can still get it as the Kenko.

But you really have to ask yourself if you actually need a meter if you're shooting digital. The only time I use a meter now is for film or for balancing light copying flat art.



Oct 24, 2012 at 04:40 PM
buckeyeguy1
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Light Meters?


I took a look at the L-358s on Ebay and I might just get one of those instead of a new L-308s. I did a search for them on our B&S section and may post a WTB. Not sure yet.

Peter, I don't necessarily NEED a light meter, but am really wanting one to help out with the setup changes for child portraits. I have done several small sessions for 1-3 year olds and have learned that speed is the key. I'm also getting a little tired of chimping the histograms and going back to make a change and then chimping again. I'm still not that experienced with flash and cannot come up with a close guestimate of where I need to be on my settings like some who have done it for years can.



Oct 25, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Light Meters?


I appreciate you wanting to have a meter, but I also think that in your type of scenario, you'll probably be much faster using the camera LCD. Typically, when using a flash meter, you are usually using the incident mode, meaning that you have to (or have someone) put the meter where the face is and pointed back at the camera, measuring the light hitting the dome, which should be the same as the light hitting your subject, then read the f/stop and set it on the camera. Even if you're fast with the meter, it's going to take you longer than chimping. I'm not saying don't do it, but just have realistic expectations.


Oct 26, 2012 at 06:35 AM
jzucker
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Light Meters?


I love using a lightmeter. I have a minolta autometer VF and the sekonic L-358. They each have their merits. I like the minolta because I can set it for shutter priority with shutter speeds in 1/3 stop and then get 1/10 decimal readings on the aperture whereas with the sekonic it's either or. You can get 1/10 decimal readings but shutter speeds are in whole stop. I just leave it in 1/3 stop mode without the 1/10 so you are always possibly .2 stops off from what the actual reading is. However, in practice my exposures are more accurate with the sekonic. Additionally, the sekonic stays armed for a period of time after it sees the flash (90 seconds?) whereas the minolta has to be re-armed after every flash. Doesn't sound like much but makes the sekonic more convenient.

Say you're working by yourself and don't have remote power control on your flash. You can arm the sekonic, ask the model to hold it and then make manual adjustments of the power until you get the F stop you are looking for. With the minolta you'd have to re-arm it after every adjustment or explain to the model how to arm it.

Also, remember the LCD is showing you a temporary jpg of the image. I have often found that the LCD of my 5D II is way more contrasty than the actual raw image even with no adjustments. If I'm going to chimp, I'd rather do it off a tethered computer than the LCD.



Oct 26, 2012 at 01:17 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Light Meters?


As far as flash is concerned:
a meter = easy ratios and exposures
chimping = exposures

Your setups should change much at all if you're shooting under the same conditions and you don't move your light much. This is why I suggest a less expensive meter; you will use it but for a particular shoot probably not much after the initial setup. Even after that small adjustments and chimping will be easier.



Oct 26, 2012 at 05:46 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Light Meters?


cordellwillis wrote:
As far as flash is concerned:
a meter = easy ratios and exposures
chimping = exposures

Your setups should change much at all if you're shooting under the same conditions and you don't move your light much. This is why I suggest a less expensive meter; you will use it but for a particular shoot probably not much after the initial setup. Even after that small adjustments and chimping will be easier.


I can't imagine doing a 5 light setup without a meter. Getting the proper exposure on rim lighting or side lighting can be difficult with chimping unless you are tethered. And trying to get a 3:1 ratio on the LCD screen i've found to be difficult. The LCD screen is much more contrasty than a good monitor. Many times I've looked at the shadow density of my lcd screen and thought there was almost no detail but then when the image comes up on the tethered computer, I see plenty of shadow detail.

Yes, you can probably learn this by experience and if you use the same lighting pattern all the time, maybe it's not needed but the biggest reason for having a meter is to determine detail in the blacks and whites. My camera has highlight warning but not shadow warning. If I shoot a black model with a white dress and a white model with a black dress, the histogram is pretty worthless and the LCD screen is too contrasty to determine proper exposure. That's why I like to use a meter.

P.S. Cordell, I enjoyed looking at the galleries on your site. Your images really tell a story.



Oct 26, 2012 at 05:58 PM
buckeyeguy1
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Light Meters?


I was thinking this morning.. I already have PCB lights and CyberSyncs and I have read that the Cyber Comander has a built in light meter as well. Does anyone have any experience with it? I would have to sell my CSRBs and upgrade to the CSRB+. However, I was thinking the L-358 might be a little better choice due to the fact I can purchase some replacement parts and it might be a little more versatile.

I personally don't like using the image on the LCD screen to judge my images. Mine is a bit to contrasty as well (D700). I have done one session teathered and really did like seeing the image directly in Lightroom. It did make me think about the Eye-Fi kit for my iPad, but for one they don't have a CF card kit and two I didn't see enough benefit to warrant the money for it.



Oct 26, 2012 at 06:17 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Light Meters?


I had the cybercommander and the meter was adequate. I don't think it's the same degree of accuracy or quality as something like an L-358 or Minolta Autometer but it would work in a pinch. That combined with chimping should get you in the ballpark.

P.S.

Where in OH are you? I'm in NE Ohio...



Oct 26, 2012 at 06:21 PM
ravisrajan
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Light Meters?


jzucker wrote:
I had the cybercommander and the meter was adequate. I don't think it's the same degree of accuracy or quality as something like an L-358 or Minolta Autometer but it would work in a pinch. That combined with chimping should get you in the ballpark.

P.S.

Where in OH are you? I'm in NE Ohio...

How do you meter with Cyber commander, I could not able to figure out to use as regular light meter for speed light meting where as I am able get meter reading correctly when I am using Einstein. Can some you please share your experience how to use Cyber commander as light meter, After I sold my Minolta Auto Meter I am unable to take meter reading with CC other then looking back the LCD and adjust flash to subject distance or flash output.



Oct 26, 2012 at 07:00 PM
jzucker
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Light Meters?


ravisrajan wrote:
How do you meter with Cyber commander, I could not able to figure out to use as regular light meter for speed light meting where as I am able get meter reading correctly when I am using Einstein. Can some you please share your experience how to use Cyber commander as light meter, After I sold my Minolta Auto Meter I am unable to take meter reading with CC other then looking back the LCD and adjust flash to subject distance or flash output.


I don't remember the full details but I think I just hit the test button and it fired the strobe and read the incident light.



Oct 26, 2012 at 07:04 PM
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