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Old Aug 11, 2006, 11:15 PM   #1
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I have received some questions regarding the Sekonic L-308 meter I recently purchased. I looked through the list of forums and decided I would post here because this topic may get lost in a misc forum, and the questions I received were from members who post most frequently in this Pentax forum.

First of all, why an external meter?
- Many users will comment that the built in light meter with histogram provides more information than an external meter can. To them I say yes, you are right, to a point. The Sekonic cannot provide the detailed information that a histogram provides butit can act as a reflected light meter, just as the camera does, or as an incident light meter, which the camera cannot do on its own.
- Manual non-TTL flash units, like studio strobes, cannot be measured by the camera's ligh meter except by a series of trial and error exposures. This makes lighting ratios a challenge with simple multi flash setups. The Sekonic acts as a flash meter allowing you to meter each flash separately and then calculate the required ratio. Sounds challenging but quite simple with a little practice.

Why the Sekonic?
- Nothing complex here, it was available and I had used one before. It is a very simple meter without all of the bells and whistles, but it does what I need it to do.

If anyone has any experience to share regarding external meters please post here. Historically Pentax has been known not just for cameras but for some of the best spot meters on the market, but spot meters are a different area altogether. I intend to focus on using the incident flash meter function to balance flash lighting with simple manual flash units (available on ebay for a song) and slave devices.

Right now it is nearly 1:00AM here so I will say good night and post more information tomorrow. In the meantime feel free to join in. This thread is not meant to be an in depth coverage like Sarah's flash thread, just an introduction to measuring light beyond the camera alone.

This threadcan be seen as an extension of this earlier thread http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...t=light+meters so this may be a good starting point for discussion.

Ira

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Old Aug 12, 2006, 2:53 AM   #2
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Hi Ira

Nothing to add but just got a quick question, hopefully you or someone else on the forum will be able to answer. With spot metering on a spot meter, does it measure incident light or reflected light? I am thinking if spot meter measures reflected light then I will probably just get a normal light/flash meter since I can use my DS to do spot metering.

Thanks

Kenny
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 6:13 AM   #3
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kjao wrote:
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With spot metering on a spot meter, does it measure incident light or reflected light? I am thinking if spot meter measures reflected light then I will probably just get a normal light/flash meter since I can use my DS to do spot metering.

Thanks

Kenny
Yes, a spot meter is a reflected light meter. The only advantage a spot meter would have over the DS spot meter function is that the angle of the meter reading is not effected by the lens used (and some will debate that that is a disadvantage). A flash/light meter that reads incident light is probably a better choice since it does something the camera does not.

Ira
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 6:38 AM   #4
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What not to use...

Not long after I began in photography I was lucky enough to get a medium format camera. The Yashica TLR had no light meter so I used a selenium cell reflected light meter to set exposures (still have both the camera and the meter). These meters were quite accurate but not very sensitive so they were only useful in abundant light (outdoor daylight). A meter of this type offers no advantage over the cameras internal meter and are usually only used as originally intended, to set exposure on manual film cameras without meters. Below is an image of my old Hanimex selenium cell meter.

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Old Aug 12, 2006, 7:09 AM   #5
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What to look for...

If you are in the market for a light meter what features are essential? First it should function as a reflected light meter and (more importantly) as an incident light meter. Secondly it should act as a flash meter so that studio lighting and other non-TTL flash units can be set up to give the effect you want. In my case a third consideration was cost, it had to be inexpensive. Below is a picture of the Sekonic with the lumisphere in each of its two positions. For detailed information on the Sekonic meter and an instruction manual visit the Sekonic site at http://www.sekonic.com/support/support_21.asp
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 7:34 AM   #6
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Here I have merged the diagram from the Sekonic quick start guide http://www.sekonic.com/images/files/...uick_Guide.pdf with a photograph of my meter to show the major parts.
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 7:52 AM   #7
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OK, enough pictures and detail trivia, how does it work?

First , set the meter in the correct mode and set the ISO.

Reflected light mode -
- This is just like the camera meter, point the face of the meter at the scene and push the button. The exposure information is now displayed on the LCD. The lens of the Sekonic should be uncovered for this method. Moving close to your subject allows you to measure the light from selectively smaller areas.

Incident light mode -
- This is where things take a different path. The most effective way to take an incident light reading is to walk up to your subject and aim the face of the meter at the camera position (as straight toward the lens as you can) and press the button. Again the exposure information is now displayed on the LCD. The "lumisphere" should be in place over the Sekonic's lens for this method.
- An alternate method, if you cannot get to your subjects location and you are in the same light, is to aim the face of your meter away from your subject from your location and get a reading there. This is slightly less accurate but should still be within a reasonable measure of the correct exposure.

There is a brief tutorial on incident light metering at The Luminous Landscape http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...s/meters.shtml

Under certain conditions the incident light reading can give a better exposure because it is not effected by the contrast of the subject matter and measures instead the light that falls on it.

I rarely use the meter for normal light readings, relying on the camera meter for that. I will get into the real reason I purchased the meter, for its flash metering feature, in a later post (unless someone else would like a shot at it).

Ira

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Old Aug 12, 2006, 7:53 AM   #8
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Hi Ira

Firstly, thank you for all the info so far, very useful. I am doing some of my own research at the moment, eg checking out different brands and model numbers and what functions and features each offer and of course price.

Secondly, I have got a question regarding flash metering. With my DS + built-in flash and DS + AFG360 flash, it can do P-TTL. Do you get a more consistent/better result with the light meter or they give about the same reading/result?

Thanks

Kenny
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 8:02 AM   #9
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kjao wrote:
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Secondly, I have got a question regarding flash metering. With my DS + built-in flash and DS + AFG360 flash, it can do P-TTL. Do you get a more consistent/better result with the light meter or they give about the same reading/result?
Kenny, I would assume that the P-TTL metering of the Pentax flash units would be very accurate. If they act like the earlier TTL units they control both aperture and flash output to produce very accurate results. I cannot say more then that because, other than the built in flash (which is severely limited by its low power) I do not own a P-TTL unit. I use the hand held meter to meter other manual flash units such as inexpensive studio lights and slave flash units. Sarah's flash thread http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=80deals with the details of TTL units.

Ira
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 9:10 AM   #10
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Thanks for beginning this thread, Ira. Very helpful information.

Regards, Lawrence
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