light meter advice needed please : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am new to large format photography and am looking into purchasing a light meter. I would like to be able to use the meter with my 35mm system as well, and as a result am considering the Sekonic L-508 for its all around performance. I am looking for advice as to whether or not this is a wise choice? Does this meter function as a good spot meter for large format? How would you rate the performance of this meter? Does it seem to be accurate? Thank you for any input!!!

-- john bartos (, November 23, 1998


Dear John, well I' d buy the seconic because... I recently did! I was a great choice and up until now I have no complaint whatsoever. Very accurate in spot and incident reading and very cheap as well! I changed a Minolta IV for it! Regards

-- andrea milano (, November 24, 1998.

John, I too am evaluating which light meter to purchase. One drawback of the Sekonic 508, as I understand it, is that there is no viewfinder readout. Therefore, you can't just point at different spots and instantly compare light readings for different spots in the scene, but need to look on the side of the camera after each reading. By comparison, the Pentax digital spot meter gives you instance viewfinder readouts, but lacks some of the other nice features of the Sekonic. Has anyone used both the Sekonic and Pentax? How would you compare them?

Also, the Pentax spot meter can be modified by Zone VI to give what is touted to be much more accurate readings. Is it worth it to get a spot metered modified in this way? Does the Zone VI modification increase the accuracy for exposing color slides in addition to black and white negatives?

-- Howard Slavitt (, November 24, 1998.

John, you might also want to check out the bulletin board at the Sekonic website. I looked there a few weeks back and there were a lot of threads discussing the Sekonic 508.

-- Howard Slavitt (, November 24, 1998.

The Sekonic is a fine meter. Iuse the Minolta Spot F because I like the readout and system.

-- Ellis (, November 25, 1998.

I've been led to believe that it's better to meter in the film plane, but this only really works properly with something like a Sinar which has a special metering back that accepts a probe.

I use a Minolta Flashmeter 5 with a Booster attachment (at least, I did until it was stolen). This allows for metering off the glass of any view camera. This has the benefit of allowing metering of very small areas, and compensating automatically for different bellows extensions and filters.

Sekonic and Gossen also make similar devices for some of their meters.

-- David Nash (, November 25, 1998.

I have been using the l-508 for about 6 months now and love it. The variable spot feature comes in handy. I also like to use the 3 reading memory feature. It is a tough meter too. It is well engineered. The only complaint I have is that multiple readings are not shown as a digital value. They are marked on a scale. The only digital output on the display is for the most recent reading.

-- tom ingrassia (, November 30, 1998.

My advice: Don't buy until you've tried a Pentax Digital Spotmeter. Simple, rugged, convenient, and intuitive. Forget the Zone XI mod -- it's a joke.

-- Sean Donnelly (, December 05, 1998.

I just bought a Sekonic L508 and used it for the week-end. My color slide exposures are all dead on. I spent about 20 minutes playing with it with the manual sitting next to me; that's all that's needed to familiarize yourself with it's many features. My only criticism is that the finish is cheap and there isn't a lot of attention paid to smoothing out rough edges. Assuming it holds up as a working tool in the field, it's a great tool. It's extremely convenient to have both incident and spot meter in one.

-- Howard Slavitt (, December 07, 1998.

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