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light meters


  • although modern cameras all have sophisticated light meters built in, it can be very handy to use a dedicated light meter as these potentially allow more accurate and consistent exposures from shot to shot assuming light conditions remain the same, and are very handy when using flash in manual mode for more consistent exposures.
  • there are 3 main types:
    • incident/reflective meters
    • spot meters
    • combined incident/reflective/spot meters
  • most can measure ambient light or flash
  • the Sekonic Dual Masters have become very popular as they are so versatile and address the needs of most pro photographers by being weatherproof, combining ambient, corded, cumulative cordless and radio wireless flash modes with incident, reflective and 1deg spot metering as well as Cine functions.
  • spot meters usually use a 1 deg field of view for metering and this allows reflective metering from a distance such as for zone metering in landscapes, determining dynamic range of a scene, or for metering a flash on a face from a distance without resorting to incident metering at the subject's position.
  • a downside to spot meters is that they generally do not meter well in low light, particularly shadow areas, and the widest aperture they meter is f/2.0.

incident / reflective meters with flash metering capability

Sekonic Litemaster Pro L-478DR meters

  • colour touch screen interface
  • wireless flash power control
  • flash analyzer
  • optional 5deg spot accessory
  • AAA batteries
  • ~$400 with X-Rite ColorChecker Passport and Sekonic Gray Balance Card

Sekonic L-308 meters

  • 40deg reflective built-in
  • ambient, corded or cordless flash
  • no flash analysis
  • no cumulative flash
  • no wireless radio flash triggering
  • 1x AA battery
  • 95g
  • ~$200

Minolta light meter series

  • these were one of the most popular meters in the 1970's-1990's, although now have largely been replaced by the Sekonic ranges

Minolta Auto Meter V F / Kenko KFM-1100

  • introduced 2002
  • shutter speed with flash: 1 sec – 1/1000 s but added 1/3rd increment option
  • 2 memory places
  • analyze function; S/A/H metering; difference metering
  • ~$300

Minolta Flash Meter V

  • introduced 1995
  • shutter speed with flash: 30 min. – 1/1000 s
  • 8 memory places
  • analyze function

Minolta Auto Meter IV F

  • introduced 1992
  • shutter speed with flash limited to only 1s – 1/500 s
  • 2 memory places
  • no analyze function

Minolta Flash Meter IV

  • introduced 1988
  • shutter speed with flash: 30 min. – 1/8000 s
  • 2 memory places
  • analyze function

Minolta Auto Meter III F

  • introduced 1981
  • shutter speed with flash limited to only 1/60 s – 1/250 s
  • 2 memory places

Minolta Auto Meter III

  • introduced 1981
  • no flash metering
  • 2 memory places

spot meters

Minolta Spotmeter F

  • introduced in 1981
  • 1 x AA battery
  • ISO 12-6400
  • shutter speeds 30min - 1/8000th sec in ambient mode
  • shutter speeds 1sec - 1/1000th sec in flash mode
  • cine mode 1/50th sec for 24fps movies
  • shutter speeds changed in 1 stop increments
  • ISO changed in 1/3rd EV increments
  • accuracy +/- 0.1 EV repeatability
  • threaded PC sync terminal to secure optional Sync Cord II
  • highlight (+2.3EV) and shadow (-2.7EV) bias modes (biases are based on 5-stop slide film dynamic range) in addition to averaging mode (measure a highlight then a shadow area) and the default 18% gray “mid-tone” mode
  • choose either f no or EV display
  • adjustable eyepiece diopter and 1 degree spot in a 12x17deg field of view fixed focus lens (1.3m to infinity - there is an optional close up lens)
  • viewfinder display of meter measurement
  • may need to block eyepiece to ensure extraneous light does not affect metering when eye not looking through it
  • standard 1/4 - 20 tripod socket
  • meter calibration adjustment
  • memory can hold 2 readings but only in midtone metering mode - useful for determining contrast ratios
  • 240g

combined incident/reflective/1deg spot flash meters

Minolta Flash Meter VI / Kenko KFM-2100

  • introduced 2002
  • 10 memory places
  • analyze function
  • S/A/H function
  • latitude display function
  • ISO 3 – 8000 in 1/3rd EV increments
  • shutter speeds 30min - 1/16,000th sec in ambient mode
  • shutter speeds 30min - 1/1000th sec in flash mode
  • cine mode 1/50th sec for 24fps movies
  • shutter speeds changed in 1, 1/2 or 1/3rd stop increments
  • widest apertures: f/2.0 in spot; f1.0 other modes;
  • 170g
  • ~$640

Sekonic DUALMASTER L-758 meter

  • 2006-
  • use lithium batteries
  • 270g
  • L-758Cine DigitalMaster
    • different versions for various radio freq regions
    • can calibrate meter to work with dynamic range of your camera via recording images of one of Sekonic's Exposure Profile Targets or one of X-Rite's ColorChecker series targets
    • has extended Cine fps functions, filter factor function, cine shutter angles
  • L-758DR DigitalMaster
    • radio triggering
    • ~$760
  • L-758D DigitalMaster is only for CE radio frequency regions
    • ?no radio triggering

Sekonic L-358 meter

  • 2001-
  • optional wireless triggering
  • cumulative flash
  • optional spot accessory 1°, 5°, 10°

non-current Sekonic models

Sekonic DUALMASTER L-558 meter

  • 2003-?
  • weatherproof
  • ISO 3-8000
  • shutter speeds 30min - 1/8000th sec in ambient mode
  • shutter speeds 30min - 1/1000th sec in flash mode
  • cine mode 1/50th sec for 24fps movies
  • shutter speeds changed in 1, 1/2 or 1/3rd stop increments
  • 1 degree spot to flash output as low as f/2.0 light levels (optional 2deg spot converter)
  • incident flash to f/0.5 light levels
  • corded flash or auto- reset cordless flash metering
  • optional RT-32 module for radio wireless flash triggering of PocketWizard-connected flashes or Sekonic radio wave receiver connected flashes (RR-32 or RR-4 units) - must specify radio frequency region (eg. CE 433 MHz for Australia or FVV & IC 344MHz for US)
  • cumulative flash mode
  • ambient mode
  • automatic LCD panel illumination in low light
  • exposure compensation function
  • filter compensation function
  • ratio of flash to ambient analysis to give % measurement
  • memory can store 9 measurements and can average all stored measurements
  • 1/4“ tripod socket
  • 268g

Sekonic DUALMASTER L-608 meter

  • 2001-2004
  • further improved the L-508 by adding:
    • zoom viewfinder display
    • eyepiece diopter adjustment
    • separate incident and reflective exposure compensation
    • filter factor compensation
    • averaging can be done for 9 measurements not just 3
    • 1/2 or 1/3rd EV increments
    • optional wireless radio flash triggering
    • CR-123A lithium battery instead of AA battery

Sekonic ZOOM MASTER L-508 meter

Sekonic DUAL SPOT F L-778 meter

  • 1992-2002
photo/light_meters.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/30 00:35 by gary1

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