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Which hand held exposure meter?

Hal , Jul 19, 2002; 12:13 p.m.

I'm shooting in natural light and thought I might try out one of those hand held digital meters. The Sekonic 308 is appealing since it is small and does everything I need. My dealer says go for the 358. I'd appreciate your advice.


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Peter White , Jul 19, 2002; 12:37 p.m.

I went for the slightly larger L-408. It has a 5 degree spot meter with viewfinder. So you know exactly what it is you're metering. To me, that makes it far more useful than the L-308.


george b , Jul 19, 2002; 12:39 p.m.

Hal - I'd go to < http://www.sekonic com > and check the specs for both meters yourself. The 358 has almost every bell and whistle imaginable. If you need its capabilities, then it's the meter for you. If you just want a meter that will give you an accurate incident reading and a reflective reading - - and runs on a AA alkaline battery - - the the 308 will meet your requirements. One is large, one fits into your shirt pocket. I'm biased, as the 308 has served me well for several years.

Jay . , Jul 19, 2002; 12:46 p.m.

I second the L-408. I also have a Gossen Lunapro Digital F and the problem with it, like the 308, is I can't ever be sure of what it's reading. For use with a Leica M camera, the Sekonic L208 fits in the shoe and you can use the 90 framelines to aim the meter, but the readout is analog. I understand Gossen is now making a digital shoe-mount meter but I don't know the specs.

roger michel , Jul 19, 2002; 01:14 p.m.

pentax digital spot. the only way to make accurate readings AND the quickest way to go. want to preserve hilight detail -- point it brightest spot that still has detail and open two stops. want shadow detail -- point it at darkest sport that retains detail and close two stops. or just point it at a middle tone and you're good to go. what do people do with averaging meters?? with ambient meters??

Bill Mitchell , Jul 19, 2002; 01:17 p.m.

The Pentax Digital spot meter seems to me the only one which gives any real advantage over in-camera (or Leicameter) meters.

sparkie , Jul 19, 2002; 01:28 p.m.

if u think u will need a spot meter with incident capability, try the L608. it has a 1 degree spot and its viewfinder is so sharp and crisp. it has a dual reading mode and although it is larger than what i was intending to buy, i got used to carrying it around all over vietnam and cambodia. i had 2 M6TTL's and the dual iso reading mode was perfect. to get the 2nd iso reading u just hit one button with the equivalent f-stop or shutter setting, but u have to mess around a little when u want to roll around the other f-stops/s-speeds. it has a 9 spot averaging feature also and has a backlit reading in low-light/dark conditions. the reason i went for it was that for me when youre travelling i find a spot meter capability is more useful than the incident, as most time u just can't run up to the subject for whatever reason. i decide to go for the L608 instead of the 508 as it was a difference of only £40.00 extra and the viewfinder zoom is a million miles sharper than the one in the 508. It is 'the most advanced and latest handheld light-measuring instrument available in the photographic industry' - well, that statement was true when i bought it 3 months ago. nothing came close to it for size, features, usability and styling. pricey - as you'd expect!

James Song , Jul 19, 2002; 01:40 p.m.

You can never go wrong with Minolta Flash meter V. This spot meter measures ambient and flash light.You can take eight readings and it gives you the average,you can covert speed(30mins to 1/16,000sec)(Flash:30mins to 1/1,000sec, of f.stops(f.0.7 to f/90+0.9 (in 0.1 stop increments) or ASA(ISO rating 3 to 8000 in 1/3 stop increments).You can fix the optional accessory Viewfinder 5 degree or 10 degree for spot metering.This is a top range meter and worth investing your $$$$.

Mike Dixon , Jul 19, 2002; 01:47 p.m.

I'm also a 408 user, but if you don't need the 5-degree "spot," the 308 should do the job for you in a smaller package.

Skip Williams , Jul 19, 2002; 03:02 p.m.

My, my, what a plethora of opinions.

1. Why are you thinking you want to try a handleld meter? If you have a modern in-camera meter, it's right the vast majority of the time.

2. (Confession, I have and use both spot meters and handhelds)

3. Most of the spot-only meters are very similar: Pentax, Minolta, or the other one...... was it Sekonic?

4. Most of the handheld meters made these days fall into two main categories: with spot meter and every doo-dad known to man, and basic incident/reflected meters. All the main manufacturers make good models and have dedicated fans: Gossen, Sekonic, Minolta, and Polaris (did I leave one out?). There are also underwater, color temperture, and some other specialized meters.

Decide with the following questions: - Do you want a larger meter with the spot feature? - Do you want flash metering capability: corded or cordless? - Do you want digital or analog? - Do you need camera-shoe mounting?

Then take your pick. For a basic meter, pick an incident with cordless flash and digital readout. If you think you might want spot metering, get one of the combo meters ($$$) or a used spot meter.

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