Recommend me an affordable light meter.

Started Jun 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 12,403
Re: Recommend me an affordable light meter.

photogizmo wrote:

I am not familiar with the quality of light meters so I was wondering whether anyone can advise on affordable accurate light meters.

Sekonic is a little pricey for their 308s so are there other alternatives of similar quality??

In my opinion the L-308 lacks some of the capabilities I want in a meter.

Different cameras have different real world sensitivities and different lenses can change the sensitivity too. My recommendation is that you get one that can be recalibrated so that you make the meter reading match the actual sensitivity of your camera and lens combinations.

These meters can be used in either shutter priority, generally for flash, or aperture priority, for available light. These meters can also readout the % of flash vs ambient light which is great for using off-camera fill flash outdoors.

The bottom of the line meters I recommend are the Gossen DigiPro F and the Sekonic L-358. The new L-478 is a bit more expensive but it does have some additional capabilities, especially if you use some of the Pocket Wizard RF triggers.

Unless you are invested in Pocket Wizard RF triggers you can save money by getting the L-358 without the PW RF trigger module.  Used flash meters are a good deal but you should get one that can be recalibrated because they can drift slightly over the years.

What are the pros and cons between a digital and analogue light meter?

Digital is hands down is easier to read - an absolute 0.1 stop readout vs a guessed 0.2 stops.

For flash a 0.1 stop readout will let you adjust the power of your hot-shoe flash or studio strobe to the exact power needed to give you the perfect exposure for the aperture chosen.

With ambient light you have two choices. You can mentally convert the display from something like 5.6 8 to approximately 5.6+2/3 stop or f/7.1. You can also change the meter so that it reads out to the nearest 1/3 stop to match the aperture and shutter speed values of your camera.

Also does a person really need a light meter these days now that we have Digital technology?

Sekonic - Why You Need a Light Meter for Photography - YouTube

Are there other methods that can replace what a light meter does in outdoor, indoor and flash photography situations.

Yes. You can use things like white cards for the Expose To The Right technique and lots of test shots. Here is how to make ETTR easier by using the camera's Highlight Alert.

Sailorblue - Digital Photography Review - HA-ETTR: An Easier Way To Expose To The Right Using The Camera's Highlight Alert

The white card described in the notes is what I call the poor man's incident meter and it can be used outdoors or with flash to get the right exposure. The trade off is $3 for a white card and lots of wasted time finding the right exposure vs the money for a good flash meter and getting the exposure the first shot.  When I have a model in front of my camera I don't want to waste my time or theirs so I use my L-358.

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