Recommend me an affordable light meter.

Started Jun 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Accuracy of settings

Sailor Blue wrote:

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.

Unfortunately, this "accuracy" cannot be transferred to the camera. When in manual mode, which must be used with the meter, the maximum degree of discrimination between aperture settings is 1/3 stop (0.33).


Speedlights I have encountered cannot be set any finer than 1/3 stop either, except by moving the light nearer/further by very small degrees, which is an irksome procedure and appears extremely amateurish while being carried out in front of clients.

While we are at it.....

In Manual mode the shutter speed setting of the camera is also restricted to 1/3 stop increments. Auto settings, on the other hand, have continuously variable shutter speeds (A mode)and are therefore potentially capable of more accurately set exposure than is Manual mode.

This is one of the reasons, among others, that I rarely use Manual mode exposure setting on my camera, except when using studio type flash.

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