Sekonic L508

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by sonsdad, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. sonsdad

    sonsdad Guest

    Does anyone know anything about the Sekonic L508 meter. I have the chance to
    buy one for £160 but would like to know if this is a good meter/

    Thanking you all
    sonsdad, Oct 14, 2003
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  2. sonsdad

    Steve Kramer Guest

    I use one in my studio often. It's a very accurate and reliable meter
    but overpriced. Also, you need a cable to connect it to studio lighting.
    But if you can get a good deal on one, go for it. I got rid of my Gossen
    Lunar Pro when I began using the Sekonic.

    Steve Kramer
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Steve Kramer, Oct 14, 2003
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  3. sonsdad

    The Dave© Guest

    I have one, and it is a very good meter. I agree with the overpriced
    comment from Mr Kramer, though.
    The Dave©, Oct 14, 2003
  4. sonsdad

    Steve Kramer Guest

    (Thanks for the good manners, but please call me Steve or just Kramer.
    Usually it's only the police who call me Mister.)

    I think if the L508 had an optical or IR slave function built in it
    would have been worth the money. I have everything else in my studio on
    IR slaves, and it really cuts down on the cable mess. But when I need to
    use the meter I have to plug it in and I ALWAYS trip over the damn wire!

    Steve Kramer
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Steve Kramer, Oct 14, 2003
  5. sonsdad

    The Dave© Guest

    Will do.
    You use yours far more than I use mine, that's obvious. I originally
    went in to buy another brand (Gossen?, I forget) that was supposed to
    be of the same level. The Sekonic was $50 more, but once I held them
    both and tried them both out, I knew I'd be happier with the Sekonic in
    spite of the higher price. The other one didn't feel user-friendly,
    whereas the Sekonic felt natural and was easier for me to use and learn
    even right there in the store.
    The Dave©, Oct 14, 2003
  6. sonsdad

    sonsdad Guest


    Thanks for the advice. I have assumed when you say the meter is overpriced
    you are meaning the list price not the price I will pay?

    Thanks to you all
    sonsdad, Oct 14, 2003
  7. sonsdad

    Alan Browne Guest

    I got mine on a "student sale" (not that I'm a student) and even at that
    it was quite expensive. I could not use it with my Minolta flashes in
    Wireless mode (there is a 'pre-pop') so I sold the meter at a slight loss.

    Very good meter. £160 seems a bargain (even used).

    I bought a Minolta VF last year and it is very good, if not quite as
    good on features as the 508.

    Alan Browne, Oct 14, 2003
  8. sonsdad

    Steve Kramer Guest

    That was what sold me too. I bought mine in Japan and the only
    instructions that came with it were in Japanese. My reading is not
    fluent so it was the user-friendly feel of the meter that convinced me
    to buy it. In less than 10 minutes I had the entire thing down pat.
    Later downloading of English language manuals showed me that I was
    correct. At that time I wasn't using studio lights so often, and then
    only with my Gossen match needle, so I never thought to check out the
    'how to' with the 508 when I was buying. Now I just plug in the cord.

    Steve Kramer
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Steve Kramer, Oct 15, 2003
  9. sonsdad

    Steve Kramer Guest

    That's correct. The "LIST" price is too high for a meter that doesn't
    have built in slave functions. The price you are offered looks very

    Steve Kramer
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Steve Kramer, Oct 15, 2003
  10. sonsdad

    sonsdad Guest


    I bought the meter for the price I said, it seems fine to me. Thanks for all
    your advice. I am slightly unsure of what should be the default settings for
    spotmetering. If Steve can help here I would be grateful. Also any other
    advice would be welcome.

    sonsdad, Oct 17, 2003
  11. sonsdad

    Steve Kramer Guest

    I'd love to help, but I really don't understand what you mean by
    'default settings for the spotmetering.' Please drop me an e-mail as
    I've got three straight days of shooting assigments and won't get to see
    this board much and might miss your reply. But in the meantime, you can
    download the full L-508 manual in HTML form at

    or in pdf form at

    Drop me a line and I'll see if I can't confuse you a bit more. :eek:)

    Steve Kramer
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Steve Kramer, Oct 17, 2003
  12. sonsdad

    Alan Browne Guest

    Okay, now that we have tricked you into buying that sleezy piece of trash...


    Sekonic meters seem to be about 2/3 stop away from other meters, such as
    Minolta. (the 18% v. 12% grey issue). So it is common to bias the
    Sekonic meter by -2/3 using the bias setting. This is great for the
    incident meter but if you then spot meter an 18% grey card, you will
    overexpose by 2/3. The bias applies to both the spot and the incident.

    Alan Browne, Oct 17, 2003
  13. sonsdad

    The Dave© Guest

    It has an ability to bias it self, or compensate (ostensibly for
    filters, etc.), so coyuldn't you adjust the 2/3 stop in and use it
    The Dave©, Oct 17, 2003
  14. I've heard this a lot about Sekonic meters, I'd notice 2/3rds of a stop
    with my L408B but it doesn't seem to happen. That said, you have to
    understand the meter reading and account for your metering technique
    (especially when translating a reading down to 1/10 of a stop to an
    aperture/shutter speed combination).

    Further investigation reveals:

    "Often, it is asserted that average reflectivity is 18 per cent, as
    formalised with the well-known 18 per cent grey card, but this is not
    true: 18 per cent is merely a visual mid-tone. The standard reflectivity
    to which reflected-light meters (including in-camera meters) are
    calibrated is 12.5 per cent, though some manufactures apparently
    introduce variations to this standard which they think give better

    The Black and White Handbook, Roger Hicks & Francis Schultz, Pg75,
    ISBN 0-7153-0572-7

    The L408B appears to be calibrated to 12.5% for reflective if I'm
    reading the spec correctly.
    John Halliwell, Oct 17, 2003
  15. sonsdad

    Alan Browne Guest

    And what validates this assertion? (rhetorical)
    Yes, as are all Sekonic meters. I've never done this (but I will soon,
    there are three guys with Sekonics in my p club) but I want to compare a
    Sekonic to a Minolta meter.

    Alan Browne, Oct 17, 2003
  16. sonsdad

    Alan Browne Guest

    The compensation is not for filters, (and it would be clumsy going and
    you risk forgetting to return to non-filtered bias) but for exposure.
    I'm not clear on what you mean above by straight...if you mean leave the
    meter unbiased and then compensate on camera, then, yes I
    personal preference is to calibrate out error or bias in the measuring
    tool and then use the tool's settings directly on the camera (with
    compensation on camera for filters or other reasons).

    If you were to do critical exposure tests with your camera, your lens
    and your preferred slide film, you might derive a bias that is a bit
    different than mine. OTOH, the straight correction that I had dialed in
    was -2/3 and that gave "good" exposures for my use. I never used the
    spot meter in the 508 'cause it was so far off from the spotmeter in my
    Maxxum 9 that I didn't trust the 508. The Max9's spot meter is bang on.

    Alan Browne, Oct 17, 2003
  17. sonsdad

    The Dave© Guest

    As I understand it, you can have the meter add as many stops as you
    want, to compensate for a polarizer filter, for example, and the meter
    will then read the light, and automatically add whatever you have
    specified and give you a setting/reading. In a similar way, you could
    add 2/3 stop, for the meter itself, and be done with it. Theoretically
    speaking, of course. Not an ideal solution, obviously, but a
    The Dave©, Oct 17, 2003
  18. Careful about having the meter quietly do the math and give you a
    'corrected' reading... This bit me at my daughters wedding when working with
    a brand new Sekonic, I forgot to correct the correction when I changed
    Dennis O'Connor, Oct 17, 2003
  19. sonsdad

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Already have done that. I was helping out with a large format shoot, and the
    photographer had a Minolta meter. Just for a comparison on several of the
    shots, I metered with the Minolta, and with my Sekonic, and the results were
    always the same. In fact, I think I would get more variance on metering
    technique, than with differences in meters.

    Having rented many meters prior to buying my own, I often did a bracket film
    test first, and compared that to my notes. The idea is to have the film match
    the meter. So I use a film I am familiar with, bracket a roll, develop
    normally, then compare the frames to the notes. I have found some rental
    meters to be slightly off, but never more than 1/3 stop, which is acceptable
    for many situations.

    When I bought my Sekonic L-358, it was to replace a broken Gossen. I really
    wanted another Gossen, but I had a need for a flash and ambient meter, and
    the latest from Gossen did not seem to offer as much as the Sekonic. When I
    got my L-358, I immediately did three bracket tests with films and lighting
    that I use the most. Every roll was exactly accurate to what I needed, and
    the notes matched with the results. If it would have been off, I would have
    sent it back to Sekonic to have it recalibrated.

    I urge purchase of a new meter, since it is possible to have it recalibrated
    under warranty, if it is off what it should read. Also, spot metering can
    vary greatly with metering technique, so taking several readings is often a
    good choice. Even with incident readings, taking two or three readings at
    different areas can be a good idea for some lighting situations.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Oct 17, 2003
  20. When I got my L358 I immediately dug out my old meters, some going back over
    60 years... There was less than one stop variation among the entire pile..
    Interestingly, the oldest of the bunch, a GE meter intended for use with
    movie cameras was less than a half stop different from the 21st century,
    whiz bang, flash meter under average daylight conditions... Of course, non
    of the old, unpowered meters have the range of the Sekonic..

    Dennis O'Connor, Oct 17, 2003
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