Off camera light meters worth having these days?

2 months 4 weeks ago #735683 by Roman Omell
I'm on Craigslist and found a L-358 Sekonic light better for pretty cheap.  Just wondering are these even worth having these days considering how advanced cameras have gotten?  

I guess what I'm wondering is if there are any situations where a physical light meter would be needed where a in camera meter wouldn't handle?  


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2 months 4 weeks ago #735685 by CharleyL
In my studio I won't do without one. It makes setting the strobe lights up for shoots much easier. Otherwise many test shots are needed to get 2-5 strobes all at the correct levels. Sekonic is a good brand. In the field it is useful, but not used as much because there is usually plenty of light from the Sun and my flashes are usually just used for fill in lighting of shadowed faces. Which model light meter you buy is more your choice. Mine are what I consider to be basic minimum, especially in the studio.

I have two Sekonic L-308X-U. My first one developed a power on problem a little less than a year after purchase, so it was sent in for repair. I was desperate without it, so bought another. They replaced the circuit board and returned it in less than 2 weeks under warranty. All I needed was proof of purchase for the date. 

Now one light meter is in my field kit and one in my studio. Each is back-up for the other should this kind of problem ever happen again, and I have less chance of forgetting it when doing work out of the studio too. I have two Godox X Pro transmitters for the same reason. I still have two 40+ year old light meters in my collection, but don't use them any more because I just don't trust them. Neither is as easy to use as the Sekonic meters either. I tried using the newer of the two when my first Sekonic developed the problem, but it had to be connected to my flash transmitter with a sync cord to see the flash (fortunately still had a few) and it was just hard to get good readings with, so I quickly ordered my second Sekonic that same day. For flash you just need to preset it to trigger the measurement. There are no complicated and easy to mis-adjust dials to set the camera shutter speed and ISO settings either. It's all set on the LCD screen with a mode button and an ISO button, with the level settings then dialed up and down with side buttons positioned like the volume buttons on a cell phone. The flash trigger preset button is on the edge where the power button is located on a cell phone too. Once the preset button is pressed, when it sees the flash it provides the reading with no hassle. There are more expensive models with more features, some even for video, but I haven't felt that I needed them, at least not yet. Maybe when I get more involved in making videos I'll find a need for one.

Charley


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2 months 4 weeks ago #735692 by r1ch

Roman Omell wrote: I'm on Craigslist and found a L-358 Sekonic light better for pretty cheap.  Just wondering are these even worth having these days considering how advanced cameras have gotten?  

I guess what I'm wondering is if there are any situations where a physical light meter would be needed where a in camera meter wouldn't handle?  


I have one of those. I use it in studio. I have used it to measure the EV then converted it to Lux to rate LED light brightness. Old school people use them all the time. New school people don't, they expose for the background with camera then add lights and feel they don't want a meter telling them what to do, it limit's their creativity. I like Gavin Hoey with Adorama. He uses one exclusively and shows how to use a light meter with simple and complex lighting set ups.

I would not pay over $100 bucks for that meter. You can buy a New sekonic 308x-U for $219 and a used one for less. T he 358 allows you to program 2 different ISO's I think that is the only real difference and It has a transmitter chip for old wilreless light triggers. Nothing for godox though.


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2 months 4 weeks ago #735693 by r1ch

CharleyL wrote: Once the preset button is pressed, when it sees the flash it provides the reading with no hassle

I have used the sync cord and connected to a Godox trigger and taped the 2 together programming the trigger not to send out any light value changes. Hold that up to the models face and press the button and the lights go off.  I works well but is bulky. I was considering buying a  godox A1 and even though it is only 20 buck I can also trigger the lights with my cell phone or just carry my camera and click the shutter.. How do you remotely trigger your lights when you are standing next to the model?


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2 months 3 weeks ago #735732 by Ziggy
How are you liking that Godox trigger?  I've been seeing people talking about these and how they saved them $$.  Have you had any problems with yours?


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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #735736 by Screamin Scott
I'm a bit old school as I have an older analog Sekonic L-398. That said, I never use it anymore...I also have an older Vivitar flash meter 2 as well as an older Spiratone flash meter that never gets used... Time to sell some of this older gear. Oh, I also have a couple of older Luna Pros as well...

Scott Ditzel Photography

www.flickr.com/photos/screaminscott/

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2 months 3 weeks ago #735773 by CharleyL
"How are you liking that Godox trigger?  I've been seeing people talking about these and how they saved them $$.  Have you had any problems with yours?"

I had some old wireless trigger systems that were a bit unreliable and did not allow light adjustments from the camera transmitter. They, and the lights were 10+ years old and a mixture of brands. I spent considerable time looking at different brands of lights and controls. I'm not on a Pro Photo  budget, but wanted reliability and full control from the camera. Several photo friends suggested Godox and their X communication system. Initially, I bought an X2Tc transmitter and two TT600 speedlites, because the hot shoe on top of the X2Tc transmitter would let me stack my old transmitter on it to let me continue to use my old lights along with the new Godox speedlites.

This was a game changer and I quickly vowed to switch to Godox and dump my old lights just as fast as budget allowed. I have never had a flash failure because of a Godox X system failure. Operator failure, yes, but not because of the equipment or the X communication system, I was just beginning to build my studio when making this decision, so plans to buy all of the studio strobes from Godox that had their X System receivers built-in became my goal. I now 2 1/2 years later have 5 Godox Speedlites and 7 Studio Strobes, along with the X2Tc, which is now a back-up to 3 Godox X Pro Transmitters (for different brands of cameras). I couldn't be happier with it all.

Adorama Flashpoint is rebranded Godox. Adorama repairs Flashpoint and provides better warranties. Godox warranty is very short, basically to assure that you get a working unit. I actually have both brands of equipment, having bought some of my lights through Amazon under the Godox name before learning this. I haven't had any failures, but would likely have bought Flashpoint if I had known this sooner. 

When using my Seconic light meter, I take my Godox transmitter off the camera and hold it in my left hand with my Seconic light meter in my right. For each reading I press the "set" button on the light meter, and then the "test" button on the Godox transmitter to trigger the flash. Then the reading on the Seconic display is the measured light level, if the ISO and shutter speeds have been set correctly on the light meter to match the camera settings. Having the Godox transmitter in left hand then lets me make adjustments to the light or select a different light to test so I can set each light before returning to the camera. The X Pro transmitters can control up to 16 groups of lights, but if you want to use TTL, you are limited to 5 groups. 

The X2T transmitters will only control 5 groups and have TTL capability, but they also have Bluetooth capability that lets you leave the X2T transmitter on your camera and use an App on your cell phone. This App adjusts the light level settings of each light from the cell phone and test trigger the light, so when you go back to the camera, all of the settings in the transmitter are correct and you are ready to shoot without the need to take the X2T transmitter off of the camera. You use the App on the cell phone in one hand and the Seconic or other light meter in the other hand to walk around and make the light level adjustments. The App controls the transmitter on the camera, which then controls the lights. Everything is set and ready when you get back to the camera. It's pretty slick, but the X Pro transmitters don't have this capability, at least not yet.

I do like their new hot shoe connector, which I have on my X2T transmitter, but not on my X Pro transmitters. On the X2T the hot shoe locks and released with about a 1/4 turn of the nut. There is a button on the nut that locks it. Push the button and slide it sideways to lock or unlock it on the camera hot shoe. This feature is now coming out on the new X Pro transmitters, but the older versions, like mine, do not have this. All support high speed sync.

Charley


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2 months 3 weeks ago #735800 by r1ch

Ziggy wrote: How are you liking that Godox trigger?  I've been seeing people talking about these and how they saved them $$.  Have you had any problems with yours?

So most of my stuff is Flashpoint, for the reason Charley said, they cover the warranty aspects of the product. But I have not had one issue with any of the Godox/flashpoint products (They are rebranded as Pixapro in Europe I believe.)

One thing. Flashes like the Ad600 AD400,360ii, 200 which are all portable battery opterated are not water resistant Do not get them wet or operate them in rain. They will fry and I know some people who had fried them and it is not covered in warranty. Most other brands are not covered either. They have fans in them and they will try to suck in dust and water. I use the 600s on a motocrorss track and they handle the dust ok and I blow them out with compressed air. That said, I would not say they are fragile either but you don't want water to get inside them.
This guy does the same thing I do but in England it rains all the time. So if you are carerull they work well. I have never had an issue with misfire or electronic failure. I have never had issues with compatibility but I have read online that some people have and were resolved in a firmware update.


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2 months 3 weeks ago #735869 by Crammer
Not for my needs.  My camera does everything I need.  


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2 months 2 weeks ago #736376 by Ontherocks
Yeah, I’m with you Crammer, I’m OK with what the camera dishes out 


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2 months 2 weeks ago #736512 by Happy Snapper
Man, I haven't used one in years as well.  I actually have one here somewhere.  LOL I might need to find and sell on Craigslist!  

Gripped Nikon D810 --- Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 --- Sigma 10-20mm f/4 --- Nikon 50mm f/1.4 --- SB600
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2 months 1 week ago #736645 by Roman Omell
I left a message for the seller, if condition is legit and working, I think I'll pick it up. 


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2 months 1 week ago #736661 by CharleyL
I don't know when this changed, but older light meters needed to be attached o the strobe or transmitter with a sync cord in order for the light meter to "see" the flash.
The newer meters, like my Seconic L-308 X don't need the sync cord. You preset the meter to see the flash with a button on the side of it. Then, when the flash occurs, It displays the reading, so the flash transmitter or the flash do not need to be connected via the cable to the light meter. I find this much more convenient that plugging and unplugging a sync cord for each measurement. Even when using a long sync cable, this becomes a significant annoyance. 

I try to keep power cables, sync cables and stands off my small studio floor for safety reasons. This is yet one more reason to use a newer light meter that doesn't require a sync cable. Everything possible is attached to the studio ceiling. I do use stands for lights, but only until I know where their ideal location is. Then it gets attached to the ceiling support grid. Anyone who wants to know more can search my previous posts, as I have provided considerable information about it.

Charley 


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