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Tell me about your Sekonic L-208 Light Meter
Old 06-18-2014   #1
kshapero
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Tell me about your Sekonic L-208 Light Meter

Tell me about your experience using this classic light meter. Found a nice used one at the LCS. Ever attached it to your flash mount shoe?
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Old 06-18-2014   #2
lrochfort
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I don't know that I would class it as a classic, but I like mine.

It's small and accurate and the battery lasts forever. I've never bothered with a flash shoe because I always incident meter, but only when the light changes so much that I can't adjust for the difference myself. It stays in my pocket most of the time.

The ergonomics aren't brilliant, but for the size of the device are reasonable.
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Old 06-18-2014   #3
giulio stucchi
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Hi Akiva,
my main lightmeter is a gossen lunasix but I´m using the L208 a lot if I want something lighter to carry with me.
With my M2 I normally use it hand held as I found it too big for a film M flash shoe.
Or i use a cheap wirst strap from an old mobile phone or similar with it, I find it very practical this way.
It is a nice piece of plastic...I dropped mine once a couple of years ago and the needle for metering is now bent but still works fine.
On bigger cameras (polaroid 195 and 600se) I was very happy to put it on the flash mount shoe. The mount of the 208 is made of plastic but comes with a rubber ring, it´s very stable once mounted on the flash shoe.
It does the job, if you can get one for cheap go for it.
Hope this helps you.
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Old 06-18-2014   #4
pete hogan
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I like its small size since I always use the neck lanyard. And I prefer its analog meter and dial operation. Quite adequate for my needs. I would definitely buy another one.
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Old 06-18-2014   #5
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Thanks folks, good to know.
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Old 06-18-2014   #6
Tijmendal
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I've been looking for a small, pocketable lightmeter that's acurate: this is pretty much ít, right?
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Old 06-18-2014   #7
mh2000
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I never felt mine was that accurate. It's a cute little meter, but I was never impressed.
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Old 06-18-2014   #8
mh2000
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Oh, and never attached to my hot shoe. It's just too big for that IMO.
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Old 06-18-2014   #9
sevo
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It is accurate within its small scale, but not when compared to full size or digital display meters - that is, you can't expect consistent readings beyond 1/2 stop accuracy, simply because of needle parallax. Also, the measurement pattern in reflected mode seems odd, compared to my higher end meters, and pointing it slightly off may cause inconsistencies of up to +/-1.5 EV either way. That is, it is a good "better than nothing" meter - but where the light is really difficult I'd rather pack something ten times its weight and bulk.
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Old 06-18-2014   #10
Ko.Fe.
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If I compare it with my TTL cameras metering and iPhone meter it doesn't match.

One of the big advantages of it is to be able to measure incident light.
This one is good enough for it. Bright light, low light, doesn't matter.

How do you judge if meter is accurate? I do it by negatives only.
All of b/w negs are good for scanning and printing with metering done by L-208 for me.

Haven't done enough of color film to judge, just not doing it often.
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Old 06-18-2014   #11
Anthony Harvey
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I agree entirely with sego - that's been my exact experience too. Handy to have though.

The integral incident meter is useful - I find it more accurate than the reflected method cos exact pointing isn't so necessary.
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Old 06-18-2014   #12
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If I make sure my Sekonic is pointed slightly downward it seems to work fine. It is very good if I actually walk right up and meter my subject directly.

If the proof is in the pudding then I have to recommend it. My negatives come out great. It is very easy to carry and gives more consistent results than Sunny 16.
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Old 06-18-2014   #13
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Just don't drop it or hit it against anything. They're not the toughest little things. I like mine, but I was careless with it a couple of times and had to pay for it. Otherwise, I take a light reading off my hand or the asphalt or some other surface with it. Difficult light situations are not for any meter and this one's no exception.
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Old 06-18-2014   #14
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I also a user who prefer to keep the Twinmate in incident mode primarily. Pioneer is right about walking close to the subject for a better reflected reading, but for my type of photography, it's just much faster to take a general incident reading and go from there.

Light sensitivity is not great at the low end, but that's not usually an issue since it's easy to remember exposure for those situations.

I carry mine on a retractable string that clips to my belt. Cost me $2.50 and it works very well in practice.

Tijmendal an alernative would be the Gossen DigiSix.
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Accuracy vs Precision
Old 06-18-2014   #15
pete hogan
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Accuracy vs Precision

Sekonic says the 208 is accurate, and I suppose they would know.

But there's more to the problem, like the color temperature of the subject and the color temperature for which the meter was calibrated, which will be a factor for all lightmeters. What some might question is its precision or repeatability, same meter under the same conditions. Or are they really the same conditions? Just looks that way? All assuming a meter that's not beat-up and that has a good battery. Nice that the 208 is not too hard on its battery.

It's fine to judge the results by the negatives or the slides, but that introduces the error of your camera's shutter speeds into the judgement too.

So we have a sort of ad hoc, improvised solution that gives us pretty good results.
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Old 06-18-2014   #16
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Only use it in incident, too wide to my taste for reflected. Nice size, excellent battery life and easy to find battery. The little pouch that is with it is a bit cumbersome. And it does shift the iso too easy I find.
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Old 06-18-2014   #17
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The button that actuates the light reading is not conveniently placed for measuring from a camera hot shoe. I agree with most of the comments so far, but would add that one thing that decreases its precision is that the ISO scale for setting is tiny, so regardless of the meter's accuracy, you cannot set that scale to a 1/3 stop level with any consistency. When I used to shoot more slides that was a slight issue, but it does not bother me with negative film.

It is definitely small, light, and great if you tend to like non-digital user interfaces.
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Old 06-18-2014   #18
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Gave mine away. Junky and inaccurate. Went back to the L308s.
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Old 06-18-2014   #19
john_s
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I didn't find mine to be very accurate or consistent. The L-308s is very much better.
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Old 06-18-2014   #20
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It's not a very accurate meter. Best for negs.
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Old 06-25-2014   #21
bhop73
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I shoot 400iso film usually, but I have to set my L208 for "around" 200iso for accurate exposures. Other than that, it's size makes it convenient.
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Old 06-25-2014   #22
Vincent.G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
Tell me about your experience using this classic light meter. Found a nice used one at the LCS. Ever attached it to your flash mount shoe?
It's small, light and affordable. I always use it as an incident light meter. It's too big to be mounted on the hot shoe. The Voigtlander VC Meter is better in that aspect IMHO.

My kids used my L-208 to play soccer a few times but it still functions well.
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Old 01-04-2020   #23
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Old thread, but I was looking into these because I want a smaller meter than my Minolta Flash Meter IV (overkill for ambient light) - is the L208 inherently less accurate, or does the combination of it being hard to aim, the slack in the dial/iso controls, all adding up to error?

Kinda torn between this guy, the gossen digisix, or picking up a used L308 for around the same price...
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Old 01-04-2020   #24
Timmyjoe
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I've got a couple of the L308's. One in going on 30 years old.

I tried the L-208 because I thought the small size would be an asset, turns out my old eyes couldn't read the numbers on the meter without my reading glasses, which I don't use when doing photography. So it ended up being worthless for my needs and went back to where I bought it from.

YMMV.

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Old 01-04-2020   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarageBoy View Post
Old thread, but I was looking into these because I want a smaller meter than my Minolta Flash Meter IV (overkill for ambient light) - is the L208 inherently less accurate, or does the combination of it being hard to aim, the slack in the dial/iso controls, all adding up to error?

Kinda torn between this guy, the gossen digisix, or picking up a used L308 for around the same price...
I've got a Flash Meter IV also, and eventually I just got used to carrying it around. I also have the original Gossen Digisix (the new Digisix 2 seems exactly the same except that the dial is white-on-black rather than vice-versa) and while its readings are pretty accurate, to me it seems very cheesy and inconveniently designed. The construction is very plasticky, especially the dial, and the procedure for accessing the menus to set ISO and other functions is kind of a pain (involves holding down one button until the display flashes, pressing the other button until the function you want is displayed, etc... you can download the instruction manual here if you want: https://gossen-photo.de/en/digisix-2/) Also, there's no on/off switch, and even though Gossen claims one isn't necessary because power consumption is very low, I often pull mine out and find that the battery is dead. As noted above, I decided I'd rather carry my Minolta meter than put up with the thing.
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Old 01-04-2020   #26
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Not sure if the L208 is any less accurate on the circuitry side but the small size of the dial and stuff definitely gives the readings a bit of wiggle factor. But it's never been an issue for me since I've only been running b+w or colour neg. Can't comment on "hard to aim" as I only use on incident.

I would think the digisix has a better display - not possible to misread a digital number and also nothing to go wrong. I've dropped my L-208 a couple times and once and the hairspring for the readout needle got hung up something and I had to take it apart.


That said, I'm pretty happy with the L-208. I've beat it around a bit and so far it hasn't given up on me, and it's a hell of a lot smaller than the Lunasix 3 that I used to lug around...
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Old 01-04-2020   #27
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I love mine, if you read Roger Hicks' book on Exposure you will learn how to point any meter to get accurate exposure. Mine doesn't fail me: flash with two phases, incident, reflective, and EI. I have never found it to be inaccurate. Test against and SLR or DLSR is not a good check. Check the above book to see why.
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Old 01-04-2020   #28
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I love mine. Its small, reliable, and it fits with the rest of my workflow. I used to use the iPhone app to meter, and it felt like a real task when I was in the middle of taking a photo.
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Old 01-05-2020   #29
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I've had mine for sometime now and it gives much more accurate readings than my guessing ever did . Peter
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Old 01-12-2020   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger9 View Post
I've got a Flash Meter IV also, and eventually I just got used to carrying it around. I also have the original Gossen Digisix (the new Digisix 2 seems exactly the same except that the dial is white-on-black rather than vice-versa) and while its readings are pretty accurate, to me it seems very cheesy and inconveniently designed. The construction is very plasticky, especially the dial, and the procedure for accessing the menus to set ISO and other functions is kind of a pain (involves holding down one button until the display flashes, pressing the other button until the function you want is displayed, etc... you can download the instruction manual here if you want: https://gossen-photo.de/en/digisix-2/) Also, there's no on/off switch, and even though Gossen claims one isn't necessary because power consumption is very low, I often pull mine out and find that the battery is dead. As noted above, I decided I'd rather carry my Minolta meter than put up with the thing.
Yeah, I'm thinking of picking up another Minolta meter instead, if I'm spending the same price as a used 308 (which costs more than a flash meter iv used, which has way more features)
Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I love mine, if you read Roger Hicks' book on Exposure you will learn how to point any meter to get accurate exposure. Mine doesn't fail me: flash with two phases, incident, reflective, and EI. I have never found it to be inaccurate. Test against and SLR or DLSR is not a good check. Check the above book to see why.
I've read Roger hicks articles since I was a kid (shutterbug magazine) - the problem I have is I don't know how broad the angle of view the sensor has - with ttl meters - I roughly knew how the center weight was weighted and could aim accordingly - I know most reflected meters have about a 40 degree angle, but it's hard to know if I'm reading the bright spot, or the shadow behind it - I guess I need a spotmeter
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