Royal Portrait
$34.99 $24.99
Sekonic L-758 DR Light Meter
Sekonic
Name: Sekonic L-758 DR Light Meter
Essential Sale 1-10
1 = I almost never use this thing.
10 = You had better own this, like yesterday.
Essential Scale: 6

This light meter is great for measuring light in your scene whether you’re using ambient or strobe. With strobe I think they are really, really necessary. Hugely important in how we work! The cameras light meter only measures reflected light bouncing off the subject when the actual light meter measures incident light, which is the light that is falling on your subject. This meter in particular has built in PocketWizards so you can fire your flashes with it as well.

Description

The Sekonic L-758DR DigitalMaster is simply the most dynamic light meter you will ever own. It can record incident or 1-degree spot-readings under ambient and/or strobe lighting down to a tenth-stop in accuracy, and it’s sealed against the nastiest of weather. With the included Sekonic RT-32 Radio Transmitter Module and you can wirelessly trigger PocketWizard-enabled flash systems within a 100′ range. But that’s not what makes the Sekonic L-758DR DigitalMaster different from any other meter you have owned. What moves the L-758DR DigitalMaster to the head of the class is that it is the only meter that can be calibrated to read light the way the sensor in your particular camerareads light.

Technical Details

  • Profiles the specific sensitivity levels of your cameras imaging sensor for exacting light readings.
  • Exposures accurate down to a tenth-of-a-stop in full-stop mode for both ambient
  • Built-in 1-degree spot meter features an adjustable diopter (-2.5 to 1.0d), and is threaded for 30.5mm filters
  • Up to 9 readings can be stored for meter averaging and contrast evaluations in aperture and shutter priority modes.
  • For mixed lighting scenarios, the Sekonic L-758DR DigitalMaster displays the combined exposure values of both flash

Summary

The Sekonic L-758DR is the mac daddy of all light meters, if you are very serious about lighting and you love precision, this is a great tool for you.

Should You Use a Light Meter?

There are two types of photographers out there, those who think light meters are essential, and those who think they are a complete waste of money.

Here is what I think. It totally depends on what your goals as a photographer are. If you want to make images like Erwin Olaf, you had better learn to use a light meter well. Getting your lighting ratios perfect, and balancing ambient vs. strobe lighting in a refined manner is very difficult without a light meter. If you are using 5+ lights on every shoot and need everything to be perfect, you will be happy to have a light meter.

If your goal as a photographer is to make images like Denise Grünstein you probably don’t need a light meter. A lot of her images are made using natural light, and she is able  to fill her shadows with reflectors.

Personally I really like using lighting, but that appeals to the technical dorky side of me, and you may not enjoy lighting with strobes. There is no right answer, it totally depends on what your goals are.

Personal Experience

I love the Sekonic L-758 DR, and I am going to tell you why.

  • Radio Trigger – Sekonic light meters work with Pocket Wizards to trigger lights. There is a button on the side of this light meter that will trigger your lights when hooked up to Pocket Wizards. This makes the process of metering your lights insanely easy. You simply place the light meter near your subject, press the button, and it tells you how much light is present from your strobes.
  • Light Ratios – If you are shooting outdoors with strobes, you are going to LOVE this. This light meter displays the ratio between ambient and strobe lighting, saving you a ton of mental anguish. When you trigger your lights, a percentage from 0-100% shows up telling you how much of the light hitting the sensor is coming from your strobes. If you are looking for a very natural look, shoot for about 50%, if you want something a bit more dramatic, push it to 70%.
  • Spot Meter – This feature alone makes this light meter amazing. It is the best way to measure how much light is being reflected by your subject form strobe lighting. It picks up right where your camera left off.
  • Accuracy – Using a light meter allows you to know exactly how much light is hitting your subject, giving you the ability to make a perfect exposure every time.

The Goods

  • Durability – The Sekonic L-758 DR is built solid, I am sure it will still be working well 10 years from now, and I have been working it hard for over 2 years.
  • Ease of Use – This thing does everything, and the designers did a great job with the button layout and functionality. There is a jog wheel on the side that will adjust anything up or down, to change Mode, ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture, just press the correlating button and spin the wheel.
  • Accuracy – Accurate in 1/10 Stop increments
  • Camera Profile – You can program your exact camera profile into the light meter which will make your readings even more accurate. I have not done this, but I do think it is cool.
  • Backlit LCD – It turns on automatically when it is dark! It is almost as if there is a light meter in this thing that knows when it is dark outside…
  • Respect – When clients see you using this thing, they will automatically think you know what you are doing.

The Bads

  • Cost – At the time of writing this review, the Sekonic L-758DR costs $634.00 on Amazon. It is VERY EXPENSIVE, if you are looking for a less priced alternative, check out the Sekonic L-358
  • Homework – It doesn’t do it for you, at this cost it should.

Worth its Price?

Yes, provided you use it a lot.

I would not suggest this light meter to someone who is still trying to figure out if they like photography or not. If you are more than a year into it, and you are getting frustrated by your lighting ratios and think you could use a bit more precision then getting a light meter may help. If you want to be known for your amazing studio lighting and have everyone tremble with fear at the very mention of your name (Voldemort) get this light meter.


  • http://ingrained.co.uk Scott Mains

    I’ve used the 758 a few times, it’s great. Can’t fault it at all. Cost is obviously going to be an issue to some when they start out. If you can push the boat out, then do get this. 

    I carry the smaller brother to this, L308-s in my assistants kit bag all the time. It is very useful and still capable of performing in the studio and it is a much more modest £130 / $170ish. 

    Don’t use the light meter in camera, it isn’t a dedicated unit, these are. They look professional and are professional pieces of kit if you use them properly. Plus, if you meter properly, you don’t need to ‘chimp’. <3 
    ~S

  • http://twitter.com/HolgerUrbanek Holger Urbanek

     I must admit, that I’m a light meter deny-er. I use my histogram combined with a grey-white-card. Also works perfectly well (strobist way?). You can also set all your 5+ lights separately this way.

    But I’m curious how do the light-meters cope with the difference of f-stop vs. t-stop on lenses? (The f-stop is the physical aperture, while the t-stop is the amount of light the lens lets pass.)

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