Hi all, I'm a student filmmaker who wants to pursue my career in Cinematography, and I know I have long way to go....
Since I'll be getting my Financial Aid money next week, I think it's a good time to purchase a light meter.
I'm now looking at Sekonic L-758Cine, because it's a combination of a incident meter and a spot meter, however, I have some questions regarding the product and I need you guys' opinion...
What's the difference between L-758Cine and L-758DR? what exactly does that shutter angle option do? Is it worth the 200 dollar difference between the two models?
What about the EU model with frequency of CE standard and the US model with the FCC frequency? CE model on eBay cost under $600 but the FCC model cost well over 800. I have no idea what that mean, and I tried to google it, what I got was a Pocketwizard transmitter related topic, which I also have no idea.
Also, is there another alternative to this meter? should I just get a incident meter and buy a spot meter later on, or is there any other recommendation? I don't want a cheap meter for student, I want a decent one that's future proof, since it's likely I won't replace my meter until....like....when I get a ASC membership...after 500 years....
Also...Is there any way to get student discount? I know filmtools offers discount on Sekonic meters but does anyone know how much exactly? If the CE (EU) version works well to satisfy my need, maybe I'll just go that route, for about 580 dollars....
Ok. Check out Mac on Campus, I know they have Sekonic stuff and they have it cheaper.
I have a 758, Cine, and I love it. The shutter angle thing is for when you're working with off shutter angles (such as 133 degrees, or 90 degrees as opposed to the normal 180 degrees.) it basically does the math for you. You don't necessarily need it as you can jut plug in the effective shutter speed you'd get (for example 1/48th with 180 degree shutter at 24 fps) (http://en.wikipedia....ry_disc_shutter).
Is it worth the $200 more... probably not.
As for FCC/CE things, the meter has a RF trigger you can use for stills. I've never bought the piece or used it; but that's what they is talking about. In general, you'd need the FCC one to transmit in the US, IIRC. If you're never going to use that, or don't think you will, then it doesn't matter.
I also recommend getting the Studio Deluxe IIA. Its the old analog one; I have it as a backup and I love it, and it's piss simple (and might get you thinking in Foot Candles!). It's also a lot cheaper and a good starting point for a meter you'll never get rid of.
As for spot meters... you don't necessarily need on. I have one; obviously, and I use it (because I have it) but generally only to get an idea of where my scene is in terms of contrast; or to double check on bright or dark spots. If for some reason my spot meter broke, or I forgot it, I'd be perfectly fine with incident and just having to walk a little bit.
I would second what was said earlier. Get an analog meter. Save your money for filmstock, props, a good camera...An analog meter works great, it's robust, and teaches you to work with the math. I have a 758DR and rarely use the spot function for more than just fun, it broke on me once already and scouts honor I didn't drop it, and most of the time I just do the math in my head. How often will you be changing shutter angles? And usually if you do the math is easy enough to do in your head and all you have to remember is how much you need to adjust the stop. No where near worth 200 dollars.
Edited by Evan Kimball, 12 January 2012 - 12:56 AM.
I see Sekonic dual meters on set more often than any other meter, and yet everyone I talk with says to get a Spectra, since they have the reputation for being more accurate. Odd.
Fwiw, I don't use the spot meter much, but I do use it. If I'm trying to blow out a window or dim lights up to the same level or check and see what something in the distance looks like it's useful. For shooting slides it's great.
It all depends on your priorities. If you want a general purpose light meter, the 758 cine seems good and it's pretty accurate, apparently more so after calibration. But for general use an incident meter is fine. Stopping and checking the spot meter to see how bright everything is can be very interesting, but for actually shooting it's too slow. The incident meter is much more useful (and the surplus of cine modes kind of pointless when 99% of the time it's 1/48 24fps).
I cut my teeth on a spectra pro, and while I prefer to use a spotmeter now, I still have it on hand to check my readings. It's chock full of attachments and accessories and is about the most versatile bugger out there.
Just be sure to get a good one that's been calibrated...preferably from a reliable dealer.
Whatever you do, DON'T CUT CORNERS and get a cheap meter. You'll lose all those savings and much, much more having to reshoot your stuff. There's lots of ways in this biz to cut corners and save money, but when it comes to a meter, spare no expense.
my beloved l-758cine got stolen from my studio 6 months ago and i've not replaced it yet cause i've mainly shot hd since, and i must admit i got quite well used to working with waveform & histograms.
but am gonna get another one soon though, cause i miss the spot meter function a lot, that's the most precious tool you have in order to build the contrast of each scene and the balance between shadows and highlights.
as for the incident, with practice and experience i had ended up using it just for the key and doing by eye back, kick and fill.
finally, the shutter angle function can be useful especially if you'll find yourself in situations in which you need to get some extra exposure by tweaking the angle. in that case, why doing the math on the spot, the priority is to be sure of where you set your exposure.
therefore a student, my strong advice is: go for the sekonic.
Edited by Vincenzo Condorelli AIC, 12 January 2012 - 09:24 PM.
Thanks for all your kind and helpful replies!
I talked to some professors and colleagues about this. Some recommended the Spectra meter, because it's got the reputation, and a Pentax Digital Spotmeter, just because they've been using it for years...They said it's just a personal preference thing but I do need to calibrate meters every once in a while..Guess I'll just go with the L-758 Cine since this combo is the cheapest for a new unit.
(eBay brand new CE model is about ~580, but a new Spectra+used Pentax Digital Spotmeter is about 900-ish)
Most of them find Sekonic good meters too but they can be pricy...and that's why I'm not getting the FCC model for the radio triggering...because I don't do photography....
Old School here but I think the Spectra Pro IVa is a must have at a new street price of around $322 vs $800+ for the Seconic. I'm sure the Seconic is great but $500 in your pocket is nothing to sneer at. Plus it can go toward a spotmeter if you can afford it.
Check Craigslist too if you live in a major metropolitan city. There's a Pro IVa here in LA for $130. If you do buy used, regardless of the model, pay to have it calibrated by one of the reputable (Empire, Spectra, or Quality Light Metric) tech shops. Even the old selenium (non battery) Spectra Pro P251's are useful if you pick them up cheap enough ($75-100) I still have an old one calibrated for low light footcandles.
Re: the spot meter; I love my Minolta Spotmeter M but starting out I think the incident meter is more useful. As your mind wraps around the Zone System and you start processing contrast ratios, the spotmeter is helpful as well as for the aforementioned special cases.
I used the Spectra Pro IV-A for the last 12 years, and what a great meter it is. However, unbeknownst to me at the time and completely out of the blue in the middle of a shoot, my light readings were coming in 1 1/2 to 2 stops over. Dallies were 2 days behind, so we didn't catch it until then. Getting a new light meter in the middle of the Mississippi river took another two days, but I finally spent the cash and sprung for the Sekonic L758-Cine.
I had no idea that the Sekonic meter was so advanced! With quick buttons to calculate wrattens and the ability to program your latitude toe and shoulders for each film stock took so much of the calculations off my mind. Obviously, the spot meter is a great addition too. Both meters are superb, but if you have the extra cash, I'd spring for the Sekonic.
If you are looking for a discount, try looking into the Friends of the ASC. I'm sure you'd find student discounts around as well. Hope this helps.
Would you recommend to use a lightmeter for digital cinematography, even when working with a camera equipped with waveform monitor, false color exposure? Wouldn't be better to get a color meter instead?