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Sekonic L-608 Metering for Landscape/Citiscapes

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Phobug, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. Phobug

    Phobug Well-Known Member

    So after quite a number of years not doing much photography, I had a crazy moment and bought one of these odd things:

    I dusted off my box of camera accessories (some weird and wonderful stuff in there, let me tell you) and pulled out my old Sekonic L-608.

    I really want to mostly do outdoors stuff (Churchyards take my fancy at the moment) and can do multispot and average when I remember how (I downloaded the manual but remembering how to do stuff when I'm outside and it's freezing is another story!). I prefer to just do fast incident (is that the right term?) reading of the scene if possible.

    For anyone who remembers these beasts...I don't have the incident accessory "the lumidisc" and finding one is difficult and/or very expensive. Can I just take the lumisphere off and use the sensor bare?

    I have a light meter on my phone but it seems so silly not to the Sekonic. Or is using a phone fairly accurate these days?

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I'm not familiar with that model (I use a flashmate in the studio) but incident readings are taken of the light falling on a subject with the meter looking back to the camera. I'd have thought reflective light readings would be what you'd want for landscape and for that reason I tend to take a couple of spot meter readigns using my camera's built in meter and figure out something in the middle of the readings for the lightest and darkest areas. Or bracket my exposures and merge in photoshop later.
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I've got a L-508 zoom-master, which I presume is the earlier version of the L-608. It doesn't have a lumi-disc which was an accessory for the small Seconic that I traded in to get the zoom master. The L-508 (and by the pics I can see) has a lumi-sphere which retracts into a housing. You raise it to make incident light measurements. The lumi-disc was associated with making contrast measurements. I'm not sure without finding and downloading a manual whether the lowered lumi-sphere acts as a lumi-disc or not. I am pretty sure the sphere doesn't detach to allow another accessory - I'm not going to try :)
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    This seems a useful complement to the meter user guide. https://www.dpmag.com/how-to/shooting/handheld-light-meters/

    The idea of the lumi-disk is to specifically measure normally incident light and in that way it can be used to determine the contribution to exposure of each of several light sources in multiple artificial light source setups.

    For landscape work, as Geren said, you want either (or both) to determine the average incident illumination (with the lumisphere) or use a set of spot reflective measurements and average them according to the desired results.

    I use an incident light measurement when:
    • Using a camera without metering - has been a while I admit
    • Using a perspective control lens on a DSLR - because I always forget to meter before applying tilt/shift.
    • Shooting into the light, e.g when birding esp. birds in flight, when I don’t want a silhouette.
    • Shooting in woodland where my Canon camera metering seems not the best.
    For landscape and incident light you have to assume the light falling is the same as where you are. I tend to hold the meter horizontally at arms length then compare that with the meter held vertically when facing away from the scene and average.
    Phobug likes this.
  6. Phobug

    Phobug Well-Known Member

    The lumisphere is *definitely* detachable - I guess yeah maybe reflective? metering for landscape. I get reflective and incident mixed up a lot. I used to use the Sekonic for flash metering when I had a couple of Elinchroms - gosh nearly 20 years ago! I can barely even remember how to do flash metering either! I think I just used to stick the lumisphere next to someone's face and trigger the Elinchroms with the Sekonic to get a reading. I think I used to call that reflective but I honestly get the two terms mixed up.

    But fancy doing landscape in my dotage. So whichever the one is where you point it at a landscape and take a reading. I just do any EV adjustment calculations in my head when I need to adjust for something specific, or when I want white not 18% grey.

    The Lumigrid just looks to be a little Fresnel lens that goes over the sensor, which is why I wondered if the Fresnel was really necessary at all.

    I *guess* I could just do an average of multiple spot readings. I guess these come up from time to time but pricey. Maybe I should just get some old Weston meter or something similar which is more pocketable for the same dosh. lumigrid.png
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    If you read the manual it will be clear. You have to get it into the right metering mode, set the ISO and output mode.

    For a simple landscape make an incident light reading near you using the lumisphere. Just hold the meter out at arms length and horizontal. You make the assumption that the light where you are is representative. With incident light you don’t have to bother with any EV adjustment calculation, that is for reflective measurements.

    For reflective measurements use the L-608 in spot meter mode. Read the manual. If it is the same as the L-508 you turn the dial on the right to spot and look through the meter, adjust the angle of view and take the measurement. You’d then apply a correction according to whether you were spot metering white (+ correction) or dark (- correction) . The meter can take and average several spot measurements. If you mix light and dark that’ll save you applying corrections.

    So incident - you measure light falling on subject. No compensation for reflectivity.

    Reflective - you measure light coming off the subject and need to compensate if the subject is dark or light.
  8. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Incident meters work very well indeed for landscapes.
    Just like using them for anything else you make sure that the meter is in the same logic as the landscape and point the sphere towards the camera from the direction the camera is pointing.
    No need for any adjustments or compensation. Exposure will be correct every time.
    Have used them since the fifties. When they were rare in the UK. I imported it from the USA, and had to get a licence to do so. I still have that one but the dome has heavily yellowed so is well out.
  9. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I have an ancient handheld Cds meter with an incident light setting (a white diffuser slides in front of the Cds cell). When taking an incident light reading, I would stand in front of the subject and facing the camera position because the intention was to measure the light falling on the subject. In the days of Kodachrome at 30p per shot, I used the meter in this way for some interior shots of churches and cathedrals. When using a digital camera, it's much easier to tale a test shot, review it, and then take the final shot with exposure adjustment if needed.

    Also, when using a Bolex 16 mm clockwork cine camera to shoot a student film in the 1970s, for anything apart from landscape shots an incident meter reading was taken at the subject's position, and every such shot was perfectly exposed when using (I think) 64 ASA Ektachrome.

    I don't recall ever using an incident light reading for landscape shots, because the brightness of the light falling on the subject might be different from the brightness of the light where I was standing. Only if there were no clouds in the sky would this not be a risk.

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