GEAR MINI TESTS
SEKONIC L-308X LIGHT METER £215/$219 www.sekonic.com
With so many filmmakers coming over from stills photography, coupled with the explosion in use of mirrorless and DSLR cameras, it was just a matter of time before light meter manufacturers offered something to suit stills and movies. Sekonic’s new pocket-sized L-308X is the first meter designed for the new breed of filmmakers using their camera to shoot moving images as well as stills, with both natural light and flash. It’s based on Sekonic’s well-loved L-308S photo meter, with lots of functions of the video-focused L-308DC added in. There’s a new backlit screen which automatically comes on when light levels fall, and you can also dial in calibration compensation from -1.0 to +1.0 stops in 0.1-step increments to match other meters or your individual camera. The meter has three modes: photo; HD cine, ideal for DSLRs or mirrorless; and cine which is aimed at full-size video cameras. Sekonic has even added ISO 850 which is popular on cameras such as Canon’s C300. To change modes, hold down the Mode button while turning on the meter, then select the mode you want. It’s not obvious, so you need to remember. The meter has a sliding lumisphere, which covers the metering cell for incident metering and can be slid out of the way for reflected measurements. In photo mode, the L-308X handles ambient light and flash via a PC cord and wireless flash. You set the ISO, then choose either the shutter speed or f/stop you want depending on the mode, then hit the measuring button. The settings for your camera are displayed, or the EV value, and you can specify whether you want measurements in full stops, half stops or third stops. The results are shown in tenths of a stop for total accuracy. It’s precise and aids fast set-ups, especially when in a studio measuring relative brightness of light sources. It won’t actually trigger wireless studio flash systems; for that, you need to upgrade to a more advanced model. In HD cine mode you set your ISO, frame rate and shutter speed, and take a reading that can display the required aperture or the illuminance in lux or foot-candles. Cine mode is largely the
same, except you can set shutter angle instead of speed. With many cine cameras usually offering waveforms and adjustable zebra patterns for accurately gauging exposure, using a meter might seem like overkill, but it’s nice to get confirmation. For mirrorless and DSLR cameras where there are far fewer exposure aids and the screens tend to be smaller, then it makes more sense and can be very fast to use, taking out the guesswork. Frustratingly, although Sekonic pitches the meter at the latest breed of filmmakers, some of the settings are a bit limiting. In photo mode, the maximum shutter speed is only 1/8000 sec and in flash mode it tops out at 1/500 sec. Lots of cameras go way faster than this nowadays. And the ISO only goes to 8000. In both cine modes, the frame rate goes up to 128fps but many cameras go faster than this, such as the Panasonic GH5 or Sony FS5. And in cine mode, anyone likely to be setting shutter angle probably thinks in gain rather than ISO and T stops rather than f/stops. But gain and T stops aren’t options. But for the majority of users who juggle stills and video, it’s a great tool that really aids getting exposure right. It’s small, accurate, useful for stills and video, and affordable. AD. “The firstmeter designed for the new breed of filmmakers ”
PROMOVIEMAKERRATING: 8/10 It’s small and portable enough to be kept in your kit bag and used for every shoot, but has some limitations Pros: Small, portable, light and multi-function Cons: Limited frame rate and shutter speed range SPECIFICATIONS Type: Digital light meter for ambient and flash light, incident and reflected Photomode: Ambient, shutter priority, aperture priority, EV mode, cordless and corded flash modes HDCinemode: Shutter speed priority, frame rate, illuminance Cinemode: Frame rate priority, shutter angle, illuminance Measuring Range: EV 0-19.9 ISO sensitivity: 3-8000 in 1/3 steps, plus 850 Shutter speeds: Photo andHD cine: 60sec-1/8000sec ambient, 1/8sec-1/500sec flash Frame rates: 8, 12, 16, 18, 24, 25, 30,32, 48, 50,60, 64, 96, 100, 128 Shutter angle: 45, 90, 180, 270, 360° Power source: AA battery Dimensions (WxHxD): 63x110x22mm/2.5x4.3x0.9in Weigh: 80g/0.18lb
BELOW The new 850 ISO setting is perfect for Canon users.
120 PRO MOVIEMAKER SUMMER 2018
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