What to look for in a light meter
We’ll use this high-end Sekonic L-858D as our guide to some key light meter features
The L-858D’s spot meter is used with the meter held sideways. You look through this viewfinder eyepiece (which has a diopter adjustment) to view the scene through the lens on the other side, lining up a small circle in the centre with the area you want to meter.
The larger screen on the L-858D not only displays more data, it offers extra space for touchscreen control of operating modes and settings. You can tap on shutter speed or aperture values, for example, to see different combinations of exposure settings.
When you’re taking incident light readings, it’s not always easy to find somewhere to stand that doesn’t block the light. With the Sekonic, however, you can rotate the lumisphere head through 180 degrees left to right, making the display visible whatever angle you measure from.
Incident light metering is vital in many situations, but needs to be carried out carefully. The L-858D has a special lumisphere that’s extended for metering 3D objects and retracted for measuring evenness of illumination across flat subjects.
Testing flash power is much easier when you can trigger the flash directly from your meter. You can connect your flash by cable to this sync socket, but the L-858D also takes plug-in wireless flash controllers for Elinchrom, PocketWizard and Phottix systems.
It’s probably not something you’d give much thought to, but if you’re shooting in bad weather or harsh conditions, you’ll need a meter that’s protected against the weather as well as your camera is, otherwise it’s no help. The L-858D is equipped with weatherproofing seals.