Sekonic L558 and ALT mode aperture settings ... Hey Ellis, you out there?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by stephen_ratzlaff, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. I have a question regarding the L558 and the displayed aperture value.

    In ALT mode you can set the L558 to display apertures in full stop,
    1/3 stop or 1/2 stop increments.

    I also have a Minolta Flash Meter VI which allows for "direct"
    aperture value display (i.e. something different than the normal
    aperture values we're so used to seeing). So in the "direct" mode the
    meter can display non-full-stop apertures like f/6.7 or f/13.2 or
    something similar to make working with cameras which display their
    apertures this way a bit easier.

    Now to my problem and question. Do the L558's ALT aperture display
    settings (i.e. the 1/2 and 1/3 display increments) do pretty much the
    same thing as the Minolta Flash Meter VI's "direct" setting?

    I ask because with the L558 set up in ALT mode to display apertures in
    1/2 stop increments and while measuring flash I can get the following
    types of readings just by moving the meter ever so slightly (an inch
    or so) forward or backward with the same exact lighting setup (or it
    may also be slight variances in strobe output within 1/10th or 2/10ths
    of a stop output between pops):

    f/16 4 for [f/16 + 4/10ths]. This is how I'd normally expect the meter
    to display f-numbers.

    f/19 1 for [f/19 + 1/10th]. This is what I think is strange. I'd
    expect the meter to display f/16 5 or f/16 6 or something similar. But
    maybe this is where I'm not understanding the 1/2 stop ALT setting
    properly. F/19 is a half stop more than f/16, so maybe this is how the
    meter works in flash readings.

    Anyhow, setting the meter's ALT setting to display apertures in
    full-stop increments solves the problem and the display is then f/16
    4, or f/16 5 or f/16 6 etc. as expected.

    Anyone have any ideas?
  2. I've been thrilled with the Direct aperture settings and use the 1/3 switch, as I find it much more self-explanatory than f/16 4/10s, which would not be the same as 16.4. I don't understand the half values with tenths either, but if you move switch 3 to direct, you lose the tenths, which is easier to comprehend for either half or third stop settings. Switch 4 controls that choice, and with third of a stop exposures (if your camera offers that - my 10d does), your f stops are 1.0, 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, 2.2, 2.5, 2.8, 3.2, 3.6, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.6, 6.3, 7.1, 8.0, 9.0, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 25, 29, 32, etc.. Since these are all a lot closer together than full stops, measurement is much more accurate. Shutter values are also more interesting, with 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13 (!), 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, etc.. If f16.0 4/10s doesn't make sense, f18 will!
  3. This 1/2 stop or 1/3 stop increment display is O.K for using modern cameras, however, whe using view cameras or older gear this becomes a problem.

    At least the workaround is to change the ALT setting to full stop increments.

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