Sekonic light meter suggestions for Hasselblad 503 CW

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by panamawise, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. Hello. I'm going back to analog black and white with a Hasselblad 503 CW. I would like to hear your recommendations about purchasing a Sekonic light meter. It should be capable to do incident for portraits, but also spot for landscapes and architecture. Flash also, for future usage. Thank you in advance. Chris (Republic of Panama).
  2. I purchased a Sekonic L-508 nearly twenty years ago, which has all the features. you mentioned - spot, incident and flash. I have never regretted this decision. The Sekonic does everything lightwise for an Hasselblad which does none on its own*. The comparable model is now the L-858D. It makes setting up multiple flash units easy, including lighting ratios for portraits, and profiling broad illumination for large groups. I use mine with a PocketWizard transmitter for remote flash units. Up to 200' in an electronically noisy environment (e.g., downtown Chicago) poses no problems. Some Sekonic meters have PocketWizard technology embedded, or available as a self-installed chip.

    SekonicSpeedmaster L-858D-U Light Meter

    Sekonic seems to have settled on a 1 deg spot meter. Mine is adjustable, but I have used only the 1 deg setting after the first week or so of experimentation. Spot metering is useful for landscapes, where the subject is often under different light than the photographer. Incident metering is the best choice for high-contrast situations (e.g., closeups of flowers), and formal wedding groups (e.g., mix of black, white and colors).

    * I have a 205TCC with built-in flash metering. It requires a special flash or module (e.g., Quantum) to work. In practice, flash units with an automatic sensor do a better, more consistent job of flash control.
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  3. Like Ed Ingold, I also have a Sekonic L-508, which is extremely accurate.

    That stated, I would consider either a Pentax Digital Spot, or perhaps a Soligor Digital Spot. I have both, and they're as accurate as I can find. Both have been converted to Zone VI meters, and they measure within a hair's breadth of each other. I can average EV's easily, or rely on a 1 degree spot.

    While the Pentaxes are going for $300 and up, you can get a Soligor Digital Spot for well under that. You can also find a good Minolta Spotmeter F for around $200. I also have one of them, and it's testing extremely close to the Pentax and Soligor models.
    panamawise likes this.
  4. Thank you Ed, I've got my eyes set on the L-858D-U although it's a bit pricey. I have a Sekonic L398-A Studio III (no battery) but under low light conditions, the needle barely moves. I was wondering if the Lite Master Pro L-478D-U would work for me as well as the L-858D-U (less expensive).
  5. Thank you Dennis for your input!
  6. AJG


    The OP mentioned flash, which neither the Pentax nor the Soligor does. They are both great meters for what they are designed to do, but won't meter flash.
    panamawise likes this.
  7. AJG


    Any of the modern (post 1980's) Sekonic silicon cell meters should be fine in low light. The L 398 is a throw back to 1950's selenium cell technology, hence the low light sensitivity issues. I own a Soligor spot meter and 2 Sekonic incident flash meters ( an L 518 and L 718). All three have given me excellent service for over 20 years, with only battery replacement and an occasional re-zeroing necessary. I prefer the Soligor for zone system work, in part because it is easy to put a zone system read out on the dial of the meter. Used 518 and 718 Sekonic meters should be available used in the vicinity of $100-125 from reliable used camera dealers in the US.
    panamawise likes this.
  8. You said Sekonic. You also wanted incident, spot and flash so for a new one there is only the L-858. For used you can go for the L-758 or L-558.
    panamawise likes this.
  9. The L-758DR does everything you listed. It has the capability for wireless strobe triggering, with the appropriate accessory module.
    panamawise likes this.
  10. My L508 was $478 in 2000. Pricey, yes, but it does it all, and does it well. The lettering is nearly worn off by now. It takes two AA batteries, which last a very long time (> 1 year). The battery compartment is sealed and clamped.

    It might surprise you, but using the meter to set up multiple manual flash heads is much quicker than fiddling with "automatic" shoe poppers, and you get it right the first time (important with film).
    panamawise likes this.
  11. Dear friends, I wish to thank you all for your valuable input. End of story... I'm getting a L-858 D-U, brand new at $599 (3 year warranty). It's probably too much for an old-timer who wants to go back to the darkroom (at least developing the negatives, then scan them, since in the Tropics it's not practical for me to do the full process, even though I still own a Durst). I was tempted to get the discontinued L758, which would be sufficient for my limited use, but I might be purchasing someone else's problem, with no warranty, just to save $200. Anyway, that's my passion... in real life, I am a real estate broker in the Republic of Panama, and I mostly take apartment photos with a digital Nikon! Thanks again and have a splendid weekend! Chris Frochaux

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