Sekonic L-758Cine: The Master of Light
K Madhavan Pillai tests the Sekonic L-758Cine light meter to find out whether it meets the demands of the pro in today’s digital environment.
Handheld light meters have always been about getting the perfect lighting ratios and making perfect exposures. The Sekonic L-758Cine DigitalMaster is the swiss army knife of light meters, meant for digital photographers, cinematographers and videographers. Almost every conceivable option is built in, except for colour metering and remote flash triggering (which can be enabled with an optional radio module).
The L-758Cine is the world’s first light meter that can be calibrated to match the sensitivity of digital still camera sensors or types of film for perfect exposure control. What is more exciting is that photographers can create three digital camera exposure profiles which can be stored and recalled so that lighting setups can perfectly match the latitude of the camera’s sensors.
It offers the most extensive range of cine and stills shutterspeeds and shutter angle settings. Reflected light is measured through a 1° parallax-free spot viewfinder with a digital display. A retractable incident lumisphere provides standard or cosine corrected, hemispherical or narrow angle incident light readings. It measures light in foot-candle, lux, foot-lambert, cd/m2, or in shutterspeed and apertures, with a repeat accuracy of 0.1 EV or less.
Additionally, the L-758Cine features a memory for up to nine readings, displayed on the analog scale, which can be averaged. It includes a flash/ambient analysing mode, which reads both flash and ambient light automatically, and can show the percentage of flash in the total exposure. It can also read multiple flashes by calculating each value independently or giving you the cumulative exposure.
Using the L-758Cine to its full potential takes getting used to. It is certainly not meant for the novice, who would be better off with a more basic flash meter. Once you understand how to access the various functions, using the L-758Cine is easy and greatly speeds up the workflow.
What I particularly liked was the way information displayed on the analogue scale. The camera profiling function is extremely useful too. Combined with the well-placed, large buttons, working with the L-758Cine was quick and intuitive.
The meter is built to withstand rough use. It is completely weather sealed to prevent dust and water from getting in. The LCD is easy to read in direct sunlight.
Essentially, the L-758Cine is a powerful calculating device with all sorts of formulaic functions built in to display the information in just the way a photographer needs it. Technically, as long as the light reading from the two silicon photo cells are perfect, every kind of measurement reading will be accurate as well.
The easiest way to test (apart from comparing the results with another light meter… in this case, my Sekonic ZoomMaster L-508) is by taking light readings at two different but exact distances from the source, doing an inverse square law measurement manually and comparing the results with those of the light meter. Even in this, the L-758Cine proved to be more accurate, factoring in variations in positioning.
Beyond, not only can the meter be calibrated by 0.1 stop increments, it can be programmed to accept calibrations from other meters too!
The Sekonic L-758Cine lends itself particularly well to extremely precise studio work where absolute control over lighting is needed. It costs USD 82,222 (approx Rs. 45,500). While this may seem expensive, a single high-end studio flash unit can cost several times as much. For those who need this precision, the L-758Cine is certainly the very best that money can buy.
Exposure profiling, extended ranges, 1° spot
Accurate, can be precisely calibrated
Weather sealing, rugged
Immediate functions easily accessible
Warranty & Support
Fully equipped service center in Chennai, one-year warranty
Value For Money: 2.5/5 stars
Who Should Buy It?
Stills or cine professionals who want complete control over lighting and exposure.
The many functions of Sekonic L-758Cine hugely speeds up almost every kind of exposure calculation process, while remembering the profiles for three cameras.