Sekonic L-398M Studio Deluxe II Light Meter Light Meters

L-398M Studio Deluxe II Light Meter

An industry standard for still and cinematographic ambient light reading. Swiveling light receptor. Readouts in multiple still and cine scale or direct readout with optional ISO index slides. Selenium photo cell requires no battery.

User Reviews (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9  
irivlin   Expert [Dec 13, 2011]
Strength:

Easy to use (but see commend under weaknesses).
Reliable
Superb value
Accurate

Weakness:

There is a learning curve to using this meter. Once that it over with, it's fast. Just don't expect perfect exposures in the very first shoot. Make a lot of test exposures first and write every one down in a notebook.
I have a feeling they are not made any more (could be wrong here...). This would beg the question - "what happens if it developed a fault?"

I got this meter from a well known Australian cinematographer, who made the transition from film to digital. I still shoot film - mainly B/W but quite a bit of color too. Since the sun in Queensland can be very brutal and contrasty, an incident light meter is pretty well essential for landscape photography - especially reversal film. A spotmeter doesn't suit distant shots for landscape, as the spotmeter would be "seeing" areas of different luminance within the spot window. Even cameras' own meters are pretty well useless for the same reason. Incident metering is really the only way to go. I used to use the Weston aster (with the invercone) but the selenium cells seem to deteriorate rapidly, if exposed to bright light for extended periods. The Sekonic doesn't seem to have altered in the 15 years I've had it. The meter comes with a number of different grids for different ASA films, Just put the appropriate grid in, and you'll get the direct F stop with a press of the button. I suspect there may be even better incident meters out there but nothing comes close when the price is taken into account. (It's paid for itself many times over, in correctly exposed shots). I use it for portrait lighting too. All in all, it's robust, accurate, reliable and easy to use. Highly recommended. (For color or black and white). Check out my comments on the Pentax Spotmeter V. With both of these meters, you couldn't really ever make a bad exposure.

Customer Service

Never needed any repairs or service. Looks really tough but I have never mishandled it.

Similar Products Used: Weston Master Euromaster, with invercone.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Christian M Fisker   Professional [Oct 19, 2003]
Strength:

All***** easy to read needs no batteries strong built

Weakness:

a little heavy can be a little clumsy

This is a faboulous pro meter which never fails or let you down.In My case i have brought mine anywhere,travelling around often to help metering my old Nikon F or Praktica or even new Canon EOS equipment ! the meter is always very very precise! ¨What i also like so much is simply that it dont need batteries and that it is so simple to read and understand,It is an absolutely classic and a wonderfull working tool. Go for it.DONT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT***** best regards Christian Maldonado Fisker

Customer Service

none

Similar Products Used: many from gossen minolta sekonic...e.q
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Austin Moore   Intermediate [Feb 25, 2003]
Strength:

This thing is really solidly built, and it doesn't need batteries, and is a nice size that fits comfortabley in your hand.

Weakness:

Photocell deteroriates over time.

This is one kick ass light meter. The great thing about this meter is that it built like a tank and it can go anywhere. Another thing I like about it is that it is easy to use once you get to know it. You can do inciednt and reflective light readings with it. And if you have the set of direct reading slides you don't have to use the dial.

Customer Service

Non so far, knock on wood.

Similar Products Used: Gossen Pilot 2
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John Wade   Intermediate [Jun 22, 2000]
Model Reviewed: L-398M Studio Deluxe II Light Meter
Strength:

- No batteries
- Built like a tank
- Easy to use
- swivel head

Weakness:

- difficult/inaccurate in very low lighting conditions.
- have to use a light slide for high lighting levels.
- No flash readings

This is a great inexpensive and strong light meter. It is great when used for ambient readings. I use it with my Mamiya C330f and get great results!

Yes there are better meters but you'll pay for them. Best bang for the buck - and there are lot's of them in the used market.

Customer Service

Not had to use them.

Similar Products Used: Gossen Luna 6
Minolta
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
P Pauer   Professional [Dec 05, 2000]
Strength:

no batteries!!!!!
tough construction

Weakness:

troubles in low light,
photocell deteroriates over time

Good unit for external metering

Customer Service

not needed

Similar Products Used: shepard,minolta
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Roger Singh   Professional [Dec 30, 2000]
Strength:

very nicely built
a good price
Easy to re-calibrate when needed
solar powered!

Weakness:

Terrible for low lighting
ASA setting should be more accurate
more FPS settings should be included

On a film set, I carry both the L-508 Cine and the L-398M. I always tend to need a second light meter around for basic functions, and the L-398M is perfect.

Another reason why I own it is because it's my main light meter for photography. The L-508 cine is quite expensive (for me that is), I don't want to risk losing it, so I only use it on film sets.

Which makes the L-398M more functional for me. It's a great meter, I have had no problems with it.

What I don't like about it is that the readings are too general. Also, if this was my main meter on a set, I'd be totally screwed, this meter just isn't accurate enough.

For my type of photography, it's been great.. very compact, and durable.

I actually carry this meter with me wherever I go, Very handy when I am on a location scout.

For the cinematographer, I definitely recommend this has a first light meter. Because, you wouldn't know how take advantage of a L-508cine or a spectra meter, then upgrade to a digital meter when the L-398M can't keep up with your needs. It's also good, because the readings are in footcandles.

For the photographer, I'd recommend starting off with a digital meter. You can get a pretty decent used digital meter for a price of a new L-398M.

Customer Service

don't need it

Similar Products Used: Sekonic L-508 CINE
Gossen Variosix F
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
David N. VanMeter   Intermediate [Jul 06, 2001]
Strength:

Swivel Head
Rugged Construction
Variety of info on dial
Small size
No Batteries

Weakness:

Cell deteriorates over time. Dust gets under dial... hard to clean

This is an excellent all around meter that will work in almost any situation. Throw it in your pocket amd you can go anywhere. I would not say it is accurate enough for shooting chromes but for print film it is just dandy. I plan on using mine till the cell dies.

Customer Service

NA

Similar Products Used: Pentax Spotmeter V
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
T Samuel   Intermediate [Jul 13, 2001]
Strength:

Classic, tried and true.
No batteries.

Weakness:

Can be easy to mess up readings bigtime if you aren't concentrating.

I don't think this meter is all that tough -- the top plastic rotating section snaps off pretty easily at the narrow part. Can be super-glue fixed though.

Seeing some of the old, great cinematographers holding this is enough to convince me.

However I much prefer the simplicity of newer digital meters and I think the old greats would too. I knew people (students) using this meter who blew whole days of shooting because they forgot the "hi" slide was in or they were using the wrong line somewhere on the dial. These are silly mistakes but this meter makes you think a little bit and there is the room for human error. Still, the Studio Deluxe is a very capable tool that has been used by some of the greatest photographers/cinematographers ever so I find it hard to fault this classic instrument.

Customer Service

met them, they are like used car salesmen.

Similar Products Used: Flashmate II
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
joe fazio   Professional [Aug 12, 2001]
Strength:

interchangeable dome and grid,hi slide,easy to use,no batteries.

Weakness:

swivel head is weak

great studio meter,but not for travel..too touchy for photographers who do not baby their equipment , swivel head comes loose every once in a while,I had mine for 10 years and it took two trips to the local repair shop to fix the swivel head,but exposures were right on..and an novice could figure out how to use it in a day with i.b.

Customer Service

none

Similar Products Used: lots of different meters ...Gossen,Minolta,etc...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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