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Author Topic: Sekonic L-858  (Read 2198 times)

nemophoto

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Sekonic L-858
« on: April 06, 2017, 04:59:23 PM »

Has anyone bought/used this meter yet? I often use either an Elinchrom 400ELB with an HS head (long flash duration) or a Phottix Indra 500 with HSS for fill in bright sunlight. The weakness with the Elinchrom has been that it sometimes takes a LOT of chimping to hone in on the exposure. The TTL with the Indra isn't bad, but recycle times can be slow when using higher shutter speeds. The ability to meter high speed flash is something I've wanted for years, but at $600, I'm a little reticent to go out and buy one without first trying it out.

Rado

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 05:27:39 PM »

I have it. It seems to meter my Godox strobes in HSS properly but I don't believe it can meter long tail sync strobes (like the Elinchroms). Really the last piece of puzzle to make this system super awesome is a radio control module for the Godox protocol.
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nemophoto

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 12:47:01 PM »

I received an email from tech support at MAC (marketing group for Sekonic). They said the meter works for Hi-Sync and Hypersync modes as well as HSS. Nice to know. Guess this meter will be in my future not far down the road.

Rado

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 03:31:32 PM »

All my lights are HSS so I can only report on that but if you manage to test long tail sync lights keep us updated. I haven't seen anyone post about that yet, but the meter is very new.
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nemophoto

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2017, 03:59:46 PM »

Will do. I'll probably get the meter since I've been begging for something like this for awhile. Unfortunately the radio for the Phottix/Elinchrom and Pocket Wizards are separate items that cost about $120 each. Oh well.

nemophoto

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2017, 05:23:17 PM »

I decided to go ahead and order the L-858 today with both radios. Probably my first really extensive test won't be till May, so it'll give me a chance to work the pros/cons. I can only hope it's significantly faster to work with than the L-478. I still keep my L-358 handy for when the other frustrates me, but it doesn't have 1/3 shutter speeds.

nemophoto

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Re: Sekonic L-858 - UPDATE
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 04:53:23 PM »

Sadly, I'm very disappointed with the L-858... and I haven't even had a chance to use it on a shoot.

I was thrilled when I heard that there was finally going to be a meter that could meter for both HS and HSS shooting. I especially wanted it for use with my Elinchrom ELB400 and HS Head to minimize chimping to hone in on the right exposure. (If I'm using one of my HSS strobes, it's not quite as bad since I'm using E-TTL to a degree.)

The problem is, it simply doesn't work. The Flash Duration Analysis (which tells you the flash duration, at t 0.5, the duration in milliseconds at that point and the f-stop) will NOT work when the duration of the strobe is longer than the shutter speed. For me, that means that shooting above 1/320 of a second yields an f-number of UNDER. (Sekonic (Japan) gave me this information which explained why I couldn't seem to get an f-stop reading when I was higher than 1/320.

I have figured out, to a degree a workaround that may possibly work. I meter at 1/320, get the f-stop, then crank up my shutter to, say 1/1000, while opening the aperture the same amount. So, 5 @ 1/320 is "about" 2.8 @ 1/1000. I say "about" because I may have to adjust power slightly on Elinchrom, or open or stop down slightly, depending upon ambient light.

I suppose the flash analysis might be useful if you are looking for short duration strobes for freeze something and want to measure it in that instance. But the promise of HS/HSS metering just is not really there. I could have saved myself $800+ (meter plus radios for Pocket Wizard and Elinchrom/Phottix) and stuck with my L-478. The L-858 is also significantly larger and heavier. It DOES have a spot meter, but honestly, it's been so long since I've used one, I'd probably mess myself up.

In all, it's a nicely made meter that doesn't deliver on it's promise. Really a pity. But my workshop/photo storage is littered with technology I tried and ultimately found not of use. I'll keep this. I might as, since I can swap out radios, depending on my shooting situation.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 07:34:10 PM »

The way I understand it, with HSS the duration of lighting is equal to the shutter speed so there shouldn't be any issue, right?

With HS the duration is longer than shutter speed which may be causing the issue since the flash meter must be measuring the integral of light being generated. The subset available during exposure must indeed be quite shorter which will result in under-exposure.

I would try to measure the HS flash duration and compute a ratio? If the duration of the HS flash is constant it is easy, if it is not then things get complicated.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 08:05:28 PM by BernardLanguillier »
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A few images online here!

nemophoto

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 08:51:21 PM »

The way I understand it, with HSS the duration of lighting is equal to the shutter speed so there shouldn't be any issue, right?

With HS the duration is longer than shutter speed which may be causing the issue since the flash meter must be measuring the integral of light being generated. The subset available during exposure must indeed be quite shorter which will result in under-exposure.

I would try to measure the HS flash duration and compute a ratio? If the duration of the HS flash is constant it is easy, if it is not then things get complicated.

For me, the issue isn't with my HSS strobes. I've generally decided to be less anal and go with E-TTL. Generally that works, except at times when it's too strong. I find many of the manual uses for HSS are harder to implement and that's where metering would be easier. The L-858 also has problems with that if the strobe is too far below the ambient.

For HS the meter's weakness really shows, but that is where I've attempted to try to figure out a workaround as you suggested. Elinchrom's implementation is actually really nice, especially with the Skyport which has something called ODS which allows a slight delay in firing the strobe so you can fine tune the best coverage. For instance, my 1Dx uses a delay of 1.8ms. My 5Ds is 3.5ms, except when I hit 1/1000 and above and then I use 3.0.

Essentially, these are things I worked out on my own without the L-858 to help. I had hoped the meter would be a boon, but it's a drain on cash since it didn't do what I wanted.

Rado

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 06:07:58 AM »

Bummer, but not unexpected. I haven't seen anyone report being able to meter in HS mode. I just got my Godox AD200 strobes so I'm curious how the meter performs with those during a bright sunny day in HSS.
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nemophoto

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Re: Sekonic L-858
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 12:09:26 PM »

I tried my new Adorama Orlit 610 TTL strobe in bright sun. Sadly, failure for the meter. When I was using my Einsteins with micro pops for fill and even metering with the older L-478, it couldn't seem to register the strobe below 40% total exposure. I was typically much lower since I don't a "strobed" look. I want a relatively natural looking fill, like from a white or silver reflector. The tech from Sekonic (Japan - the US people were worthless) said that it can't register strobes that are 7EV below overall ambient. I wouldn't think my micro pop was that much lower (with any of my strobes, but maybe it is...).
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