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Thread: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

  1. #1

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    Feb 2016
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    Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    Hi need help with exposure meter
    i have chance to buy sekonic 398 deluxe with accessories for 70 eur or spectra combi 500 with accessories for 100eur.
    what do you suggest? is the spectra combi 500 any good?

  2. #2
    Les
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    Re: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    Can't tell you about the 398, but the Combi 500 had the largest sphere of any meter for more than 40 years and it was one of the faves of many cinematographers (Spectra Pro was also used)....tho it can handle stills too. Make sure you get appropriate slides with it designed for the unit. If I recall the batteries would allow to amplify the signal for really low light. I should add, that the most important feature was: that it needed NO batteries to function within normal range like ASA 32-500. Fine instrument....and w/o being digital.

    Les

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Re: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    thanks, hope someone has compared them....however the seller said he has not tested them if thez meter accurately, is it common that these older meter do not meter accurately? or it should be fine....i cant test them myself as he is from other city...

  4. #4

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    Re: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Vogt View Post
    Can't tell you about the 398, but the Combi 500 had the largest sphere of any meter for more than 40 years and it was one of the faves of many cinematographers (Spectra Pro was also used)....tho it can handle stills too. Make sure you get appropriate slides with it designed for the unit. If I recall the batteries would allow to amplify the signal for really low light. I should add, that the most important feature was: that it needed NO batteries to function within normal range like ASA 32-500. Fine instrument....and w/o being digital.

    Les
    could you explain me please how to use those slides? will i get inaccurate exposure reading without them?

    viktor

  5. #5
    Les
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    Re: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    Let me start with ooops, there are slides that show lower ASA's.

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    This should give you a clue what's going on. If you need to set the meter to **zero**, the sphere needs to have the light blocked out (there is an external cover - hope it comes w/meter) and you can adjust the screw near the manuf plate....visible in the rear.

    The slides are installed through a slot at the top. You may encounter a bit of an issue, since the actual read out of F-stops (bottom) or Foot Candles is set for 24 frames per second (mot. picture) and that translates to 1/48th of a second shutter....I believe. On this meter this appears as 1/50. You can reference the shutter on the scale in the rear.

    For instance, if the front window reveals F4 reading, and you desire say F16....the rear scale indicate that you will need 1/3sec shutter to get appropriate exposure (w/o accounting for bellows or reciprocity). However, if you have a super fast Aero lens, and wishing to shoot fast-er speed...the same reading will apply, except you will be shooting at F2.8 and around 1/100sec.

    I believe I do have a manual with this meter (somewhere). Let me know if I can help further.

    Les

  6. #6

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    Re: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    Back in the day the Combi 500 was indeed the standard cinematographers tool. The slides allowed a direct f stop incident reading off the dial at 24 fps. They were generally calibrated annually, as their accuracy was essential.

  7. #7

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    Shodoshima, Japan
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    835

    Re: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    I used the 398 a long time ago, and it was a fine meter. But why not use a more modern digital meter? I still use my Minolta Flash Meter IV.

    Kumar

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    39

    Re: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    Quote Originally Posted by B.S.Kumar View Post
    I used the 398 a long time ago, and it was a fine meter. But why not use a more modern digital meter? I still use my Minolta Flash Meter IV.

    Kumar
    because i have tight budget on it. need to fit it in 100-120 eur top. later on i want to buy some sekonic with spot meter or Fomei Polaris Dual 5. but now i cant find anything else(digital) in my budget.

  9. #9
    Pastafarian supremo
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Re: Sekonic L398 vs Spectra Combi 500- need help

    I have used the Sekonic L-398 for nearly 40 years, on my second one(my first was stolen a couple of years ago), plus I have a Minolta Auto Meter IIIF. I prefer the Sekonic, I can read it at a glance. Just looking at the analog face, I can select exact exposure, up to three stops over or under, can't do it with the Minolta. But then, I can't tell time with a digital watch either. Oh, I know the correct time, but can't look ahead or back like I can with an analog dial.
    I only use the L-398 with the HI slide, never needed the f-stop set. If the light is subdued, remove the hi slide, if it's bright insert it, the dial tells you which indicator to use for reading what to set aperture and time. It's dead simple.
    http://www.sekonic.com/downloads/l-398a_english.pdf.
    Rick Allen

    Argentum Aevum

    practicing Pastafarian

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