Sekonic L-608 vs L-508 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


Im thinking of renewing my L408 light meter, and changing it for either a L508 or L608.

Anyone have used both and can comment?



-- Enrique Vila (, February 19, 2002



I recently purchased an L-508, and I wish that I had researched it more thoroughly. I have had occasional problems with underexposure in bright sunlight. Also, I have read posts that reported consistent underexposure by about 2/3 stop, while some people reported no problems.

-- Matthew Runde (, February 19, 2002.

Important difference is that the 608 has information readout in the viewfinder... the 508 has only the LCD panel on the side.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, February 19, 2002.

I use a Minolta Spotmeter F. On occasion I have borrowed a friend's Sekonic L-508. Her's reads about 2/3 stops above mine, for what it's worth. I cannot say if this is consistent throughout the exposure scale, nor can I say who's is correct, although mine has served me accurately and reliably for more than a dozen years.

One thing that I find awful about using the L-508 is there is no information in the viewfinder. Therefore, when you take various spot readings of a scene, you have to bring the meter from your eye and read the exposure from the scale on the side. This, to me, is a terrible inconvenience and an ommission I find intolerable in a spot meter in this price range--in any price range, in fact!

The new L-608 shows aperture and shutter speed in the finder. Gossen's Starlite series has full information in the viewfinder. The Minolta Spotmeter F has F-numbers or EV (no shutter speed) in the finder, and I believe the Pentax Digital has full information in the finder, as well.

I have very positive things to say about all my Minolta meters, which certainly includes the Spotmeter F. (I do wish it had viewfinder illumination for night work and viewfinder shutter speeds, however.) A lot of serious photographers use the Pentax digital spot, so you should consider that one, too. Whatever you get, I would strongly advise against the L-508 for its lack of finder information.

-- Ted Kaufman (, February 19, 2002.

Enrique, The only thing I dislike in the L608 is that it can't give (exceed the metering range) reflected (spot) meterings under low light conditions (the same than the L-508, I used twice). I don't know if "dedicated" spot meters (gossen spot master, pentax, etc... ) could do it, I never use one of them, but a lot of times I would like to have a more sensitive spot meter (In this situations I finished my work with average incident readings). Like Ted, I found BIG differences in readings between my older Minolta /Gossen /Sekonic incident meters, but now I use only the L608... and I know him. I love to have a spot/incident meter in the same machine, the wonderful display, and now readings on the viewfinder, that's the reason because I don't change to others. If you want one of this, my opinion is to go for the L608 NON cine version because the viewfinder readouts, memory and flash/ambient mode. But I suggest you that if you want a more specific spot metering, first have a look to only-spot meters. Good luck,

-- jose angel (, February 19, 2002.

Ted, the minolta spot meter HAS finder illumination. what i'd really like to have is aperture priority, not shutter the way the minolta works.

-- Sorin Varzaru (, February 19, 2002.

There is no shutter speed information displayed in the finder, only displayed in the exterior window. My Minolta Spotmeter F has aperture or EV displayed in the finder window.

You're right about the light in the finder. There is, in fact, a useful light in the finder, but none on the exterior display ... where the shutter speed is displayed, and what I can't see in the dark! Grrrr!

-- Ted Kaufman (, February 19, 2002.


I have both the L-608 and the Sekonic 778. A friend has the L-508 and we have compare all three. The 608 differs from the 508 only (as far as we can see) by the imformation in the finder (very useful) and the 608 is set up for the wireless transmitter for flash exposure.

The 778 will read down to 1 EV while the 608 reads (only) down to 3 EV. If you do a lot of low light work this could be a problem. So far it hasn't inconvenienced me.

The Pentax digital does have a display in the viewfinder, but if I remember correctly, it is only EV numbers which then have to be transferred to the decidely analog rotating scale surrounding the lens.

But the Sekonic 608 does so much more, at $700.00 it should, it's a really hard act to follow.

However, I have not used the Gossen Starlight and it's specs look really awesome too.

As far as Sekonic meter reading high or low I have two Sekonics and two Gossens and they are all within 1/2 stop of one another. Don't sweat high or low readings but rather linearity. You can always change the EI as long as the readings are consistant throughout the range.

Good luck with your choice,

Joe Dickerson

-- Joseph A. Dickerson (, February 20, 2002.

Another big difference between the L-508 and L-608 is that the former cannot do averaging in aperture mode (only shutter or EV mode). That was a big reason why I upgraded to the L-608.

-- L. Wolfe (, February 20, 2002.

A few itmes I can add.

1. All sekonic spot meters are calibrated to 13% grey, not 18%, therefore you need to close 1/2 stop to acheive 18% grey. This is why its hard to match grey card readings vs. incident readings.

2. The 608 also does % of light coming from ambient vs. flash.

3. For low light incident readings, -8 EV and above, Quantum makes the only meters that can read this low.

-- Bill Glickman (, February 21, 2002.


What you mention makes me wonder. I have a L508 and many times I got frustrated that the spot and incident metering were not in sync. I only try to compare readings when I am not sure of my spot reading. I calibrated my meter to read what I want, (by changing the ASA setting) so I dont have a problem with reflected readings.

Do you mean that the spot and incident mode are not calibrated to the same 13% tonality?

Thank you, Geoffrey

-- Geoffrey Swenson (, February 21, 2002.

Spot meters have to be calibrated to a given reflectivity % , otherwise there is no way you can quantify the amount of light hitting the subject, which is the goal. As you know, in the same light, if you meter pure black, vs. pure white, you will theoretcialy read a 5 stop difference. Pure grey, 18% would read dead center of these two readings, ASSUMING the meter is calibrated for 18% reflectivity. (18% is dead center of white and black) Sekonics are not, they chose 13% vs. 18%, many 35mm SLR's chose the same! So if you want to match your reflective meter readings with your incidient meter on your 508, then you need to use a 13% grey card (which no one makes, of course!)

If you want your refelctive readings to correspond to 18% grey, sure makes sense, huh, then the best fix is to always always remember to open up 1/2 stop, or change the ASA accordingly when in reflective mode only! I have always been amazed how little this information is offered by meter companies. Photographers bang their heads against the wall trying making perfect exposures not knowing the reflective meter is 1/2 stop off from what they assume. I used a Sekonic 778 spot meter for 1 year before I was informed of this fact by Mam USA.

Be careful if you don't use a Sekonic spot, I heard that some makers, maybe Pentax do use the more accepted 18% standard. If anyone knows, please post, I am curious myself.

-- Bill Glickman (, February 22, 2002.

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