Flash meters are often seen as archaic and of no use anymore. However, good flash meters such as the L-478DR can make photographers and assistants lives much easier. Even more so with the two new products Sekonic releases today.
The Litemaster Pro L-478 series had two flash meters until today: the L-478D and the L-478DR. The second one was compatible with PocketWizard triggers as it used to be the industry standard for flash triggering. The units Sekonic announced today are the very same flash meters, but one is compatible with the Elinchrom EL-Skyport system, while the other one with the Phottix Strato system, thanks to the recent alliance between the three brands.
The Elinchrom version, the L-478DR-EL will allow for wireless control of the flash units. Meaning the strobes can be triggered from the flash meter wirelessly and without the need for a Skyport. The power and modeling light of packs and monoblocks can also be adjusted directly from the Sekonic L-478DR-EL.
The Phottix version, the L-478DR-PX is very similar apart from the fact that the modeling light cannot be changed, nor switched on or off from the flash meter.
Both versions also include all of the original L-478DR features, such as a bright and clear 2.7" LCD, touch screen, DTS (Data Transfer Software), and compatibility with flash groups (up to 4). They are also priced similarly at $399.
According to Sekonic's press release, "the newly updated DTS (Data Transfer Software) version 5.0 enables quick dynamic range mapping of both digital still and motion cameras for the most precise control of light and exposure."
This very interesting feature will, however, require the purchase of an L-478’s 5-degree viewfinder, as well as Sekonic’s Exposure Profil Targets, X-Rite ColorChecker targets, or Datacolor SpyderChecker. If you already have a target, but it’s another brand, you will be able to register it manually in the software or the meter according to Sekonic.
If you use multiple cameras, the meter has got you covered. You can register up to ten different camera profiles. As if it wasn’t enough, you can store unlimited profiles with the software.
Even though I use my (aging) flash meter less and less, I must admit I would be curious to try this one out. Having the possibility of keeping the reading of each group on screen can probably prove to be useful for complex setups. Also, being able to adjust everything from the flash meter makes it much more practical. The DTS also seems like a very cool thing when precise and consistent lighting across different sets is needed.
For more information regarding the new Sekonic L-478DR-EL and L-478DR-PX, or for a full list of compatible units, visit Sekonic’s website.