Sekonic Twinmate L-208

The light meters I've known

The first light meter I ever bought for my photography was a Gossen Luna-Pro SBC. That would have been sometime around 2001-2003 when I purchased that meter of off eBay.

I later purchased a Pentax digital spot meter to get more precision when working with large format cameras. The Pentax was bought sometime around 2003-2005.

For the next decade, except for a quick fling I had with a Sverdlovsk 4, that was it for light meter purchases. I wish I could have found the same stability in camera and lens gear as I did with light meters. Could has saved a lot of money.

While the Pentax has served wonderfully as my precision meter for doing zone-system type work with large format cameras, the Luna Pro became my everyday walk around meter while shooting handheld with medium format and 35mm cameras that lack internal light meters.

All was well with these two meters until January 2016 when the Luna Pro just stopped working. New batteries couldn't bring it back to life, and I lack the electrical engineering skills to open it and see if I could fix it.

The hunt for a new light meter

My knee jerk reaction was that I should just buy another identical Luna Pro. Why mess with something that has worked for me for so long?

But after thinking about it, I realized that the bullet points that I used for buying the Luna Pro were no longer the same bullets points of what I wanted in a light meter today.

When I purchased the Luna Pro those bullet points were:

  • Good for night photography
  • Affordable for a college student
  • Uses batteries I can still buy in any store

In 2015, I realized that what I wanted in a meter was the following:

  • Doesn't have to be good for night photography
  • Not limited to a college student budget
  • Incident metering
  • Can see all the shutter speed/f-stop combos at once
  • Uses batteries I can still buy in any store
  • Small as possible

I initially didn't expect any companies to be still making old fashioned analog light meters like the Luna Pro, but I was wrong once I found the Sekonic Twinmate L-208. It met my criteria, and I didn't have to deal with getting sold some broken trash of eBay, so I went with it.

Sekonic Twinmate L-208 Light Meter

Life with the Sekonic Twinmate L-208

I've been using this as my walk around meter for the past year and a half, and so far have no complaints about it. Sure, it doesn't do things like strobe metering, or have the crazy low light capability that the Luna Pro has, but I don't need any of that in a meter indended to just be carried aorund day to day as I do casual street photography.

Basic Specs

  • EV range has markings for EV 3-17
  • ISO range markings are for ISO 12-125000
  • F-Stop Range of f/1.4-f/32
  • Shutter Speed range between 1/8000th - 30 seconds.

The L-208 operates with a single CR2032 battery. I'm still using the same battery that went into it sixteen months ago.

The neck strap this light meter ships with is very long. I can wear it around my neck and still put the meter into my front pants pocket. Although, all a photographer has to do is tie a quick knot into the strap to set it at the desired length. The neck strap's material is thick enough that it doesn't pull into one of those extra tight, impossible to unravel knots.

It also comes with a hot attachment that you could use to mount the meter in your camera's hot shoe. I haven't ever done this as pulling it from my pocket works well enough, and I like to keep my cameras' hot shoes open for actually mounting a flash.

Size DOES count

The biggest gripe I did have with the Luna Pro was the size of that light meter. The size of the meter is ok when stuffed into a bag, or worn around the neck, but pants pockets were out of the question unless you are still sporting early 1990s style JNCO jeans. My tryst with the Sverdlovsk 4 was entirely about trying to find a walk-around meter that would fit easier into my pockets.

Gossen Luna Pro SBC vs Sekonic Twinmate L-208 Size Comparison

The size of the Sekonic L-208 is great in comparison. It fits into the pockets of my pants without taking up the entire pocket or creating an uncomfortable bulge, yet is still large enough that I can take a reading with one hand.

The construction is all plastic, so the L-208 feels a little bit cheap for the price. But in practice, this hasn't been an issue for me. It is holding up very well and delivering accurate incident readings.

If you are looking for a small, no frills, get the job done light meter, I can give the Sekonic Twinmate L-208 high regards.

Buy the L-208 now on Amazon.

Category Gear & Technique  | Tags: Street Photography