Ben Bergh goes hands-on with the ultimate tool for studio photographers: Sekonic’s new L-478DR Litemaster Pro.
Article and images by Ben Bergh.
There’s been a lot of talk on the net recently about the new Sekonic L-478DR Litemaster Pro, so when Steve Ashton from Singer Photographic asked me to put this little beauty through its paces, I was enticed to test it to see if it could live up to its advertising hype.
On a recent shoot, I had set-up a three metre tall boom arm with an Elinchrom Ranger top light plugged into a PocketWizard TT5, receiving a signal from my on-camera PocketWizard TT1. With no PocketWizard ST4 module on hand, I had no remote power control over this elevated unit.
The height of the models on the shoot seemed to vary considerably, which meant I had to use a ladder every time I needed to change flash intensity. Time consuming, irritating and generally unprofessional. I admit it. Once again, the right kit could have saved me some time and frustration.
The Sekonic L-478DR with built-in PocketWizard module:
The Sekonic L-478DR light meter is punted as the world’s first touch screen light meter and will let you take accurate light readings before you shoot, giving you the control to then make lighting quick adjustments of your flash intensity, whenever the need arises. Yes, I know there are gadgets out there that will adjust power remotely, but to be able to do it from your light meter gives you the best of both worlds. Less running around making adjustments, less calling on assistants to change power intensity, more time to concentrate on the most important aspect of the shoot: fulfilling your client’s brief effectively.
Of course, as with all top-line wireless products, you can test the light and control different zones of flashes using different channels, but hey, that’s all in the Sekonic L-478DR downloadable PDF manual – which I suggest you read carefully if you want to extract all the features this sucker offers. And there are many, many features as I found out after spending some time with the manual myself.
My most important reason for writing this post was to help those using Elinchrom kit, as this is what I use, and after not having luck with the power control settings at first, I wondered if I just wasn’t concentrating on the material at hand (as my high school teachers often indicated). After contacting PocketWizard directly, this is what I discovered:
Your first port of call will be to make sure you have the PocketWizard TT1 & TT5′s, as they offer ControlTL technology. Secondly, you will require the incredibly useful Elinchrom ST4 module which is needed to make the magic of power control happen with your Ranger, Style or digital heads (see this link for Elinchrom flash compatibility) And interestingly, only these three models in the Elinchrom line-up actually allow the power setting function of the L-478DR to work and the ST4 is instrumental in this regard.
Your other PocketWizard Plus, PocketWizard Plus 2, PocketWizardPlus 3 or PocketWizard Multimax’s will still be activated by the Sekonic L-478DR, you simply won’t be able to make use of the power control feature. And don’t forget to put the Elinchrom remote adapter (19374) in your basket…
Thanks for your time.
Now get off the net and go shoot!