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The Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478DR-EL Saga

Once upon a time, I decided that it is time to buy a real lightmeter for my photography and as of 2016, there is only ONE viable manufacturer left on this great blue ball of water, Sekonic and they ONLY like to sell 1 model with 3 or 4 variants. They are most advanced and best lightmeters in the world because they are the only one left making them (more or less).

After much online research and enquiry, I found the correct model that I wanted and proceeded to try to buy one. Here is the email I sent to the local disti after after trying (and much frustration) to buy one :

Dear Rxxxxx,

It is to my understanding from both xxxx Camera and Cxxx (your staff) that Exxxxxx DOES NOT carry this model the Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478DR-EL and that you would not even order the item for me if I wanted.

From what I heard, you are saying that the L-478DR works for triggering Elinchrom flashes; YES, indeed it does if i use a sync cable (like in the 1970s) OR if I connect it to a PocketWizard Receiver.

And NO, that is not why someone would want to buy a L-478DR-EL, the -EL, -U (or without dashes as in Malaysia), -PX as shown here http://www.sekonic.com/malaysia/products/l-478dr-el/overview.aspx ; offers the ability to actually control and communicate to the flashes to adjust their power ON THE LIGHTMETER for the wireless control system they are compatible with.

The -EL communicates with any strobes compatible with the Elinchrom Skyport system for power adjustment, remote wireless trigger; the -PX for any compatible Phottix receivers whiles the -U or without dash), i.e. the L-478DR listed on Sekonic's website talks to the PocketWizard ControlTL compatible receivers.

Your staff also said that you say the L-478DR-EL is *Made for Elinchrom"; that is complete b.s. that is a Sekonic product that communicates with Elinchrom's system; just like a Tamron lens could be made with a Canon EF mount. In the case of the Tamron lens, it is NOT supplied to Canon to sell, so neither is the Sekonic L-478DR-EL sold exclusively to Elinchrom for them to sell. In fact, if you check, it is NEVER listed on Elinchrom's website or even any online sites.

Notice here on B&H https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1216800-REG/sekonic_l_478dr_u_el_litemaster_pro_l_478dr_el_series.html; the item even has a Sekonic PART NUMBER and not an Elinchrom part number or here on Adorama http://www.adorama.com/skl478druel.html or Calumet Photo UK https://www.calphoto.co.uk/product/Sekonic-Litemaster-Pro-L-478DR-EL-Elinchrom/335-532E?tracking=|searchterm:L-478DR-EL

In case if you still need to see how it works, it is on this Youtube video posted by Sekonic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5jRu96hUCA and notice the video is also by Sekonic and NOT ELINCHROM.

Thank you very much.

p.s. like when I emailed Sekonic, I told them if anyone else in the world made this item, I wouldn't have bothered to ask them again about it; they are lucky and you are lucky they monopolize the market, if not, there is ZERO chance I would ever even think about buying a Sekonic product.

*Please excuse my grammatical and/or spelling mistakes on this email, it was more or less written in anger 😉

This distributor is by no means an exception in my dear country, Malaysia. Many distributors of professional photographic equipment in Malaysia are ignorant about what they are really selling and some don’t even have any technical expertise about how the products they represent works. In addition, most will use simple excuses to justify the high prices for photographic items we buy here and never actually carry any stock of the products they distribute.

Dear Manufacturers, why do you insist on continue to use such distributors or do not actually ensure they are properly trained?

It is indeed a sad day for me and other photographers in Malaysia when we as customers has to actually educate and sometimes (like in this case) try to beat facts into the distributor’s thick skulls.

*Update 21/09/16*
The disti’s reply is as follows
The Sekonic meter is a capable unit to work with certain latest model studio flash (old models cannot work) in the event there is a wish to control power. However it does state if capable of Hyper Synch with flash.

The new Broncolor RFS 2.2 Transceiver works to trigger Broncolor flash, control power and has Hyper Synch. Will send you info separately.

Yes, he did send me the press info for the Broncolor Transceivers… is it me or is this like when you are driving a Toyota and the mechanic recommends that you put a Honda part into your car? Haha

There is light at the end of the tunnel btw… sent an email to the Sekonic Singaporean distributor and finally got an answer that I know how to deal with. Their email reads:

Dear Steven Leong

Good afternoon

This model is only launched in EU countries and Canada. It is not available for sale outside these countries.

Thank you.

I will now take that as proof that Singaporeans do a better job at distribution than Malaysians.

*Update 22/09/16*

Found an actual alternative for the Sekonic that I was looking at, it is more expensive, yes but its always better to put money where my mouth is. So here it is :
screenshot-99

Once it arrives in 2wks or so and I have tested it, I will likely post something about it.

Goodbye Sekonic, Hello Gossen (hopefully)! :p

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