A viewfinder below the sensor ensures that reflective light readings are being
taken at the precise location desired. There is a small "spot" circle
in the viewfinder for positioning, but there's no way to change the angle
of the reading between measuring the entire field and taking a smaller spot
measurement. That would be a nice feature. The entire head, with the sensor,
diffuser, and viewfinder, can be rotated 270Þ for measuring light at odd
angles. Rotating the head also makes it possible to take a reflective measurement
and view the reading on the LCD without having to turn the unit. Even though
the LCD is relatively small, the information that's displayed on it is
quite readable. A small bar above the On/Off switch turns on the LCD's
backlighting for reading the screen in low light.
Using the exposure suggested by the JTL meter, rather than the camera's
automatic metering, resulted in rich, well-saturated exposures.
For testing, a variety of measurements were taken with the LM-8. For comparison
measurements, frames were taken with a digital SLR set to center-weighted averaging
metering, with a 28-135mm IS zoom lens extended to roughly the same field of
view as the meter's viewfinder.
With the dragonfly photos, the JTL was used as a reflective meter. It measured
the scene at 1/125 sec at f/8. Shooting manually, the camera indicated that
that the lens should be opened up between 1/4 and 1/2 a stop. That was also
the case with the flowers. A high-end professional flash meter was used to confirm
the LM-8's flash readings. Roughly the same reading difference was encountered
when metering flash exposures. The results were fine when capturing the images
at the exposures that the meter recommended.
Even though there isn't a lot of it, documentation is quite good. All
the settings and functions are fully explained. Someone who's just starting
out with flash metering might need to acquaint themselves with some of the terms,
but that wouldn't take long. Anybody who's had any experience with
multifunctional meters would have no problem with the JTL. The LM-8 has a suggested
retail price of $209.95, delivered.
When metering in a shadow situation with the JTL LM-8, the exposures
could be just a little bit lighter. (Model: Misty.)
For more information, contact JTL Corporation, 14747 Artesia Blvd., 3-E La
Mirada, CA 90638; (714) 670-6626; www.jtlcorp.com.