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Sekonic Prodigi Color C-500/C-500R

Posted on May 08, 2009 in News: Camera Accessories, Sekonic

Getting the correct exposure and color are two of the most important goals in the process of capturing an image. Reproducing colors as they appear in the image has been the essential goal and dream of color photography since its inception. Not long ago, when film was king, serious photographers used color filters and yesterday's color measuring instruments to control color in their images. Today's digital photographers are just as passionate in their desires to control color precisely. Unfortunately, yesterday's color measuring and balancing tools have little relevance for digital capture today. They were great for traditional film capture but cannot provide the correct color compensation values necessary for today's digital capture.

The reason this is so is because film’s color characteristics are based on Photographic Color Temperature whereas digital camera sensors’ characteristics are based on Visual Color Temperature. The new Sekonic PRODIGI COLOR C-500 and C-500R are the world's only photographic color meter designed to read spectral sensitivity of both color film and CCD and CMOS sensors used in modern digital still and video cameras.

Unlike yesterday’s color meters which had three sensors, the PRODIGI COLOR C-500 incorporates four color sensors, a Red sensor for digital response (Rd), a Red sensor for film response (Rf), a Green sensor (G) and a Blue sensor (B). By using a simulated spectrum (patent pending), Sekonic has created a selectable Digital or Film mode in the PRODIGI COLOR.

Because the digital medium has a wealth of software available for color correction after capture, one might be inclined to think that there’s less need for a color meter today. This can’t be further from the truth however, for good lighting and proper exposure are more important now than ever. Photographers often have to work with different light sources and color is a very critical factor when multiple light sources are involved. Some examples of difficult lighting challenges include mixing daylight with incandescent, HMI, or fluorescent light, using multiple lighting units or bulbs made by different manufacturers, and mixing lighting with different light modifiers. Changing reflectors, adding diffusion or adjusting power levels will also result in a color temperature change that needs to be corrected. In the digital world, “garbage in equals garbage out” so it pays to get it right before an exposure is made because a perfect “in” can save hours of tedious post-production adjustments and corrections. What’s more, a perfectly captured image always looks better than an image that has been adjusted.

With the Sekonic PRODIGI COLOR C-500, you are in control of any color situation because it provides the most comprehensive array of color/illumination information. Color values are displayed in three ways in both digital and film modes: Kelvin color temperature; LB/CC Index Display to correspond to light source color filtration systems; and LB/CC Filter Numbers Display for lens or light source filtration in direct color values (for example, 81A, for use with Kodak Wratten, Lee or Fujifilm filter systems). Ambient brightness is displayed in either footcandles or Lux. The data display is electro-luminescent and automatically comes on to illuminate readings under low light.

Flash Color Measurements can be taken in non-cord, cord and wireless modes at shutter speeds from 1 to 1/500 second. Flash brightness is read in two intensity ranges, H (high) for high-power studio strobes or L (low) for lower power or shoe-mount flash units.

19 presets enable adjusting display values to compensate for differences in film types, light sources, digital sensors, or personal preference. An eight-character readout on the display allows creating custom naming for easy identification of the presets.

Sekonic has designed the PRODIGI COLOR for great ergonomics and user-friendliness. Using less buttons and switches, the C-500R/C-500 uses Sekonic's popular jog wheel and key action for quick and intuitive operation, and power comes from two AA cells that are very readily available. A companion model, the PRODIGI COLOR C-500R comes with a built-in radio transmitter that can trigger Pocket Wizard-enabled flash units from up to 30 meters distance.

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