James's Light Meter Collection: Sekonic L-38 Auto Leader
Sekonic L-38 Auto Leader exposure meter Japanclick for manual
Maker: Sekonic
Model: L-38 "Auto Leader"
Circa: 1960
Designers: J. Kawa, Y. Akioka and I. Kaneko
US Design Patent: 185,885
Price (new): $11.95
Cell type: Selenium
Measure type: reflecting / averaging

click for larger advertisementAnother one from the Toyota of light meters. This is a beefed up version of the L-VI Leader, or a tweaked L-36. In fact, the real difference between this and the L-36 is switch to match-needle and an improved calculator dial.

They retained the flip cover for high/low light and the built-in a spring-loaded booster cell for low-light. The last is a nice touch; a lot of meters had booster cell accessories (the Horvex was first) but they were separate and easily lost. This one just flips in and out of position. No fooling around.

I bought this at the same time as my DeJur Dual Professional, and even though they're about 10 years apart (which is an eon in evolution at that time), it's been fun comparing them. They both have some nice features, but I get the feeling that the DeJur people put more of an emphasis on styling, while Sekonic worked on function. There are a lot of little touches that make the Sekonic really nice to use, but the DeJur looks cool.

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