I will use the meter for both indoor and outdoor portraiture. I have a 430EXII flash and plan on purchasing additional flashes. I also use hot lights in the studio. I've researched about light meters and my head is swimming. It seems the best choice was the Sekonic L358 - but that is now discontinued. I can obtain new a Sekonic L308S for about $187, A Shepherd/Polaris SPD100 for $182 and the SPD500 for $220. This is my price range. Has anyone used these meters and which would you recommend I buy? Or perhaps have other recommendations?
A little late to chime in, but I use the Sekonic meters.
I have an L-308S that does all the incident metering and can also meter flash exposures. I also own an L-758DR. I would normally recommend the L-308S on a budget or the L-358 for the most versatility not on a budget (and the L-758 if a person can afford it.)
The 308 is a basic meter ... it covers all the basics, but that's it. The 358 added the ability to deal with "flash contribution" (which is GREAT for mixed lighting situations such as shooting outdoors with flash) as well as the ability to take multiple sample readings and provide the recommended middle exposures (e.g. meter a shadow, meter a highlight, and it'll find an exposure that should capture both as long as they're within the dynamic range of the camera.) You would have to talk multiple readings with a basic meter and then calculate the "middle" exposure in your head.
I use the Sekonic L358 and am extremely pleased with it. The newer model has some newer features and I am sure it will out perform many of it's competitors. If you can find an L358 buy it. I used mind on a photo shot with a Pro Photographer helping him with his readings on a cloudy and contrasting sky which was changing by the minute. His shots were spot on.