Digital cameras come with built-in light meters. Mostly, they do a good job of reading the light in a scene and helping you judge your exposure settings. But if you want to be absolutely sure of the light and get an accurate exposure, you need to use a handheld light meter. If that sounds intimidating, here is your light meter guide.
Reflx Lab has released a compact hotshoe-mountable light meter. Called the Reflx Lab Light Meter (buy here), is an on-camera reflective light meter for use with cameras that don’t have a meter built-in. Typically, this means older film cameras.
It won’t set the shutter speed or aperture for you, of course, and the ISO is fixed depending on the film stock you’ve chosen. It will, however, give you a reading on the scene before you with settings to tap in.
Sweden-based LIT Systems has announced the LIT DUO 1, a new pocket-sized light meter. The meter has seven different light measuring modes, including colour temperature mode, full-colour XY mode, light spectrum measurement mode, and it can even detect the frequency at which your lights are flickering. Obviously, you also get the usual ISO, aperture and shutter speed light metering you get from other light meters.
Hold back your excitement, though. It’s not available just yet. It’s currently in development, but it promises to be an excellent option for those looking for an advanced light meter by the time it gets to release. In fact, if it does make it to release, there might finally be somebody out there to give Sekonic a little competition!
Light meters have been a bit out of fashion for a while – although you’ll get my Sekonic from my cold dead hands! – but they have started to make a little bit of a comeback over the last couple of years. It’s partly due to the resurgence of film and cameras that don’t contain built-in meters but also the value that some photographers find it provides in their work. The only problem is light meters can be expensive!
Well, now there’s a new open-source incident light meter that you can build yourself for less than $50 – assuming you can find a Pi selling for RRP. It’s been created by VEEB, a group of Switzerland-based photographers who’ve taken to building their own kit. The Photon was created to provide incident light readings for shooting with Pentax Hasselblad and other old film cameras the VEEB team had that don’t have built-in light meters.
While they were once a fixture in every studio and photographer’s gear bag, light meters seem to have fallen out of fashion ever since digital photography came along. And while it’s true that we now have a lot more options for exposing our shots, the humble light meter can still play a very valuable role in nailing the shot quickly and consistently.
The cost of messing up the exposure of a shot, twiddling some dials and shooting another isn’t as expensive as it was in the film days, light meters can still save you a lot of time and hassle. And in this great video, Daniel Norton walks us through how to use a light meter, along with some tips and tricks to make your life a little easier when using one.
While pretty much all cameras today have some form of light meter built-in, there are still plenty of older film cameras that don’t. Short of going by the Sunny 16 rule and hoping you’re close, there isn’t much you can do to ensure a good exposure besides using an actual light meter. Sure, you could carry around a big bulky Sekonic or even a little slender Sekonic, but why not mount one to your camera’s hotshoe?
The TTArtisan Light Meter has been available in black and silver, both made from aviation aluminium, at a cost of $62 for a while now, but the company’s just added a new black version made from brass into the mix, that shines through as the light meter goes through use and the black markings are worn away. The new brass version costs $88 and comes in at almost 3x the weight of the aluminium version.
I’ve used light meters for as long as I can remember in my photography. While many don’t believe they’re still required with digital photography, I still always have my trusty Sekonic in my bag. They are very popular with film shooters, though. Light meter design hasn’t really changed all that much over the years, but one company believes they don’t really fit the aesthetic of modern film shooters.
Negative Supply (you might remember their film scanning holder from a couple of years ago) believes most people are shooting old metal cameras and so they should have a metal light meter to go with it. So, they’ve released the Negative Supply LM1, an all-metal, pocket-sized light meter that measures both ambient light and flash, as well as colour temperature, via Kickstarter.
Reveni Labs, the company responsible for the tiny on-camera light meter for old SLRs that don’t have one built-in is back. And they’ve brought a new meter with them. This time it’s a still-tiny-but-not-quite-as-tiny-as-the-original-meter spot meter – once a very common tool amongst film photographers, particularly medium and large format landscape shooters, and one that’s still built into just every DSLR and mirrorless camera today.
And, yes, there are companies like Sekonic still producing excellent spot meters, but they’re not exactly cheap. Even older, used ones can still be fairly expensive. Reveni Labs’ goal with this is to print the price down to a more manageable amount for those who don’t need the advanced capabilities of more expensive meters.
If you’re into film photography and have a camera without a light meter, it can be pretty tricky to get the exposure right. Lime One is a neat-looking light meter that should solve the problem. It’s a small reflective light meter, and it’s mounted straight on your camera’s accessory shoe.
Last year, Sekonic put out a questionnaire on their Twitter feed asking if anybody was interested in them looking into the possibility of creating a Godox module for their light meters. It was suggested at the time that the two possible options for a Godox module would be their flagship L-858D and L-478D light meters. It’s been pretty much radio silence ever since, though. Until now.
After a user commented on one of Sekonic’s posts on their Facebook page that they were having issues getting their Sekonic L-858D-U light meter to talk with their Godox AD600, Sekonic responded with some positive news. Yes, that’s right, that Godox module is finally being released, and it’s coming this year.