Every serious photographer knows that light is one of the most critical components of a shot. The available lighting determines your ISO settings, shutter speed, and aperture.
When shooting in automatic mode, it’s less crucial for you to pay attention to the lighting as your camera does it for you. When transitioning to manual mode, these decisions are all on you.
Throughout history, photographers have been searching for a way to accurately read the lighting to get the perfect exposure. In the mid-1900’s, the light meter as we know it today was produced.
Light meters are small portable devices are able to provide you with an accurate reading on light exposure anytime and anywhere. This allows you to make appropriate adjustments to your camera, the environment, or your own sources of external lighting to achieve a better level of exposure.
While getting your hands on one a light meter can be useful, it is important to note that not all of these gadgets are created equally, so we did extensive research to help identify some of the top performers. Check out our list below to find the perfect light meter to add to your kit.
1. Sekonic L-308X-U FLASHMATE (Overall Winner)
At the top of our list, we have the Sekonic L-308X-U FLASHMATE light meter. If you are looking for a gadget that will give you maximum value for your money, then this is the product you want to get your hands on.
Sekonic’s light meter comes with a higher price tag, but the available features ensure it can provide you with more accurate readings than many of the cheaper alternatives that you are going to find on the market today.
This light meter is available in two different models and is able to provide an accuracy that is measured to one tenth-of-a-stop. Electronic flashlight and ambient light readings can be recorded with the device. The built-in LCD display you to check the readings at any given time.
The LUX LED Light Meter LM-50KL from LATNEX is another option that provides great value for your money. This light meter comes at a very attractive price tag, yet it comes with a number of advanced features that a photographer is sure to rely on. The gadget is able to provide readings in various measurements, foot-candles or Lux, ensuring you can work with a system that you are familiar with.
The LATNEX meter comes with an included calibration certificate, providing evidence that the product is able to deliver accurate readings. You can measure any type of visible light with the device, including LED white light.
Next up on our list is the Kenko KFM-1100 Auto Digi Meter, which is one of the more expensive options. Even though the price tag is high, many photographers do enjoy the accuracy that this device is able to offer.
The KFM-1100 is exceptionally easy to use. The product comes with a full instruction manual to ensure you can start obtaining readings for light exposure in the environment without any struggles.
There is an LCD display that is able to provide you with readings at any time. A built-in memory function also helps to gain access to previous readings for future reference.
The Gossen DIGIPRO F2 is another expensive meter, but it is one of the better quality options that you are able to choose from at the moment. The product features a number of different metering methods, ensuring you can get a more accurate reading based on the specific type of light that is being measured.
The DIGIPRO F2 comes with a built-in display, which provides you with an overview of the exposure reading. There is an analog contrast control function, as well as individualized adaption technology built into the product.
The next option on our list is also from the Sekonic brand, but one of the more affordable light meters from this trusted brand. The Sekonic L-208 TWINMATE is great for beginners who have not used this type of device before but still offers a full set of advanced features.
The Sekonic L-208 TWINMATE has a hold-and-read mode, which is able to lock a reading and display it for a period of 15 seconds at a time. This gives you more time to evaluate the exposure in a specific area. Half-stop increments can be adjusted according to your requirements.
If you are in the market for a compact light meter that also provides top quality features, then consider the Extech LT505 Pocket Light Meter. This is a very lightweight device that you can grab for an inexpensive price. While it is not the most affordable option out there, it does offer you access to some advanced features.
The LT505 measures the light that it is exposed to in two different units, depending on your specific preferences and requirements. You can switch between readings in Lux or foot-candle. There is a zero calibration function built into the gadget, and it offers a data hold feature for easy future reference.
The HoldPeak HP-881D Digital Illuminance Light Meter is one of the most affordable light meters on our list. This product is able to provide a reading in different scenarios, with a series of customization options to ensure you get an appropriate reading for the specific type of light you are measuring.
The HP-881D has an LCD screen with a built-in backlit, ensuring you can easily see the readings at any time. The product also comes with a rotate sensor head, data storage features, and a faster response than some of the alternative options out there.
The Dr. Meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance Light Meter is another affordable option. This meter comes with a series of features that a photographer can utilize in order to improve light exposure in their photos. The default measurement system provides a reading in Lux, but additional settings can be used for a more customized experience.
When you buy from Dr. Meter, you get a one-year warranty period that protects your purchase against manufacturing defects. The product has a built-in data hold function, auto zeroing, and a rapid response for faster readings.
For a price that falls in the cheapest range, the BDMETER Digital Light Meter serves as a basic option that can provide you with accurate readings without the need to spend hundreds of dollars. This is an illuminance meter, which is able to provide a reading on various elements that the sensor is exposed to.
There is a built-in LCD screen in this device, and the product is able to provide measurements at a range of up to 200,000 Lux. The design is small and compact, which also makes it easy to carry around and hold in your hand.
10. URCERI MT-912 (Budget Winner)
Our top option for anyone on a low budget is the URCERI MT-912 Light Meter. The product is extremely compact, which makes it an ideal option if you do not want to carry too many camera accessories with you.
You have the ability to measure luminosity at a range of up to 200,000 Lux with this product. The URCERI Light Meter is also able to provide a reading on the ambient temperature. The product has high accuracy with a color LCD screen, which is quite rare for this type of gadget.
Choosing the Best Light Meters
With one of the best light meters in your camera bag, it is possible to get an accurate reading on light exposure wherever you are. This gives you an opportunity to alter light in a simulated environment, change direction, or perhaps the position of the subject that is being photographed in a more natural lighting scenario.
We shared our selection of the top light meters that are currently on the market to make the process of choosing one easier for you.