The Best Light Meters for Cinematography or Video or Photo or Film Photography – Reviews 2018

6717203275_58c6af82f1_b The Best Light Meters for Cinematography inexpensive budget cheap video or photo or film photography Reviews

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Light meters are devices used for the sake of light measurement. To be more specific, they're the gadgets capable of measuring the amount of light in a scene before providing exposure information that helps photographers or cinematographers recalibrate their camera settings. This is the perfect machine for photography in order to get the proper exposure for a photograph or cinematography to know how much light is needed for a given scene or set.

The light meter can either include an analog or digital electronic circuit that allows the photographer to know which f-number and shutter speed is needed to get the best amount of exposure. However, in regards to cinematography and scenic design, it's the device that determines how much lighting or floodlights required to set up the lighting design of a set.

Reviews of The Best Light Meters for Cinematography

Here are the The Best inexpensive (budget, cheap) Light Meters for Cinematography or Video or Photo or Film Photography available on

1. Sekonic Flashmate Digital Meter

This light meter is recommended for experienced and even beginner cinematographers and photographers. According to quite a number of reviewers, Sekonic is the workhorse of the light meter category. Although many digital cameras have built-in meters, cinematography involves more of setting up your lights for a set, so it pays to have a more advanced light meter available than the basic one available on your video camera.

To be more specific, Sekonic L-308S is perfect for instantaneous light level measurement of scenes like beaches, oceans, mountain ranges, seascapes, and landscapes. This is because it operates in different modes (like incidental, reflected, and camera flash light sources), allowing you to use it in different circumstances or situations. You'll get aperture readings then the camera itself will adjust the speed. If you're at a set, you can reduce the lights and recalibrate your camera using the device accordingly.

Check it out on Amazon or see this video:

2. Dr. Meter Luxmeter

This particular digital light meter is known for its simplicity in design and depth in function. According to its specs, it has auto zeroing functions, rapid response, and high accuracy. It also indicates over-range and it's easy to read because the unit and sign display is placed prominently via Lux reading that corresponds to the brightness of the room.

You can read it at a glance. It has hold switches for data hold and peak data, short rise and fall time, and low power consumption to boot so it should work for the long haul with battery power. It's also relatively inexpensive as well. Sure, it's no flash meter or photographic exposure meter, but if you only need a quick reading then it's a perfectly fine help when adjusting your video camera's lighting settings.

3. Lumu Power Color & Light Meter for Photo and Video

The most striking feature of the Lumu Color & Light Meter is its size and mobility. It's great for filmmakers and photographers alike because it can turn any iOS device, from iPhones to iPads, into a professional-level light meter. 

It uses a combination of an iOS app and external hardware that's the product itself. The obvious downside to this is if you don't have an iOS device but instead an Android, you can't use this gadget as a standalone light meter. It's more of a light meter attachment than an actual light meter device to be honest.

Check it out on Amazon or see this video:

4. New Sekonic L-478D-U Lightmeter With Exclusive 3-Year Warranty

The Sekonic L-478D-U Lightmeter or Light Meter is a more advanced version of the Sekonic L-308S. However, the latter Sekonic product has a higher rating than the former because of its flaws. In particular, Phottix users should beware of the L-478D-U.

The light meter has a lower user rating mostly because it only has Phottix Strato II Radio Support, so it lacks ODIN support and cannot fire any Phottix flashes or strobes compared to other Phottix-supported light meters. Otherwise, it's a decent meter that's easy to use as long as you follow the instructions on its manual.

What to Look for in a Light Meter

Instead of manipulating waveforms on a monitor that's showcasing video editing software, it's better to get a decent light meter on hand to prepare your shot beforehand. External light meters are capable of things these new editing techniques couldn't do. In fact, these video editing methods work better on well-shot footage with an already high-quality lighting setup.

  • Simple versus Complicated: There are certain light meters that have so many modes (spot and incident modes, to be exact) and measurements that they're only usable by professional photographers or cinematographers. Other light meters are appealing because of their simplicity, which allows them to do things like retain calibration longer than most. The light meter that allows you to get the right readings for calibration are the best for quick shots but more advanced meters might be called for when setting up a more involved scene with loads f light sources.

  • Spot versus Incident: These are two methods of light metering. Incident meters read the light that fall unto your subject or focal point. This involves measuring the subject's point of view back to your camera. Meanwhile, spot meters read the exposure on a narrow spot, usually 1 percent of the shot. It measures light based on the light reflecting off of the subject. It's the most accurate way to get an exposure reading, but only when you're measuring a middle grey or mid-tone. Some meters can use both methods as its modes.

  • Digital versus Analog: Digital light meters gave you instant results with precise digits. Analog ones are more "nostalgic" to photographers who experienced the photo film days of photography and made use of gauges with watch-like displays on them. Which one is better? Digital is more precise but is easier to accidentally damage. Analog is hardier, cheaper, and long-lasting but it's missing several more advanced features of its digital counterpart. It's like the difference between a digital weight scale that gets errors easily by wear and tear versus the more accurate but primitive "analog" weight scale.


Hours of research on editing, cinematography, and videography has been spent in order to get a shortlist of dependable light readers. As a rule of thumb, a light meter that's good enough for photography recalibration is also good enough to help improve the cinematography of your home videos or professional movie scenes.

This is especially true when it comes to the Dr. Meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter. It has beaten the rest of the light meters here by its sheer number of modes and features like auto zeroing functions and rapid response. Only the Sekonic L-308S Flashmate Meter comes close with its incident, reflected, and flash light meter modes.

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About the Author

I’m Megan Ann, mama to 2 and wife to James F. Core. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. In this blog, I try to write useful and informative articles to help you as much as I can with my knowledge.

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