A light meter provides crucial information to photographers and cinematographers for their work; it provides a measurement of the exposure, tells users exactly what shutter speed/aperture combination to use based on the 18% gray standard, and can even provide detailed charts and graphs on the quality and color of the lights one is using. Generally, it will be seen as a tool to check exposure settings for perfectly balanced images. Additionally, some models can provide other exceptionally useful capabilities, such as flash metering, color temperature readings, and more.

Incident versus Reflected Light Readings

light meter

light meter

Light readings can be taken in two different ways: by reading the light falling on the subject (incident) or the light that is reflected from the subject (reflected). Most meters can take both types of readings, but there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each.

Incident readings measure the light falling onto the subject, so it requires the meter to be pointed toward the camera from the subject’s position. This method has proven to be very accurate, more so than reflected readings, because the meter will not be fooled by overly reflective or dark surfaces. This can be difficult with fast-moving or faraway subject matter.


If you’re looking to purchase a digital luminance light meter, you are probably interested in measuring the lighting in a particular area. Whether you are a cinematographer, a set designer, or somebody just trying to get the perfect amount of light for their delicate indoor plants, there are many inexpensive and high quality digital light meters on the market today to choose from.

These devices are pretty simple to use and generally deliver accurate results. We should say that if you need something for intensive scientific research, you may want to shop around for a more robust digital light meter than we have reviewed on this page.

Users have commented that it is not ideal for measuring your fish tank lights or grow lights, because most plants use red and blue, while these locks meters measure mostly green.

Make sure you understand your personal requirements before purchasing a digital light meter- reviewing the product pages and what other users have said about the models they have purchased is a great way to get added insight into the purchasing decision you are making.

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