The 10 Best Light Meters

Sara Mandeed
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Light meters allow photographers to make the best use of their lighting potential by capturing the perfect exposure. Normally I would say they give photographers freedom of choice, but in the information overload of the digital age I tend to think: Why didn’t you simply buy a light meter and get it over with?

You can use a light meter by carrying it around in your hand while taking your photo or simply mounting it on your camera. You can also use a handheld flash meter for taking flash exposure readings.

This list is simply what I have found when searching the market myself. Im not selling anything here, just offering useful information.

NameCategoryProduct
Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U Light MeterBest OverallSekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U Light Meter
Dr.meter LX1010B Digital Illuminance/Light MeterBudget PickDr.meter LX1010B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter
Gossen Digisix 2 Exposure MeterUpgrade PickGossen Digisix 2 Exposure Meter

1. Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U Light Meter

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U Light Meter

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Pros:

  • Features high response speeds
  • Provision for flash sensitivity, EV correction, and ASA conversion
  • Robust design for heavy-duty use
  • Multiple light measuring options
  • Easy to use and understand

Cons:

  • The display is not backlit
  • Viewfinder lacks some settings
  • Accurate light metering only within a 10-foot range

We’re going to begin our review by saying that the Sekonic Light Meter is one of the best light meters and very easy to get the hang of. This light meter measures light within the 0.01fL to 99.9fL range. The Sekonic Light Meter can be used as a handheld device or as a free standing unit.

It also has a number of different applications, including for the filmmaking and gaming industries. You can also use it to photograph animals in the wild, which means it’s a very versatile light meter as well. The Sekonic Light Meter offers spot measurements, and it’s also pretty robust considering it is an advanced-class of light meter.

The Sekonic Light Meter seems like it fits nicely into a range of industries, much like how the Elinchrom ELB 400X is popular among beauty photographers.

2. Extech LT40 LED Light Meter

Our rating: 9 / 10

Extech LT40 LED Light Meter

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Pros:

  • Easy-to-read screen
  • Budget-friendly price range
  • Works for both indoor and outdoor use
  • Measures up to 99,999 lux
  • Fast measuring speed
  • Includes a convenient wrist strap

Cons:

  • Not accurate for high-intensity wavelengths
  • Not user-replaceable battery with short or limited life

If you want an easy way to measure ambient light levels, the Extech LT40 light meter is a handy option you can easily store in your pocket. This small and portable device is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. It measures up to 99,999 lux and is capable of measuring light levels in a matter of seconds.

The Extech LT40 LED light meter features a sensor that measures the lux level of light. Users can switch between the bar graph and digital display with a press of a button.

If you need to adjust the light measurement unit, simply push another button. This is convenient when you want to change the measurement scale between continuous bars and digital numbers.

3. Extech LT45 LED Light Meter

Our rating: 8 / 10

Extech LT45 LED Light Meter

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Pros:

  • Wide range of adjustments
  • Dual display capability
  • Very affordable
  • Includes a carrying case
  • Can read in 10 different modes
  • Ideal for photographers and filmmakers
  • The metering modes are Center weighted, Spot, and Edge

Cons:

  • Plastic body is less durable than higher-end models
  • The meter doesn’t come with a clip or tripod

The Extech LT45 LED Light Meter provides users with a wide range of bright and crisp measurements. It has a large range of adjustments for you to consider when taking measurements of your own. The Extech LT45 comes with a dual display option, where you can either choose between a LCD or LED display – the LED display looks particularly great in bright sunlight.

This tool can be used to measure the luminance in 10 different modes. These modes include: ¾second, ½ second, 1/10 second, 1/100 second, 1/1000 second, 10 minutes, 1/100 minute, 1 minute, 10 seconds, and 100 seconds.

4. BTMETER BT-881D Digital Illuminance Light Meter

Our rating: 8 / 10

BTMETER BT-881D Digital Illuminance Light Meter

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Pros:

  • Fast services and high-quality ensured
  • A unique design for easy storage
  • Easy to carry and choose
  • Small and portable for easy storage
  • Considerable price
  • Useful for quite many things like plants, roads, and areas for recreation
  • No matter how powerful the light, the light meter can measure within 0.01 lux
  • It is the best light meter

Cons:

  • The light meter does not have °C conversion.

This light is too costly. Some people consider it is a waste of money.

Some people have claimed that they have been tricked into purchasing this light meter by the company. The company calls a customer to know about the experience before delivery which might take some time.

Some people have had to wait for quite some time before they were able to use this light meter.

5. Dr.meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter

Our rating: 8 / 10

Dr.meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter

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Pros:

  • Easy-to-read illuminated LCD screen
  • Range from 0 to 200,000 lux
  • Zoom functionality for accurate readings
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Features a memory function
  • Easy to set up
  • Decent price

This inexpensive digital light meter is a great tool to have around for photography and other creative needs. It’s a handy tool for anyone who needs to measure light intensity or exposure. The thing that sets this model apart from others in its category is that it uses a digitized system. This means that the lighting conditions are more easily selected on the 1.8″ backlit active-matrix display.

A great feature of the LX1330B is the fact that it also includes a light measurement scale that shows you the measurement in lux. This scale will also provide you with a measuring range from 0 to 200lx. The multi-segment backlit LCD display makes it very easy to see the readings, even in conditions of low brightness. The included hand strap makes it easy to hold while you’re trying to get an accurate measurement.

6. URCERI Light Meter Digital Illuminance Meter Handheld Ambient Temperature Measurer

Our rating: 8 / 10

URCERI Light Meter Digital Illuminance Meter Handheld Ambient Temperature Measurer

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Pros:

  • LCD screen for accurate readings
  • Compass feature will keep you from getting lost
  • Protective case for outdoor use
  • Comes with four LR44 batteries

Cons:

  • Reading may vary depending on the room’s lighting conditions
  • Doesn’t come with a carrying case

The URCERI light meter digital handheld ambient temperature measurer features a wristband and belt clip for easy portability. You can use it to test the brightness of the space indoors, to check the temperature of your baby’s room, or to test the light in the photos you’ve taken.

The hand-held meter comes with four LR44 batteries and a carrying case to protect it before and after use, making it perfect for outdoorsmen who want to measure the light in their outdoor photos.

This light meter features a unique compass feature that will help you get back to the direction you came from with ease. In addition, you can check the temperature using the light meter, making it more than a measuring tool. This light meter comes with a LCD screen that’s easy to read. While it’s a handy tool, you may need to adjust your camera’s setting according to its measurements if you’re aiming for a particular effect.

7. Digital Luxmeter/Digital Illuminance Light Meter

Our rating: 8 / 10

Digital Luxmeter/Digital Illuminance Light Meter

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to read
  • Compact for easy storage

If you’re looking for the best light meter for photographers, then you’ve come to the right place. This digital light meter features an LCD display, which is great because you can see the values clearly, especially in low light conditions. It has an illuminance range of 0.1 to 50,000 lux, so it will be perfect for photographers looking to take the best photos indoors.

We recommend the Digital Luxmeter for photographers who use a variety of rooms and indoor locations to shoot. It's small, lightweight, and can be placed in your camera bag or pocket easily.

The Digital Luxmeter also comes with a lanyard, a battery, and a user manual to make your experience even better. The Auto Power Off function is a great feature as well, saving battery life.

8. Light Meter ennoLogic eL200K

Our rating: 8 / 10

Light Meter ennoLogic eL200K

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Suitable for commercial and industrial use
  • Durable. Shock- and waterproof housing
  • 8 different measuring modes
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Automatic or manual ranging
  • Wide measuring range

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a tripod mount
  • No chance to operate in the dark
  • No audible signal
  • Uses 4 AA batteries (3V)
  • Takes a while to turn on

The ennoLogic Digital Illuminance Lux Meter is a classic, compact little tool that will help you find the ideal light levels when working on a variety of projects. This lux meter is capable of measuring light levels from 0 to 200,000 lux (which equates to 0.05 to 25,000 ftc), covering a wide spectrum of lighting applications. It works by measuring the light that reaches a specified target, and can be used to calculate the wattage of a light source for example. The lux meter also boasts an intuitive backlit LCD display.

9. Dr.meter LX1010B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter

Our rating: 6 / 10

Dr.meter LX1010B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter

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Pros:

  • Can measure the lux in 12 different ranges
  • Range of up to 100,000 lux
  • Affordable price
  • Easy and without much expertise to use.

Cons:

  • Not suited for professionals as it's not very accurate.
  • This is a budget product, don't expect it to be 100% accurate.

The main purpose of the light meter is to help you in determining the brightness of your scene or object. This can be done by measuring the luminous intensity in lux. The LX1010B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter is a cheap and simple to use tool that can be used to measure the illuminance in 12 different ranges.

The meter can measure up to 100,000 lux which is quite a lot of range to cover. A lux is the measurement of light in a specific area or direct light from a beam. The device is made from a plastic as the body of the light meter with a very long cable to give you the freedom of movement while taking readings and the battery itself is powered by two AA batteries that run out quick if they are not changed often.

The unit comes with a CD software that you can download for free once you connect the light meter to your computer. This helps you to get the most accurate readings every time and you'll also be able to print a report every time.

10. Gossen Digisix 2 Exposure Meter

Our rating: 6 / 10

Gossen Digisix 2 Exposure Meter

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Pros:

  • Very high accuracy
  • Easy to use
  • Simple design, that’s easy to hold and read
  • Units of measurement include Relative or Lux, Spot or Indie
  • Price is unreasonably low for the quality of meter

Cons:

  • No option for LEDs or Incandescent bulbs – You have to manually switch between the two different modes
  • For the price, no lux scale

The Gossen Digisix 2 Exposure Meter is incredibly convenient for any photographer. It measures light intensity in any situation, with a built-in scale of 0-1,000,000 Lux, as well as a built-in LED light that helps equalize exposure in dim or dark lighting.

This light meter is very fast and very easy to use. It’s also incredibly well-built. The display is very easy to read. In fact, the readability is comparable to that of a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

The Digisix 2 Exposure Meter has a different scale for either LEDs or incandescent bulbs. You can also switch between scales with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best light meter?

Canon’s DPP II is the best light meter on the market. While it is a pricey piece of equipment, its comprehensive set of features makes it worth every penny.

I once tried a much more affordable light meter and quickly learned that you do get what you pay for.

What should I look for in a light meter?

Light meters give you an accurate reading of light in a particular location. Since photography is done with light, it is necessary to have a way to measure the light in different environments. The most important feature of a light meter is accuracy. A light meter that is accurate is one of the best tools you can have in your camera bag.

The other feature to consider is the type of environment where you will be using the light meter. Some light meters are designed to read incident light while others are designed to read reflected light.

If you are only going to measure sunlight, then there is no reason to look beyond the Sekonic L-758DR.

Why are light meters so expensive?

Light meters are used to measure and quantify the amount of light in a given area. Think of them as your camera's eyes.

They are a necessity for any professional for precisely this reason. It is important to know exactly how much light you’re using to ensure that your images match the vision you had in your mind. They also give you the opportunity to get the most of available light and ultimately save money on having to spend money on extra lighting equipment.

However, light meters are an incredible tool for every photographer, be it as simple as day to day photo taking and editing. It's also great to have one in your camera bag if you're taking portrait images of people or pets.

What is an incident light meter?

Incident light meters are the traditional camera light meters. They measure the light that falls on the camera's sensor. They are considered the “correct” way to meter when photographing in studio conditions.

A light meter that measures reflected light is considered an “incident” meter because it is a measurement of light that falls onto whatever it is you are measuring. In other words it measures the light that is being reflected off the subject itself. The reflected reading is a trusty light reading because it is showing what is actually available to the sensor, rather than what is reflected off the subject's face and into the camera.

"Reflected" light meters are more accurate when observing light around the subject, such as the ambient light of a natural setting or bounced light from a reflector. They are useful for telling you how much light is being bounced back into the lens.

Conclusion

A light meter is an essential part of every photographer’s gear. It’s a tool that helps you get a proper exposure right every time, so you can ensure you can remember the middle school dance that you remember so well or the wedding that you were never able to stop thinking about.

Although the light meter does require a bit of knowledge and skill to use, it’s not that difficult if you have the right kind.

There are a few different types of light meters available to you, and they are broken down into three different areas of photography:

  • Studio
  • Outdoor
  • Aerial

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U Light MeterBest OverallSekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U Light Meter
Dr.meter LX1010B Digital Illuminance/Light MeterBudget PickDr.meter LX1010B Digital Illuminance/Light Meter
Gossen Digisix 2 Exposure MeterUpgrade PickGossen Digisix 2 Exposure Meter