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About Light Meters

The light meter provides photographers and cinematographers with vital information to do their work. It provides exposure measurement, tells you precisely what shutter speed and aperture to use based on the 18 per cent grey standard. More advanced ones can also provide comprehensive graphs and graphs on the quality and colour of the lights you are using.

These days, all cameras come with an inbuilt light meter. However, you might still need an external meter in many cases. To begin with, the meter in your camera reads only the reflected ambient light. It won’t help you measure the incident light on the subject. To calculate the incident light, it is essential to have an external meter. Moreover, external meters can also read flash, cine exposures, colour temperature, foot-candle, and more. This article will tell you everything you need to know about light meters. Having a better understanding of them will help you make the right choices while shopping.

A beginner’s guide to light meters and metering methods

There are two essential skills that a photographer should have. One is to have the ability to find interesting angles and frame the picture so that the subject, the foreground and the background will look good. The second one is to know how to correctly expose the picture. In the early days of the cameras, you had to do all the calculations yourself. So, you will have to judge the light with your eyes and adjust the camera settings for exposure. However, these days it is much easier as almost all cameras come with built-in light meters. But for more sophisticated work, you will need to know the light value at different spots. A light meter is a must-have in those cases.

Incident reading and reflected reading

These are two methods of measuring the intensity of light. When you take the incident reading using the meter, you are measuring the power of the light falling directly on the subject. On the other hand, when you take the reflected light reading, you check how much of that light is reflected off of the subject and reaches the camera sensor. Most meters can do both, but these two readings have completely different applications. At the same time, incident reading will give you a general idea about the ambient light, measuring the reflected light will tell you how to expose the camera.

Spot metering

Spotlight meters are very specialised. Rather than measuring the ambient light, the spot meter will measure the light in a very narrow section of the image. Generally, a spot meter will take readings from one or three-degree angles that are around the light sensor. So, instead of measuring the light that comes from the general direction of the subject, spot meters will allow you to measure the light from very specific parts of the image. This will enable you to expose the image more precisely than otherwise. Not all meters can work as a spot meter. However, there are external accessories that you can use to make regular meters work as spot meters.

Flash metering

Although ambient and constant light is easy to calculate, measuring the intensity of flashlight requires additional connections or modes. This is due to the flash’s incredibly short burst, which is typically less than 1/1000-second. Most flash-capable meters feature a wireless terminal or other sync port so that the meter can measure the light when the flash fires. Some meters use radio transmitters to sync up with the firing of the flash. Another type of flash metering is to use a meter that stays on stand by and then measures and saves the reading when the flash fires. This eliminates the need to sync the flash and the meter together.

Speciality meters

The way photographers use the light info is not the same as how cinematographers use the light info. While photographers use the info to adjust the exposure of the camera, cinematographers need to change a few more variables, like the shutter angle. In such cases, speciality meters like colour and spectrometers can be more helpful. The colour meter can measure the temperature value of the light and let you compare the temperatures of two different light sources. There is also something called the colour quality of the light. Some light will not be very good at rendering all the colours equally. A light meter can tell you about the quality of the light.

Tips on buying Light Meters Online

Light meters are useful tools that will help you to capture great-looking pictures. But finding the right type of meter can be much more challenging than you might think. This is because the model and features you need in them depend on the way you use the meters and how you are shooting. That being said, finding the right model will be easier if you know what factors to consider in them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while shopping for light meters.

  • Type of metering – In order to figure out what type of light meter will work for you; you have to consider the types of metering you will be using. Not all meters can do all kinds of metering. For example, you cannot use a typical ambient light meter for spot metering. For that, you will either need a separate spot meter or buy the additional accessories that are required to convert the regular meter into a spot meter.
  • Sensitivity – Like any other measuring instrument, the sensitivity of the light meter matters. A model with high sensitivity will be able to detect even a slight change in the light level and give you an accurate measurement based on that. Even though this might not make a lot of difference to a hobbyist. This is very imperative in professional cinematography.
  • Compatibility – There are meters that work as stand-alone devices and those that work together with other camera accessories. Flash meters are an example of devices for which compatibility is a major concern. Basically, the metering device you are using should be able to sync with your camera and the flash.
  • Price and durability – The price of light meters vary quite a lot depending on the model. As the number of features increase, the price tends to go up. Moreover, the brand and make of the device also affect the price. Typically, products from brands like Canon, Nikon and Sony tend to cost more than models from third-party manufacturers.

If you are into cameras and photography, you will need many other things apart from light meters. These include things like tripods, flashes, dome lights, battery grips, lenses, lens filters, extra batteries, memory cards and more. You can find any of these easily using our shopping search engine. It will let you compare the prices and features of different products and pick the best one among them. So, don’t forget to check out all the other amazing products from the Multimedia category.

Question & Answer

How to use a hand-held light meter?

The exact way to use the handheld meter depends on what you are actually doing. If you are lighting up a space for the shoot, you will measure the ambient light. So, you can place the meter at different points in the set to check if the area is evenly lit. On the other hand, if you are shooting a subject, you will need to measure how much light is hitting the subject directly. To measure that, you will need to place the meter right next to the subject and take the reading. Another method to use is called reflective spot metering. In this method, you are actually measuring how much light is actually entering the camera sensor.

How do camera light meters work?

All modern light meters make use of photodiodes. So, they convert the light that falls on them into electrical energy. The magnitude of the electrical energy that the photodiode produces will be directly proportional to the intensity of the light. Rather than using one large photodiode, light meters use an array of smaller photodiodes for better accuracy and reliability. That means the meter will not stop working if one photodiode inside the meter fails. By measuring the amount of electrical energy generated by the diode, the light meter will be able to tell you the intensity of light with reliable accuracy.

Where to buy photo light meters online in the UAE?

Light meters are one of the essential items to have in your camera bag if you are a professional photographer. It can mean the difference between capturing a well-exposed picture or a blown-out or underexposed picture. However, you should be careful about the model you buy and where you buy it from. You can find plenty of them using our retail search engine. On Shops.ae you will get some really good light meters for incredibly affordable prices.

If you are looking to buy light meters online in the UAE, look no further as you are in the right place. There are more than 500 shops and brands offering them here on Shops.ae. Here you can find top global online shops that offer products from popular brands like Nikon, Leica, Canon, Zeiss, Minolta, and Olympus.