Best Light Meter for Photography

Best Light Meters for Photography in 2024


Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Daniel Osakwe

Best Light Meters for Photography

Product Features Where to buy (New) Where to buy (Per owned)
Sekonic L-308X Flashmate

Sekonic L-308X Flashmate

Reflected metering: Yes| Incident meteringYes| FlashYes Get it on Amazon Get it on eBay
Voigtlander VC Speed Meter II

Voigtlander VC Speed Meter II

Reflected meteringYes| Incident metering: No| FlashNo Get it on Amazon Get it on eBay
Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III

Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III

Reflected meteringYes| Incident meteringYes| FlashNo Get it on Amazon Get it on eBay
Gossen Digisix 2

Gossen Digisix 2

Reflected metering: Yes| Incident meteringYes| FlashNo Get it on Amazon Get it on eBay
Sekonic L-208 Twin Mate

Sekonic L-208 Twin Mate light meter

Reflected metering: Yes| Incident meteringYes| FlashNo Get it on Amazon Get it on eBay
Sekonic L-858D Speedmaster

Sekonic L-858D Speedmaster

Reflected meteringYes| Incident metering: Yes| FlashYes Get it on Amazon Get it on eBay
Lumu Power 2

best light meter for photography

Reflected meteringYes| Incident metering: Yes| FlashYes Get it on Amazon Get it on eBay
Gossen Digisky

Gossen light meter for photography

Reflected meteringYes| Incident metering: Yes| Flash: Yes Get it on Amazon Get it on eBay

Do you want to get the best light meters for photography?

Light meter for photography is an indispensable tool for any professional photographer. A light meter is a device that helps a photographer determine the amount of light in a scene, and thereby control the intensity of the lighting in a photograph. It also enables you to determine the shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation.

Here, we have a collection of the best light meter for photography that will help you to get the best quality pictures. 

The 8 Best Light Meters for Photography 

Sekonic L-308X Flashmate

Sekonic L-308X Flashmate

Reflected metering: Yes| Incident meteringYes| FlashYes| Angle of view40 degrees| EV range0-19.9EV at ISO 100| BatteryAA| Dimensions64x109x23mm| Weight99.8g
The Sekonic L-308X is pocket-sized and powered by an easily swappable AA battery as opposed to a button cell. It measures incident light, flash, and reflected light (at an angle greater than 40 degrees) and provides a digital readout in a variety of settings. Cinematic metering is also available. It is more powerful and adaptable than the other items on this list, although it can be less helpful for metering beginners.
Even while it will offer you direct aperture and shutter speed settings on the display, it doesn’t display aperture and shutter speed combinations in the same manner as a physical dial, which is frustrating because you have to swivel the meter to see the display after taking a reading. Although the L-308X is a fantastic practical instrument, it is not ideal for novices.
See our full review: Sekonic L-308X Flashmate
Pros Cons
Reflected, incident, and flash metering Bigger than the Digisix 2 and Twin Mate
Affordable A bit complicated

Voigtlander VC Speed Meter II

Voigtlander VC Speed Meter II

Reflected meteringYes| Incident metering: No| FlashNo| Angle of view: 30 degrees| EV range: 1-20EV at ISO 100| BatteryLR44/SR44| Dimensions42.5x37x19.5mm| Weight42g
For a straightforward task, a light meter can be a rather basic tool. There are a number of really complicated light meters available, such as the Sekonic L-858D Speedmaster farther down this list, but if you feel like you need something simpler, we’d be happy to recommend the Voigtlander VC Speed Meter II.
This tiny device, which only weighs 42g, mounts on your hotshoe and will happily remain there. Since there is no pairing or connection, both analog and digital cameras can be used with it.
If you look at the aperture and shutter speed dials, anyone who is knowledgeable about exposure can probably understand how it works by setting them to your desired exposure settings, taking a reading, and adjusting them till you obtain a green light.
It is powered by LR44/SR44 batteries, which can be difficult to find, and there is no flash metering. But for users of all camera types, this is a fantastic hotshoe meter.

See our full review: Voigtlander VC Speed Meter II

Pros Cons
Hotshoe mount Less common SR44 batteries
Small profile

Reflected meteringYes| Incident meteringYes| FlashNo| Angle of view: 30 degrees| EV range4-17EV at ISO 100| BatteryNone| Dimensions112x58x34mm| Weight190g
The Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III is a part of history, so much so that it served as the inspiration for the company’s limited-edition, commemorative light meter for its 70th anniversary. It doesn’t need batteries because it takes light readings from a device known as an amorphous silicon photocell. This makes it less of a hassle overall and is also environmentally friendly.
The Sekonic L-398 has both a “Lumigrid” for reflected light and a “Lumidisc” for incident light, which is really unique. The EV range is a little lower than other cameras, however, and there is no flash metering. Additionally, the spinning head that houses the metering cell can be spun in practically any direction.
Pros Cons
Battery-free design Narrower EV range
Classically cool styling No flash

Reflected metering: Yes| Incident meteringYes| FlashNo| Angle of view25 degrees| EV rangeEV0-18 at ISO 100| Battery1x CR2032| Dimensions75x50x23mm| Weight40g
The Digisix 2 weighs only 40g and is small enough to put in a shirt pocket or hang around your neck from a little strap loop in the base. It provides incident light readings through a sliding translucent dome and reflected light readings at an angle of 25 degrees. You must convert the digital readout from EV to an external dial that then displays the corresponding shutter speed and aperture values.

Apart from its compactness, the Gossen Digisix 2 excels in speed and simplicity.

A single press of the measurement button records a reading, which is kept and shown until you click the button to take another, giving you plenty of time to transfer your settings to the camera. The exposure readout is visible on top as you aim the meter towards your subject or the camera.

With a quick flick of the thumb, the diffuser can be slipped over the metering cell, making incident measurements just as straightforward as standard reflected readings. Flash metering is not supported by Digisix 2, although it is in Digiflash 2.

Pros Cons
Simple to use No flash
Very small and light CR2032 cells are harder to replace

Reflected metering: Yes| Incident meteringYes| FlashNo| Angle of view: 33 degrees| EV range: EV3-17| Battery1x CR2032| Dimensions40x65x24mm| Weight40g
The Sekonic L-208 Twin Mate is an analog device that displays the light level with a swinging needle, in contrast to the Digisix 2, which employs a multi-mode digital display. To read off shutter speed and aperture combinations, spin a dial until an index marker is aligned with the needle position. Similar to the Digisix in terms of manual transfer, but with a distinct retro aesthetic that is more useful than it appears.
Although the position of the needle on the scale provides a much more immediate sense of the amount of light in the picture, it may appear more arbitrary than a digital readout. That cannot be determined solely by numbers displayed on a screen.
Pros Cons
Gives an immediate sense of the light level Uses a CR2032 button cell
Wonderful retro look No flash

Reflected meteringYes| Incident metering: Yes| FlashYes| Angle of view1 degree| EV range: -5-22.9EV (incident) -1-24.4EV (reflected) at ISO 100| Battery2x AA| Dimensions94x176x49 mm| Weight240g
This high-end meter offers incident metering for flat and 3D subjects using retractable/rotating Lumisphere, Cine, and Cine HD modes, and extensive support for flash, including the capability to measure flash length, flash vs ambient ratios, wireless flash triggering, high-speed sync support, and flash period measurement.
The Sekonic L-858D, which was introduced in 2016, was hailed as “the most advanced light meter ever.” The L-858D is two specialized meters in one, which is the most important concept to grasp about it.
It provides ambient readings through the rotating Lumisphere on top, which can also be retracted or extended to accommodate various lighting conditions, as well as spot-reflected readings through an eyepiece on the side.
However, this is not a meter for the timid. Instead, it’s a powerful professional meter for photographers and filmmakers who are skilled at what they do and only require the correct equipment.
Pros Cons
Adjustable Lumisphere shape Big, complex, expensive
Hugely powerful flash measurement

Reflected meteringYes| Incident metering: Yes| FlashYes| Angle of viewiPhone camera, spot| EV range-4-20EV at ISO 100| BatteryNone (iPhone)| DimensionsNot quoted| WeightNot quoted
The Lumu Power 2 is somewhat unique! It becomes a flexible and precise light meter when connected to an Apple iPhone via its Lightning connector. You may measure flash or ambient exposure and color temperature using it in conjunction with the Lumu Light Meter app.
To ensure that the measurements you receive are always accurate, you may also enter details like the shutter speed and sensitivity range of your camera in addition to the maximum aperture.
Additionally, it is useful for long-exposure photography because it enables you to add a variety of ND filters and evaluate how they affect shutter speed. Due to its price, which isn’t very low, it is the only reason it isn’t a little bit higher on our ranking.
It may appear to be a quirky gimmick for smartphone users, but this is actually a strong professional instrument that takes advantage of the entire processing and display capabilities of the iPhone to compete with the features of professional meters.
The issue is that even after you have purchased the Lumu, the price increases due to further in-app purchases required to access all the features (you can get all the features up front if you buy the Power 2 Pro version).
Note: Users outside of the US may want to think about an alternative as this is yet another meter that is becoming increasingly difficult to locate. A few useful light meter apps are available for the iPhone.
Pros Cons
Very small incident diffuser Expensive for every option
Free app for reflected readings

Reflected meteringYes| Incident metering: Yes| Flash: Yes| Angle of view: 1 degree| EV rangeEV -2.5 to 18.5 (ambient)| Battery3.7V 890mAh rechargeable lithium-ion| Dimensions139 x 60 x 16 mm| Weight100g
The Gossen Digisky is a small, versatile exposure meter with some standout features. The device supports up to four flash groups spread across eight radio frequencies, and three groups of still camera settings, along with a single preset for video settings, may be established simultaneously.
The unit may be linked to external lighting sources thanks to a flash sync connector at the base and the retractable diffuser head, which allows incident and reflecting light to be monitored.
The body is made of matte-finish plastic with a glossy front fascia; considering how much it costs, this construction is a tad disappointing. The M button, which is used to take readings, is big and presses firmly into the body, and it’s positioned so that the thumb naturally lands on it when handled, so there are fewer handling issues to be concerned about.
The Digisky accomplishes its goals admirably, and its color LCD offers a user-pleasant experience while serving a useful purpose.
Pros Cons
Flash and movie metering features High specification means high price
Rechargeable battery

Things to take into account while selecting a light meter

Reflected versus Incident

When you point your camera at something, it will measure the amount of light that reflects off of it and enters the lens. It’s gauging backlit light. This functionality is also provided by many specialty light meters. However, handheld devices frequently also measure accidental light, unlike built-in meters. This kind of meter gauges the amount of light falling on the target. This necessitates placing the incident meter quite close to your target.

In most cases, reflected light meters are enough, but incident light meters can be quite useful in a studio scenario for adjusting strobe ratios or comparing the amount of light hitting various regions of your image.

The majority of the models on this page include both types of measurements, making them quite adaptable.

Spot meters

Spot metering is a feature that some more sophisticated or specialized models will include. It enables you to obtain an accurate reading of the light in a very tiny and focused area of the image. If you’re attempting to expose a portion of a frame that is surrounded by problematic light, this type of meter can be quite helpful. Consider a portrait with a strong backlight where the subject would be noticeably underexposed with a standard meter.

In order to accurately measure reflected light, manufacturers typically state the angle that the reading will cover. While a spot meter will provide a considerably narrower view of 5 degrees or perhaps 1 degree, a typically reflected meter may sample an angle of up to 40 degrees.

Strobe activation

For studio work, strobes are a must, and some meters have built-in wired or wireless triggers for them. Make sure the flash meter you choose for wireless use is compatible with the strobes of your choice. High-end models can come with built-in ports that can take wireless transmitters from different systems.

Some variants still use older PC ports if you don’t mind a cable connection, which can be useful for using older equipment.

Digital versus analog

There are still some analog light meters available, despite the fact that digital light meters dominate the market in general. For instance, the Sekonic L-398A uses an amorphous silicon photocell to monitor light continuously without the use of a battery. Although analog may not be the most practical option, it can offer a unique experience that you may find appealing.

Final observations

Despite the fact that many models offer both photo and cine modes, make sure the meter you select can handle your most typical shooting situations. The last place you want to be messing with settings is during a crucial photo or video shoot, so you also need to think about whether you prefer switches and dials or a touchscreen choice. There are significantly fewer options available if you require a spot meter with an extremely narrow-angle of view. If you make the right decision, your meter will probably stay at your side for a very long time.