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Photography light meters for professional quality shoots

A light meter is used to give important information about exposure, shutter speed and aperture in order to take the perfect photo or footage. It can even give detailed graphs and charts about the quality and colour of the lights being used. Essentially, it is a handy piece of photo studio lighting equipment used to check exposure settings for perfect images. They largely fall into three categories: spot meters, flash meters and speciality meters. 

Spot meters

Spot meters are specially designed reflective meters that will look at a very narrow section of the image area (usually from one to three degrees). However, you can get models with a wider five to 10-degree angle of view as well. 

Spot meters allow you to very accurately meter particular objects in a scene without being skewed by either very bright or very dark spots in the image. These would be things like dark backgrounds or backlit subjects, where there's a risk of under or overexposure. Spot meters can be a handheld accessory, whilst some cameras have them already built in. 

Flash meters

Whilst constant or ambient light is easy to meter, a flash requires additional modes or connections to give a reading, mainly because of its short length. Most flash-capable meters include a PC terminal or similar kind of sync port which directly triggers a flash, although some also come with a radio transmitter for use wirelessly with strobe units. 

If you're looking for a professional flash light meter, a particularly popular brand is Sekonic. Most models come with a flash measuring mode and handy extra features, like cord flash mode and an illuminated display. Sekonic flash meters in particular only weigh around 340 grams so are very lightweight and portable. 

Speciality meters

Whilst photographers are generally fine with basic settings and exposure readings, cinematographers and videographers often have more specific requirements when it comes to getting light exactly spot on. Many models of speciality meter come with expanded settings for frame rates (fps) as well as the ability to display in foot-candles, lux, and shutter angles ideal for film production. 

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