Despite modern innovations, a dedicated light meter is still the most accurate way to measure exposure and to ensure consistent, high-quality results on your video project. Until recently, light meters were relatively expensive, especially when moving into color meters, which could cost upwards of $1,700. The good news is there are several great new light metering apps for your smartphone that offer accuracy, dependability, and won’t break the bank! Some of the apps utilize attachment accessories while others do not. Here we have listed four of the highest-rated and most popular light metering apps currently available:
Pocket Light Meter– Free
This app by NuWaste measures reflected light and allows for reciprocity calculations. In the newest version, logs can now be uploaded to Evernote. This app provides a high degree of accuracy when measuring exposures, and you can spot meter by just tapping on the screen. It also displays your light in kelvins so you can set it to the correct white balance. You can even hold and save images with the values to refer to it later. This app has a very simple design and does not offer as many features as some of the other apps on this list.
This app by Extrasensory Devices is free to download and can be used as a spot meter and measure exposures without using any accessories. However, you have to buy the $22 Luxi For All Smartphone Attachment in order to use the app as an incident meter and to measure ambient light levels. This app gives very accurate light and color readings, and you can even use the Luxi For All attachment in conjunction with the Pocket Light Meter and Cine Meter II to measure light in different ways. One drawback is that this app requires calibration, and since not every device is made the same, in many cases it will need adjustments.
Cine Meter II– $24
This app is very versatile in terms of its functionality and features, especially when used in conjunction with the Luxi for All attachment. It is a very accurate spot meter, and when used with the Luxi For All attachment, the app can be used as an incident meter. The Cine Meter II offers cool features such as the ability to set shutter angle, ND filter compensation, and arbitrary filter factors. You can also use the front-facing camera to take “light meter selfies.” Here you can check out the app’s creator, Adam Wilt’s test results of the accuracy of his color meter.
Like Luxi, the Lumu app itself is free and can be used as a reflective light meter without any accessories. However, for more professional spot and color metering, you need the Lumu Power attachment dome that costs $299 and is not compatible with any other light meter apps. This app has an incredible amount of features, including the ability to measure exposure, ambient light, flashlight, color temperature, white balance, as well as illuminance. The Lumu includes a Cine/Video meter in which the settings and features are based on those within the ambient light meter but is geared toward setting your aperture and ISO based on a fixed shutter speed.