Digital Light Metering: Just to be on the Safe Side

2012-10-31 3

Of course, this is the digital sector, but as a Lomo-friend said, we don’t hate the digital world. From time to time it could be useful, or even, as in this case, be advantageous! Here I want to introduce you to an exposure-app for Android smart phones.

Not every camera is well-equipped with an integrated exposure meter such as the LOMO LC-A. One or another product of the Lomography Online-Shop must (or could!) be manually adjusted, like many older cameras, as I often like to use. If you prefer a proper exposure adjustment I recommend an exposure meter, because to estimate often means going wrong. For this purpose you have a choice between several superb appliances like e. g. those from Gossen.

But you know the problem: the camera bag is jam-packed and a pretty burden – maybe a correspondingly equipped smart phone could be a suitable alternative. Since a while I use the “Light Meter Tools” from WBPhoto, running on Android devices (similar apps are available for iPhone and so on). Compared with my Gossen it shows almost the same values! It is offered over the Android-Market for free, or the complete version for about 4€.


To come to the point: How does it work?
If you open the app, at first the start page appears – please click on “Camera Meter”.
Then there are shown the modes from the top down in the following order: aperture, exposure time, ISO and EV. At first you must decide, which value you want to know. In this case I have a film with ISO 200 and want to work with aperture f/2.8 – just enter the values in the regarding columns. To activate “exposure time” please press the button beside “sec”. Now this is the value which is displayed according to the actual lighting conditions.
Now you just have to aim at the image section, “Press”, on the image field, and the exposure time will be metered and shown.
If you want to start with a fixed exposure time and want to know the fitting aperture, press the button beside f/ , enter the requested exposure time, e. g. 1/60 and measure like told above. Now the measured aperture will be shown on top.

Light Meter during practice

It’s also possible to take horizontal format, but more comfortable works high size.


  • quick and easy readability (compared with some old treasure)
  • small steps between aperture and exposure time values (e. g. 1/100 sec. – often usual by old cameras) .
  • a big plus for pinhole-freaks: limit of aperture presetting is f/512 (!) – don’t know any analog lightmeter supporting this. The Diana Multi Pinhole Operator aperture is f/128, no problem with this app!
  • also works with available light situations – but no bulb exposures like five or ten minutes.

Check it out – I bet you will appreciate to work with this digital tool!

written by mapix on 2012-10-31 #gear #review #lightmeter-light-metering-exposure
translated by mapix


  1. druid
    druid ·

    Thanks Mapix for taking the time to share this! I really appreciate it (a good reminder!)
    Thanks for the photo illustrations - cheers

  2. johnccc
    johnccc ·

    Cool app !

  3. aguillem
    aguillem ·

    Thanks a lot, it seems to work very well on my phone!
    I tried some apps about a year ago, but it didn't work, maybe because of my old phone.
    Seems that it just doesn't work in very low light situations, but there is the manual calculator with ev indications for this purpose.

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