Object of Desire: Lumu

September 26, 2013

By Jesse Will

Whether you shoot with a cool, old analogue camera that doesn’t have a light meter in its body, or you simply prefer the accuracy of a direct-light reading (versus your camera’s indirect one), a handheld unit can be a vital aid in natural-light shooting. Enter Lumu, a Kickstarter-backed project that uses your smartphone’s brains to add a few tricks to the handheld light meter’s routine. It’s a half-dollar-sized, plastic, half-globe sensor, backed with anodized aluminum, that plugs into the audio jack of your iOS 5 device (along with a handful of Android 4.1 units). A paired app then displays incident light in an impressive range from .15 to 250,000 lux (roughly the same spectral response as the human eye, Lumu says) that betters many standalone, handheld units. The Lumu app will also display f-stop, ISO and exposure value, and will be able to take several spot measurements, calculating the average value between them. Filmmakers can modify for accurate readings with shutter angle, frames-per-second time values and filters. In addition, the app can log data from each shot, geotag the location, record a voice memo or capture a snapshot for record keeping. Studio photographers take note: Unlike many handheld units, Lumu doesn’t have a PC port and can’t be used with pop strobes.

Prices: $149 (estimated retail price); $129 (preorder price)
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