Negative Supply, the company responsible for some of the newest film scanning products announced this week a Kickstarter which will bring to life a new handheld light meter.
The LM1 is a pocketable incident meter (meaning you point the meter at the camera not the subject) that assists with ambient light exposure readings. Designed to deliver both accuracy and usability, it measures in 1/3-stop adjustments for ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, with the correct reading being displayed on a backlit display with multiple viewing modes.
The Kickstarter is one of the final steps in a long process for Negative Supply. The goal of designing a fully capable light meter that slides easily into a pocket was no easy task.
“The LM1 is the most complicated product we’ve designed, and everything needed to come together perfectly to bring it to life,” Negative Supply co-founder and director of design Saxon McClamma said in a press release. “The experience of our incredible team of programmers, engineers, and manufacturing partners allowed us to create an elegant, timeless design without compromising functionality.”
The Kickstarter Campaign, which has already doubled its fundraising goal, offers supporters a number of different tiers. The first level that gets you a light meter costs $379 and delivers the flat black version of the meter in November 2021. The steps increase all the way to the final step, which for $649 gets you by February 2022 a limited-edition LM1 in brass and finished in glossy black, which is cheaper than the normal retail price of $749.
The company says that the decision to create the LM1 came from a realization that many of the cameras they and their customers used either didn’t have a light meter or one that no longer worked. When they looked at the light meter market, they felt that the offerings — largely plastic and bulky — didn’t quite match the cameras for which they were reading light.
So they put quality of both form and function at the forefront of the LM1’s design.
Measuring just 44mm by 90mm, the meter is only slightly bigger than a roll of 120 film. The body is made completely from aluminum and brass. It comes in three colors (Satin Metallic Green, High Glass Slate Grey and Satin Metallic Silver) in addition to the standard option of black.
It has a four-button interface perfect for single-hand use. It includes a “sleep mode” that helps to save on battery life but the standby makes sure that it “wakes up” quickly.
The backlit TFT-LCD display (114x168px) is bright enough for use during sunny days, but isn’t a battery hog. The integrated rechargeable battery (USB-C) can last for weeks depending on use and it takes about 2 hours to charge from empty.
Additionally the LM1 also measures color temperature, which is welcome news for cinematographers and photographers looking for help making their filter or film stock selection.
Founded in 2019, Negative Supply specializes in developing tools for the film photography community. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the company released its first piece of film scanning equipment called the Film Carrier MK1. Since then they have released a variety of products to make scanning film easier and more accessible to photographers at home. Initially just for 35mm film, they now offer products for photographers shooting medium and large format film as well. Based in California, the company’s entire workflow, from design to shipping is done locally by a team of craftspeople.
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Jeb-This is an interesting development.
On the positive end, I like that it is made from high quality materials, and the size is very convenient to use and carry.
Conversely the price is high, and using an integrated rechargeable battery is a non-starter for me. Unless it is user replaceable, that is the biggest Achilles heel I ever heard.
The ability to measure color temp is of questionable value.
If size were of major importance to me, a Sekonic L-308 is $218, or their L-208 is $128. Both fairly small, with big easy to read displays, unlike this one.
Since their campaign has already doubled its goal, it appears there is a market for it, but not for this photographer.