Negative Supply Launches Kickstarter for New Light Meter

Negative Supply Launches Kickstarter for New Light Meter

2000 1125 Jeb Inge

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.

For more articles on Light Meters and other accessories, click here

Follow Casual Photophile on Facebook and Instagram

[Some of the links in this article will direct users to our affiliates at B&H Photo, Amazon, and eBay. By purchasing anything using these links, Casual Photophile may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. This helps Casual Photophile produce the content we produce. Many thanks for your support.]

Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has previously worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge
  • 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.


    • The integrated battery also makes it difficult to travel with. Can’t be tossed in a pelican with checked luggage.

  • What are we paying for here? From reading the article, it seems like we’re paying for premium materials and smaller size, but not necessarily superior functionality. Given the (seemingly insane) price point, if someone wants a truly small meter, why not consider one of the even smaller and less expensive shoe-mount meters on the market? Some of those even allow you to change out the batteries. Who is this product being marketed toward? My guess is shooters who put style above functionality (hipsters). You can spend under $300 on Ebay and get a Sekonic L-508. For around $400 on Ebay, you can get a Sekonic L-558. Both of these can do incident, reflective, spot metering, and can balance flash, among other things. Plus, with the easily replaceable battery (AA or CR123), they will give you many months of constant use before a new one is needed. So what is the benefit of the LM1 by comparison?

    • 100% this. This is like the Apple Mac of light meters. I carry a Gossen Sixtomat Digital that I bought used for $70. It slips easily into my pocket and takes two plain old AA batteries. My Voigtlander VC Meter set me back $130 on and uses LR44’s.

      Even the newest Sixtomat F2 is sub-$300 and has flash metering to boot.

      To each their own, but Im having a hard time with the value proposition on this one.

  • If I use this definition of value: “the worth of something compared to the price paid or asked for it”, then I personally don’t see the value of this product.

  • From my little point of view :
    This is great to have, now, in this world, products which are made in Western countries, or in free countries, we have seen the dangers to be dependant of cold bully dictatures which provide low cost things but not very good.
    So when some made a product of quality, I am happy, very happy, because we have to help producers from Western and Free countries after have made the mistakes to produce nearly all things in a dictature, …
    Yes, of course it is more expensive, … yess we can find some nice japanese one’s from Ebay, … for me, to help for climate change I do not buy any thing from the bully dictature (computers, mobiles, lens, …), when it is more expensive from Free world, I just wait to have the money, but I dont want to finance our chains, the people who destroy the hearth, …
    So, I am very happy that an American company despite I am not American proposes a good gear like this one, maybe one day If I can I will buy it, just to change the trend of our actual dependance to this dictature, since their actual leader they lost our friendship, our interest, our passion for their country, this is the leader who has turn this country from a friend to a risky dangerous bully.

  • This seems interesting but not enough technical details at all…for example
    1.what chip is driving the metering. In particular, does it have adequate measurement capabilities for LED/HMI lights or is it a narrow bandwidth RGB sensor?
    2.Also, for color metering, does it give you green/magenta shift? Color temp can be a bit useless without telling you the accuracy of that color.
    3.Same with calibration? Is there a way to “re-zero”?
    4. Does it offer continuous metering in case you need a reading across an area? If it does, not having a swivel head is a bummer.
    5. What is the meter able range/sensitivity, both in illumination and kelvin?
    6.No swivel or remote head adds to it’s sturdiness but, in my opinion, to the detriment of usability. Sometimes I want to stand where the subject is and meter. Constantly flipping forward and back seems like a bummer.

    I dunno, I tend to work more on the lighting end of things so I lean on a Sekonic C700—wildly more expensive but a ton more info. For a smaller form factor, I lean on the Sekonic L-398a. No batteries, and only light meter, not color, but a ton of useful info on the dials.
    This seems like an interesting product but not fully fleshed out.

Leave a Reply

Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has previously worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge