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Negative Supply's LM1 is a stylish, compact all-metal digital light meter

Negative Supply has launched a pocket-sized digital light meter on Kickstarter, the LM1. The LM1 is designed to measure ambient light, aiding in accurate exposures, and it also measures color temperature, aiding in determining which filters or film stocks to use in a given situation.

The LM1 supports 1/3 stop adjustments for ISO, aperture and shutter speed via its 4-button design. The LM1 has a dedicated sync port for flash metering, complete with flash mode and remote triggering options.

With an integrated rechargeable battery, the LM1 promises up to several weeks of standby. The battery charges via a USB-C port and is fully charged within a couple of hours. The device includes an automatic sleep mode to help extend battery life in the field and includes a quick-wake feature, allowing the LM1 to be used nearly instantly.

The pocket-sized design is one of the primary selling points of the LM1. The device is 44mm (1.7") wide, 90mm (3.5") tall and 15mm (0.6") deep, making it only a bit larger than a roll of 120 film. The LM1 features an all-metal body that is CNC-machined from aviation-grade aluminum or solid brass. There are multiple scratch-resistant anodized color options for aluminum LM1 and a black finish option for the brass LM1. The buttons and bulb are custom-molded, too. The device includes a strap attachment anchor, allowing you to carry the LM1 around with your favorite neck or wrist strap.

With its compact size and simple design, the LM1 has been designed for single-handed use. The light meter includes a backlit display with multiple viewing modes suitable for varied environments. The display has 144 x 168px resolution and is a TFT-LCD display.

Prototype LM1 in Negative Supply's workshop

There are many light meters already on the market, so why make a new one with the LM1? The Kickstarter campaign states, 'The electronic meters currently on the market are bulky, plastic, and don't live up to the look and feel of the cameras we've all grown to love. We decided it was time to change that.'

Saxon McClamma, Co-Founder and Director of Design, adds, 'The LM1 is the most complicated tool we've designed, and everything needed to come together perfectly to bring it to life. The experience of our incredible team of programmers, engineers, and manufacturing partners allowed us to create an elegant, timeless design without compromising functionality.'

Left: Brass LM1 after wear testing. Right: Anodized aluminum LM1 is available colors.

The LM1 has already eclipsed its funding goal of $50,000 and reached its first stretch goal of $100,000, which adds built-in shutter speed testing to the LM1. The second stretch goal of $125,000 has nearly been reached at the time of writing, and that goal adds filter factor calculation functionality.

Backer options for the LM1 start at $379 with special early bird pricing. The eventual MSRP when the LM1 launches (November 2021) will be $479. Additional backer options include an aluminum LM1 with special green, slate gray or silver colorways for $429 (regularly $529) and the LM1 in brass for $599 ($749 MSRP).

For additional information about the LM1 pocket-sized digital light meter and all backing options, visit Kickstarter.


Note/disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project before backing it. Pledges to crowdfunding campaigns are not pre-orders. DPReview does not have a relationship with this, or any such campaign, and we publicize only projects that appear legitimate, and which we consider will be of genuine interest to our readers. You can read more about the safeguards Kickstarter has in place on its ‘Trust & Safety’ page.

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Oldest first
nitroman

HOW MUCH ????!!!! 😳

3 months ago
Indohydra

$50. In this digital age this is useless gimmick.

3 months ago
Gesture

What type of cell? Any way to covert to a reflected light meter like my Sekonic Studio Deluxe. Sorry if I missed it.
But DPReview is allowed to do some independent reporting.

3 months ago
Roland Karlsson

This is incident only.

3 months ago
knoxphoto

...that doesn't exist.

3 months ago
Razor512
Razor512

Severely lacking in features while costing just as much as other brands that are not only well established, but similarly priced.

3 months ago
Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener

“ I guess I'm making up for all the years I yammered about how digital will not catch up with film for a couple of decades…”

Back in 2005, Kodak was the leading supplier of digital sensors for photography oriented cameras, I was informally interviewing a guy who was near the top of the chain of Kodak’s sensor business. I think was about the time that Kodak had introduced the 14N camera which if not THE first, then one of the first full-frame digital cameras in a 35mm film format based camera. I remember telling him how surprised I was with the speed digital was catching on with professional photographer. His response, and I am paraphrasing from memory, is that they were stunned. He then told me that the market for digital cameras in 2004 was where they were projecting it to be in 2014 and that ithe hyper speed adoption of digital by professionals and amateurs was destroying the film and chemistry business.

3 months ago*
Tom Schum
Tom Schum

How does it measure color temperature?

3 months ago
Roland Karlsson

Does it?

Checked their kickstarter web page.

Yes, it can.

I assume the simplest solution is to have a color sensor in it.

3 months ago*
Tom Schum
Tom Schum

From the article above, " and it also measures color temperature, aiding in determining which filters or film stocks to use in a given situation."

3 months ago
ewelch

Film stocks? No thanks. Digital makes such a thing totally worthless. You can buy film stock simulations for most software now.

3 months ago
Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener

@Tom Schum:
from the Kickstarter Page: "Filmmakers, rejoice! Measuring the temperature of ambient light is now easier and more affordable than ever with the LM1. Photographers can also take advantage of this sensor when using daylight film with non-daylight illumination, to confirm consistent color temperature with on-set lighting, and to determine correct compensation filters."

In other words it doesn't measure flash.

@ewelch: "Film stocks? No thanks. Digital makes such a thing totally worthless."

Not if you prefer to use film (I'm not in that crowd, but I know others who do)

"You can buy film stock simulations for most software now." Not the same thing.

3 months ago
Tom Schum
Tom Schum

My camera white balance can be set manually in degrees K. It would be nice to have a second opinion, instead of having to trust the camera.
So I think a lightmeter that reads out color temperature is a good idea.

3 months ago
The Sage Knows

@Tom, just place a little neutral whibal card in the same light and custom wb the camera with it. Like this guy did: https://youtu.be/KHXdnVi-rIg

3 months ago
otto k

Most likely just a generic bayer sensor with a dome over it. It would explain ability to measure temperature and the problems with flash. YMMV

3 months ago
Roland Karlsson

Probably.

This flash stuff is annoying though. The kick starter page states it can handle flash. Where does it say it cannot?

Regarding measuring color temperature with an RGB sensor. Is that enough for a hand held meter? Maybe. I thought hand held color meters were a bit more sophisticated, with more filters.

3 months ago
ewelch

Yeh, I was being a bit harsh there, wasn't I?

I guess I'm making up for all the years I yammered about how digital will not catch up with film for a couple of decades. Only took about five years after I was saying film will be around a lone time, that I stopped using film altogether.

3 months ago
Androole

All that and no hot-shoe mount option for old cameras (like medium format film) that can actually benefit the most from this?

Plastic though it may be, my analogue solar-powered Sekonic L-208 is still far more useful to me...

3 months ago*
CopCarSS
CopCarSS

It's an incident meter. It's not used while connected to the camera but rather approximately where the subject is at. So a hot shoe mount isn't a very useful feature.

3 months ago
Androole

Oof. That's not a feature, that's a bug. The L-208 is both incident and spot.

But I guess that's the compromise you make for paying 3x as much?

3 months ago
derfotograf
derfotograf

Built-in battery: A no-go. I have a Sekonic L-398a that runs without any battery, a Sekonic L-608 which needs a CR123a battery and a Gossen ProfiSix which needs a 9V block battery. No battery is perfect, 9V is available almost everywhere, CR2 is harder to get, so the Sekonic L-602 remains in the studio (mostly used for flash meterin). But a built-in battery turns the expensive device into a paperweight as soon as the battery had a defect or stops working. No USB charging please, changing batteries is faster and works perfectly even in very remote locations.

3 months ago
Old Cameras

My Gossen Sixtomat runs on a single AA battery. I put a disposable lithium battery in it so it doesn’t corrode if I forget about it.

3 months ago
shazam00

You can charge it up with your smartphone if you wanted to, all you have to do is carry the appropriate cable. I get that you're used to batteries but I personally don't like keeping a stash of random batteries with random expiry dates in my drawer, even though I have to for the certain devices I own.

As for battery degradation, someone somewhere can always revive a dead device unless the manufacturer made it obscenely impossible to access a device's internals. Still a better trade-off over battery doors and rusty connections.

I say USB-C all the things so it's just a 10-15 minute charge away.

3 months ago*
John Bean (UK)

"You can charge it up with your smartphone if you wanted"

...or just use your smartphone as a lightmeter in the first place.

3 months ago
Androole

For $479, surely they should be able to have a removable battery with a gasketed door or access panel.

The issue is not that rechargeable batteries are bad, it's that rechargeable Li-ion batteries only have a useful service life of 3-10 years depending on how often they're used.

I've gotten extremely frustrated with having to break out guitar picks and spudgers and heat guns and suction cups and a handful of tiny screwdrivers to replace the batteries in glued-together smartphones because I'm not interested in paying $100 to replace a $15 battery...

3 months ago
Gesture

Minolta Autometer IIIF. Classic but eats batteries. Those others mentioned above sound better.

3 months ago
WJMWJM

Being brass, it surely would take a design with a bunch of screws well.
At least much better than any plastic model....:))

And/or:

As if rubber gasket'ed battery covers survive 10 years....

3 months ago
trungtran

It should be illegal to make anything that uses a battery to be non user replaceable. We need beefier right to repair laws.

3 months ago
CekariYH
CekariYH

@derfotograf: Ever heard of a power bank, always have one or two 27 000 mAh in my bags.

3 months ago
Karroly

I prefer to carry a spare coin battery rather than a 27000 mAh power bank :-)
And changing the coin battery is faster than waiting for the built-in battery to be recharged.

3 months ago
Razor512
Razor512

The water tight seal on my red dot sight for my rifle is still in great condition after 10 years. I replace the battery every 1.5 to 2 years. While it can last longer, it feels safer to not risk a low battery, and it only takes a few seconds.

The oil coated o ring on my watch also still maintains a water tight seal after more than 15 years of use.

3 months ago*
WJMWJM

Only thing missing is a filter slot.

One of the (digital entry-level) Gossen's offers this, by already having a sliding incident-light measurement dome, changing from the inner reflective (spot)light measurement.
And because the dome can slide in both directions anyway, there is room for another slot-in filter on the other side; just open the housing, and slide it in.
I did this with an IR-pass filter, for Kodak HIE.
(depends on the IR-response of the light meter of course, but this Gossen was spot-on)

3 months ago
Gesture

What's the model #.

3 months ago
WJMWJM

Gossen Sixtomat F2....;))
(still at +200 euro, I see, just like 2-3 decades ago, so 'entry level' is relative....;((
(not much 'spot' though, if that was your trigger)
(OTOH, real narrow (viewing optics) spot meters sometimes have a filter screw thread, IIRC)

3 months ago*
ewelch

I used to have an old Weston meter from the 30s. That is, 1930s.

3 months ago
Old Cameras

That’s a tough price point.
For $600 I’d buy a Sekonic L-858D-U with spot meter.

3 months ago
Androole

Even the early bird pricing is...pricey.

3 months ago
Greg VdB

It must take courage to launch a Kickstarter campaign when your brand name is 'Negative Supply'

3 months ago
John Bean (UK)

Well spotted :-)

3 months ago
Photoman
Photoman

Better than "No Hope Suppliers".

3 months ago
Anastast
Anastast

Looks like an interesting tool. The display is a little bit strange, they could use a better one, maybe the idea is to mimic something older, but the main issue for me is a lack of a spot meter, it's crucial for shooting film.

3 months ago
WJMWJM

Oddly, a real old look should have been quite easy, given the range of optional visuals/designs with smartwatches, from Star Wars to classic mechanical....:))

Just not sure about the (additional) power drain of such higher resolution + colour displays....

3 months ago
Anastast
Anastast

It can be e-ink or something else, just make it with anti-aliasing :)
But this is not so big an issue, but lack of spot metering is the bigger problem...

3 months ago
Total: 62, showing: 51 – 62
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