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Kickstarter’s Lumu Light Meter Adds Android Support With 10 Days Left, Photographers Get to It

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 3.24.06 PM

Lumu, a light meter for your smartphone that plugs into a headphone jack, had its Kickstarter campaign updated this afternoon to finally include Android support. For the first couple of weeks of its existence, Lumu was an iOS-only accessory, even though it was picking up massive steam by the minute. In fact, we’re only two weeks in and its funding status currently sits at $171,000, with an original goal of just $20K. As you can tell, the Lumu has been an instant hit with early tech adopters. 

So what exactly is Lumu? Again, it’s a light meter for your smartphone that aims to replace the pro equipment a photographer would use. So not only is it portable, but it eliminates the need for an actual light meter, since it’s really nothing more than a ball that sticks into something you already always carry – a phone.

With a light meter attached to your phone along with the Lumu app, one could (in theory) capture light readings for input into a camera prior to snapping a photo. But where Lumu becomes ultra useful is in the app itself. You can save light readings into the cloud for later usage, record voice notes, store locations, and even save photo parameters.

The Lumu team opened up availability for the Android version of its light meter moments ago, so if you get in now, you can grab it for $79 as somewhat of an early bird special. The Lumu is expected to retail at $150, so you are saving almost 50% off of that price.

Photographers, or amateurs looking to take photography more seriously, this is definitely an accessory worth looking at.

Via:  KickStarter

  • Andy

    You gotta be kidding me right? A dedicated Sekonic will get you more for your money. I am a professional photographer and can tell you that unless it can do incident, spot meter (1 degrees), ambient flash; or hell, even flash spot metering, then this whole thing is nothing more than a novelty.

  • imtoomuch

    Yeah let’s support something that treats Android as a second rate phone. Android was “finally” added. Good luck getting updates for Android once they sucker you in. Screw the iHipsters.

    • jose

      It’s not that simple for Android phones. Here’s what they said on Facebook:

      “Headphone jack power output of some Androids is only one tenth of what Lumu needs.We are working on that, it can’t be done very fast, as we have to change some basic concepts in our electronics and make sure everything works without problems. Thanks”

  • Liderc

    Feel like this is such a niche product. Like the majority of commenters, they think it’s for your phone’s camera, which is probably what I bet a majority of people who signed up think it’s for lol. It’s just something not needed unless you’re doing professional photography, when you’d already have a light meter. Looks cool, just somewhat pointless.

  • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

    Don’t DSLR’s already have a light meter built in? easily use aperture priority mode or manual mode with auto iso

    • jose

      It’s not a light meter. It measures reflective light, meaning what bounces off the subject. Not the same as incident (“actual”) light that a light meter would read. True light meters are much more accurate.

      • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

        do professional photographers use the camera’s built in sensor or an external light meter?

        • jose

          That depends on the photographer and what they’re shooting. But most of the time you’ll see light meters used for formal portraits. With digital, you can “cheat” with the LCD screen and easily adjust your settings until it looks right. With film, a light meter is a slightly more useful tool since you don’t get that instant preview.

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            Isn’t it hard to adjust when looking at LCD in the sun? You have to rely on the camera’s meter don’t you?

          • jose

            Yeah it’s not easy. On my Nikon, I use the ‘blinking highlights’ preview. I overexpose the images slightly and then bring it back down in post-processing. The blinking highlights will show any part of image that’s completely blown out and has no pixel data, that’s what you want to avoid.

            I rarely rely on the camera’s meter as they’re wildly inaccurate. They are easily fooled by the relative tonality of what you’re shooting (darks and lights of colors).

            If you own a DSLR there’s a quick test you can do to see how wonky they are. Set the camera to one of the auto modes and point it at a subject. Take note of the exposure settings. Now zoom in a bit, or out, or tilt your camera, change the composition, move around a bit. You’ll see how the exposure settings will be all over the board, even though the light on the subject has not changed and has remained EXACTLY the same. This is why Auto modes suck. They’re inconsistent and give you varied results when shooting the exact same thing over and over again.

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            oh wow…. ive tried that but thought it was just a limitation of being a dumbSLR (see wat i did there)

            is this kickstarter really a viable solution for this problem? or is there another $100 solution

          • jose

            This is a cool gadget but to be honest, I don’t see it being useful for the average DSLR owner who just wants to take pictures. I’d say this is great for film shooters or those who do a lot of portrait shoots like I do.

            What type of shooting do you do? I say you’re better off shooting in Manual mode and calculate your exposure using the built-in meter and the blinking highlights display until you get the hang of things. I’ve learned that on my Nikon I have to over-expose the built-in meter by about 1~1.3 EV stops in order for it to be right most of the time.

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            i shoot lots of sports outdoors and indoors with manual flash

            outdoors i usually set 100iso and go into A priority mode

            indoors at a party i usually do 125 shutter speed f/1.8 on my 50mm and let auto iso do its thing and underexpose it maybe 1 or 2 stops compensating for my manual flash unit.

            thoughts?

          • jose

            Let’s see if it were me I would do this following:

            For sports, I’d shoot in manual. Before I start I’d shooting I’d pick my settings. I’ll pick a fast shutter speed to freeze the action, 1/100th or faster. If it was a bright sunny day I’d pick a small aperture, like f/14 or smaller. Bigger if it was cloudy. I’d then use the ISO to bring it all together. And that’s it. I would just shoot and not bother with my setting again unless the light suddenly changed. If the light is constant it’s easier to shoot in Manual so you get consistent results. Just set it and forget it. If I’m at a car show and shooting things in the sun, then in shade, back in the sun, I’ll shoot in Aperture priority mode so I don’t have to bother with the settings.

            Indoors I shoot very different than you. What type of speedlight do you have? Can it do TTL? I strongly recommend everybody I know to shoot in Manual exposure with TTL flash. It’s soooo much easier. I pick the manual settings I want based on the ambient light and let the TTL flash take care of the rest. I do this a lot when doing indoor events, parties, etc. My typical settings in a dimly light living room will be 1/80th, f/6 and ISO 600 or so with TTL flash. I don’t touch the settings ever again and adjust the flash exposure compensation as needed (FEC). Very easy and you get great results. Here’s an example:

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            only reason i shoot in A mode outdoor for sports is cuz i like that bokeh :) but i do agree with the rest

            for indoors my flash is http://www.amazon.com/Neewer-TT560-Speedlite-Digital-Cameras/dp/B004LEAYXY/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

            i dont think it has TTL, only option i have is manual where i adjust power level of the flash… really cheap but good flash, all shots here were shot with my method above, decent. http://www.flickr.com/photos/91485309@N08/sets/72157634288198172/

          • jose

            If you like bokeh there’s no reason you can’t do it in Manual mode :) The only difference by shooting in Manual is that you get consistent exposures.

            Yup that’s a manual flash only. I love TTL flash, don’t think I could give it up. I do use manual flash though when using my AlienBees strobe with my speedlights. But that’s for formal portraits where everything is constant and nothing changes.

            Ah you have a D90? Me too! Here’s all my sets

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/18984651@N05/sets/

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            ah ok i gotya, TTL flash is so expensive right? only reason i didnt do it haha.

            yup i love the d90, just wish i could push iso up a little more indoors without as much noise…

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/18984651@N05/8731337486/sizes/k/in/set-72157633475928442/

            how did u shoot this? any post processing? looks reaaaal good

          • jose

            Yeah Nikon speedlights aren’t cheap. My SB-600 was about $250 and my SB-900 was $500. But I can’t give up my TTL!

            Thanks! That was shot in Aperture priority mode since I was outdoors shooting in sun and shade. And since I was drinking, I didn’t want to worry about setting exposure manually. I also used TTL flash (you can see the sparkle in the eyes from the flash). I shoot everything RAW and process in Photoshop CS5 (Camera RAW editor). Post processing is a huge part of the whole thing.

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            ah ok, i think the flash is what sets it over the edge and makes the picture really good. im going to have to try it but im guessing it’ll be difficult to guess how much power to set it at

            do you use a diffuser or something else with ur speedlight?

            im kinda novice with photoshop, ive only been able to open one raw picture at a time in cs6

            so i use lightroom 6 and its a lot easier to adjust sliders and all

          • jose

            Yeah man I use flash basically all the time when shooting people. I just don’t like the results without it. Image looks too dull and flat. I like getting the catchlight twinkle in the eyes. When using a speedlight indoors I’ll use a knockoff Gary Fong dome, works real good. Outdoors, I’ll just use the bare speedlight. For portraits using my studio strobe I use a 7ft parabolic umbrella like with this shot:

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            ah ok awesome thanks for all the info!

          • jose

            No problem! Hit me up on Flickr if you ever have more questions :)

  • Duncan Manning

    For fun maybe, but I honestly use a slew of Android apps already available that use the light sensor in the phone to determine exposure. Tested against my Sekonic and the results from my phone already impress. I’m still brining my Sekonic to real jobs and don’t need to pay more for a Square Card Reader looking thing that doesn’t do much better than my phone.

  • moew

    I have dedicated light meters, why would I want to get my phone involved in the workflow/process?

    Just buy a dedicated meter, and go to town. Leave your phone out of the metering game.

  • LjHe80

    Most dslr’s have very advanced metering systems, that let you determine your correct exposure.
    This would be a cool tool to start out with to learn how to manually control your camera.

  • theterrorwrist

    I won’t lie, when i saw that this was only for iOS a couple of weeks ago…i was jelly. lol I’m in!

  • dadllum

    If it will communicate with my Samsung Galaxy NX (or any other connected camera) and set/adjust my camera settings automatically from the meter… then maybe they’re on to something. If it’s JUST a light meter, I don’t see the appeal.

    • S_T_R

      Your camera already has that built in. It’s called “auto” or “program” mode.

  • Flyinion

    “Lumu works with Apple’s iOS 5.0+ devices. Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. With Android 4.1+”

    Apparently if you don’t have one of 3 specific Android devices though you’re out of luck?

    • jose

      Here’s what they said on Facebook about Android phones:

      “Headphone jack power output of some Androids is only one tenth of what Lumu needs.We are working on that, it can’t be done very fast, as we have to change some basic concepts in our electronics and make sure everything works without problems. Thanks”

  • TheCheapGamer

    Horrible new age hipster commercial.
    Neat product, looks like it wont work with cases though

  • TylerChappell

    Really? $79-$150 for this? This is just stupid, nobody who actually cares enough about photography would be using their smartphone to take a photo rather than a DSLR. I feel sorry for all of the people who buy this only to use it on a few very rare occasions. Maybe all of those amateur journalists from that News company in Chicago who laid off their 28 photographers because they were switching to using the iPhone only will find this useful, but to most people, this is just pretty much laughable.
    It’s a freaking smartphone people, not happy with how your photo turned out? Take 5 seconds to adjust the EV or ISO settings and try again. Sheesh.

    • TheCheapGamer

      Looks like the hipster is carrying an SLR though. (Film)
      Since they probably dont know how to actually use it, they require this product.

    • jose

      You know what’s really stupid? People who comment on something without having a freaking clue what they’re talking about. This isn’t for your phone you idiot. You don’t use this to take pics on your smart phone. This is a light meter, that is used in conjunction with a REAL camera.

      Like this: http://www.amazon.com/Sekonic-L-758DR-Light-Meter-Black/dp/B000L9M2LU/ref=sr_1_3?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1372720084&sr=1-3&keywords=light+meter+sekonic

    • JDub

      It’s not for making your phone take better pics. It’s so you can use it to measure light intensity so you can manually change your DSLR settings to take better pics.

      • TylerCameron

        dSLRs have their own light meters.

        • Sam Yun

          There’s two types of light meters. Incident and reflective. Incident meters read the light from the POV of the subject, reflective reads the light reflecting off of the subject (aimed at the subject). DSLRs and all other cameras use reflective. It’s inferior to incident meters.

        • Jim

          The light meters on a dSLR is only good for ambient reflective light… it doesn’t help for flash or incident light.

        • jose

          The Tylers are full of stupid this day.

    • Pedro

      Uhm, it’s a light meter you use to setup the DSLR you’ve got.

      It has nothing to do with taking a picture with your smartphone. Perhaps you commented before actually gathering facts. That’s cool. it happens.

      But maybe you should gather at least one fact before hopping on that high horse.

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Who said anything about using the phone to take the picture? It’s about not having to carry a separate light meter FOR your DSLR.

    • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

      Lol you typed so much for nothing.

    • Nick V

      I guess Hooked of Phonics DID NOT work for you!

    • HarleyFan72

      Noob.

  • n900mixalot

    Ugh, gag. With the patronizing sesame street music. Why do great products (such as this one) have to be destroyed by this crunchy, lovey-dovey “get to know us, we’re hipsters just like you” taint they keep throwing around?

    Brown is a fab color, but a terrible personality.

    • Margaret J. Ngo

      as Gregory implied I can’t
      believe that anybody can get paid $4381 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you see
      this link w­w­w.D­A­Y3­7.c­o­m

    • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

      because android users are hipsters

  • El_Big_CHRIS

    This looks awkward with the headphone jack on the bottom.

    • philnolan3d

      Turn your device upside down.

    • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

      Not Apple’s best move….

      • IHATEHIPSTERSSS

        just another samsung drone repeating advertising puns. sad really.

        • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

          Just another pathetic troll trying to get attention. Annoying really.