Professional and amateur photographers still use light meters these days, but the devices are often expensive one-use photographic tools. Extrasensory Devices, makers of the Backbeater, have designed something much more modern. Their product, named Luxi, works using a detachable device and a smartphone application.
The Luxi works with attachable device that uses the front-facing camera and a downloadable app. And to keep it convenient, Luxi’s products can be used with almost any smart device you own. More specifically, the Luxi 4 pairs with the iPhone 4 and 4S, and the Luxi 5 with the iPhone 5 and 5S. Android phones, older iPods/iPads, or handsets with intrusive cases will make the best use of with Luxi For All.
I’ve used the the Luxi 5 on my iPhone 5S for a few months, and I’ve noticed that Luxi’s app works smooth, looks clean, and has yet to fail or bug out. The app has a professional look and feel, almost transforming your iPhone into a professional light meter often found in a high-end fashion studio. The cloth holding bag for that comes with the actual device sells that feeling even more.
There is a drawback, however. The app requires calibration. Not every device is made the same and in many cases it will need adjustment. The app starts photographers off on a fairly good default, so there’s no need to panic here. Nevertheless, owners will want to fine tune their settings with the step-by-step instructions at the bottom of this page here.
Once I had my Luxi 5 fine-tuned, I started using it with incredible ease. I often partake in film photography, which is known to be especially difficult for getting the exposure right the first time. Using the palm of my hand as a on-the-fly grey balancing card, I could go through several rolls with ease knowing that when I developed the film later, my only problem would be choosing a frame I like.
Pairing Luxi with a digital camera is just as easy considering you can see your results immediately. But the device works best paired with a digital camera capable of manual adjustment, or at least one with programmable aperture or shutter settings. This allows you to fine tune your photography, giving you the ability to meter for certain lighting conditions or subjects.
There is one major problem, however. The detachable device is really easy to lose. It’s also quite small and made of cheap plastic. While that helps to keep the cost down, It can also be broken if you accidentally step on it, like I did with mine. That or your kids could choke on it. All that being said, if you are mindful about putting the detachable device away, it’s worth having in your camera bag. It’s certainly earned a place in mine.
If you want a Luxi device for yourself, you can pick them up anywhere online for $14.95 to $29.95. If nothing, it’s a very inexpensive gamble.