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Updated September 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Some professional photographers have become adept at judging light conditions and know instinctively how to adapt accordingly. For the rest of us mere mortals, there are light meters. Handheld meters are useful to show how much light is being deflected onto the subject meter. Unlike the light meters built-in to the camera, which can be inaccurate when presented with backlighting, snow, or extreme contrasts, handheld meters can be placed near the subject, facing the camera, to measure incident light, which will give you valuable information to set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. By using the light meter properly, your photographs will have a wider range of tone that’s more even across the photo. You can also set up specialty effects. For the best results, look for models that can have incident, reflected, and flash lighting modes.

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