The Illuminati beams light data from multiple points to the photographer

Light meters aren’t quite the photography must-have now that they are built into the camera itself, but one startup is bringing the timeless tool into 2018 with a long list of modern features, from pinging a smartphone when the lighting changes to recommending a colored gel. The tool is called the Illuminati and it uses Bluetooth connectivity and a wireless app to assist photographers in adjusting the light and exposure to get the shot right. After a successful Kickstarter in 2017, the Illuminati launched at major retailers in March.

Like other light meters, the Illuminati will read the light in the scene and recommend exposure settings. While digital cameras use a built-in meter, off-camera meters offer more accurate readings and help factor in strobes and flashes.  The Illuminati, for example, will read the light and recommend the flash or strobe settings, but that is pretty much where the similarities end.

Using Bluetooth and both an iOS and Android app for smartphones or smartwatches, the Illuminati measures color as well as light, allowing for accurate manual white balance settings. The system can also recommend which colored gels to use. The user can also turn on 15 different styles of alerts, which will send a smartphone notification if the lighting or color temperature changes.

The Illuminati is also the first system that allows photographers to use multiple light sensors at once, according to the developers. With a pair of the sensors, photographers can measure and compare both foreground and background light simultaneously, assisting with the artificial lighting setup to achieve the desired look, all without running to multiple locations for separate readings.

The Illuminati can be mounted in the scene using a number of different attachment points for continuous light metering, including a tripod mount. A magnet is built into the back, while a clip and lanyard-style expand the options. The company says firmware updates will help keep the device current.

After a successful Kickstarter in May 2017, the Bluetooth light meter is now available without the crowdfunding risk. The Illuminati is available from Amazon and B&H Photo Video for $299.

Updated on March 16: Added retail availability after the original Kickstarter campaign.