7 steps to successful measuring of colour temperature of a speed light with the Illuminati light meter for iOS

The Illuminati light meter (links to review) is a Bluetooth light meter – in fact, it’s the only Bluetooth one on the market so far – that you control through an app on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. The app is also available on Android, but as I only have an iOS device I’m going to concentrate on that one.

The Illuminati meter is one of the two available on iOS devices that can withstand the comparison with a professional, dedicated light meter such as a high-end Sekonic. It’s, however, the only one that measures not just flash output, but also flash colour temperature. Its direct competitor, the Lumu Power, does not support that (yet).

While the Illuminati light meter supports flash colour temperature metering, the controlling iOS app has proven to be a little flaky in actually reading a strobe’s colour temperature and displaying it on your iOS device. After a few months of trial and error – especially error – I finally had a conversation with the developers about this and got to find out how you can get readouts in a consistent and repeatable way.

It’s not hard to do, but if you skip one of the steps, you’re bound to be frustrated, so here we go:

  1. Make sure that, in your app’s settings, the Photocell Sensitivity slider is set at 7 or 8 when you have firmware 908 installed. If you have an earlier firmware on your Illuminati light meter, then you should set it at 10. Better yet: update the app and with it, the firmware.
  2. Set your camera – or flash, of course – to ISO 100.
  3. Set your camera or flash to an aperture of F5.
  4. Set your camera to an exposure of 1/160.
  5. Set the strobe to a sufficiently high output; I personally recommend setting it at 1/1.
  6. Switch Flash Metering on and – optionally – turn continuous ambient metering off in the app.
  7. Hold the camera and/or strobe over the unit at close range; 10-15 cm should do the job.

If you now trigger the flash – the first time, you may need to trigger it twice – you should get a colour temperature readout in the Color Temp and Chromaticity tabs with the red dot clearly visible in the graphs. Regardless of how many times you trigger the strobe or how many different strobes you’re measuring, you should get a readout every time you trigger.

There’s a video of this as well, over here.

Personally, I love the Illuminati light meter to pieces, but this was a real pain and it was a problem, because I couldn’t figure out how to make it work every time I triggered a flash. Well, now I can and if you’ve read through the list and try it, I’m sure you ill too.

Just to make sure, here’s a disclaimer: I have no affiliations with the Illuminati light meter developers and I use both the Lumu Power and the Illuminati, but after having used them now for a good few months, I find working with the Illuminati more comfortable due to it being a wireless device and not having to switch the device top-to-bottom for different measurement types (which is what you need to do with the Lumu Power).