Most light meters consist of a body, a photo cell and a readout. The light that falls on the photo cell has energy. This energy is transferred by the photo cell into electric current. The amount of current generated depends on the amount of light striking the cell. The meter then reads the electrical current and calculates the appropriate value of either Lux or foot-candles.
A key thing to remember about light is that it is usually made up of many different types (colors) of light at different wavelengths. The reading, therefore, is a result of the combined effects of all the wavelengths. A standard color can be referred to as color temperature, and is expressed in degrees Kelvin. The standard color temperature for calibration of most light meters is 2856 degrees Kelvin, which is more yellow than pure white.
Different types of bulbs burn at different color temperatures. Sper Scientific meter readings will, therefore, vary with different light sources of the same intensity. This is why some lights seem “harsher” than others. See the chart to the left for suggested lighting levels for various applications.
Light Meter Units of Measure
Light can be quantified in many ways, i.e., Lux, Lumens, foot-candles, candle power, candelas, and so on. The two most popular scales are Lux, which is the European measure, and foot-candles, which is the U.S. scale. Lux is a unit of illumination of one square meter, which is one meter away from a uniform light source. 1 candela = 1 Lux. Foot candles are a unit of illumination of one square foot which is one foot, away from a uniform light source.
Light Measurement Conversion Factors
Abbreviations: FC=Foot-candle, Lux=Lux, Lumen=Lumen
Since: 1 FC=1 Lumen/sq ft, and 1 Lux=1 Lumen/sq meter
And: 1 square ft=0.0929 sq meter
Then: 1 Lux=0.0929 FC, and 1 FC=10.76 Lux
|Convenient Lighting Levels for Various Applications|
|100 ~ 300||Lux||General workrooms, corridors, stairs and restrooms|
|300 ~ 750||Lux||Conference and computer rooms|
|750 ~ 1500||Lux||Technical offices, rooms for drawing and calculating|
|300 ~ 750||Lux||Winding, steel work and welding|
|750 ~ 1500||Lux||Inspection, welding, and heavy machinery operation|
|1500 ~ 3000||Lux||Inspection and testing operations, selection areas, machine tool areas|
|75 ~ 300||Lux||Lecture rooms, assembly halls, corridors, stairs and toilets|
|200 ~ 750||Lux||Classrooms, demonstration rooms, gymnasiums|
|300 ~ 1500||Lux||Precision drawing rooms, experimental laboratories, libraries, and reading rooms|
|120 ~ 500||Lux||Stairs, elevators, toilets and corridors|
|750 ~ 1500||Lux||Display windows and sales areas|
|4000 ~ 8000||Lux||Jewelers and goldsmiths|
|To Convert From||Into||Multiply By|
|Lumens||Canle power (spherical)||0.07958|
|Lumens per sq cm||Lamberts||1.0|
|Lumens per sq cm||Lux||10000|
|Lumens per sq cm||Phots||1.0|
|Lumens per sq ft||Foot-candles||1.0|
|Lumens per sq ft||Foot Lamberts||1.0|
|Lumens per sq ft||Lumens / sq meter||10.76391|
|Lumens per sq ft||Lux / sq meter||10.76396|
|Lumens per sq meter||Foot-candles||0.0929|
|Lumens per sq meter||Lumens / sq ft||0.0929|
|Lumens per sq meter||Phots||0.0001|
|Lumens per sq meter||Lux||1.0|
|Lux||Lumens / sq meter||1.0|
Sper Scientific light meters have been checked and calibrated using N.I.S.T. traceable light sources and standards. The light source is a color correct bulb that burns at 2856 degrees Kelvin. The meters have a 5-year warranty. They are used in many applications, from testing the reflectance of porcelain pigments in a QC lab to pharmaceutical degradation studies.