Review: KEKS KM02 Light Meter
The Keks KM02 light meter has been recently spotted out in the wild. The newly released follow-up to the Keks EM-01 light meter created for the frugal sunny16 challenged, the KEKS KM02 is smaller, lighter and pretty much improved in every aspect. More and more options keep arriving for budget light meters so how does the KM02 stand up to the competition? The original was a great little meter, the only real gripe being the slight sluggishness in button response. Let’s find out if they’ve ironed out the kinks.
KEKS KM02 Light Meter Tech Specs
Colours: Black / Chrome
Shoe mounts: Three different sizes Shoe mount
(Aluminium shoe mount is included)
Battery: 220mAh, 2.5 hrs to fully charged
Battery life: >21hrs (Always On Display)
Charging Port: USB Type C
Monitor: 0.91″ OLED monitor
Display Mode: Detailed, Standard
Metering: 30 average metering (Approximately 50mm Lens view)
Metering mode: Single Metering / Continuous Metering
Exposure mode: Aperture Priority / Shutter Priority
Exposure compensation range: -3 to +3 (1/3)
Aperture stops: Full, Half, Third
Aperture value: F/1.0-F/128
Shutter stops: Full, Half, Third
Shutter speed: 30s-1/8000
ISO stops: Full, Half, Third
ISO value: 6-102400
EV Range: 1-20
KEKS KM02 vs. EM01
The KM02 is about 3mm shorter and thinner, and weighs 5g less at 32g. Other improvements include a third shoe mount position on the right as well as improved build quality of the mount itself. The old mount on the EM01 was plastic where the new KM02 is machined aluminum.
You can see the top bevel has been greatly reduced as well as the button shapes have become thinner and wider. The sensor has also moved from the right to the center of the device.
Other changes you will find in the OLED display itself and the layout of information. The newer screen is more matte and avoids glare a bit better. The layout is essentially flipped from the previous, with the f-top and shutter speed now on the left. I guess that just boils down to personal preference, but I probably prefer the old way since you read left to right and aperture/shutter speed takes priority over EV and luminosity for my purposes. I do like the larger indication triangle however.
Another subtle change is the command button next to the LCD. It has gone from a square to a concave circle, giving a more satisfying tactile experience on the fingertips.
A lot of the gripes with the original was that the rechargeable battery was not easily replaceable. “Easily” is a subjective metric I suppose, but it can be done and the KM02 appears to be no different.
KEKS KM02 Light Meter Features
Like all the other OLED meters, the Keks KM02 can be operated in either a shutter or aperture priority mode. But the highlight feature is the ability to create custom sets of settings for 3 different cameras and 3 different lenses. The KM02’s aperture, shutter speed and ISO stops are all customizable to match the user’s different cameras and lenses. With these customized memory banks, lenses can be set to have either full, 1/3rd or 1/2 aperture settings to give more accurate readings than ever. You can also do the same for shutter speeds of a specific camera, say, 1s – 1/1000th with whole stop settings to match a Leica M.
In addition, the KM02 boasts an exposure compensation feature. This feature, allows the user to manually adjust the exposure from -3EV to +3EV in 1/3 increments.
The meter looks great on Leica Ms and the Makina, not so much on Barnacks or Nikon S. I empathize with those who prefer the more analog spirit of the Voigtlander VC II but with that meter’s price point I think it belongs in a different category. In the $100ish range the Keks continues to be a compelling choice for build quality, functionality and the buzzword of the moment customization.
An interesting feature not mentioned in the manual but buried in the system menu is ‘Metering Results’. It allows the setting of a bias toward over, under, or correct exposure. Setting it to overexpose or underexpose sets the meter -/+ a stop in either direction to cater towards specific tastes.
It appears to be as accurate as the VC II and the original EM01 at default settings; this along with the customizable camera and lenses setting, subtle ergonomic improvements, less lag and increased battery life, it really is hard to beat at this price point. You can pick one up directly from KEKS here. Let us know your experiences with KEKS KM02 or other budget light meters out there now on the market.