To break from the norm I thought I’d do a bit of write up on these lights as I’ve been so impressed by them.
First off, the price – there are cheaper ones online and a lot more expensive so I wasn’t too scared [cheap eBay fear syndrome] when I ordered them – plus James Grist showed me one he’d bought and I liked it. So I bought three!
In the box you get the light, a plastic foot stand, a cold shoe mount thingy for stacking the units [more on that in a bit], two diffusers and an angled mount connector.
The design is pretty simple; a box with a battery compartment for 6 AA cells, volume dial for brightness, a battery level indicator and lights on the front – good attention to design there.
On top of the battery compartment you get a connector for some kind of Sony battery to run the unit off a Li-polymer cell or a DC adaptor – pretty cool.
The front of the light has 4 plastic nubbins to mount the two diffusers; one is opaque and does a great job of softening the output [about a stop down] and the other is orange, presumably to balance for tungsten. I’ve not used the orange in anger yet but it seemed to mess with the WB on my iPhone, so that’s promising.
The output is controlled by the volume wheel on the back; on a fresh set of Duracell Procell AAs at 4 feet I metered it at f1.0 7/10ths at minimum power and f2.8 5/10ths [both at 1/125 sec, ISO 400] so not massively bright for stills, unless you have good fast primes, but more than adequate for video work.
f2.8 24mm 1/125 ISO 3200
One of the really cool things is if that’s not enough light you can bank these lights together using the little cold shoe connector – how bright you go depends on how deep your pockets are and at only £40 a pop that could be quite a few! The case has mounts on every side so you can go for wide, square, long banks etc.
The units do feel a little plasticky – but for the price I don’t think you can complain too much – and they are ROBUST – my 3 have all been dropped many times [5 total on Saturday alone] and they’re all good, once you chase down all the escaped batteries of course…
The angled connector thing is pretty much rubbish, so you’ll want to source something else from eBay to mount them unless you want them falling on the floor as much as my set. They also don’t seem to have a voltage regulator so the output drops as your batteries run down, evident in the image of all 3 vertically banked – the bottom one is on older batteries. This isn’t a deal breaker once you know that happens. There is also a ‘cooler’ area in the middle of the grid of LEDs – not sure how that effects performance but you can see it.
As with most bits of kit it’s always a compromise in terms of price, functionality and build quality [can tell I’m a canon 5dII user!], but once you learn your kit and it’s limitations the end result is what matters – these lights work well, are cheap and are still working after a fair bit of abuse – I’d recommend them.