Light is something that plagues us all, whether we’re photographers or filmmakers. There’s either never enough, or it’s coming from the wrong direction, or it’s too hard or soft for what we need. So, we often need to add our own to get that look that we really want. So, with cameras and lenses out of the way, that’s what we’re going to be covering in our lighting gift guide.
When it comes to strobes, Godox has become one of the most popular brands out there today. They cater to photographers of all levels and offer a great range. This year they expanded that range with the AD300Pro, a lightweight lens-sized 300Ws battery-powered strobe that easily tucks away into a slot in your camera bag for use on location. A great gift for the photographer in your life – or you, if you want to treat yourself!
The Profoto A10 is the latest iteration of Profoto’s flagship speedlight. It’s essentially the same as the previous generation model, but adds Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to use it with your smartphone using their AirX tech. Previously, this just meant the iPhone, but that functionality has now been expanded to Android, too.
Maxima 7 (Buy at Maxima 7) – $????
The Maxima 7 is an insane light if you’re in the market for a powerful continuous light source. It’s an insane 700W LED light, which utilises a proprietary COB LED chip. That means it offers the equivalent output to a 1.2K HMI. It has a focusable 10″ diameter Fresnel lens, supports Bowens mounts, and features built-in Bluetooth and 2.4Ghz radio for external control. The price of this light hasn’t been published and you have to contact them to get a link to the order page, so it won’t be cheap!
Spiffy Gear Spekular (B&H / Spiffy Gear) – $499
The modular Spekular LED lighting system continues to remain a favourite here at DIYP. It’s had some slight changes over the last year or so to help improve the build quality even further with enhancements to its electronics for even smoother operation, but even the original issue has never let me down. If you’re looking for a good versatile continuous starter light kit, this is it.
Following on with the same form factor as the Godox AD300Pro mentioned above, the Godox ML60 is a compact and lightweight lens-sized light. This one, however, is a continuous LED light source, and not a flash. It has about the same output as the AC-powered Godox SL60W, except this one can run on a pair of NP-F batteries, and it actually has a quiet fan! This light also comes in one of the nicest looking gear bags I’ve ever seen – review coming soon!
Spiffy Gear KYU-6 (Amazon / B&H / Spiffy Gear) – $45
Replacing Lumiee in the Spiffy Gear lineup, KYU-6 offers more battery life, charging while in use, finer control over the power output, more effects, and increased weather resistance over the original. It’s also now available in new kits with various mounts to help you combine multiple lights for more power or just to easily mount them to tripods and light stands. A wonderfully versatile small LED light kit that is available in RGB or bicolour flavours.
The Nanlite PavoTube II 6C really needs a shorter name, but the light itself is just the right size. At 25cm long, it’s small enough to throw into a backpack, offers RGBWW lighting and weighs only 260g. But it comes with an impressive set of features. It has a CRI of 95 and a TLCI of 97 to help ensure colour accuracy, with a colour temperature range from 2700-7500K. It’s powered off an internal battery that offers around 65 minutes of use at full power.
DigitalFoto Tree Frog (B&H / DigitalFoto) – $129
The IP67 rated pocket-sized RGBWW Tree Frog LED panel from DigitalFoto is a fantastic little light for carrying around with you everywhere you go. It features just about every colour in the RGB spectrum as well as bicolour white LEDs and a whole array of different effects lighting. That IP67 rating means it can handle just about any weather, too. Ideal for carrying around with your phone or lighting small product sets.
This might seem an odd device to have on here, given that it’s not actually a light, but what the Aputure Sidus Link Bridge does do is add a whole bunch of Aputure’s new technology to their older lights (like the HR672 and Tri-8 LED panels). It won’t give them the RGB capabilities of their newest full colour LED lights, and it won’t make daylight balanced lights suddenly bicolour, but what it will do is add the smartphone remote control features and a whole bunch of new effects that aren’t built into those older lights to help them keep up with your newer Aputure gear.
There hasn’t really been a massive array of lights released this year. Perhaps this is because the pandemic has seen so many productions shut down in 2020. The lights that we have seen announced or released in 2020 have been quite impressive, though. With things starting to look promising for 2021, perhaps we’ll see a flurry of new lights coming soon!