LED light technology has been moving at a very rapid pace in the last few years and new lights seem to be coming out on an almost daily basis. In this video, Caleb Pike takes a look at some of his favourites that have come out in 2018.
Aputure F7 (Amazon / B&H) – $98
This is Caleb’s top pick for this year. It’s a very bright, but quite small LED bicolour panel that packs quite a punch. It offers white balance from 3200K all the way up to a whopping 9500K with 256LEDs for 1500 Lux at 1 metre. And as well as the usual Sony NPF battery option, you can also power it through USB with a standard Type-C connector.
Falcon Eyes 12T LED Mat (Amazon) – $166
LED mats seem to have become the new craze in LED lighting over the last couple of years. There have been a lot of them hitting the market, but Caleb’s favourite is the Falcon Eyes 12T. They’re versatile as you can mould them around shapes and inside curves, but you can also get softboxes for them, too, making for a lightweight portable soft light.
Menik LED CB-68A & CB-102A Mat (Amazon / Amazon) – $228 / $315
Like the Falcon Eyes above, these are LED mats, but these offer bicolour lighting and they can be controlled from your phone. Well, it can be controlled from your phone if you have an iPhone. Nothing for Android users yet. It will run on a power adapter or V-Mount batteries.
Boltzen F-55 Fresnel Spot (Amazon / B&H) – $298
Fresnel spot lights are always handy to have around. Traditionally these were firmly in the realm of tungsten lighting, but as LED COB lighting has become more powerful, LED Fresnels have become a lot more viable. This one comes with 4-way barndoors, WiFi control a padded case and runs on either AC or battery power.
Intellytech Pocket Cannon (Amazon / B&H) – $335
While Caleb prefers the Boltzen F-55, he brings up the Intellytech Pocket Cannon as an honourable mention. it’s a little more expensive than the Botlzen, but focuses 20-50°, 60-160°, has a daylight white balance, barndoors, and runs off AC power or V-Mount batteries.
Aputure 120D Mark II (Amazon / B&H) – $745
At $745, the Apture C120D Mark II certainly isn’t the cheapest light out there, but it is among the best if you want this kind of form factor and the ability to modify the light using standard Bowens mount modifiers.
Boltzen Andromeda (B&H) – $688
While these might look like fluorescent tubes, they are in fact LED lights. Tubes have become popular light sources for videos, but RGB LED lights are much more versatile and configurable. Each tube also features built-in barndoor style flags for maximum control.
Personally, I still like my Spekular LEDs the best, but as they came out just before 2018 started, I suppose they don’t really count in this list. I quite like the new Litra Pro, too, for when I’m heading out the door and packing lightweight. We’ll have a full review on that one coming soon.
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