Holiday Gift Guide – The best new photo and video lights of 2022

Dec 14, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Holiday Gift Guide – The best new photo and video lights of 2022

Dec 14, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It’s December again, which means lots of us are sitting there wondering what to buy for ourselves or the photographer in our lives this holiday season. We’ve been saving up all year to get that something special, but we don’t want to deal with in-store queues – or maybe we’ve just slacked on our Christmas shopping this year. We want to stay at home where it’s nice and warm and see what we can find online that gets delivered straight to our door!

So, this means it’s time for the 2022 DIYP Holiday Gift Guides. We’re on Day 3, so it’s time to look at lights. These are some of our favourite new LED lights and flashes that have been released over the last year. Keep visiting back this week as we release our other guides, including cameras, lenses, tripods, sliders & gimbals, and accessories and gadgets.

Note: It’s worth pointing out that the prices shown here are the MSRP prices. Some of these items are currently on sale and will be priced differently at different retailers throughout December, so be sure to check all links for the best price!

Nanlite Forza 60C (Amazon / B&H) – $699

The Nanlite Forza 60C is one of a new breed of LED lights, to present us with an RGBLAC (Red, Green Blue, Lime, Amber and Cyan) colour spectrum that offers a much wider overall colour range with more accurate colours than the typical RGBWW LEDs. Typically the realm of expensive high-end Hollywood lights, the Nanlite Forza 60C brings the technology down to a price point where it’s accessible to us mere mortals. If you want to take your coloured lighting game to the next level, this is where you want to look.

Feelworld 125W and 225W (Amazon / B&H) – $199.99-349.99

Feelworld’s entry into the LED lighting space came with two new lights in two varieties. There are 125W and 225W versions of Feelworld’s FL series LED lights, each available in either bicolour or daylight-only options. the FL125DFL125BFL225D and FL225B are priced at $199.99, $239.99, $309.99 and $349.99, respectively and present a good low-budget option with a decent amount of power for new filmmakers looking to start off their lighting collection.

Aputure MT Pro (Amazon / B&H) – $199

The Aputure MT Pro is Aputure’s first full-colour mini LED tube light. At 11.8″ long, this is not a huge tube light, but it is extremely versatile. Being so small, it’s quite easy to hide it in small spaces where you want to add a little light to stop it from going to blackness or to simulate a lighting effect, such as flicker from a TV or police car lights outside a window. Its built-in battery that charges over USB-C also means that you can do it without wires trailing all over the place, too.

Colbor CL60 (Amazon / B&H) – $129-149

Colbor is still a relatively unknown company in the lighting world, and while they haven’t produced many lights yet, they are producing some interesting ones. Interesting ones like the Colbor CL60. This 60W LED is available in both daylight and bicolour flavours and features a modular, stackable design allowing you to gang multiple lights together in order to create a larger single light source. If you’re not sure where to start but want expansion options for the future, this is a good option to check out.

Elinchrom FIVE (Amazon / B&H) – $1,849.99

The Elinchrom FIVE is the newest release from long-time photography lighting manufacturer Elinchrom. While this is primarily a strobe designed for photography, it does also contain a 26W bicolour LED modelling light, which should be bright enough for some video uses. It’s a 522Ws battery-powered strobe that’s capable of charging up via USB-C Power Delivery at up to 65 Watts. A little pricier than other options on the market, but Elinchrom has a lot of history behind them to back up their gear.

Zhiyun Fiveray F100 (Amazon / B&H) – $249

2022 marked Zhiyun’s entry into the lighting world this year, too. Initially, they went with the Fiveray FR100C and, more recently, the F100. The two lights are very similar, although the F100 offers a little more RGB power, helping it to compete a little better with other lights on set. It has high CRI and TLCI ratings of 96 and 97 respectively, with a white balance range of 2700-6200K. Its built-in battery provides up to half an hour’s use at full power and can be charged up over USB Power Delivery from a compatible charger or power bank.

Godox R200 Ring Flash (Amazon / B&H) – $279

The Godox R200 Ring Flash is an excellent compromise between power, portability and price. You see, it’s not a complete, self-contained light in and of itself. It’s an add-on to the popular Godox AD200 and AD200 Pro strobes. As a replacement head for those units, rather than a complete unit itself, most of the electronics can be cut out of the head completely, driving the price and weight right down. Of course, it does mean you need an AD200 or AD200 Pro, too, but for existing Godox shooters, this is probably the best-value ring flash on the market.

Nanlite FS-150B & FS-200B (Amazon / B&H) – $259-349

Nanlite expanded the capabilities of its FS-150 and FS-200 LED lights this year with new bicolour variants, the FS-150B and FS-200B. Priced at $259 and $349, respectively, the two lights offer a variable white balance from 2700K up to 6500K. This lets you mix them in with a wide array of practical lights found on-set or to tweak and adjust them to match with other lights in your setup. These are AC-powered LED lights, though, so they are not for use in locations that don’t have plug sockets.

SmallRig RC 220B (Amazon / B&H) – $369

SmallRig is another newcomer to the world of lighting in 2022, releasing a number of lights to kick off their range. The SmallRig RC 220B sits in the middle of that range, offering a good balance of price, power and versatility. Being a bicolour light, it offers a colour temperature range of 2700-6500K, but there’s also a daylight-only version for $329 for those who don’t need to mix with tungsten or other practical lights on set. For lower and higher power options, SmallRig has also released the RC120, RC350 and RC450, each in bicolour and daylight variants.

Godox Knowled C5R RGBWW LED Panel (Amazon / B&H) – $89

The Godox Knowled C5R is the first mini RGBWW panel in the new Godox Knowled LED lighting range. Despite being part of the company’s higher-end product range, though, it comes with a very low price tag. It offers a wide range of white balance control from 2500-8500K, with a CRI of 96 and TLCI of 97. This battery-operated light, though, offers full RGB capability, too, with remote control from the app and two solid hours of use on a full charge at 100% brightness. You can also charge it up over USB-PC or using Qi wireless charging.

Westcott L60-B LED Light (Amazon / B&H) – $269.90

Westcott is another name that’s been around in the lighting industry for years, primarily targeting photographers. This year, though, they released the Westcott L60-B 60W bicolour LED light. It offers a 2700-6500K temperature range with CRI and TLCI of 97 and 98, respectively and can be powered by both AC or battery power. Westcott said at the time of its release that it was the world’s smallest 60W LED light. I’m not so sure about that claim anymore but it sure is tiny! Great for packing into your camera bag to take out on location.

Nanlite RGBWW PavoBulb 10C (Amazon / B&H) – $75

The Nanlite PavoBulb 10C is a type of light that’s been coming to the fore over the last year or so. It’s a bit like those Philips Hue bulbs, offering a wide array of colours, except that these ones are colour accurate and a lot more useful for photographers and filmmakers – they’re also a lot more reliable! They allow you to swap out practical bulbs on location to let you dial in the exact colour of light you need. They’ll run off either the 110-240v the lighting socket supplies or off their own internal battery (or an external USB power source) and offer a white balance range of 2700K up to 7500K, letting you get lighting consistency, even in practical light fixtures, across your scene.

Godox Lux Senior (Amazon / B&H) – $119

The Godox Lux Senior is an awesome-looking little light. It’s not very powerful when you compare it to the rest of the company’s (and their competitors) on-camera flashes, but the retro look fits in well with the wide range of retro-looking cameras we’re seeing from companies like Fuji and Nikon. It has a fixed zoom, has a recycle time of under 3 seconds and gives 150 full power flashes on a full charge. Flash power can be dialled down from full to 1/64th and it has a guide number of 14 metres at ISO100. It has a universal hotshoe, meaning you can even use it on your old film cameras!

Aputure Amaran SM5C (Amazon / B&H) – $89

The Aputure Amaran SM5C isn’t like the other lights in this year’s guide. It’s not designed to illuminate or even be colour accurate. It’s RGB, rather than RGBWW and offers no white balance guarantees. Instead, this light is intended to be set decoration. It comes in a 5 metre length (and there’s a 5-metre extension available for an extra $39) and it’s designed to be placed around your vlogging or YouTube channel studio set in the background to provide a bit of colour. This addressable LED light is controlled by the Sidus Link app or the supplied controller. And unlike regular RGB LED strips, this one allows you to have different colours along the entirety of its length instead of a single colour for the whole strip.

Overview

So this is our lighting list for this year. There have been a lot of new players in the market this year, including Zhiyun, Feelworld and SmallRig, as well as some great new products from familiar names like Godox, Nanlite and Aputure. But here is a selection of our favourites that cover a lot of use cases. What’s been your favourite new light of 2022? What are you hoping to see next year?

We’ve already released our camera gift guide as well as our lenses gift guide, so be sure to check those out. Also, keep an eye out for upcoming guides coming over the next couple of days covering tripods, sliders & gimbals, as well as gadgets and accessories!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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