Lume Cube just launched a $150 LED panel that looks suspiciously like these $70 LED panels

Aug 27, 2019

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.

Lume Cube just launched a $150 LED panel that looks suspiciously like these $70 LED panels

Aug 27, 2019

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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I’ve become a big fan of small LEDs over the last few years. I was originally quite skeptical of them and their power output, but after picking up a few from different brands like Litra, Moin and digitalfoto, they’ve really started to grow on me and turned out to be far more useful than I expected.

One of the big names in small lights is Lume Cube, and they’ve just released a new Lume Cube Panel LED for $149.95 but it looks an awful lot like a bunch of other similar LED Panels found on eBay and Amazon for only around $70.

So, let’s have a look at the walkthrough video Lume Cube posted to their YouTube channel today for their new Panel LED light.

YouTube video

It’s Bi-color, going from 3200K to 5600K, offers a brightness range of 5-100% in 5% increments, 1600 Lux @ 0.5 metres, 90 minutes on 100% brightness, it has a built-in rechargeable battery and it can also act as a power bank for your phone. It looks pretty impressive, right? Especially if it holds up to the claimed 96+ CRI. And it comes with a few extra bits, too.

But we’ve seen very similar lights before. Several times, in fact. I actually own a light that’s very much like this already, the digitalfoto YY120.

This also offers bi-colour adjustment from 3200-5600K, a 95+ CRI, similar life expectancy on a full battery charge, and can also act as a power bank for your phone. They even have a virtually identical OLED on the back displaying exactly the same information, too. Oh, and the digitalfoto manages to do all its charging and power output via a single Type-C USB socket instead of spreading it out to three different types of USB sockets.

Left: Lume Cube Panel OLED display / Right: digitalfoto YY120 OLED display

Then you’ve got the Iwata GL-01, the Veledge VLD-01 (which is under $50), or this one from Moman for just over $65. All of these offer the same feature-set and house the same OLED display. With all of these seemingly identical lights that all over around 3300-3500K white balance, 95+ CRI/TLCI and all the rest of it, what makes the Lume Cube different to all of these other lights besides the brand name?

Well, I’ve mentioned it already at the top, but aside from some slight cosmetic differences, it seems that the only thing which really separates the Lume Cube Panel LED from the pack is the price. The Lume Cube Panel LED is $150, while the digitalfoto YY120 and many other similar types of light are only around $50-70.

I’d like to believe that all of these lights were independently developed and the fact that they’ve all been released around the same time is purely coincidence. But given the similarities between them all, particularly that OLED display, I’m struggling to do so.

All of the variants out there appear to be using very similar internals, just put into different cases. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. It happens all the time. And we see rebrands of products from big companies like Godox under various names around the world without even changing the externals. Customer service from one brand to the next, even if they’re selling the same or similar products also makes a big difference when it comes to value as well.

But is one really worth double the cost of the rest (triple in one case) just because it has a more well-known brand name stamped on it?

If there is more to the Lume Cube Panel LED than initial appearances suggest, then I’d like to know what that is. In fact, I’d love to be able to get my hands on one of these to try out side-by-side against the digitalfoto one I have here to see if it really is worth twice the price.

If you want to find out more about the Lume Cube Panel LED, then head on over to the Lume Cube website. For now, though, at least for me, I’m not sure I see how it justifies the price tag.

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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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13 responses to “Lume Cube just launched a $150 LED panel that looks suspiciously like these $70 LED panels”

  1. Huge Dom Avatar
    Huge Dom

    They have been over pricing those cubes for a long time too.

  2. udi tirosh Avatar
    udi tirosh

    I would love to see what is their official response to this

  3. tim Avatar
    tim

    So no mention then that the Lume pad is IDENTICAL to the Phottix M180, the only difference i can see is the slight difference in voltage, 3.85v vs the M180 3.7v and im pretty sure thats not going to relly mean much in terms of light output.

  4. Secundius Avatar
    Secundius

    I just bought the “Soonpho Portabe LED Video Light”, which is nearly identical to the Lume Cube’s “Lume Panel” at nearly 1/3 the price (i.e. $48.79 USD on Amazon)…

  5. Eric film Avatar
    Eric film

    Lume cube has the most amount of beads (180 bead from the photo), but YY120 never specified it Lux ratings. So that’s where the difference probably lies

  6. Abhijit Sarkar Avatar
    Abhijit Sarkar

    I’m looking for a compact fill-in light for portraiture, and wondering whether to go with the “cube” lights (like Litra Torch or Lube Cube) or the light panels that you’ve discussed here. Any suggestions?

    1. Secundius Avatar
      Secundius

      If you Dive, “Lume Cube Original” is watertight to ~100-feet, but weighs more than 8-ounces. “Lume Cube Lite” is watertight to ~30-feet and weighs less than 2.5-ounces and is approximately $25.00 USD cheaper…

      1. Abhijit Sarkar Avatar
        Abhijit Sarkar

        I’m talking about the use of Lume Cube 2.0 vs this panel https://www.amazon.com/Lume-Cube-2-0-Daylight-Panasonic/dp/B07XF786FR in portraiture. I don’t do underwater photography, so water resistance isn’t a selling point for me.

        1. Secundius Avatar
          Secundius

          “Litra” is heavier than the Lume Cube Lite and is only watertight to ~10-feet, while costing ~$100.00 USD. And IF you do any outdoor shooting, you’ll probably want something that has reasonable protection from sudden weather changes (i.e Rain). The “Lume Panel” isn’t waterproof…

          1. Abhijit Sarkar Avatar
            Abhijit Sarkar

            It seems you keep coming back to how these compare when a bucket of water is thrown on them :) That may be an important criterion for you, no problem, but I’m curious about how these lights actually measure up to their primary purpose in life…photography. I’ll keep looking for an answer.

          2. Secundius Avatar
            Secundius

            IF you don’t believe the Reviews made, then just buy one and find out yourself what it’s capable of. At worse you have a extra flashlight for your junk drawer…

          3. Jason Pulliam Avatar
            Jason Pulliam

            @asarkar:disqus I hear your question too, and see no one understands it haha.

      2. Abhijit Sarkar Avatar
        Abhijit Sarkar

        t seems you keep coming back to how these compare when a bucket of water is thrown on them :) That may be an important criterion for you, no problem, but I’m curious about how these lights actually measure up to their primary purpose in life…photography. I’ll keep looking for an answer.