The three reasons to choose an LED light
Today we are going to compare three 200 Watt LED lights that may look the same, but have some interesting features once you look closer.
And those are just three of the 200 Watts LED range you can get. Nanlite, Aputure, SmallRig, and a whole slew of non-name brands are making similar lights as well. So how can you choose?
There is a reason for comparing all those entry-level 200 Watt lights. Because the 200 watts bi-color light to LEDs is what a 50mm f/1.8 to lenses. Everybody makes them, so it’s easy to compare.
200W LED lights – the commons
While there are only three lights in this video, there is a lot in common for all entry level 200-Watt LED lights:
- Typically they are around 200 watts (Duh)
- They come with a small case (or no case)
- They use a brick-style power supply with no controls
- They have a single-leg swivel-type mount
- The front mount for modifiers is a Bowens mount
- Even the light output on those lights is quite similar, aside from the Colbor CL220, which was waaay more powerful than the reset.
- Similar controls: a Bluetooth app, a small LCD, and a set of dials and buttons on the back
How to choose an LED light?
So, with all the lights being so similar, how can you choose a light? Is it a random choice? I think that no, there are three aspects that control choosing your next LED light.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is this: does this light has what I need? Back in September 2022, if you needed a light with a 1200 Watts output, Nanlite was the only one making them. Easy, you should have gone with the Evoke 1200. Likewise, if today you need a 2600+ Watt Only aputure makes the XT26 Electro Storm, so go with Aputure.
The same applies if you need a light that is not a COB light. if you need tubes, you can only buy them from a company that makes tubes. If you need a light matt, not all the companies make them, and so on.
So what’s the second reason? It’s the ecosystem.
If you already own a bunch of lights from one brand, your next light will probably be from the same company. It would have the same app, the same ability to group, and a familiar interface. So, if you own a set of Godox tubes and panels, you will probably go for the LiteMon. If you own many Apertures, you will go with another Aperture, and if you have a ton of Nanlite fixtures, well, Nanlite it is.
I think it’s safe to say that Aputure, Godox, and Nanlite offer the most solid ecosystems in the market today.
There are more LED lights than just the big three
If you are just starting to build your kit, and have no commitment yet, I would keep an eye on Colbor. They are a young and “hungry” company and they keep coming up with new lights and adding innovative features. Things like splicing and grid control. Every now and then, a new company enters the LED market. SmallRig has a few lights, Feelworld is a new player, and Zhiyun is now making lights too. All those companies are big players, and I am looking forward to seeing their ecosystems expand.
In the end, especially when you are starting out, money matters. And if the choice is between no lights or the lights you can afford, you may as well get what you can. (Another option is to rent, but for a small light, buying a small COB LED is probably a smarter option).
All three lights that we featured in this review are budget-friendly, but just in case, here they are again, from the most budget-friendly to the most expensive. If you’ve watched the video, you know that the order of my rating is different than the order of the price.
- FEELWORLD FL225B – $280
- COLBOR CL220 is a 220-Watts light for $319
- The Godox Litemons LA200Bi – $349.00
And here are three more LED lights in the same range:
200 Watts LED – what should you buy?
If we restrict ourselves to the there lights that I sampled, all three lights have some similarities. But each also has a strong point.
So, if you are looking for a light that has a whole ecosystem, I would consider the Godox Litemon. If you are looking for a budget option with lots of features, the Feelworld may be a great option, and if you are looking for a light family that is a bit more sturdier, try the Colbor.
Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.