This is how some of the brightest LED lights from $500 to over $5000 compare in power

Feb 13, 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.

This is how some of the brightest LED lights from $500 to over $5000 compare in power

Feb 13, 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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One of the biggest issues when it comes to continuous LED lights is power. For photographers, they’re just nowhere near as bright as strobes, and for filmmakers, they want to know that they can replace their high power hot lights that they’ve been using for years. But LED manufacturers are often quite vague or confusing with their light output.

It’s not intentional, there’s just not really an easy universal standard when it comes to comparing constantly evolving LED technology with tried and tested hot lights. So, in this video, Jay P Morgan looks at some of the more powerful LED lights on the market to see how they really stand up to traditional hot lights.

The “baseline” was 1K, 2K and 1200 HMI lights, a staple of video production for decades, with light meter readings taken at 8, 12 and 16 feet from the light. And while they obviously couldn’t test every LED light out there, they did test quite a large variety – with a very wide price range.

As you can see, even at the lower end of this price range, LED lights powerful enough for serious video production with good colour accuracy aren’t inexpensive. But the difference in power output isn’t necessarily reflected in the price, as Jay’s results illustrate. And while many manufacturers say it’s “about the equivalent of a 1K”, some are modestly understating the power of their lights whilst others are wildly exaggerating it.

But light output isn’t just a function of how many watts of power it consumes. The efficiency of the LEDs, as well as the overall design of the unit, has a huge impact. As does switching lights that have the capability between “flood” and “spot” mode. Jay’s tests in the video are often predictable in some of the results they produce but there are one or two surprises.

That design also has other implications for ease of use, portability, and other factors that you should take into account when purchasing lights. Just because a light puts out more power in a controlled test doesn’t mean it’ll be the best light for your particular application.

It would’ve been nice to see a couple of the other more popular LED light in there like the Spekular LED lights and the Aputure Tri-8 panels to see how they stood up against the (vastly more expensive) competition.

What LED lights do you use? How do they compare to a standard 1K?

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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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4 responses to “This is how some of the brightest LED lights from $500 to over $5000 compare in power”

  1. Joost Avatar
    Joost

    waiting for Godox to make a move here

  2. Led Outfitters Avatar
    Led Outfitters

    According to me, The most significant advantage of LEDs when compared to traditional lighting solutions is the long lifespan. The average LED lasts 50,000 operating hours to 100,000 operating hours or more….. i recently use TACTICAL MINI LED LIGHT BAR. And found it amazing really!

  3. Sam patel Avatar
    Sam patel

    This is really helpful article, The efficiency of the LEDs, as well as the overall design of the unit, has a huge impact. Thanks for sharing this keep share more!
    Here is the best Led lights manufacturer in india. https://www.murphylightings.com

  4. Mike Avatar
    Mike

    This is a great comparison! Thanks for putting together. I would really like to see how the new intellytech light canon pro ii compares as it should be near a joker 800 in output.