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10 Things to Consider When Buying LED Lights for Video


On this video videographer Caleb Pike from DSLR Video Shooter talks about different considerations you might have when getting a new LED light for your video work.

This video is especially important for people who are considering their next LED buy but it is also a good background for our upcoming pro LED review series which will start here on LensVid very soon.

Here are the 10 points Pike talks about in the video:

  1. Price – this is of obvious but you do need to remember that things change quickly and these days you can get lights that used to cost several times as much just a few years back and you can also decide to split your budget and get two lower cost lights instead of one expensive light.
  2. Use – You need to consider what your aim of using the light – is this going to be a main light or secondary light etc. Are you going to use this where you might have space limitations, how portable do you ned it to be etc.
  3. Output – measured in lux (typically) at a specific distance. Don’t get fooled by the number of LEDs in the light – they can sometimes be very weak).
  4. Color accuracy – the most common measurement is CRI (although there are better measurements today but they are less common). The higher the better – try and go for something which is above 90 (around 95 is typically very good in terms of color accuracy) – anything below 85 is not really suited for photography.
  5. Color temperature – The most common temperature is around 5600k which is called daylight (although actual daylight is really not always 5600k anywhere and any time of the year). There are cooler or warmer lights as well and there are bi-color lights which can change the color but be aware that many of them loose power (the cheap ones use half the LEDs for one color and the other half for the other color temperature…). You can always get daylight and use gels to change the color.
  6. Power options – Sony NPF are the most common on relatively inexpensive small lights, bigger lights will have typically a v-mount or similar mount for large capacity professional batteries which are much more expensive. It is always preferable to also get a light which has an option to connect directly to the wall (also check if it comes with a power brick or you need to get one separately).
  7. Beam angle – this has to do with how soft the light is going to be. A spot type LED will have a narrow angle which is harder compared to a softer light which will typically be wider (but not always). diffusers can make the light softer of course.
  8. Large LED chip or many small ones – most LEDs today still use many small chips but these might create micro shadows a single large LED are less common (and usually more expensive) but they don’t have this problem.
  9. Edge color distortion – some lesser quality LEDs will get a color shift at the edges – it is hard to know this from looking at the specs so you will need to read reviews.
  10. Accessories – you need to check what will the light come with – batteries, power cables, diffusers, mounts etc. If you need to get some of these separately – that might change your buying decision.

More guides of photographic gear can be found on our photography gear guides sub-section – here on LensVid.

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