Godox TL30 LED Tube Lights Review Bang for the buck tube lights

Today we are taking a look at the new Godox TL30 tube lights. This is a new, smaller, lighter version that comes with a few interesting accessories.

Design

The TL30 is a 30cm-long tube light weighing just under 300 grams. It comes in a lightweight plastic enclosure with hard plastic bumpers on the ends. Both of the ends come with ¼’’ mounts. There are no mounts on the back, but the unit ships in a kit with a special clamp that allows support from the back.

This tube light features an internal 2900mAh battery. While Godox promises only about an hour of runtime before the battery discharges, the TL30’s USB-c port allows you to charge the light while in use.

Simple to use interface – Godox TL-30

Simple to use interface - Godox TL-30

Accessories

In the box, we received a semi-hard carrying case that encloses 2 tube lights and accessories for each. The lights come with metal plates for magnetic mounting, a wrist strap, a support clamp, a 2-light coupler, a grid, a waterproof bag, and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable.

Dual tube coupler

Operation

For operating the TL30, the unit features three buttons and a clickable jog wheel, together with a small screen. The screen is pretty easy to read and is pretty bright compared to other tube lights that we work with.

The first button on the left turns the unit on and off when long pressed. There is no sleep function as on some of the other tube lights we have in the studio.

The middle button changes through the modes: CCT – HSI – Effects. When long pressed, the Mode button opens the Bluetooth controls. In CCT mode, the light has a range of 2700K to 6500K. The RGB color gamut in HSI mode goes from 0 to 360 degrees.

The Dim button next to the jog wheel is for controlling the intensity of the light. When pressed, the intensity setting starts flashing, and you set it using the jog wheel. Clicking the jog wheel sets the intensity and reverts to color temperature control. A second click changes to tint control.

Good, visible screen

Godox has been adding the green/magenta tint control feature to all of their new lights, and we are happy to see this feature even on this small tube light since it allows to calibrate the units when used together with other types of fixtures.

The TL30 comes pre-programmed with 13 effects. To access the effects menu, click the Mode button. Scroll through the effects using the jog wheel. Click the jog wheel to pick from one of the three settings for the effect. You can also control the intensity of the light in the effects menu.

Interesting accessories (grid)

Interesting accessories (grid)

Battery life

In working with this tube light, we noticed that the battery runs out pretty fast compared to this Iwata Tech tube light that we reviewed not too long ago. The Iwata Tech battery is listed as 2200mAh, but it lasts a while longer. Of course, the TL30 has a larger output of 8w compared to the 6w of the Iwata Tech.

Charging while in use solves the problem, of course, but it would be nice to have a more powerful battery.

Heat dissipation

One of the complaints we had for the Iwata Tech tube lights is that they get pretty hot after prolonged use. The TL30 on the other hand is a lot better at heat dissipation. Because of the transparent plastic enclosure that covers the fixture on all sides, you can barely feel the heat.

It’s a pretty interesting solution since it also serves to protect the screen on the back of the unit.

Interesting accessories (waterproof bags)

Interesting accessories (waterproof bags)

App

Godox added app control to these lights, which makes them even more useful. You can control each unit individually, or assign different tube lights to a group. It’s all done in the same Godox lights app that you can use for their other bigger and smaller lights.

In the app, you can control all the color and intensity settings, as well as put the unit to sleep – something the unit itself doesn’t give you the option to do.

Output / Color Performance Tests

We tested the output of the TL30 at 30cm away using our Sekonic C800 (we don’t see a real point in measuring such a compact low power light from a full 1m distance, to be honest) in different CCT and HSI modes, and these are the results we got.

Output @30cm distance

  • 2700K – 1650Lux.
  • 3200K – 1610Lux.
  • 5600K – 1820Lux.
  • 6500K – 1940Lux.

Color accuracy and quality measurements 

Tungsten masurments (set to 3200K)

  • Tested light color temperature – 3217K (as measured).
  • CRI – 93.7 CRI [84.2 / R9 and 84.2 / R12].
  • TLCI – 98
  • TM-30 18 – 94 RF / 103 RG.
  • SSI – 83.

Daylight measurements (set to 5600K)

  • Tested light color temperature – 5733K (as measured).
  • CRI – 95.6 CRI [85.4 / R9 and 91 / R12]
  • TLCI – 99
  • TM-30 18 – 96 RF / 104 RG.
  • SSI – 75.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Godox has done a pretty good job with this light. It’s compact, has a good output for its size, and has pretty accurate colors. The app control and accessories make it even more interesting. The battery is a bit of a hassle, but you can always run it off a power bank. Also, we’re not sure about how durable the clear plastic enclosure will prove to be over time. It’s a pretty good idea since it helps with keeping the unit cooler to the touch.

Creative light painting with tube lights

Creative light painting with tube lights

Pricing

As for pricing, the TL30 by itself costs $90, and the 2-light kit with accessories sells for $210.

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