The Top 5 LED Lights For Photography And Video Reviewed
People new to photography often believe that to get the best shots, they need an expensive, feature-packed camera. But it turns out that many photographers could up their game with a far less costly piece of kit: an LED light.
LED lights are fast becoming the standard in photography and video lighting. Not only do they provide the type of glow that you want when taking pictures, but because of LED technology, they emit less heat than standard lights, helping subjects to feel more comfortable. LED lights also offer customizability. Thanks to LED technology, it’s possible to adjust LEDs to output different color temperatures, depending on the type of photograph or video you want to take. What’s more, because of the low energy requirements of LED bulbs, you can buy battery-powered lights that you can place anywhere, without having to be within reach of an extension cord from an electrical outlet.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best LED light for photography and video. Here is a quick chart comparing the models:
Best LED Lights For Video And Photography
There are a lot of different lighting manufacturers introducing LED light packages, but some are clearly better than others. After going over features and analyzing owner feedback, here are our picks for the best LED lights for video:
When GVM designed their LED Video Lighting Kit, they had customizability in mind. The kit comes with three individual LED lights, each with a handy digital display screen, and a supporting pack. Although the lights have both AC and DC power options, most people will want to unplug from the mains and function on battery power.
Despite being the most expensive lighting solution in this review, the LED Video Lighting Kit does not come with a battery. If you want to go mobile, you’ll have to buy either a Sony np-f550 or np-f970 Li-ion battery separately. With that said, the offering from GVM comes with a host of features that most professional and amateur photographers will love. Top of the list is undoubtedly the heat dissipating design. Each light in the set comes with a special aluminum shell for excellent heat dissipation, preventing heat building during long shoots.
The stands supporting the lights can also be adjusted up and down, and the angle and rotation changed at the top, to provide a bright, directionally-appropriate light source when needed.
GVM also give photographers plenty of room to play with color temperatures and toughness. The new 2018 model allows temperature adjustments from 2300K all the way up to 6800K, with a diffuser that permits light to vary from very soft to very tough.
Thanks to its rich feature set, the GVM is targeted at the enthusiast or the professional photographer who wants to be able to use lighting in both the studio and in the field. The combination of versatility and heat dissipation makes the GVM LED Video Lighting Kit a top contender for the title of best LED light for photography and video.
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When Neewer were developing their 2 Pieces Bi-color 660 LED Video Light, they wanted to make something that was both durable and lightweight that photographers could carry with them wherever they went. And when you see the Neewer in person, you can certainly tell that this was their objective. The lighting system is rugged in appearance, complete with heavy-duty stand and full alloy flaps surrounding the LED array.
What about adjustability? One of the most striking features of the 2 Pieces Bi-color 660 LED Video Light is the dual knobs at the back that control over both warm and cold light adjustment. These adjustments are particularly helpful when photographing human subjects because they allow you to control skin tone from pale white to deep yellow.
The color temperature range of the 2 Pieces Bi-color 660 LED Video Light is not as impressive as that on the GVM, running from 3200K to 5600K, but it is still sufficient for most settings. Photographers who want to reproduce the vibrancy of natural sunlight may struggle with this light. And like the GVM, Neewer has decided not to supply the 2 Pieces Bi-color 660 LED Video Light with a battery, despite marketing the product as a lighting system you can carry around with you “wherever you go.”
- Kit includes: (2)Bi-color LED Video Light with U Bracket and Barndoor, (2)White Diffuser, (2)Power Adapter, (2)Power Cable, (2)Carrying Case and (2)26 inches/66 centimeters-75 inches/190 centimeters Adjustable Light Stand
- With 330 White and 330 Yellow LED long lasting bulbs, this light illuminates a variable white balance from Tungsten-Daylight 3200-5600K Color Temperature; U-mount Bracket enables the photographers to adjust the lighting angle according to the shooting environment
- The video light is made of excellent quality aluminum alloy showing simple elegant appearance; Can be placed directly on the light stand, ground or desk, providing multiple shooting solutions, more convenient for your creation work
- The light is powered by AC Adapter (included) or NP-F550 NP-F970 Li-ion battery(not included); Attaching barn doors to light sources creates a beam spread of light; Comes with a white diffuser to soften the harsh light and a carrying bag to store the light and accessories
- Adjustable Light Stand: Height ranges from 26 inches/66 centimeters to 75 inches/190 centimeters; Solid locking capabilities ensure the safety of your lighting equipment when in use
GSKAIWEN, based in Shaoxing, China, is a relative newcomer to the photography and video lighting space. But that doesn’t mean that the company lacks ambition. Set up just a few years ago, the firm has already brought the 180 LED Light to market, offering a plethora of features at a budget price.
The standout feature of the 180 LED Light is the ability to control the intensity of the light at such a low price point. Although other models in this review come with temperature options, the 180 LED Light does so without breaking the bank. The 180 LED Light also comes with a helpful stand this is easy to fold away, should you be traveling out of the studio at any point.
The downside of GSKAIWEN’s offering is the fact that there is no battery-powered option at all. If you want to use these lights, then you have to find a power outlet – you’ve got no other choice.
The company says that the light will last for at least 10,000 hours, in line with the life of most LED products out on the market already. And the lights can be rotated and angled on the stand, just as with the other models we’ve discussed so far in this review.
If there’s a downside to the GSKAIWEN, it’s the build quality. The stands are incredibly lightweight meaning that they sometimes don’t hold up the lights above correctly. And, despite using LED technology, the lights can still get hot – something that may affect subjects during long shoots.
- MULTIPLE USES: Ideal for professional photographers and videographers alike! Go from still images to video with beautiful lighting.
- Self-important US Sign lighting, LED ring light, unique light design, soft light, accurate color temperature, color display white, to achieve beautiful skin, and instantly make the picture becomes clear.
- Professional portrait photography fill light, shooting still life, video dedicated.
- Widely applied to outdoor photo light, filling light indoors, portrait, fashion, wedding art, advertisement photography, shooting video, etc.
- WARRANTY: Includes 1 year manufacturer limited warranty and top rated customer support.
Emart wanted to create an LED lighting product that was suitable for video studios, home studios, and professionals alike. The kit comes with two softbox dimmable LED lights with double color temperature for portrait video shooting. Color temperature varies from 2700K up to 5500K and can be adjusted using a small dial on the back of the lamp. Emart claims that, at the maximum setting, the Softbox Lighting Kit can provide pure white daylight, though it cannot offer color temperatures as high as more expensive models in this review.
Like the GSKAIWEN, Emart is a budget offering. But when you are with the product in person, it certainly doesn’t feel this way. The stand, for instance, is robust and highly adjustable. The lamp holder rotates 180 degrees, allowing photographers to light their scenes from an angle of their choice. The lights also come supplied with a long, 124-inch cable, allowing you to place them a long way from a power outlet, should you need to.
Emart have even given some thought to cooling. Each of the lamps in the kit comes with a small fan placed in the rear which helps to remove heat buildup from the LED array while in use. The fans are almost silent and help to increase the life of the product. (Hot LEDs may expire faster than those operating at cooler temperatures).
The standout feature of the Emart Photography Softbox Lighting Kit, however, is arguably the nylon softbox reflector and diffuser. The diffuser performs like one that you would expect on a much more expensive model, providing soft, even light for most photo and video applications.
- Professional softbox lighting kit, ideal for photography shooting, home studio, photo video studio, Portrait lighting
- Two colors temperature adjustment (2700K and 5500K) Adjust brightness freely. Easy to get photography lighting
- 2 x 20“×27” softbox reflector with diffuser, ensure for the high-quality of video lighting photography
- 2 x LED lamp holder with 124 inches cable length, convenient for shooting photography
- 2 x light stand, work strength for heavy duty stand, ensure to work steady of softboxes
The Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color LED uses an array of 480 LED light bulbs – 240 white and 240 yellow – to create different light settings. Color temperature ranges from 3200K to 5600K, providing daylight-like lighting at the highest setting.
But Neewer didn’t just design the Dimmable Bi-Color LED with function in mind: they also set out to make something beautiful that would look good in any studio, professional or otherwise. The LED light is made from premium materials. The aluminum stand has an elegant appearance. And the light that sits on top is refined and minimalist.
That’s not to say that function isn’t important. The light comes with a U-mount bracket which provides both swivel and tilt adjustment to give lighting from different angles.
Just like the 2 Pieces Bi-color 660 LED Video Light, Neewer markets the dimmable Bi-Color LED as a light that you can take anywhere or do anything with. Unfortunately, like the other product discussed in this review, the Neewer doesn’t come with a battery – you have to buy that separately, adding to the price.
So what type of person would want the Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color LED? It’s clear that this product is aimed at somebody who already has a lot of lighting equipment in their studio. Although the Neewer offers a range of functions and could be used as a standalone product, it perhaps lacks some of the additional features that most photographers and video producers might want. Most importantly, the kit only comes with a single light, making it impractical for many situations.
The good news is that you get the Neewer one year warranty. What’s more, Neewer offers all customers email support should you run into trouble. The light comes with a carrier bag and a range of wiring and adapter accessories.
- 480 LED BULBS: With 240 White and 240 Yellow LED long lasting bulbs, this light illuminates a variable white balance from Tungsten-Daylight 3200-5600K
- U-MOUNT BRACKET: Enables the photographers to adjust the lighting angle according to the shooting environment
- AC/DC POWER OPTIONS: Power with AC Adapter (included) or Sony NP-F550 NP-F970 Li-ion battery for wireless operation (battery sold separately)
- PREMIUM MATERIAL and MULTI-USE: Made of excellent quality aluminium alloy showing simple elegant appearance; Can be placed directly on the light stand, ground or desk, providing multiple shooting solutions, more convenient for your creation work; Comes with a carrying bag to store the light and accessories
- 1 YEAR WARRANTY: Includes 1 year Neewer limited warranty and Life-time e-mail Customer Support
Photography and Video Lighting Tips
Here is a great video giving tips about photography and video lighting: