I finally found a great video light for vlogging. It's the Nitecore GP3CRI. This is a small video light meant for use with a GoPro or other action camera, and it's pretty incredible for that use. It's rugged and can even be taken underwater up to 10 meters deep or taken into the harshest dusty areas. It has a bright light in a tiny form-factor, is easy to use, and runs for 235 HOURS on a single charge!
It's not a perfect video light, and it does hold to the GoPro style connections, but it's quite capable for a very small light. Most people use this camera as an action camera light; however, my preferred use is for a small video light that I can use to do vlogging for the Improve Photography Youtube channel.
Quick Pros and Cons
- Small and skinny form factor make it ideal for placing on an action camera rig or a cell phone video setup
- Lightweight and easy to throw in a pack. My previous video light for run-and-gun video was too bulky so I often left it at home.
- Clean, neutral light temperature
- Light beam could be slightly wider
- Light beam has a hot spot unless you use the diffuser, which cuts down on output
The Nitecore light is fully waterproof up to 10 meters. The rear silver button to turn on the light appears to be completely sealed, and there is a white rubber gasket around the battery door to prevent water from entering there. My concern is that perhaps the battery door closing mechanism wouldn't hold in tight enough to the gasket to be more waterproof; however, I did dunk this thing underwater for a couple minutes and it held up to the test. I probably wouldn't use this for a SCUBA light, but if you'll be swimming or splashing this with water or using it in rain, it's perfect.
I really like the form factor of this thing. Rather than being wide, it's skinny so you can put it right next to another camera. By having the light physically closer to the lens, it removes most of the harsh shadows that you'd normally get with a tiny video light.
For my uses, I'm also buying a small little Gorillapod with a GoPro attachment to use with this light. That way I can quickly attach it to any video rig, tripod, tree, or whatever else. I think that'll be a REALLY handy setup for a run-and-gun video light.
The light quality is a nice neutral color. It's not too blue like many LED lights, and it's not warm like an incandescent light. It's really well balanced for lighting up a person.
The only complaint with the light quality is that it has a major hot spot if you don't use the plastic diffuser over the light. The trouble with using a diffuser is that it cuts a lot of the brightness of the light. However, it's still more than adequate brightness if you'll be within 10 feet of the camera for filming–even if it's completely dark outside.
Adding a small light to a vlogging or action camera setup can significantly improve the quality of the video–especially since small action cameras are not great in low light conditions.
Battery Life and Charging
When I first opened up the package for the light, I was a little disappointed that it uses an unusual battery instead of just AA batteries. Most of my photography accessories are AA, so I always have them with me when out shooting. However, it does allow for USB charging with a standard micro USB cord (included). That was really nice to see. On my old video light, it used an unusual charging cord, so I had to remember to bring it with me when traveling. I have so many different electronics for my photography setup that it's nice that this one uses a standard micro USB. My Sony a7rii can also be charged via USB, so I always have one with me.
The battery life on this thing is absolutely incredible! It's advertised as 235 HOURS! That's almost 10 days! I doubted that number when I saw it on the package so I did my own testing. My kids have left this thing on for days at a time after they come into my office and mess with things (Argh….), but it still has battery life from the original charge. This thing lasts an incredibly long time on a single charge. I can't verify the entire 235 hours yet (give me a few more days), but suffice it to say that the battery life is more than adequate.
Pricing and Where to Buy
The light sells on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price. It's not cheap, but it isn't horribly expensive either. In my opinion, it's worth the price it commands.
Thank you to Nitecore for sending me out a sample to test and review.