People are like moths; we’re attracted to certain kinds of lighting.
It’s because we have a great capacity to experience light.
It doesn’t just illuminate and offer clarity; it actually changes our mood the same way a piece of art does.
Humans even associate tactile feelings to different lights even though light itself is intangible. We like our living rooms to have cozy lighting in the evening. We enjoy crisp morning light through the curtain when we wake up.
On-camera lights are a fantastic affordable, portable, and professional-grade way of manipulating the full range of lighting that humans naturally find pleasurable to see, and apply it to your art.
Youtubers and bloggers use them to give their sets a bright, snappy, professional look.
Journalists and documentary makers use them in lieu of expansive stationary setups.
Instagram professionals will attach them to their phones to get that studio vibe on the road.
So, if you’re putting out the feelers for some portable lighting to perfect your passion, you’re in the right place.
We’re going to be having a look at five of the very best LED on-camera lights available at the minute, then we’re going to dive into a buyer’s and finish up with a little FAQ section.
Got the Lust for Light?
No problem at all. Here’s our favorite on-camera light right here.
The NEO 2 is a powerful continuous adjustable color LED light & high-speed sync (HSS) flash (1/8000th) designed for portrait photography and location use with your DSLR, Mirrorless or Video Camera
The adjustable temperature from daylight to tungsten (6300-3150K) in continuous & flash mode produces outstanding flexibility while out shooting ensuring you are prepared for that perfect shot
In flash mode, the NEO 2 provides 500% more light output (mains power) and 250% on AA (NiMh or Li-ion) batteries. No recycle time, no power loss. Ideal for high frame rate cameras
Features include True Aperture Dimming which calculates your aperture at a given distance and Cinesfx Mode - This revolutionary feature on the NEO 2 delivers a custom lighting special effect such as Fire, Lightning, TV & Gunshot adding a creative look that some of the biggest motion picture films use on set today
The package includes the NEO 2 LED light, 4-piece filter kit (Full and half diffusion, cosmetic peach skin diffusion, and magenta), belt pouch, power supply unit and shoe
This isn’t the kind of product where you have to do a little digging to discover what makes it great or unique. This little thing impressed as soon as we started researching and just didn’t let up.
This flashy circular on-camera light has a temperature range from 3150 to 6500 K so you can easily get that warm yet crisp natural glow for a portrait, right through to those electric blue hues when the situation calls for something edgier.
The full temperature range applies to both its continuous shooting and its impressive flash mode, which provides an industry-first high shutter speed flash with up to 500% more light output and no reset time.
This means you can shoot this thing like a machine gun and every single shot will have that pristine lighting.
Perfect for the professionals or travelers who snap on location or on the road, this light has the longest-lasting battery life of any flash mechanism ever made.
If you choose the Neo 2, you’ll be getting 85000 flashes from one charge of batteries as opposed to the 200 normally associated with flashes and speedlights.
As if this thing couldn’t get any cooler, it also has a bunch of professional-grade special effects due to the onboard CineFXS suite. You can expect fire, TV, gunshot, and paparazzi effect lighting among others.
This light includes a four-piece filter kit, so you can really let your creativity run free.
Due to fantastic color rendition and the natural throw of the circular shape, this is the sort of light that can achieve such great things, you can expect time spent in post-production to be drastically reduced.
Continuous and flash modes
Flash mode uses industry-first HSS to give fast shots consistent clarity
Great color temp. range
Extra-long battery life to suit your life on the go
Comes with four-piece filter kit
Built-in effects thanks to CineFXS suite
Advanced capabilities mean it’s not suitable for more simple tasks
This next light is a super affordable and super high rated, top-quality on-camera option with unmatched brightness for the price.
The first thing we thought was notable about this awesome bit of gear is how light it is. If you’re working long hours holding an already heavy camera, the last thing you need is excess weight. This will help keep your arms feeling fresh for longer.
It’s thick plastic casing also makes it quite durable, which will be great if you’re on the road.
Unfortunately, there’s no built-in way to alter the color temperature, but it does come with a filter that takes the 5600 K to a warmer 3200 K. It does however have a nice dimmer switch to reduce a bit of glare if you’re shooting your or someone’s face.
Another standout feature of this light is the cooling mechanism and low power usage. As long as you have a battery pack, you shouldn’t be let down by the battery life. It also has four battery life signal lights, letting you know when it’s almost time to end the session.
This light would be well suited to photographers who do a lot of shooting on location; however, it might also be just bright enough to really come through in the studio as well.
The varied photographic color and filter options built into this thing are capable of stunningly beautiful and creative results. It’s an artistic masterpiece designed to create more artistic masterpieces.
You can also control saturation and brightness from 0 to 100% via two dedicated dials, giving you even more creative photo and video-friendly options.
This light has the widest color temperature range of all our picks, starting from an extremely soft 2500 K all the way through to a sharp and glacial 8500 K, so you’re going to have loads of fun setting up frames.
As if this thing couldn’t get any better, it has a small LCD display to make everything crystal clear and give you accurate readings on how it’s being used.
This little neon sun in plastic casing has a battery life of 2 ½ hours if you’re running it flat out the whole time which we think is commendable and long enough to get a decent amount of work done before a recharge.
As it’s unlikely you’ll be using its full power, you can expect it’ll last 30 minutes to 2 hours longer.
We know this is quite an unusual light. Many of you may not find the features practical, as cool and as fun as they are, and so won’t want to spend extra on them, but we think, for the right person, this could be more of an assistant or partner than just a light.
All the visual options this thing provides won’t just take you where you knew you wanted to go, but will constantly surprise and inspire you with new ways and ideas that may lead you somewhere else entirely.
Coming in at number four is the perfect addition to any diehard Instagram mogul’s arsenal that will give your posts that professional sheen while making everyone else feel like they must be living under a stormcloud.
This little pocket celestial is only 1.6 ounces and measures 3.4” x 2.2” x 0.4”, so you can literally take it everywhere with you and quick draw, old West style whenever you feel the creative juices flowing.
Another great thing about this light’s charmingly diminutive size is that it will fit in small, awkward spots that are normally just collectors of shadow.
This means it might be a handy tool on film sets to light little unwanted dark spots like car interiors or cabinets to really perfect the scene.
It uses three strips of three LED lights, one to the left, middle, and right, to achieve a really smooth coverage for such a small piece of gear. It’s not going to burn as bright as some of our other picks, but that’s not what this one is about.
It has a shockingly high color temperature rating of 5500 K, coming with diffusion CTO and CTB filters that will take it down to a fuzzy 3400 K or up to a searing 8800 K, and beyond that, has a 9 step brightness control.
Running at full-brightness constantly, this thing will last at least 2 hours due to the built-in lithium battery that can be charged via USB, making this thing an even more formidable illuminator on the road.
Incredibly lightweight and portable
High color temperature for small light
Filters give you a variety of color
Integrated lithium battery is USB chargeable
Perfect for use on Instagram and blogs
A little pricey for its size
Not as powerful as other lights on the list
No precision color temp control (we wouldn’t expect features like that on this light)
Our last pick packs 8 powerful LEDs in a circular formation, ensconced in a durable plastic casing.
We consider this one to be a sort of middle ground between some of our earlier picks. It’s portable and ergonomic in its design, yet it has some of that professional quality high-end power that people want out of an on-camera light.
This light features a 4 step dimming operation, and, similarly to our last pick, this lovely luminary has an integrated lithium battery, meaning it can be easily charged by USB on the go.
It comes with a handy filter clip to hold the included diffusion, CTO, and ¼ CTO filters, so you can make nice adjustments easily.
Another cool feature is the onboard Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to sync up your phone and control the light via a downloadable app.
This is a really high-quality light perfect for traveling due to its durability and USB port. The only thing we felt was a let down is the 60-minute maximum battery life.
Very durable design
Natural throw circular LED pattern
Impressive set K rating with filters to switch it up
It’s always good to have a budget, but it can be hard with gear like on-camera lights, especially if it’s your first time buying.
Make a list of some of the features you want from your LED light and check the pricings of products that have those features. This will give you an idea of what you’ll need to save.
Wattage output refers to the overall power of your light. Different strength lights have very different applications, so to narrow down the options and find what’s right for you faster, think about how intense you need your light to be.
A high wattage also means that your light will require more power to run.
Where Will it Be Used?
If you didn’t really know how much wattage you’d need, thinking about what environments you’ll be using it is a great way to drum up a pretty accurate answer.
If you’re going to be using your on-camera light outdoors in the day time, perhaps just to buff away subtle shadows and illuminate a model or actor, you’re not going to need as much power as, say, you would in a studio where your on-camera appointment will be battling to cut through some already pretty intensive lighting.
If you plan to shoot outside in dusky and night light, it’s probably best to go for something with a little more power and highly tweakable color temperature.
A low wattage will also be quite good for on-location work as it will probably have longer battery life. That’s not to say a powerful light won’t have long battery life. Some will have amazing battery packs that support their level of power for a really long time.
If you want something for self-photography with your phone, you won’t need so many watts. You’ll be looking at smaller highly portable devices.
Powersource and Battery Life
LED on-camera lights are normally either powered by batteries, battery packs or have a mains input.
If you know for a fact you’re going to be shooting on location more often than not, you should be looking for some on-camera LEDs with a nice long battery life.
We recommend one that has 2 ½ to 3 hour battery life to give you plenty of time to complete or plan out a project without interruption.
Another thing to consider that often gets eclipsed by impressive battery lives is the charge time. This is only applicable to lights that have or allow for the installation of a battery pack
We’re sure a lot of you are highly organized and responsible people who charge their important equipment well in advance of a shoot, but speaking for ourselves, we’d feel safe in the knowledge we could forget to charge the day before or even overnight and still have a chance to build a pretty decent charge before crunch time.
Color temperature is measured in kelvins (K) and confusingly the higher the number, the cooler the color of the light will appear.
For instance, we perceive color temperatures over 5000K to be bluish in hue, while temperatures ranging from 2700 to 3000 K appear with warm yellowish and golden hues.
Different lights will have totally different kelvin ranges. Some might not be able to hit that cool temperature threshold, while some might only be designed for cool color temperatures
The most versatile lights have a blend function that allows you to layer warm and cool color temperatures to get the perfect lighting for your location and application. A light with a blend function won’t rely as much on color filters to get specific hues. Lights with this function can be very expensive.
The next best thing is a dial that will run smoothly through its color temperature range. Lights without that function will have a set K rating and will come with filters to take you up or down to more set ratings.
It’s important to note that when a filter is used, you are going to lose a minute amount of power as the light passes through.
Lux refers to the power of a light source spread over an area from a distance. For example, a full moon on clear night registers between 0.3 and 0.5 lux. At the other end of the spectrum, direct sunlight will measure between 30,000 and 100,000 lux.
Lux implies a distance traveled by light, so light specifications will give you the lux at an example distance.
Really you just need to ask yourself how far away you want to be from your subject. If you often work at a distance to get interesting perspectives and perhaps some landscape background, a strong lux rating is best. If you work close up, you won’t need as much power.
One of the best things about on-camera lighting is that they’re so lightweight and portable. You can take them pretty much anywhere, no fuss at all.
The only problem with this is that lights can be pretty fragile, which is why, if you plan on hitting the road with your LEDs, you need them to be as durable as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the disadvantages of LED lights?
LED lights will sometimes exhibit a minute color shift after a while. They may also overheat, which will reduce lamp life.
Will on-camera lights mount on a lighting stand?
Yes, on-camera as a name is meant to be more categorical than literal. Be sure to check the thread type for compatibility with other lighting gear.
There you have light lovers, five of the most innovative and effective on-camera LED lights that will take your art to the next level, guaranteed.
We’re confident that there’s something for everyone on this list whether you’re on a tight budget, work alone or with others, professional or hobbyist…one of these will be perfect for your lighting needs.
Last Updated on 2020-11-28 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates
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