Which Cheap On-Camera Video LED Light is Best?
On-camera lighting is mostly used for ENG/documentary filming, but in a pinch it can be used to subtlety add to a dramatic scene. Especially in tracking shots, you’ll often see a grip walking a Kino-Flo alongside the camera, to keep a consistent light in the talent’s eyes. Of course, that’s not really “on-camera” lighting; while cheap LED lights that mount to a camera’s hot shoe are not going to offer the same quality, for news gathering and other uses they can certainly be handy. Thanks to Frank Glencairn, we now have a shootout between five different LED options, four of which are in the sub-$100 range.
The models Frank tested:
- NG 126 – 650 Lux for ~$90
- Z96 – 800 Lux for ~$80
- YONGNUO 135 – 960 Lux for ~$80
- LitepanelsMicro – 970 Lux for ~$230
- YONGNUO 160 – 1480 Lux and fancy barn doors for ~$90
Here’s a video comparing the light output of these models:
Frank’s conclusion (the full article is linked below):
I’m a bit undecided. The NG 126 and the LitepanelsMicro look outdated, compared to the newer lights. The Z96 has the best daylight balance and the nicest overall light, but the YONGNUO 160 is much more powerful. The YONGNUO 135 is somewhere in between them… If I have to choose one (and until I need a real strong light), I think I would go with the Z96, because of the superb light quality and it has a dimming wheel instead of buttons.
I have a Frezzolini Micro on-camera light, which I bought years ago before the advent of LED lights. If memory serves me right, I paid over $500 for the Frezzi (which I’ve used only a couple of times over the years), so regardless of which one of these LED lights you might be interested in, it’s nice to know that there are some good, inexpensive options out there.
[via ProVideo Coalition]