December 6, 2016

LED Shootout: 7 Great LED Lights You Can Get for Less Than $50

Got $50? These are some of the best LED lights that kind of money can buy.

LED lights are desirable for a lot of reasons. They don't produce a lot of heat, they're energy efficient, and you don't have to break the bank in order to get your hands on one with a decent amount of features. But which ones should you get? Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter tested a bunch of sub-$50 LEDs, comparing output, color temperature, and other facets to come up with 7 great options for budget filmmaking. Check out his video below:

Considering the fact that these LEDs were $50 or below, they actually had some impressive features, like brightness (especially considering their sizes and prices), dimmers, bi-color, and extras like LCD screens to show battery levels. Still, others had some issues, like slight color shifts, poor battery compartments, and no DC jack for alternative power options.

Really it just comes down to what you need for your project. If you need the strongest, most inexpensive LED light possible, the Bestlight 176 might be a good choice for you, since it's the cheapest and also extremely bright. If you need a cheap bi-color light, the Gigalumi 228 and the Yongnuo YN300 Air both have that feature, though the Gigalumi is much brighter than the YN300 Air. Again, it all just depends on which features are most important to you.

Before you buy, be sure you understand certain aspects of a light, like brightness, CRI, power options, and other features that might be important, like LCD screens, battery life readers, dimmers, bi-color options, etc.

To learn more about the lights Pike talks about in his video, head on over to his blog post.

Which LED lights do you recommend that cost $50 or less? Let us know in the comments below!     

Your Comment

15 Comments

Bruh? No CRI info?

December 6, 2016 at 11:35PM, Edited December 6, 11:35PM

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There are a few mentioned in the video

December 7, 2016 at 1:27PM

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CRI has been discredited for camera use. The modern standard is TLCI: https://www.cinema5d.com/led-light-accuracy-tlci

December 11, 2016 at 9:23AM

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David Gurney
DP
2027

I've owned a Neewer CN160 for over a year, and recently bought another one so I could mount a pair of them on a flash bar (spread out in each direction). I bought the second one because I really liked the first one; I could have opted to purchase a pair of different-branded LEDs, but didn't see the need. I don't know what the lowest percentage of output is, but the dimmer/dial works very well from "zero/off."

Caleb's reviews are spot-on, and I appreciate the insight. I can't comment on other LCD light panels than the Neewer because I haven't tried them out, I only want to mention something that Caleb neglected to: that is that the Neewers come with both a hard plastic clear diffuser filter/lens and warming (CTO) diffuser filter/lens. You can see the mounting tabs to slide the diffusers onto the face of the lamp. Either/both of these really make a difference compared to the naked LEDs. I leave the clear diffusers on most of the time.

As for batteries, I think the Neewers are the only LCDs in his review that allow the use of conventional AA batteries (six of them), which is a huge advantage in certain circumstances. Also, yes, mounting the NP battery is a little odd, but can be done easily - with the NP cover plate, that he says you can't use - once you figure how they go in. (The cover plate goes on after, if you feel you need it.)

I'm not affiliated in any way with Neewer. Their products can be hit-and-miss, but I thought it was fair to mention these benefits of the CN160. And yes, $33.00 online.

December 7, 2016 at 5:02AM

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If you put a small piece of tape at the top-back of the light and extending down to the door, you can make an easy hinge so you don't have to worry about losing the door.
*works well with an NP-F550, but not so well with a 750

December 7, 2016 at 1:31PM

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I have three of the Neweer CN160s, and I've had similarly good experience with them.

December 9, 2016 at 11:51PM

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Ryan Paige
Writer
225

Hey man, great stuff. Totally appreciate the work you put in, so I don't have to! ;)
First off, where are the links to click on to help you out? I may be just blind and stupid but I didn't see them. Second, I'm trying to light night scenes on interior of cars. Going for a very subtle moonlight rim look or something thereabouts. That last one looked great from a size perspective, but leaning towards the Yongnuo. Or are there better options in your upcoming videos? Def gonna gel with 1/2 CTB and prob diffuse. Thoughts? Thanks again man, great stuff!

December 7, 2016 at 7:35AM, Edited December 7, 7:35AM

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Aaron Freeman
Photographer / Writer / Aspiring Filmmaker
161

Great stats: 'wildly bright', no CRI.
In other words: only price is a comparable value here?
This shootout is more work:
http://nofilmschool.com/2016/04/led-lights-comparison-review-color-shootout
But it provides much better information on CRI, including spectrum graph, and the brightness (displayed in the distance from the model to get the same light intensity as the other lights).

December 7, 2016 at 8:38AM, Edited December 7, 8:38AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9078

Good, thanks for the link!

December 7, 2016 at 2:23PM

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Guilllermo Castellanos
Videographer/Photographer
215

Yes, that post provides a better information on lights that cost 1000 to 3700 dollars. It is totally different kind of stuff.

December 7, 2016 at 5:51PM

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It's not just about different lights at a different price point. I posted it to show how a comparison of lights can be more detailed with more quantified info, like CRI, spectral graph and measured brightness.
Maybe I'm just too much a man of science, but 'wildly bright' and 'quite bright' don't say much to me if I want to make an educated choice.
So the lights in that post are indeed a totally different kind of stufff, the same method can be used for every light in every price range.

December 8, 2016 at 5:45AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9078

You need TLCI for cameras, not CRI.

December 11, 2016 at 9:25AM

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David Gurney
DP
2027

Thanks for this article. It would be great if you written more articles about budget equipment!

December 7, 2016 at 12:23PM

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great tips!!!

Thanks for sharing and very on the budget.

Right what we need.

December 7, 2016 at 2:22PM, Edited December 7, 2:22PM

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Guilllermo Castellanos
Videographer/Photographer
215

Thanks for the information!

December 7, 2016 at 5:52PM

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