10 Things to Think about When Choosing the Right LED for Your Project

This will help take the guesswork out of buying LEDs.

If you don't know much about lighting, shopping around for LEDs might seem like an exercise in futility, because you don't really know what to look for (or look out for). But Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter shares 10 tips in the video below on what to look for in an LED lighting unit, from price to brightness and everything in between.

So, here are the things Pike says you should consider before purchasing an LED:

  • Your budget
  • How do you plan on using your LEDs?
  • Output/luminance (the number of LED bulbs/chips/diodes doesn't necessarily determine the light's output)
  • CRI (the higher the better)
  • Color temperature
  • Power options (Does it only run on batteries or can it be plugged in?)
  • Beam angle
  • Multi-chip or single-chip?
  • Edge color distortion
  • Extra features (LCD screens, battery life indicators, bi-color, dimmers, etc.)

Now that you know what to look for, Pike shares a bunch of LED lights that you might want to consider. We covered his sub-$50 options in a previous post, but he talks about 10 $50-$100 options in the video below.

Your Comment


I feel like "Multi-chip or single-chip" should say "1. Panel [with or without remote phosphor] 2. Single-chip (scoop) 3. Fresnel"

For a "good" and "versatile" light you're looking at $1,000 - which goes up from there.

January 31, 2017 at 9:46PM

Senior Producer / Graphic Design Artist

I dunno. I have several Aputure lights and they're good and versatile and under $1000.

February 1, 2017 at 6:31AM, Edited February 1, 6:31AM

Stephen Hildreth
I'm a shooter. I shoot things.

Aputure or Ikan. Any preference? Specifically the Rayden vs Aputure Light Storm LS 1C

February 1, 2017 at 12:59PM


Why does CRI matter when CMOS sensors can only see Red, Blue, and Green?

February 1, 2017 at 7:58AM, Edited February 1, 7:58AM

Indie Guy

Well, that's all that humans can see as well... But it's less about the light alone, and more about how it interacts with other lights. Having a low CRI not only means it won't match any other lights, but it may not even match identical lights. Which makes getting even, consistent, or natural looking colors very difficult... unless you can shoot everything under one light, and no ambient lights at all.

February 1, 2017 at 9:32AM, Edited February 1, 9:33AM

Craig Douglas
Editor/ Videographer

With a low CRI, even one light will render subjects poorly. Big chunks of the color spectrum are simply missing; it's not just about temperature and tint.

February 5, 2017 at 8:46AM, Edited February 5, 8:46AM


That's a patient answer Craig, but I'm like 75% sure this is a troll question...

February 1, 2017 at 9:36AM


Nice basic info. I really liked the review from April 14, 2016 titled "11 LED lights go head to head....." by Timur Civan. That detailed shoot-out used a spectrometer and a controlled environment to evaluate the units.
That helped me choose my first set of 1x1 lights.
And I agree with Brian, closer to $1,000

February 2, 2017 at 1:18PM

James Schindler
Aspiring Film maker