March 3, 2017

This $250 LED Lighting Kit Is Ideal for Filmmakers on a Budget

If you need a light kit but don't have the funds, this $250 LED kit might be right up your alley.

Even though there are many ways to save money on lighting, sometimes you do need to bite the bullet and drop some dough on some lights. However, this can be a scary process, because 1.) lighting is important and not all lights are created equal, and 2.) you may not have enough money to get your hands on ones that are powerful/accurate/functional enough. But Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter is here to give you some suggestions on some dirt cheap LEDs that will give you the most bang for your buck. Check out his video below:

This is actually the second video Pike has made about budget-friendly LED light kits, the first one having a maximum budget of $500. So for this video, he took it a little further and cut the budget in half for those that really need to pinch their production pennies.

At just $250, Pike's kit includes 3 LEDs, 3 light stands, 3 batteries, a battery kit, a mic stand boom arm, clamps, and some diffusion material. That's pretty impressive considering the price. Here's a breakdown of the kit. If you want links, head on over to DSLR Video Shooter.

  • NEEWER CN-304 LED light (x1)
  • NEEWER CN-160 LED light (x2)
  • DSTE 2x NP-F750 battery/charger (x1)
  • DSTE NP-F750 battery (x1)
  • NEEWER 6ft tripod kit (x1)
  • AmazonBasics tripod boom microphone stand (x1)
  • Diffusion material
  • 6-pack of clamps (x1)

Clearly the most important parts of this entire kit are the lights. If they're no good then the kit is essentially worthless. So, let's talk about the NEEWER CN series.

According to Pike, these are worth the $56 (CN-304) and $32 (CN-160) price tag. The CN-304 is bright thanks to housing 304 LEDs and comes with a dimmer, battery level indicator, and several useful filters. The light is also compatible with five different kinds of batteries, including NP-F and regular old AAs. You can also power this thing with a cable via the DC jack. 

With an inexpensive kit like this, you may be lacking in CRI or desired features like LCD screens or dual daylight/tungsten color balance, but if it's got the brightness, as well as the ability to dim that brightness, I'd say it's well worth your hard earned cash, especially if you're a beginner.

What are some other inexpensive LED lights that low-budget filmmakers should check out?     

Your Comment

6 Comments

Yongnuo YN300 iii is in the same price class, allows dimming and light temperature adjustments, have reflector panels and a remote control.

March 7, 2017 at 3:55AM, Edited March 7, 3:55AM

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Funny thing... I just opened my box from B&H Photo with the Yongnuo YN300 III and 2x YN600L's as I scrolled and saw this post. I think the Yongnuo is a better light system. I'll find out for sure in the coming months but the LED Shootout video does a great job explaining each system. Thanks to him for my purchase.

March 16, 2017 at 1:54PM

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D Jones
DP, Editor, Animator
205

What did you think? I'm looking for a cheap kit that I can use for indoor/outdoor that I won't cry if it breaks. Good enough for a beginner to get by?

June 6, 2017 at 6:59AM

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I bought some decent Yongnuos about 4+ years ago with the assumption someday they would break. I've since moved on to a great-but-far-more-costly Dracast kit, but despite shooting in everything including the rain, I have not yet killed the Yongnuos. They require a little post color correction, just a smidgen too much green (or red if you have bi-color) but they're surprisingly resilient. Certainly worth a shot.

June 15, 2017 at 2:43PM

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KJ Halverson
Graphic Designer / Film Guy
1

Yongnuo is a better and more stronger led panel, you need to add a light gel magenta to 5500k version to avoid a light green cast on skin, but better than neewer, stronger than it. I add an accident and 300 led fall down from 2.5 meter, the only damage was on metal hood, bended, i dismount it, do right shape, no more than a small wave, but led panel continue to work fine.
you have dimmer that not flicker like some other brand, remote with three channel, with a single remote i can manage all 5 panel that i have.
to me youngnuo for life on this price area.

January 3, 2018 at 5:08AM

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Carlo Macchiavello
Director
631

hi guys, I have a little doubt about wich kit I should buy.
first option:
2 x Neewer CN 176 ( 25 USD each)
1 x Neewer CN 304 ( 48 USD)
2 X Neewer NF-F550 Replacement Battery with Charger for Sony ( 28 USD each)
1 X Neewer 3 Pieces 6ft/75 inch/190cm Photography Tripod Light Stands (38 USD)

Total: 192 USD

or:
1 x Neewer 2 Packs Dimmable Bi-color 480 LED Video Light and Stand Lighting Kit Includes: 3200-5600K CRI 96+ LED Panel with U Bracket, 75 inches Light Stand (160 USD)
1 x Neewer Dimmable Camera Video Light Kit: Bi-color 280 LED Panel CRI 96+ 3200-5600K,2 Pieces Rechargeable Li-ion Battery and USB Charger for DSLR Camer (60 USD)
1 x Neewer 75"/6 Feet/190CM Photography Light Stands (19 USD)

Total: 239 USD

I think the first option has highier light output but the second one has better CRI and look better constructed

I really don´t know wich one I should buy...
My budget is 250 USD max

most of my videos wil be made at a small room / studio at my house

thanks

March 9, 2018 at 10:15AM

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tiago
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