May 27, 2019

Lighting Shootout: Best LEDs for Under $1000

What's the best LED for less than a thousand bucks?

I don't know about you, but I have been consistently entertained by Jay P. Morgan and The Slanted Lens for several years now. With videos and tutorials covering everything from C-stand how-to's to 50 ways to use gaff tape (yep, that's 50, not 5), Jay P. Morgan has been dropping film and video knowledge for as long as I can remember. This time, he shows us the top 13 LED lights that anyone can pick up for less than a thousand dollars. 

Winners

Godox SL60W

  • Cheapest ($134) on the list, still has the same output as the beloved Aputure 120d
  • Bowens Mount (hugely versatile accessory mounting system)
  • Super simple (only one knob to operate the light
  • Remote Controllable

Godox SL200W

  • $350
  • Bowens Mount
  • Same output as a 1K fresnel

Generay Powerhouse

  • $800
  • 1.4x brighter than a 1K light
  • Bowens Mount
  • Wireless Power available

Losers

Hensel Intra

  • Odd color temperature (5000K)
  • No Bowens Mount
  • More than 3 stops dimmer than a 1K
  • $398

Dracast LED1500

  • 1.7 stops dimmer than a 1K
  • Overpriced at $670
  • No Bowens Mount
  • It's enormous

Fiilex P360 Pro Plus

  • $995 (it's just too much)
  • Bi-Color
  • 2.7 stops dimmer than an 1K
  • No Bowens Mount

My parting thoughts are that the best deal on the list is the Godox SL200W because it walks the line between inexpensive and high-output/light quality (CRI) and the worst deal is the Hensel Intra because it's essentially a house lightbulb in a fancy dress. A 5000K temperature light with a proprietary mount, one of the lowest CRI ratings on the list, and pushes 3 full stops lower output than a 1K... You might as well just go to Home Depot

I personally own the Godox SL60W and I love it. My only complaint is that it doesn't have enough output, at 1.6 stops under a 1K output. 

One last thing, the shootout didn't include LED panels, which can be incredibly powerful and inexpensive, as well. If you're more interested in panels as opposed to "studio" style fixtures, there are many great options, many of which we talked about in our own LED shootout post.

If you're looking for LED panels way further south of $1000, there are many low/no budget options, too, so check out these posts to learn which ones will give you the most bang for your buck.

What lights do you use for your personal projects, or are you in the market for your first? Let us know in the comments. 

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