Videographer, photographer, and music producer Dunna decided to pit the similarly specced Aputure Amaran 200x and the SmallRig RC 220B against each other to see which LED COB light is best for content creators.
I know what you’re thinking. Aputure has been making quality and affordable lights for some time now, but doesn’t SmallRig specialize in camera cages and accessories? You’re not wrong, as many filmmakers and content creators take advantage of SmallRig’s cages and accessories when filming. But they’ve been building other things, including LED COB lights.
Let’s dive into the findings!
Round 1... Fight!
The Aputure Amaran 200x and SmallRig RC 220B are very similar in specs, size, and even pricing (under $400), and if you’re in the market for new lights, you may be wondering what would be the best bang for your buck between the two.
The good news is, Dunna has tested both and has some answers.
Let’s first look at the nearly identical features of both. The Amaran 200x features a bi-color design (cool to warm), LED fixture, can be controlled via Bluetooth, color temperature ranging from 2700K to 6500K, 200-watt output, TLCI of 95+, CRI of 95+, a Bowens mount, no case (but it can be transported in the box), and other features. It’s a great and flexible light priced right at $349.
In the other corner, we have the SmallRig RC 220B, also featuring a bi-color design (cool to warm), color temperature of 2700K to 6500K, 220-watt output, TLCI of 96+, CRI of 95+, remote control, dual power (battery or an adapter), a Bowens mount, a nice carrying case, and more. It is priced at $369.
When comparing the two, Dunna points out that the Amaran 200x slightly beats the 220B in pricing by only $20, but the SmallRig light comes with a handy carrying case. What's more significant is the overall size and weight of the 220B is larger and heavier, even though both deliver the same light. Both are constructed of plastic and are, overall, nearly identical.
Brightness at 100% is nearly identical at 5600K, but SmallRig takes the slight advantage at 6500K while the Amaran is slightly brighter at 2700K.
"I'm severely splitting hairs here, and in practical terms, the brightness is nearly identical," said Dunna.
As far as color quality goes, he feels that the Amaran is slightly magenta while the SmallRig tends to be slightly green. Dunna says the Amaran looks more neutral in his eyes.
Comparing the two lights' physical features, Dunna prefers the manual knobs on the Amaran better than the SmallRig, and you can easily change the brightness and color temperature.
“You can also press the knobs to cycle through preset levels of brightness and color temperature. This is super convenient and makes it nice and easy to adjust quickly," Dunna said. “The SmallRig has one knob that controls the brightness and color temperature.”
You can change what the knob does on the SmallRig by pressing it, but Dunna finds it annoying if you can’t see the screen. The second knob controls the light’s special effects. The Amaran controls its special effects via an app on a mobile device.
Going further, Dunna points out that while the Amaran 200d—the daylight version—had some fan noise, the 200x is nice and quiet. On the app, you can change the fan mode from Smart to Medium.
"The SmallRig's fan, on the other hand, is much louder, and there is no way to control the noise that I'm aware of," he said, adding that the 220B will turn the fan on and off when it needs it, and even when it doesn't.
Amaran 200x vs. SmallRig RC 220B—Who Wins?
After taking a deep dive comparing the two nearly identical lights, which light does Dunna declare the winner? He prefers the Amaran 200x, thanks to its sturdier construction, smaller size, quieter fan, better controls (both physical and on the app), and smaller size. He also said adjusting the Amaran 200x is smoother.
- 200W Point-Source LED Light
- 105° Beam Angle, Dims 0-100%
- 2700-6500K Color Temp, 95/96 CRI/TLCI
- Bluetooth Remote Controllable
- 8 Built-In Customizable Effects
- Bowens Reflector Mount, Umbrella Holder
It seems like SmallRig made a great effort but still managed to lose out to a long-time light manufacturer, at least for this filmmaker. When it comes down to it, though, SmallRig has put up a great fight. If you find yourself shooting with a 220B from SmallRig, you won't be disappointed.
- High CRI Rating
- 9 Light Effects, 2700-6500K CCT
- Stepless Dimming, Quiet Fan Cooling
- Built-In Cooling Fan
- Bowens Mount for Accessories
- Local and App Control
- XLR Power Input Port
Which light are you more interested in, the Aputure Amaran 200x or the SmallRig RC 220B? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out the Dunna Did It! YouTube channel.