review: Litepanels Croma LED video light
What sets Litepanels Croma LED video light (B&H / Amazon) apart from most, is that you can vary the color temperature. You can vary the WB between 3200K and 5600K by dialing a knob. No more need for a gel to be clipped in and out. The gel (or lack of gel) would mean a specific WB with the LitePanels Pro. With the variable adjustment of the Litepanels Croma, you have every color balance setting inbetween.
The features of this LED video light (according to the spec sheet):
- Light is produced flicker free at any frame rate or shutter angle.
- Visually accurate color can be selected from 3200K tungsten to 5600K daylight.
- Brightness can also be regulated without causing shifts or abnormalities in color, via a smooth 0-100% dimmer dial.
- Power is by six AA batteries for up to 1.5 hours or by an included AC adapter.
The LitePanels Croma feels exceptionally well made. The corners are rounded. The buttons and the exterior of the unit are rubberized. It definitely comes across as a quality item. The downfall .. it’s rather spendy. Spendy, but tempting.
The ability to vary the color balance is a big attraction, and would be very useful for videographers, and wedding photographers. You could easily adjust your WB to what you need, right on the spot. This is invaluable.
About the photo at the top
While in Las Vegas recently, I met up with Taylor B, who is a photographer and model … and also follows the Tangents blog. For a photo session, I decided I would like the glamor and glitz of one of the lobby areas of one of the big Vegas hotels. Taylor’s outfit certainly matched the glitz. Shooting inside the hotel lobby though, I also knew we’d get kicked out immediately if security spotted us. So I took it as a challenge to see if we could surreptitiously shoot without getting shunted out.
I decided the Litepanels Croma LED video light (affiliate) it might just be the right lighting tool for the job – shooting surreptitiously. My friends Nick & Deb graciously tagged along to help, and also provide a bit of cover, while we hung out as a group and mingled. Instead of working with a light-stand for the video light, I simply had Nick hand-hold the light as soon as Taylor and I were ready to shoot.
I would decided on a good background and a good spot to do a quick series of photos. Then I would pose Taylor, and Nick would then switch on the video light for a very brief time while I shot a few images with as little movement as I could. I would adjust Taylor’s pose a little, shoot another few frames, and then Nick would switch the light off.
Fun stuff and a challenge. I think it worked. The photograph at the top is one of several spots where we got some very interesting images.
What made the difference, is that the Litepanels Croma LED video light (affiliate) allows you to change the White Balance smoothly between Incandescent and Daylight.
Where we were standing here, the light was probably close to Daylight. But I wanted that dramatic cool shift in the color of the display … so I turned the video light to Incandescent WB. (Of course, in turn, I changed my camera’s WB setting to match the light on my subject.)
In a way, all this was reminiscent of the photo session with Anelisa in the shopping mall, when I tested the Fuji X100. We needed to go unnoticed, and still get a few killer images. The video light made the difference.
Photo gear (or equivalents) used during this photo session
- Camera settings: 1/160 @ f/2 @ 1600 ISO
- Nikon D4
- Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G /equivalent Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
- Litepanels Croma LED video light (B&H / Amazon)
- Video tutorial on using an LED video light
- Video light and boudoir photography – model: Precious
- Romantic wedding portraits with video light – Allison & Scott
- Video light as fill-light for wedding portraits – Cherryl & Jim
- further articles on using video light for photography