tutorial 54 LED lights review

LED Lights – What is the best deal?

Not sure what lights to buy for your next production?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I know a lot of people out there have spent their hard-earned cash on video lights, only to have them break in the middle of an important production.


I myself had that happen many times – especially back in the days when working with those hot and power-hungry halogen lights. Often, they would overheat or short-circuit and die on me in the middle of a shoot. Not only does that make you look like a fool in front of your client, but it can also ruin the shoot.

That’s where LED lights come in, to save the day. They’re light, consume little power, yet output a lot of light. Plus, now many LED lights let you change the color temperature so you can work with them alongside older tungsten-balanced lights, such as those overheating halogens. Plus, you can also use them in daylight situations.

So which LED lights offer the best deal out there? Watch my little video comparison and see for yourself!

My favorite are the LED lights from CAME. That’s the same company that made the two awesome camera stabilizers that I had a chance to test out before. You can read more about that HERE.

You can buy the CAME 1024 High CRI lights here: www.came-tv.com

CAME also has a store on
AND the official CAME store on AMAZON.com

Here are direct eBay links to the two models:
High CRI 1024 LED Panel Lighting (+ bag)
High CRI Bi-color 1024 LED Lighting (+ bag)

If you want to get the smaller and portable Bescor LED-500KNMH lights then you can find them on Amazon.

Finally the lights that I thought weren’t as good as the CAME LED lights can also be bought on Amazon

33 thoughts on “LED Lights – What is the best deal?”

  1. Hey Tom, thanks for the great review! Do you think you could test and compare the output of the CAME lights to see which is brighter in different situations? Ex: Bi-color light at 3200k vs daylight balanced light gelled to 3200k. I assume the single-color light is brighter at 5600k than the bi-color version, I’m just curious as to how significant the difference is. Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Benjamin…. I tested it quickly and yes the Daylight balanced light is slightly brighter but it’s not a big difference. Not like the bicolor LED light is half the strength… it’s around 15% weaker at most.

      1. Hi Tom. I’m a bit confused, my understanding is that the bi-color had half daylight LEDs and half tungsten LEDs. Thats 512 of each. So only half are on at any one time (assuming you have the balance knob at one extreme or the other). The daylight only lights have all 1024 LEDs on at once. How are they only 15% brighter?

        1. That is correct, yet somehow its not that they’re 50% less power. Don’t know why… maybe the LED elements are different.

          1. I did a bit more research on this. Planet5D did a review of these lights and at 3:30 on this video

            they do light readings of the bi-color and daylight only lights. They measure the 5200K daylight light as one EV brighter than the bi-color set to 5200K. As we know one stop is twice the amount of light so (according to Planet5D) having all 1024 LEDs on at once is 100% brighter than 512 LEDs as you would expect.

  2. Dear Tom

    Thanks for the tutorial. I am looking for lighting for a music video I am planning to shoot with VDSLR. Do you think one of the newer LED Fresnel lights may be more appropriate for that purpose rather than LED panels? Especially if I can use a softbox or a reflector screen if I want a wider softer coverage. I can put up a link to one of those if you would like me to.

    Your website has amazingly large amount of information. Keep up the good work & best wishes.

    1. Both of those and many other lights will work for a music video. In general music videos are very stylized so its not a problem using many different types of lights in one video. I often mix and use whatever I think will work for a particular shot or situation that Im lighting. Obviously logistics also help me make my decisions, things like access to power or portable DC power, the amount of space I have in the location to setup lights. etc.

      1. hello Tom I am a huge fan of your work! your tutorial videos are very helpful and you also provide avast amount of information. I’m new to the world of video & wanted to ask if you had to start all over from scratch with no lights soft boxes etc. what lights would you add to your inventory that would suit every situations you could think of for video/film?

        1. I think the CAME TV LED lights I show in this post are great as the first lighting kit. After that I would probably recommend getting some Vmount batteries for them and softboxes.

  3. Hello Tom,
    I’m about to buy 2 of these bicolor 1024 Lights but I have some worries. I trust your judgement and advice Tom. They say it’s high CRI on their website but they don’t provide the exact number. I wonder if there is any problem with the color. Is there any problem with the color? I have been wanting to get led lights for a long time but it was too expensive before. This light looks fantastic almost too good to be true. Are you going to use them for your films or just for interviews? I appreciate all the info you share. It helps a lot. Thank you so much. Take care

    1. Ive used the LED lights on a few short films and music videos and I love using them. No problems with colors so far.

  4. Hello Tom,

    First of all thank you for all the great tutorials!
    I am interested in the Came LED lights but I don’t want the bicolour ones as I prefer the little bit of extra brightness of the daylight only ones and don’t mind using filters. My question is, where did you get the orange filter you use in the video from? I have been looking on ebay and can’t find it on Came’s store. Did it come with your lights?

    Thanks very much!

      1. Hi Tom,

        Do you know where I could get soft boxes for the Came bicolor 1024? Chimera? Etc. Didn’t see any accessories that would immediately fit the 1024?

        Thanks

        1. Hi- I manufacture universal fit softboxes for various shapes of LED panel, including the Came-TV 1024. It would be the Airbox Model 1×1 that fits that light. Inflatable design is adaptable, portable, and affordable. Please have a look! airboxlights.com/products
          best,
          Tom Guiney
          owner, Airboxlights.com

  5. Great blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start
    my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress
    or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused ..
    Any recommendations? Thank you!

  6. Hi Tom-
    Trying to find the CRI on these lights, but their site does not post any specs either on the CRI, or the lumin/ lux @ ft. readings…..any info on that would be appreciated.
    Thanks, enjoyed your videos.
    Launa

  7. Hi Tom, thanks for the review!

    I was wondering about LED in general. Like these panels are V-mount when it comes to batteries. These tend to be pretty expensive. So if I want to shoot on location with no power available, i might need them to work on batteries. Would you still recomend these? I saw on the came-tv website some sort of convertor so you can use cheaper sony batteries.

    http://www.came-tv.com/camera-lighting-f2bp-vmount-battery-plate-for-canon-5d2-5d3-p-465.html

    Would you recomend this or would you prefer another brand which has this cheaper mount standard on their LED panels?

    Keep up the good work!
    Thanks! Floris

    1. You can use the V-mount batteries or the v-mount to canon battery adapter or you can even buy cheap 12 volt battery packs that you connect to the light via the 12v power XLR cable. Another option is to buy portable powerbox like this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009YR00MI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009YR00MI&linkCode=as2&tag=tomant-20&linkId=7GO2DVWZJE5KWYWH

      You just plug the light into it using the regular power cable that it comes with and power it this way for hours!

  8. These light panels have 2 controls – colour temperature and dimmer.
    If you select the maximum intensity (100%) and one limit of the colour temperature control, only half of the leds are used. What happens when you are in the middle of the colour temperature range? Are you getting the same total light output as when you select the limits or do you get twice the light output because both sets are each running at their maximum?

    I suspect you are getting only half of what the maximum light output would be if you could run each set independently. So as you change the colour temperature you can more or less keep the same intensity. There are other models where you can control the 2 sets independently which could be useful if you wanted more light. Am I correct in interpreting the different controls on different models?

    1. Correct… the two sets of color LEDS are never at full power at the same time. Either it’s 50% 50% or 100% to 0% or inbetween. That’s why the version of the LED light without bi-color LEDS is more powerful.

  9. Hi Tom,

    Like most of your comments I’m a fan of you product testing and tutorials. They have really been helpful! OK, I’m starting from scratch with new lighting. Hope this makes sense I’m wondering would it be best to buy one 5600K bright and one Bi Color? Also the battery doesn’t come with correct.

    Keep you tutorial and videos coming Tom you ROCK!

    Franko

  10. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for this and your other great videos.

    I was wondering how much power do these lights use as in Amps or watts? Would these lights be able to light a subject outdoors in the middle of the day? (with sun hitting the subjects back and light on subjects face)

    I want to make sure I have a strong Key light.

    I wonder how these came-tv lights would pair with
    the litepanels Astra 1×1 Bi-Color LED Light. (specially with the Astra at full blast)

    Hope I didn’t go crazy with the questions.
    Keep up the great work!
    Looking forward to a Moza review!

    Pedro

  11. Tom, thanks for you tutorials. I am buying my first lights.I will be shooting both indoor/outdoor film/videoss. I read where you adviced Franko to go for 1 each of 5600k and Bi-colour. Are 2 points of lighting enough?I have been thinking of 3points.
    Advice.

  12. Hi Tom, enjoy your videos. In an earlier comment, you recommended one bi-color and on daylight panel, to work as a pair. Do you normally put the daylight panel in front of your subject and the bi-color panel behind? Or vice-versa? Also, do you find that you use the bi-color capabilities most of the time or just from time to time. Thanks in advance. Trying to figure out which one to order. —Mace

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