Can you use LED video lighting instead of flash for photography?

– Hey Guys, in this video Iwant to accomplish two things.

First off, I want to answerthe question can continuous video or LED lightingwork for photography, or do you have to go with strobes or flash to get really good results? And secondly, we're going tolook at three really great studio LED video lights and see which one might work the best for a photographer.

Now, when it comes to photography, there really is nosubstitute for a good set of quality strobes or flashes if you wanna do studio photography.

However, if you're like us andyou do a ton of hybrid work, where you're often doing video and photo in the same session, or if you just are super intimidated by the idea of dealingwith syncing up flashes or strobes or shutter speeds and learning how high speedsync works and all of that.

Let's face it, it's not acomplete walk in the park.

And the prospect of what yousee is what you get lighting where what you're modeling isexactly what you're gonna get in the photograph whenyou take that photo.

That's really compelling.

So the question is, what do you sacrifice if you don't invest in flashes and strobes and if you just go straight to video lighting? Well, fortunately, thatlist is not very big and I'd say that for most of your work, a set of decent LED studio lights will do the trick just fine.

Where you might have a problem, though, is when you shoot outsidein bright daylight.

The output of these LEDlights is pretty good, but it's nowhere near as powerful as these strobes and flashesand it's not going to overpower the sun at full strength.

So if you need any sort offill or directional light in severe, clear-type lighting, it's probably not going to help very much to pull out one of these.

You're going to need to find some shade, wait until sunlight orsome cloud coverage.

Or again, shoot with, shoot with one of these.

The other time it's less helpful is when you need to freeze the action.

A video light isn't going to work as well at a wedding dance floor whereit's just not going to have the output which will allow you to shoot at fast shutter speeds.

But a bright flash, on the other hand, can certainly allow youto freeze the action on the dance floor andcan simplify the process and you can shoot withslower shutter speeds.

The other drawback isthat you have to have a pretty powerful power source.

Most of these LED videolights do have a d-tap battery for a battery bank.

But these will chew throughpower extremely quickly, whereas, even one of these small flashes will cost a fraction of the price, will give you a lot LUXIfication, and will run on justfour double-A batteries which will last through awhole session, no problem.

The other thing is thatwhere these studio LED lights are more consumer level, theydon't have sufficient output for certain situations.

Forintimate work like interviews, headshots, YouTube videosand that sort of thing, they're great.

But if you needto shoot more active stuff like music videos ormodels walking around, you'll need to put theselights further away and you'll probably find that the output isn't quite enough for what you need.

For those type of shoots you really need more expensive Fresnel lights and that's just a different league and a different budget of video lighting.

These lights they need to bepretty close to the subject for you to get the full value out of them.

And even then you do have to weigh your exposure settings a little bit.

If you start to narrow that aperture, you're going to have to getthat shutter speed lower and maybe even start cranking the ISO.

Whereas, again, with theflashes, you're not going to have that problem at all.

You can shoot at ISO 100 pretty much all the timewith whatever setting and it's no issue at all.

But aside from those drawbacks, video lighting can be excellent.

We used to use strobes a lot, but the prospect oftaking down video lights and putting up strobesevery time we needed to switch between videoand photography, just bleh.

(laughs) I'm way too lazyfor that sort of thing.

It's really nice just tobe able to use any camera and not worry about how you'regoing to have to sync it with a strobe or flashwith different triggers and sync ports.

And where we shoot a lot with vintage cameras also, who knows if those willeven work with flash.

So video lighting hasjust become our defacto except when we need to shoot, like I said, outdoor in harsh sun.

The other advantage forportraiture or headshot is with the video lightingyou're going to see more of the iris and less of the pupil because your subject's eyes will dilate.

This is nice to get that colorof the eye front and center with those catch lights illuminating them, whereas with strobes or flash, the bright light is intermittent so the pupil will not dilate.

You'll see much less of the iris.

But beyond that, it's justreally nice to work with light when you know what you're seeing is what you're going to get when you pull that shutter trigger.

Call me a lightweight photographer, but after years of dealingwith strobes and flashes, it's very nice just to switch a light on, increase or decrease thebrightness and position the light right where it needs to beand start snapping away.

No metering of the light, no test shots, no troubleshooting.

It'sjust a big time saver.

So, if you've heard all that and you're interestedin finding a video light that is right for you, I do have three here.

I don't really care which you get, this is not a sponsored video.

Although two of theselights were sent to us by resellers or manufacturers, my review here will be ashonest as I can make it.

The Aputure 120d II really is the standard in this sub-200w LED studio light arena.

This light is the one that I've been using as my key light for over the past year.

It's usually sitting right over there and it has a really awesome modifier that I don't know if I'llbe able to fit in the frame.

But, (fabric rustling) yeah, it's the Light Dome II, also by Aputure.

Beautiful modifier, notcheap, but kinda the no-compromise portrait lighting modifier.

At half a meter away thislight provides 30, 000 lux, whatever that means.

Inpractical terms, though, this light works greatwhen it's three feet, around three feet.

Youstart to have to crank the ISO a bit when you pullit back further, though.

But I mean, closer the light source and the wider the modifiervis-a-vis the subject, the more soft andflattering the light anyway, so you definitely wanna get this light pretty close to yoursubject most of the time.

The light does have a Bowens mount, which is really great if youdo a lot of strobe work also, because you can utilizethose Bowens photo mounts.

It does have an external ballast here, which is meant to hang from a C-stand.

It does have a betterheat dispersal, I think, than the other two lights I'll show you.

I find that the fan doesn't kick on quite as much as the others.

And when it does, it's not too loud.

It has some special effects you can use like a thunderstorm or fireworkeffect, though some of those effects are moremeaningful when you can use a full spectrum style LEDwhere you can get things like fireglow and policelight and stuff like that.

But we were able to use the thunderstorm and have some fun with that.

It does have a little remote, which I love and use constantly.

And if you have more than one of these you can use them on different channels.

It also has the ability to be controlled by iPad or laptop which sounds very cool, but I've never tried it.

(chuckles) All-in-all though, it'sa really great light and I've been thrilled toown it, but it wasn't cheap.

I purchased this with myown money at $745 USD.

Our next light was sent to us by an Amazon reseller, Pergear.

So if you buy this light, I'msure they will appreciate you using their link in the description.

I don't benefit from that link, it is not an affiliate link.

You can tell this light was created to compete with the Aputure120d II and it does so very well in my estimation.

Really thebiggest advantage of it is that it's significantly moreaffordable at only $350 USD.

It is rated at fewer LUX than the 120d II at 24, 000 at .

5 meters.

However, in practice, you can see that there is very little difference.

Okay, we've got the Aputure 120d II illuminating me as the key light.

It has the Light Dome IIand a simple diffusion on the front of that.

And I have a small LED panelproviding some rim light, tungsten balanced, of course.

Okay, now we've got the GodoxFV150 at full-power, as well.

Again, with the Light Dome II.

The quality of light seemsjust as good, though, and I don't understand CRI ratings really, but just I'm just lookingat how they both look in a daylight balanced setting.

I really feel like I could go with either.

So it seems to offer a prettycompetitive alternative to the 120d II.

But beyond that, it does has some otherpretty interesting features.

It is all self-contained.

There is no external ballast.

Now, depending on what you use it for that could either be abenefit to you or a deterrent.

If you want to use this in the field, that eliminates theoption of a battery pack so this probably isn'tgoing to work for you.

It's probably studio only, butit is convenient in a studio where it just plugs straight here and straight into the wall.

Having it on the back, the interface, is fine as long as you don't losethe remote like we did.

However, if you have lost the remote that can be a bit of a pain, especially if the light is on a high stand.

You have to lower to adjustit and that's just no fun.

With all of these options, if there is a remote, it's probably a good idea to Velcro it somewhere to the light, which we should have done on hindsight.

Another thingthat this has that I really like that makes it pretty interestingover the other options is that it has a high-speed strobe mode, which will allow you to sortaget the best of both worlds.

We used this featurerecently at a family shoot a couple months ago and it wasreally nice to be able to get an extra couple stops ofburst out of this light which you otherwise wouldnot get and that was helpful to illuminate a whole family that we, in a normal circumstancewith just this light, it would just not have beenenough for photography.

The 120d II wouldn't havebeen able to cover it.

I'd have had to crankedthe ISO on my camera more than I would have wanted to.

It's not a complete replacement, though, for strobes.

In fact, when we moved to theliving room with that family, I did have to bust out a smaller Godox flash just to get a little extra boost.

And those together, when we were bouncing it off the walls was sufficient.

But I did need just a little bit more.

And this thing doesn'tput out a ton of light compared to other strobes and flashes but when you compare it to, you know, a video light, it's, it's, it's plenty.

But it's also cool because you can use this Godox remote controller, the X1.

And that will allow you tofire both the LED strobe but also the smaller flashes all simutaneoulsy.

So, all in all, I'd saythat's a pretty nice perk and innovation that Aputure doesn't have.

This does have roughlythe same sort of effects as far as some of thosestrobe-like effects that the Aputure has, though it does seem to have finer-tuned control overtheir frequency and intensity.

But, two other small drawbacks of the FV150, it does have a very confusing UI and I've always had thiscomplaint about Godox stuff from the beginning of time.

It really makes no sense at allespecially if you're like us and you only take out theflashes every once in awhile, I just have no idea what I'm doing with this silly control headthat I showed you a second ago.

They really need to work onmaking those things intuitive and the FV150 is no different.

The other thing is that it doesn't come with a cool carrying bag.

The other two LED lights I'm talking about both come with nice bags andthat's just a nice to have.

We have taken this twice with us to shoots and it's justhad to use a different bag.

So not having a bag, juststicking it in the cardboard and the foam, it's notquite as nice, but hey, it helped save it money soyou can't complain too much.

Our last light is also meantto compete with the 120d II, it is the P12 by Falcon Eyes.

Of course, Falcon Eyeshas been making waves especially with the YouTuber community, because of their really affordable and great quality LED lights.

Falcon Eyes did sendme this one for review, but again, I'm just going totell you exactly what I think.

And overall, I think it's a great light, but I think, I think it's over-priced.

As far as LUX, it's ratedfor 26, 500 at .

5 meter, though in practice it doesseem to have quite a bit less output than either of the others which is actually a pretty big drawback.

And here we have the P12Pulsar by Falcon Eyes, again, at full power, with the Light Dome II, camera settings are the same.

Because I really feel likethe power output you need to be able to do photographyis not quite there.

It was already on theedge with the other two.

For video, when you're shootingat slower shutter speeds, it's fine.

And I wouldn'thesitate to use this light at all in an interview-type setting.

But for photography, I just wouldn't.

But, two advantages about it.

First, it does have a V-mount battery that you can attach to itsballast, which is very nice.

This is probably madefor field work, honestly, with it's size and withthe output that's required.

And there's an externalbattery that you can get and attach to this.

We don'thave that so we can't test it but that is somethingyou can buy separately.

Second, it's pretty cool, none of the other options have this but it does have a focusso you can do either flood at the wide-end or more focused at the tight-end.

Like the other two, it has similiar effects you can use, although I haven't testedthose, really, with this one.

But beyond that, it'sjust really lightweight and it can be packed down a lot lighter and a lot smaller and can beused with a field battery, like I said.

But one big drawback is that it doesn't have a remote, which is less than ideal injust about every situation.

It has does have DMX ports on the ballast which will allow you to controlit from an external control of some kind.

But without a remote, to me, it pushes it down into theconsumer-end a little bit more.

You can't use it and controlit straight out of the box.

So, if it's gonna be slightly down into the consumer-arenathen I feel like the price is not justified.

So, while I think it is a great light, and I wouldn't have anytrouble utilizing it on a regular basis, otherthan having no remote, it's certainly over-priced.

It's within striking rangeof the 120d II at 540 bucks and I can't think of any reasonwhy I wouldn't just pony up the extra couple hundredbucks for those features that will make my lifeeasier as a creative if I'm already that high.

Alternatively, the muchlower priced Godox FV150 makes it slightly temptingif I'm on a budget.

I'll get more control, I'll get brighter output and I'll get a self-contained unit.

If I'm only in the studio andI don't need battery power, it really is a no-brainer.

So those are my thoughts, guys.

Let me know, though, whatyou think in the comments.

I never claimed to bean expert with lighting, I'm certainly not, andthose of you who are, please let me know, in anice way, what I messed up on or what I missed.

For everybody else, if you're interested inlearning more about photography, improving your skills, pleasecheck out our workshops.

You can join our channel as a member and be able to enjoy thoseat the low monthly price.

But, yeah.

I think that'sit for now, you guys.

Remember to do somegood with your lighting and we'll talk to you again real soon.


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