Posted on 3/9/2010 1:18:00 PM
Michael's review can also be found at his blog LV Productions - Tools of the Trade.
Well, just got the Pro 160-LED Light yesterday and did some testing with it. Here are some of my impressions. (Keep in mind I also own the Comer 1800 LED ligiht).
The main purpose of trying out this light was for DSLR use, if needed. While I love my Comer 1800 LED light, it's just too large and heavy to be used on a DSLR.
I tested this on my Canon 550D DSLR, as this is what I was looking to get a lighter weight light than my Comer 1800, which I generally use for off camera and on (video) camera lighting.
Build qualityOk, nothing to write home about. The body is completely plastic and the mount is sturdy, but would prefer metal. I might try to modify it to a stronger base. Filters are easy to apply and nice and robust. More on then later.
It's much bigger than I expected, but it's nice and lightweight, and thinner in dimension to the Comer 1800. Even with the largest Sony LP battery it' s still much lighter and better balanced than my Comer 1800 is.
Light outputWow I was surprised! It's bright, and the dimmer works clean and nice.
For good spread you definitely need the diffuser filter on. Without it the light is too spotty. With the diffuser applied I was happy.
I am not a fan of the 3200k filter, it's not balanced well for the LED color temperature, and the light source turns greenish in tint. I would love to be able to get an extra diffusion filter that I could apply my own CTO gel to.
In a completely dark kitchen, throw from about 10 feet away was actually very good.
The light spread isn't as even as the Comer 1800, it's a little hot in the middle and light falloff at the edges are more so than the Comer1800. But more than acceptable.
The dimmer works smooth and accurate.
There are no barn doors to control your light source, so light will spill everywhere. Not a huge deal breaker as I want a wide light spread for wide screen shooting anyway.
PowerThis a major strong point of the unit. Using a universal battery compartment, it takes AA batteries (6) and virtually any camcorder battery source. Not a fan of having to remove the battery door cover each time for battery replacement, but I understand why it's there.
I had to fiddle a little with getting my Sony batteries in there, but once I found the best angle to insert them it was a non-issue.
BTW, speaking of Sony batteries, the best overall size of Sony battery to use would be the NP770, as it doesn't add much weight and is easy to swap out batteries.
While the smallest NP550 battery is lightweight, due to it's thin form factor, it is annoyingly difficult to insert it quickly into the battery compartment.
The largest NP970 battery will run for a long time and is easy to get in an out. But you are adding extra weight to the light, as the NP970 battery is very hefty.
So the best Sony battery for this light, as well as the Comer 1800 BTW is the NP770.
ConclusionOverall while not the best light out there, for the price the Pro 160-LED Light is a good low cost, lightweight solution for DSLR shooting.
For the small lightweight form factor, it has a strong light output, is dimmable, comes with filters, is self powered (no cables), and can run for prolonged periods of time.
While I prefer my Comer 1800 as a more professional light, that can be taken off camera (on light stand) and also on camera (still my light of choice for video camera), the Pro160 is a nice low cost option that I can use as a hair light or for my DSLR purposes.
And for the money I can say that the Pro160 is a steal.
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