Lighting setups tend to be both bulky and expensive, but the latest light from Aputure is only about the size of a credit card — and for $45, it probably isn’t going to max out yours. The company is calling the Amaran M9 the “Swiss Army light” for its versatility and portability (via DIY Photography).
Measuring at 11mm thick — or about the width of a pen — the light still manages to pack in nine LEDs with the same number of adjustable brightness levels. The light is rated at up to 350 LUX and serves as a video or continuous light source, not a flash. With a built-in lithium battery charged via USB, the M9 gets about an hour and a half of use on each charge.
But outside the light’s small size, it’s the portability that will likely grab many photographers’ attention for a variety of creative lighting setups. The light itself weighs only about five ounces, and the flat back means more mounting possibilities, including walls and ceilings. The small light also comes with a stand for using via hot shoe or adding to a light stand or tripod.
Aputure says the M9 is versatile, suggesting the light can be used for mimicking the lights from a car dashboard or computer screen, as well as illuminating odd spaces like a refrigerator.
Small light sources create harsher shadows, but Aputure tosses in a few different diffusion gel panels to help. The diffusion panels attach to the front of the light via magnets.
Aputure’s smallest light yet will start shipping on August 5. While the list price is $69, Amazon already has the light discounted to $45, where it’s jumped up to the third-best seller for on-camera video lights in just four days.