On-camera LED light panels are a dime a dozen, but a new model from Lume Cube has found a way to bring both style and useful innovations to the category — and put a blindingly bright light in your pocket. With about equal dimensions to a plus-sized phone and weighing just over 6 ounces, it is small and light enough that you’ll barely notice it mounted to your camera’s hot shoe. At $149, it’s not a terribly expensive accessory, either.
Lume Cube is known for its series of cube-shaped LED lights for phone and drone photography. This is its first lighting product to target more general video applications. The panel is composed of 180 bi-color LEDs that provide an adjustable color temperature range of 3,200 to 5,600 Kelvin and a high CRI of 96 for accurate color reproduction. Brightness tops out at 1,600 Lux at half a meter and is dimmable in 5% increments from 5% to 100%.
Brightness and color temperature are displayed in a small LCD window on the back of the panel that also shows battery life in terms of time remaining, which reacts in real-time to adjustments in brightness. At its lowest power setting, the battery can last for over 8 hours, while you can expect about 1.7 hours of life at full power.
To achieve its small dimensions, the Lube Cube panel uses an integrated 4,040mAh battery. Giving up the ability to swap batteries on the fly may be a difficult decision for some photographers and videographers, but the good news is you can charge the panel over either USB-C or Micro USB connections, both of which can be found on the bottom of the panel. Additionally, it includes a 5V output that can charge any camera that supports USB power, your phone, and other devices. The output port is the older Mini USB style, but a Mini-to-Type A connector is included in the box.
Also included is a diffuser sleeve that slides on over the panel and softens the light.
We’ve been testing the Lume Cube panel for a few days and have been very pleased with it. It’s not every day that an LED panel comes along that is worth talking about, but this one feels like a fresh take on what was becoming a stale product category. It’s a good option for small product photography, light painting, or as a catch light for portraits and interviews. The performance is right, the size is right, and the price is right.
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