cheap LED ebay lights any good?

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by ghetto, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    so I've been thinking of getting some lighting for just general portrait or studio style shots, but I'm just a home casual tinkerer so I'm not going to get anything expensive or serious.

    I've looked around at threads and other searches and I've kind of come to the conclusion that LED lights would be perfect for me - small, portable, durable, and ... kind of cheap.

    I even found a very informative video here : 15 - using video light - Neil vN - tangents which is awesome and pretty much demonstrates exactly what I'm imagining in terms of equipment and usage. i.e. small LED panels to semi-directed / semi-diffused light.

    The only problem is... the unit he's linked to is $600!!!!!

    Now basically I'm thinking much closer to the $30 ebay lights. I'm also thinking I might get more than 1 so I really don't want to spend even $100 on each unit.

    The question I guess is... has anyone bought the cheapo no-name brand lights from ebay, like the $15 lights 36 LED CN LUX360 Video Light Lamp FOR Canon Nikon Camera DV Camcorder | eBay and how do they do?

    At $15 I could but 4 or 5 of them and still not break the bank, or, I could step up to the $30 ones which have more LEDs per panel and still not break the bank, but are they usable or just useless?
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    I don't see the point of those tiny panels. The LEDs are only sufficient lighting in large arrays. The popular choice would be the 312AS: Fotodiox LED312AS Pro Video LED Light Kit with Dimmable and Color Temp Adjustable: Electronics
    That is a color changeable version and throws out quite a bit of light. Go for that one if you can. If you really, really need to clamp down on budget, there's the 144A: Fotodiox Pro LED 144A, Video LED Light Kit, with Dimmable Switch, Sony type Battery, Battery Charger: Electronics
    I wouldn't buy anything smaller than that. The smaller ones will be more like a flash light than a video light, IMO.

    All that said, the big strength of LED is that they're battery powered. If you don't mind running off AC and you're price sensitive, don't bother. You can get --or DIY build -- much cheaper, much better studio type lighting.
  3. ghetto

    ghetto Mu-43 Regular

    hrmm thanks, I'm going to look on ebay for a 144a to see if I can get the price a bit lower :)

    the small panels though, they are just as useful because at the price they're listed at, you can buy 4 of them for the price of the 144a. 4 of them would end up with the same LED's as the 144a. (or the $30 panel actually had the same LED's as the 144a I think).

    So the question would be... are the $30 any decent? they look like knockoffs of the 144a but they're half the price or less.
  4. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    They're all the same cheap parts from the same factory, I'm pretty sure. They're a little flimsy and I suspect one wrong fall would render them dead. I think that's well understood and expected at their price point, though. My experience has been that they work well otherwise, and Kirk Tuck raves about the 312AS on assignment all the time.
  5. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
  6. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    To a large extent the difference between expensive and cheap LED panels is color balance. I have a 312AS and even though it has a color adjustment dial, and even though Kirk Tuck uses them (but not so much anymore) a one click on an accurate gray patch will not give anything close to an an excellent WB. Oh, and the color balance varies when the brightness is changed.

    I do have a small, cheap, LED panel that I got from Newegg that comes with a daylight filter panel that has pretty good WB.

    What I do find them handy for is using them hand held for some off camera spot lighting.