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The best webcams for 2021: best work-from-home webcams

Working remotely has become the norm in 2020. And with an uptick of Covid-19 cases this winter, coupled with a phased distribution of coronavirus vaccines, those who can telecommute will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. A Gallup poll found that two-thirds of U.S. employees working remotely would like to continue doing so. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 37 percent of U.S. jobs could be done remotely.

SKIP AHEAD A simple guide to webcam features

Given that many of us are working from home for the long haul — with some companies even switching to permanent remote work — a good webcam is crucial for those face-to-face meetings (as is a microphone if the one you use isn't cutting it). We’ve covered plenty of other work from home enhancements for you to consider, from ergonomic keyboards and mice to ergonomic chairs, laptop stands, monitors and more. So if the webcam in your laptop isn't up to snuff, we compiled some of the best USB webcams worth considering right now. The pandemic has made certain models harder to find over the course of 2020, but stock seems to be a bit more stable right now in 2021 — though you may have to shop around a bit more to find the best price on a certain model.

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Best webcams in 2021

If you’re not entirely sure what you want of your new webcam, we'll explain the features you'll want to watch out for after these top options.

Best webcam overall: Logitech

1. Logitech C920s Pro HD Webcam

If you want a good quality image and decent audio at an affordable price, Logitech's C920 and C920S models are widely considered the best bang for your buck. Stock is limited, but if you can find it for under $100, grab it — the C920 is the standard model while the C920S has a privacy shutter that I definitely recommend using.

Best affordable webcam with built-in ring light: Vitade

2. Vitade 960A USB Pro Webcam

If you like the idea of built-in lighting but don't want to spend much, there are quite a few off-brand webcams on Amazon you can grab at relatively lower prices. Vitade is one such brand, offering its webcam with a built-in ring light that'll do well enough for most people.

Best webcam with a built-in ring light: Razer

3. Razer Kiyo Gaming Webcam for PC

Your camera is only part of the equation: Good lighting can go a long way to making you look better on Zoom — that’s why ring lights have become so popular this year. Razer's Kiyo webcam is designed for video game streamers, contains a high quality camera and a built-in ring light to make you look your best, if you're willing to pay a little extra for lumination.

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Best basic, affordable webcam: Firsting

4. Firsting HD Webcam

Maybe you want something with no frills that'll get the job done in a pinch. Firsting may not have the best video quality around, but if you just need something to get you by, it'll do the trick for a very, very low price.

Best webcam with 4Kresolution and facial recognition: Logitech

5. Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro Webcam

Stepping up in quality, the Brio is Logitech's high-end offering, boosting the video quality up to 4K and adding an infrared camera for facial recognition. This allows you to log into Windows without entering your password, which is so convenient you'll never want to go back.

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Or stick with what you have lying around

You may not have a webcam right now but if you have a DSLR camera, you might be able to hook it up to your computer and use it for video calls. Camera purveyors Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm and Panasonic all have free software that can turn their recent cameras (like the Sony Alpha a5100 or Nikon D3500) into streaming webcams. GoPro also has similar software, as does budget tech brand Wyze, so check what you have lying around — you may already have the gear you need for those face-to-face video calls.

How to find the best webcam for you

When shopping for a webcam, don't just look at the "1080p vs 4K" and call it a day — there's a lot that goes into a good-looking picture. Specifically, keep an eye on some of the features below to find the right fit for your needs.

Resolution and frame rate

Resolution isn't the end-all-be-all, but it is still part of the package. All other things kept equal, 1080p is going to look better than 720p, and 4K is best of all — though probably overkill for Zoom calls. You'll also want something that can at least record at 30 frames per second.

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Lens quality

Some cameras use cheap plastic lenses with narrow fields of view, which will make the video look smudgy and cramped. Ideally, you want a camera with a wider aperture (i.e. f/2.0 instead of f/2.8) a glass lens, and a field of view above 65 degrees.

Autofocus, auto-brightness and color

Some webcams just spit out whatever picture they take, while others audo-adjust the brightness, color, and focus for the best picture. These are all good to have if you want to look your best.

Microphone quality

Remember, you aren't just showing people your face—you're also talking to them, and good quality audio is just as important (if not moreso) than good quality video. You may even want to invest in a separate USB microphone for best results (and if you do, your webcam's mic is of little consequence).

Lighting, privacy and other extras

Finally, some webcams have extra features like built-in lighting, a privacy shutter to keep the lens covered when you aren't using it, or detachable cables. None of these are strictly required (after all, you can light your face with a desk lamp and cover your webcam with tape), but they are nice to have.

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Catch up on the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations and download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Looking for the perfect gift? Check out the Shop TODAY Holiday Plaza.

Whitson Gordon

Whitson Gordon is a former freelance technology writer with bylines in the New York Times, Popular Science Magazine, PC Magazine and more. Previously, he was the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker and How-To Geek.

Sours: https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/best-webcam-ring-light-ncna1249083

The best photography lighting kits in 2021: for studio, location and video

Picking the best photography lighting kits is fun and exciting, with plenty to choose from. It does, however, come with its share of pitfalls, as there's plenty of cheap lighting out there alongside the good stuff from reputable manufacturers. It's worth shopping around to make sure you're getting a good deal on a quality product; that's why we've put together this handy guide to the best photographic lighting kits available right now.

The best lighting kit for you depends on what you're planning to shoot. Are you expecting to stay in the studio, or perhaps do you anticipate loading the kit up and taking it out on location? There are lighting kits great for both purposes. You also want to consider whether you'll mostly be using flash for stills, and how bothered you are about having a continuous light for video.

Then there's also the question of budget. There are lighting kits and panels right across the spectrum when it comes to pricing, so it's worth having a think to see what's the best you can afford. We've made sure that this guide includes all different types of lighting kits, from plug-in studio lights to battery-powered lighting kits designed to be taken on location, as well as continuous LED lighting panels. 

If you want something smaller, simpler and more portable, it's worth checking out our list of the best flashguns. Flashguns are handy and fast in a pinch, but they do have their limits in terms of how much control you can exert over the light. 

Before we kick off our rundown of the best photography lighting kits, let's take a closer look at what we mean by each of these categories. 

What kind of lighting kit should I go for?

For a home studio setup, or if you’re shooting indoors on location, there’s no beating the power and versatility of a conventional mains-powered studio flash kit. Top options include the Elinchrom D-Lite and Interfit Honey Badger twin-head kits, which are fairly compact and easy to carry around, yet quick to set up and simple to use. But they’re no use if you’re on location with no access to a mains electrical outlet.

A growing range of battery-powered ‘location flash’ kits are now available, based on the same kind of IGBT (Insulated Gate Bi-polar Transistor) technology as regular flashguns, but with similar power to a studio flash head. Supplement the kit with a dedicated hotshoe-mounting trigger, and you’ll also get the bonus of automatic TTL (Through The Lens) flash metering and HSS (High Speed Sync) flash for shooting with fast shutter speeds.

The not-so-secret third option is to go for a constant light. The latest LED panels are relatively cool-running and give fairly strong output, although they’re much less powerful than a flash head or regular flashgun. Maximum output is measured in Lux, usually at a distance of one metre, and the quality of light is measured in CRI (Colour Rendering Index). Plus points include a ‘what you see is what you get’ approach to lighting a subject and, when shooting video, constant LED lighting is perfectly viable whereas a flash head will be entirely useless.

Flash for studio and location work

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1. Elinchrom ELC 125 / 500 TTL To Go Set

These brand new flash units boast top-notch features at a decent price

Specifications

Head power: 131Ws / 522Ws

Power range: 5 stops / 7 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops (custom)

Power supply: Mains only

Cooling fan: Smart pro-active cooling system

Modelling lamp: 20W

Modelling lamp settings: 40-step dimmable

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Elinchrom Skyport Pro trigger

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: C N S P F MFT

Head dimensions: 23x 16.7x26.3cm

Weight per head: 2,000g/2,500g

Reasons to buy

+Loads of advanced modes+Well-designed interface

Reasons to avoid

-Mains power only-Not the cheapest

In 2020, Elinchrom updated its portfolio of studio flash units in a big way with the introduction of the ELC 125 TTL and ELC 500 TTL heads and kits. Available together in a single kit, these two heads make use of IGBT (Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor) technology, which allows for more sophisticated shooting modes to be available to the user.

The two heads offer an impressively broad power range, each able to output as little as 7Ws, with maximum ratings of 131Ws (for the 125 TTL) and 522Ws (for the 500 TTL). The built-in transceiver works in tandem with the Elinchrom Skyport Pro trigger, which comes in seven different variations to cover a variety of camera makes, from Canon and Nikon to Micro Four Thirds. This adds High Speed Sync to the equations, allowing the user to capture images with flash even at super-fast shutter speeds like 1/4,000sec or 1/8,000sec. 

The units are also solidly made, with an all-metal chassis that feel secure and durable. The cooling fans are driven by a ‘smart pro-active cooling’ system, which effectively 'learns' your shooting practices in order to deliver the most efficient cooling process. As you'd expect, these units are also compatible with Elinchrom's extensive range of light modifiers and other accessories, so if you're already invested in the system, the upgrade just makes sense.

Read more: Elinchrom ELC 125 TTL / ELC 500 TTL review

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2. Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 To Go

The best studio flash kit around, this lighting solution comes with real clout

Specifications

Head power: 400Ws

Power range: 5 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops (custom)

Power supply: Mains only

Cooling fan: Auto-sensing

Modelling lamp: 100W

Modelling lamp settings: Prop, full, low, off

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Included

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: HSS with C N S P MFT trigger upgrade

Head dimensions: 14x26x19cm

Weight per head: 1,500g

Reasons to buy

+Immaculate build quality throughout+Superb performance, easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-Pricier than some competitors-Requires trigger upgrade for HSS flash

Elinchrom’s D-Lite flash heads and kits have earned a reputation for excellent build quality, ease of use and superb performance. The Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 To Go is a range-topping kit that includes a pair of 400Ws flash heads, sturdy stands, a 66cm square softbox, a 56cm octagonal softbox, and a translucent deflector that enables a beauty dish effect.

The included EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus radio-frequency trigger enables users to adjust flash head settings remotely and has a range of up to 200m. Alternatively you can upgrade to the Elinchrom HS Transmitter, which also offers high speed sync flash. Alternative save modes include triggering from a flashgun, and ignoring any pre-flash pulses. 

Elegant and intuitive, the push-button control panel offers easy adjustment of power output through a 5-stop range, in 1/10th stop increments. Selecting proportional, full, low and no modelling lamp output is similarly simple, using a conventional 100W bulb. An auto-sensing cooling fan is built into the head. Output is remarkably consistent on a shot-to-shot basis, and power adjustments are highly accurate.

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3. Interfit Honey Badger 320Ws 2-Light Kit

The best budget flash kit comes with some serious attitude

Specifications

Head power: 320Ws

Power range: 7 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops

Power supply: Mains only

Cooling fan: Always on

Modelling lamp: 60W (equivalent) LED

Modelling lamp settings: Prop, full, manual, off

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Included

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: N/A

Head dimensions: 13x13x15cm

Weight per head: 1,400g

Reasons to buy

+Fairly powerful yet compact+Competitive price

Reasons to avoid

-Audible fans run constantly-Pop-up softboxes mediocre quality

If you're on a tighter budget, the best photography lighting kit for you is the Interfit Honey Badger 320Ws 2-Light. Taking its name from reputedly the world’s most fearless animal, Interfit’s Honey Badger head makes a bold entrance in bright yellow and black, with a strong maximum power rating of 320Ws – which isn’t far off the Elinchrom D-Lite kit at number 1 in our guide. It’s a bit more noisy in operation because the relatively small heads have cooling fans that run full-time, rather than just kicking in when the going gets hot.

The photography lighting kit we've chosen is the dual head option with softboxes and a wireless remote. This enables you to adjust flash head settings and trigger them from the hotshoe mounting transmitter. The maximum range is around 90m, which should prove ample for most shooting scenarios.

Maximum flash intensity is a little down on the Elinchrom D-Lite 4, which isn’t surprising given that the Honey Badger has a 320Ws rather than 400Ws rating. At the bottom end of the range, flash output is more subtle than in the Elinchrom, equating to an aperture of f/7.1 rather than f/16 in our standard one-metre test at ISO 100 (with standard reflector and no brolly or softbox). Recycle speeds are pretty much identical for both competing heads.

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4. Flashpoint Xplor 300 Pro / Godox AD300 Pro

A very worthy B10 rival at just a third of the price!

Specifications

Head power: 300Ws

Power range: 9 stops

Power adjustment: 1/3 or 1/10 increments

Power supply: Battery only

Cooling fan: Yes

Modelling lamp: LED, bi-color

Modelling lamp settings: 3000½K ~ 6000½K

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Adorama R2 / Godox X 2.4GHz

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: 1/8000 sec

Head dimensions: 19x10x9cm

Weight per head: 1,250g (including battery)

Reasons to buy

+Incredibly compact+Great battery life+Bi-color modeling lamp is good for video

Reasons to avoid

-Isn't mains-powered 

Sold as the Flashpoint Xplor 300 Pro in the USA and the Godox AD300 Pro in the rest of the world, this brilliant flash head hit the scene gunning straight for the Profoto B10 (elsewhere on this list). However, while the B10 certainly edges it in terms of control and consistency, the fact is that the 300 Pro is just one third the price

Its kit version is currently on backorder, but the 300 Pro is so capable and affordable that you can pick up a couple of heads and modifiers of your choice and have a brilliant bespoke kit of your own. 

A very compact and easily portable unit, the 300 Pro packs 300Ws power with the option of 1/8000 sec high speed sync to overpower the sun and take control of the scene when on location. Its brilliant bi-color modeling light can be used for video, too, with its 3000½K ~ 6000½K temperature range. 

The meaty battery gives you around 320 full-power flashes and charges in just 2½ hours. Optional adapters can mount Profoto, Elinchrom and Broncolor accessories, and the 2.4GHz trigger system is compatible with 7 camera brands. 

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5. Interfit Honey Badger Unleashed 250Ws

The best budget location flash kit

Specifications

Head power: 250Ws

Power range: 9 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops

Power supply: Battery only

Cooling fan: No fan

Modelling lamp: LED, 1250 lumen

Modelling lamp settings: Prop, full, off

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Interfit HSS TTL, £80/$100

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: C N S

Head dimensions: 15x18x15cm

Weight per head: 2,300g

Reasons to buy

+Amazing value+Silent running 

Reasons to avoid

-Modest 250Ws power rating per head-Can’t be mains-powered 

Slightly larger and nearly a kilogram heavier than the mains-powered Honey Badger head (number 2), the newer ‘Unleashed’ edition runs on a rechargeable battery. Indeed, unlike the Elinchrom and Profoto battery-powered kits, you can’t run it from the mains, so you might need to add a spare battery or two to your kit at around £59/$60 each.

Our chosen kit option includes two heads, batteries and mains chargers, two 60cm pop-up softboxes and a sturdy backpack. The optional Interfit HSS TTL remote trigger is similarly great value at £80/$100. This, as its name suggests, enables TTL and high speed sync flash modes. Unlike with the mains kit, there’s no cooling fan here, which means the Unleashed edition is virtually silent in operation – a particular bonus when using its bright 2500 lumens LED modelling lamp as a constant light source for movie capture.

Although the 250Ws head gives less output than the 500Ws heads in our guide, this is the only battery-powered kit that features two flash heads rather than one, making it excellent value at the price.

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6. Profoto B10 Plus

The new ‘Plus’ is bigger and more powerful, making it the best luxury location flash kit

Specifications

Head power: 500Ws

Power range: 10 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops

Power supply: Mains/battery

Cooling fan: Auto-sensing

Modelling lamp: LED, 2500 lumen

Modelling lamp settings: Prop, full, manual, off

Sync socket: None

Wireless RF trigger: Profoto Air Remote TTL, £349/$429

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: C N S F MFT

Head dimensions: 11x24x10cm

Weight per head: 1,900g

Reasons to buy

+Luxurious quality, super performance+High-power modelling lamp

Reasons to avoid

-Accessories are expensive-Half the battery life of competitor kits

Larger and 400g heavier than the standard Profoto B10, the new B10 Plus edition is twice as powerful, at 500Ws. Like the Honey Badger Unleashed (number 4), the battery clips into the head instead of being housed in a separate power-pack but, this time, you can power the head from the mains as well as from the battery.

The kit includes a head (twin head kit also available), stand adaptor, battery, battery charger and a padded carrying bag. The kits and accessories are pretty pricey – the heads don’t feature a sync socket and the Profoto Air Remote TTL trigger will set you back an additional £349/$429, while Profoto’s standard OCF Magnum Reflector costs a further £189/$209. 

On the plus side, all components are of very high quality. Rear-panel controls are simple and intuitive. TTL, high speed sync and freeze flash modes are available, and there's an iPhone companion app that links up via built-in Bluetooth.

The powerful LED modelling light is useful for stills and video capture and comes complete with adjustable colour temperature. Recycling speeds are pretty quick but battery life is relatively limited, at 200 full-power flashes.

7. Broncolor Siros 400 S Expert Twin Head Kit WiFi/RFS 2

A high-end studio kit for serious users, this is a kit for precise colour replication

Specifications

Head power: 400Ws

Power range: 9 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops

Power supply: Mains

Cooling fan: Yes

Modelling lamp: Halogen, 300Ws

Modelling lamp settings: Not specified

Sync socket: Standard

Wireless RF trigger: Broncolor RFS 2.1

Kit weight: 3,200g

Reasons to buy

+Amazingly fast flash cycle+Superb colour stability

Reasons to avoid

-More expensive than others

At the lighter end of the premium lighting kit space, this kit from Broncolor is built around two of its Siros 400 S lighting heads. These 400Ws monolights deliver plenty of functionality to crow about, not least of which is their nine-stop power range and 1/19,000sec flash duration, allowing you to get thoroughly precise with your lighting.

The Siros S can make use of a specialised "Speed Mode", which specifically speeds up the charge time and flash duration for a super-fast series of exposures, meaning you can capture the most fleeting of moments in huge amounts of detail. At the very fastest setting, this can go up to fifty individual flashes per second, at the cost of a reduction in maximum power.

This comprehensive kit also includes a softbox with speedring, an umbrella, two basic M-stands and bags to carry it all in, so you'll have everything you need to set up a makeshift studio. Fast and effective, the Broncolor Siros 400 S Expert Twin Head Kit  is an ideal lighting solution for pros on the go.

Continuous LED lighting

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8. Rotolight AEOS

More of a lamp than a complete kit

Specifications

Max output: 5,750 lux, 3ft

Power adjustment: Stepless

Power supply: Mains (optional battery)

Bi-colour: Yes

Colour Rendering Index: 96+

Flicker-free: Yes

Cooling fan: No fan

Wireless RF trigger: Phottix Odin II TTL, £125/$125

Head dimensions: 30x2x30cm

Weight per head: 1,400g

Reasons to buy

+Excellent light quality+Good maximum power+Special effects for video lighting

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive to buy-Barely any accessories included

Next is our pick for the best LED panel: Rotolight's AEOS. Although it's nearly three times as expensive as the Manfrotto Lykos Bi-Color LED light (number 8 below), the AEOS is more powerful and has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. 

Good for stills, the AEOS really excels for video capture, with customisable fade up/down and a range of special effects including flickering fire, lightning, TV, strobe and blue flashing emergency vehicle lights. The bi-colour LEDs have a 100,000 hour lifespan and, as with the Manfrotto, enable completely flicker-free output, this time with a colour range of 3150-6300 Kelvin. Maximum output has a much higher rating of 5750 lux, albeit at a shorter distance of 3ft (0.9m). Twice the output is available in flash mode with zero recycle time, complete with high speed sync if you buy an additional Phottix Odin II RF trigger.

On the down-side, the basic kit only includes the circular LED panel itself, a mains power supply, a heavy-duty ball head and a filter pack. The optional carrying case costs £150/$165, and a V-mount li-ion battery costs £275/$300 (without charger) for up to four hours mains-free use.

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9. Manfrotto Lykos Bi-Color

This compact LED panel is a useful companion for your camera

Specifications

Max output: 1,500 lux, 1m

Power adjustment: Stepless

Power supply: Mains (optional battery)

Bi-colour: Yes

Colour Rendering Index: 93+

Flicker-free: Yes

Cooling fan: No fan

Wireless RF trigger: N/A

Head dimensions: 26x4x15cm

Weight per head: 470g

Reasons to buy

+Small and lightweight +Bi-colour LEDs give a useful colour range

Reasons to avoid

-Colour Rendering Index below average-Lighting effect not the softest

The lightweight Manfrotto Lykos Bi-Color constant light is designed to slot into your camera’s hotshoe, via the supplied mini ball head. The ball head and the lamp itself can also be mounted on a regular tripod head for off-camera use, courtesy of standard 1/4-inch threaded sockets.

The kit is based on a rectangular lighting panel that measures 26 x 4 x 15cm and contains 48 high-intensity LEDs. The version on test is the more expensive Bi-Color edition, which contains a useful mix of daylight and tungsten colour temperature LEDs, plus an additional control knob for adjusting the colour balance. An illuminated rear-panel display shows the overall power setting and the percentage split between the bi-colour LEDs. On the down-side the lighting effect is less soft than from a larger LED panel.

The panel has a beam angle of 50 degrees and is rated at 1500 Lux at one metre. In our tests, this equated to an overall power range that enabled apertures of f/1.2 to f/3.5 at 1/60th of a second, using a sensitivity setting of ISO 100. The required aperture at maximum power shrinks to f/3.2 when using only the daylight or tungsten rated LEDs.

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10. NanGuang Luxpad 43H

Amazingly affordable for a bi-colour LED panel

Specifications

Max output: 930 Lux, 1m

Power adjustment: Stepless

Power supply: Mains (optional battery)

Bi-colour: Yes (3200-5600K)

Colour Rendering Index: 95+

Flicker-free: Yes

Cooling fan: No fan

Wireless RF trigger: N/A

Head dimensions: 35x3x24cm

Weight per head: 910g

Reasons to buy

+Relatively cheap but good quality+Bi-colour output+Quiet, fanless operation

Sours: https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/buying-guides/best-photography-lighting-kit
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Buy High-quality Ring Lights Online

If you’re a professional photographer or if you make videos for a living, you may have used light stands to enhance the lighting in your photos and videos. Lighting plays a huge role in photography and videography. The right lighting will help you capture high-quality images and videos with ease. However, it’s not always convenient to carry huge lights with you when you plan to take indoor or outdoor shots, which is why the concept of ring lights came into play. They can be used by both beginners and professional photographers. They are also ideal for fashion photoshoots as they can give you detailed and clear images while removing unrequired shadows. A ring light is nothing but a flash-light which is mounted in a circle. The hollow circle of the light helps you place your mobile phone or camera, so your images turn out to be of professional quality. The selfie lights can also help you take beautiful selfies, so you can post them on your social media platforms. They may come in different sizes, such as small, medium and large. Most of these lights are also foldable in design, so you can carry them easily from one place to another. Thanks to online shopping, you can buy a circle light from the comfort of your home. Trusted brands like Age Care, Blue Birds, GetfitPro, Cospex and Hypex have a vast range of selfie ring lights online.

A few photography lights that you can find online are:

Lehza Selfie Light, 3 Adjustable Brightness Fill Light Ring Flash

LANIX 26cm Dimmable LED Studio Camera Ring Light

Like Star Night LED Selfie Ring Flash

FD1 Ring Light with Tripod Stand Ring Flash

Webster Big LED Selfie Ring Light for Smartphone

Things to Consider Before Buying a Ring Light

If you’re planning to buy a ring light, you might as well consider a few factors before picking one. Let’s discuss them here:

Quality of the Light Stand

If you take photography seriously and you want to pursue it further, you should always buy good-quality gadgets that can last for several years without having to be replaced. The light is an equally important element of photography. So, it’s good to invest in a light which is constructed from high-quality materials. You should also consider the type of lights used in the light stand, so you can replace them easily whenever there is any problem.

Features of the Light Stand

Photography lights may come with certain impressive features that make them all the more convenient and hassle-free. Most of them come with various lighting modes, such as night mode, warm light mode and cold light mode, so you can click photos or shoot videos with your desired lighting condition. They may also come with a remote controller that will help you change the color temperature from a distance. Another important feature that can come in handy is the foldable design of a light stand.

Sours: https://www.flipkart.com/q/ring-light
5 Best Photography Lighting Kits You Can Buy In 2020

Best ring light 2021: The best lights for your YouTube videos, video calls and selfies

With diffuse, flattering, wrap-around light, the best ring lights are ideal for adding a professional pop to your photos and videos. Well suited to a wide range of subjects, ring lights excel at portraiture and facial lighting.

The diffused light evenly illuminates faces, softening shadows, flattering the facial features and creating iconic halo catchlights. It’s no surprise, then, that ring lights are now some of the most popular lighting choices for YouTubers, vloggers and makeup artists. Increasingly they’re also being taken up by people looking to give their Zoom and Skype calls a professional edge.

Ring lights cover a wide range of creative ground, so you’ll find a lot of options to choose from. To help you hone in on your ideal light we’ve put together a concise guide below followed by our pick of the best ring lights on the market.


The best ring lights at a glance:


READ NEXT: Our pick of the best selfie sticks

How to choose the best ring light for you

What is a ring light?

As the name suggests, a ring light is a ring-shaped lighting fixture. Ring lights were originally invented for even illumination in medical photography, but have since become popular across a wide range of applications. While some ring lights feature a single fluorescent tube, you’ll most commonly find them employing an arrangement of LED bulbs.

What makes ring lights special?

Ring lights can illuminate a subject from multiple sides, which results in a pleasing, well-lit appearance, free of harsh shadows – a look that is generally flattering on faces. Ring lights are also well known for the iconic, attention-grabbing, halo-shaped catchlights they reflect in the eyes.

Ring lights are far from the only style of light on the market. Indeed you’ll find plenty of alternative light panels and softbox options available. Where ring lights have an edge, though, is the quality and coverage of light they can produce relative to their price and size. An LED panel or softbox capable of producing a similarly sized diffuse light is likely to be significantly bulkier, pricier – or both.

Does ring light size matter?

In short, yes: larger lights provide better overall coverage. Larger ring lights will, in general, provide a more flattering look as the larger light source is better able to surround you or your subject. Larger ring lights also facilitate a greater working distance, so you don’t need to position them as close to your subject. Smaller ring lights can still do an excellent job, though, provided you position them a little nearer.

What brightness do I need?

You’ll find a range of brightnesses on offer, and the ideal option will be determined by how you plan to use your light. Most ring lights advertise an approximate brightness in lumens, with 800 lumens comparable to a 60W incandescent lightbulb, and 1500 lumens a 100W bulb. Larger ring lights tend to feature more LEDs and therefore provide a brighter output, although smaller lights can often be positioned closer for similar results.

If you’re buying a large, bright ring light, you’ll definitely want to opt for a model with a dimmer so you can manage the output. This can be less important on smaller, dimmer lights.

READ NEXT: The best vlogging cameras to buy

What about colour temperature?

You’ve no doubt noticed that natural light can appear cool and blue, while indoor incandescent light can seem warm and yellow. If you plan on matching your ring light to any ambient lighting you’ll need to make sure it offers some form of colour temperature control. Most ring lights include the option to adjust the temperature, either electronically with an adjustable dial, or using interchangeable filters. Look for a 5500K or daylight setting if you plan on working mainly with natural light, or a 3200K or tungsten setting for working indoors.

What other features should I look out for?

If you plan on using your ring light with a smartphone or digital camera then you may want to check whether any mounts are included. Mid-sized ring lights and larger often have the ability to mount a phone or camera within the ring, either via a tripod thread or smartphone mount. While these mounting points shouldn’t be used for heavy DSLRs they can be pretty handy for phones and smaller cameras.

Depending on how you plan to use your ring light, the power source can be worth noting. If you’re mainly working indoors you’ll want a mains powered light. Need a more portable option for working on the go? Look for a light that can run off of batteries. USB powered lights are also quite common and these are great for keeping cable clutter to a minimum. They can also be run off of a USB power bank which can come in handy.

If your work is colour-critical, it’s also worth looking up the CRI rating as this will let you know how colour accurate subjects will appear under the light. It may be worth taking the ratings advertised by cheaper lights with a pinch of salt but, in general, anything with a CRI of 90 or more should be fine for photo and video work.

The best ring lights to buy in 2021

1. IVISII 19in Ring Light: Best budget large ring light

Price: £108 | Buy now from Amazon

IVISII’s 19in Ring Light is the ideal choice for photographers, videographers and makeup artists in search of a large light at a reasonable price.

It produces super soft, wrap-around light to provide flattering, shadow-free lighting across the face. Thanks to its size and brightness, it doesn’t need positioning too close, giving you more options when it comes to where and how far away it can be positioned. The light is also easy to control thanks to a large rear display.

As you may expect, there are a couple of compromises at this price point. The articulation points on the base are rather plasticky and you likely won’t want to fix a large camera directly onto the included ball head. Overall, however, for the money, and with a stand, smartphone holder and carry case all included, this is a well-rounded, useful piece of kit.

Key specs - Ring diameter: 48cm; Brightness: 3000 lumens; Dimmable: Percentage increments; Colour temperature: 3000-5800k; Advertised CRI: 97; Internal mount: Phone or camera; Power source: Mains adapter


2. Evershop 6.3” Ring Light: Best ring light for laptops

Price: £18 | Buy now from Amazon


If you want to add a professional pop to your Zoom and Skype calls but don’t fancy turning over your whole desk to a larger lamp and stand, Elegiant’s 6.3” Ring Light is ideal.

The light features a clamp so you can mount it directly on your laptop, monitor, or the edge of your desk with no need for an additional stand. Once set up it can then be angled to suit, and can be plugged directly into your computer’s USB port, which keeps messy cable runs to a minimum. For versatility, you can alternatively opt to power it via a USB wall adapter or power bank.

10 user-selectable brightness increments let you set a comfortable level of illumination, and there’s a trio of colour temperature options so you can best match your ambient lighting.

Key specs - Ring diameter: 16cm; Brightness: n/a; Dimmable: 10 levels; Colour temperature: 2700, 4400, 5500K; Advertised CRI: n/a; Internal mount: None; Power source: USB


3. Joby Beamo Ring Light HandyPod Kit: Best mid-sized ring light

Price: £60 | Buy now from Joby

Joby’s Ring Light HandPod Kit packs everything you need to start lighting your video calls, vlogs and social snaps. The light offers 10 user-selectable brightness levels along with a trio of colour temperature presets for matching ambient lighting. While it’s not the brightest light in our lineup, its lightweight frame and small footprint allow it to be positioned closer for more flattering results.

The light is paired with a small tripod that packs down neatly for travel, while a standard 1/4in tripod thread also allows it to attach to any standard tripod or light stand. A smartphone mount that can be orientated for both portrait and landscape shots is also included.

The Beamo Ring light draws power over USB, giving you the option to run it off of your computer’s USB port, a USB mains adapter, or for illumination while out and about, a USB power bank.

READ NEXT: The best GorillaPod tripods to buy

Key specs - Ring diameter: 30cm; Brightness: 400 lumens; Dimmable: 10 steps; Colour temperature: 3000, 4000, 5600K; CRI: 85; Internal mount: Internal phone mount; Power source: USB-A

Buy now from Joby


4. Elgato Ring Light: Best ring light for streamers, Twitch and YouTube

Price: £190| Buy now from Amazon

Unlike the majority of ring lights, Elgato LEDs are built into the frame rather than the face of the ring. The result is a uniform ring of light, free of harsh hotspots which is noticeably less fatiguing on the eyes. If you plan on spending extended periods facing the light, then this design is a game-changer.

As you’d expect from a larger light, the Elgato provides a soft, shadow-free look along with bright halo catchlights. However, unlike a lot of large lights, it features a solid desk-mounting stand, rather than a traditional tripod, which means it’s easier to position and takes up no floor space.

While there are controls built into the rear of the light, the Elgato can be paired with a companion app, allowing you to adjust the brightness and colour temperature without having to leave your seat. This feature will certainly be appreciated by both streamers and YouTubers.

Although a little pricey, Elgato’s Ring Light is a genuinely well-rounded option for anyone in the market for a large diameter, high quality ring light.

Key specs - Ring diameter: 43cm; Brightness: 2500 lumens; Dimmable: Percentage increments; Colour temperature: 2900-7000K; Advertised CRI: 94; Internal mount: Camera; Power source: Mains adapter


5. Rotolight LED Ring Light Kit for Content Creators: Best for vlogging

Price: £79 | Buy now from Wex

Small, lightweight and with a range of mounting options, Rotolight’s LED Ring Light Kit is a great option for vloggers and content creators on the move. Using the included stand, it can be attached to any smartphone or camera, or used standalone on its tripod. Alternatively, if you use an external microphone like the Rode Videomic Pro, the light can simply slide right over the top of it.

The light is daylight white balanced by default but it comes with a set of filters for indoor and mixed lighting situations. Two included diffusion filters also help soften the light for flatting portraits.

The controls are foolproof, if a little limited. With a single power button, it’s easy to set up, but a lack of a dimmer may limit its use for some.

The light is powered by a set of three AA batteries. This makes finding spares while on the move a cinch, though you may want to opt for rechargeables to save some cash.

READ NEXT: The best tripods for iPhones

Key specs - Ring diameter: 13cm; Brightness: 1000 lumens; Dimmable: No; Colour temperature: 3200, 4100, 5600K; Advertised CRI: 91; Internal mount: None; Power source: 3xAA

Buy now from Wex


6. Diyife Selfie Ring Light: Best ring light for your phone

Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

Diyife's Selfie Ring Light is perfect for, well, selfies. It features a compact, pocketable design with a clip with which it can be attached to just about any smartphone or tablet. Although the light is small, it still manages to be impressively bright when held at arm’s length.

While its size limits the light's softness, it works great for TikTok, Instagram stories and casual video calls – and looks much better than the standard smartphone flashlight.

The Elegiant Selfie Ring Light charges over micro-USB and offers up to an hour of continuous use off of a single charge.

Key specs - Ring diameter: 7cm; Brightness: n/a; Dimmable: Three levels; Colour temperature: n/a; Advertised CRI: n/a; Internal mount: None; Power source: USB-rechargeable


7. Rotolight LED Video Conferencing Kit: A high quality professional video light

Price: £200 | Buy now from Park Cameras

Rotolight’s Conference Kit takes the highly-regarded Rotolight Neo 2 video light and pairs it with a desk-friendly stand.

The light is bright, compact, colour accurate, and feels built to last. A bright rear display makes adjusting brightness and exact colour temperature a breeze, while a set of included diffusion filters let you soften the light to taste. The light can be powered using the included mains adapter or, for a cable-free setup, you can use a set of six AA batteries (although we’d recommend looking into rechargeables).

For casual video calls with friends, the Rotolight Conference Kit is arguably overkill. However, if you’re on the hunt for a smart looking, premium quality light to use within a professional, or a serious piece of kit for your photo and video work, the Rotolight should be on your short list.

Key specs - Ring diameter: 13cm; Brightness: 2500 lumens; Dimmable: Percentage increments; Colour temperature: 2900-7000K; Advertised CRI: 96; Internal mount: None; Power source: 6x AA or included mains adapter

Buy now from Park Cameras


Sours: https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/cameras/1413547/best-ring-light

Lights buy camera best

Looking for more of the best deals, sales and product recommendations?  for Yahoo Lifestyle Canada’s !

This 17

Yahoo Lifestyle Canada is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Are you looking to take your vlogging and content creation to the next level? With these Best Buy Canada deals on vlogging tech, amateur hour is officially over.

From the best lighting for your on-camera debut to tripods that are ready to get in on the action, these are the tools you need to create the content your audience wants to see. 

Become a master of your craft and look good while doing it with these Best Buy Canada vlogging devices, many of which are on sale until June 3, including this wifi-enabled LED ring light.

Elgato 17" WiFi LED Ring Light

Elgato 17

SHOP IT: Best Buy Canada, $270 

You can count on perfect lighting every time with this 17" Elgato LED ring light. Designed with streamers and content creators in mind, its adjustable colour temperature gives you complete control over your lighting situation.

Featuring wifi connectivity, you can control the ring light from your smartphone via an app or do so manually using its built-in controls. The flexible camera mount allows you to adjust your camera's angle independently from the lighting angle, ensuring you always look your best while recording. 

Why it's perfect for content creators

This professional-quality ring light delivers exceptional lighting every time. Best Buy Canada reviewers can't get enough of its adjustable range: "The light offers colour temp range from sunlight to warm white," according to one user. "If you need a professional ring light with a strong desktop mount, you will be hard-pressed to find a comparable light."

"WOW!" writes another streamer. "I bought this for my streaming/recording setup, and never... in a million years did I think my face could look so inexplicably wholesome - SMACKED A 5 STAR REVIEW SO HARD I ALMOST BROKE MY WRIST!"

Shop more of Best Buy Canada's vlogging and content creator picks below.

Canon EOS M200 Mirrorless Camera

Canon EOS M200 Mirrorless Camera (Photo via Best Buy Canada)

The Canon EOS M200 DSLR camera has an average rating of 4.6 stars for a good reason. Canon technology delivers true-to-life detail, and the camera comes complete with a 15-45mm IS STM lens kit, so you have everything you need to take professional-quality footage. 

SHOP IT: Best Buy Canada, $680

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Zhiyun Smooth X Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer and Tripod Combo

Zhiyun Smooth X Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer and Tripod Combo (Photo via Best Buy Canada)

Designed for smartphone filmmakers, the Zhiyun Smooth X gimbal stabilizer and tripod combo is an excellent choice for Instagram, TikTok, and smartphone-based creators. Easily switch between portrait and landscape modes with the pocket-sized tripod. 

SHOP IT: Best Buy Canada, $86

Rode VideoMicro Camera Microphone

Rode VideoMicro Camera Microphone (Photo via Best Buy Canada)

Crystal-clear sound is coming your way. This top-rated directional microphone reduces peripheral noise and focuses on the audio in front of the camera. Earning more than 700 five-star reviews, users say it's "a great little mic for doing videos/vlogs on a budget."

SHOP IT: Best Buy Canada, $84 

Wacom One Creative Pen Display and Corel Painter

Wacom One Creative Pen Display and Corel Painter (Photo via Best Buy Canada)

Show off your creative genius and score a major discount with the Wacom One 13.3" HD display. For nearly $500 off its original price, the pressure-sensitive Wacom One comes with the digital art expertise of Corel Painter 2021 to deliver an unforgettable virtual painting experience. 

SHOP IT: Best Buy Canada, $530 (originally $1,030)

SanDisk Extreme Plus 256GB 170MB/s microSD Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Plus 256GB 170MB/s microSD Memory Card (Photo via Best Buy Canada)

This 256GB microSD memory card is the solution to your file storage problems. Featuring up to 170Mbps of maximum read speeds and up to 90Mbps of maximum write speeds, the memory card is fast and reliable, even when dealing with 4K UHD and Full HD video files. 

SHOP IT: Best Buy Canada, $80

Mobifoto 12" Bi-Colour LED Ring Light Vlog Kit

Mobifoto 12

Try your luck at vlogging without spending a fortune with the Mobifoto LED ring light vlog kit. It comes with a 12" ring light and wireless remote so you can find your perfect lighting from a distance. 

SHOP IT: Best Buy Canada, $90

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera with Instant Film

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera with Instant Film (Photo via Best Buy Canada)

Don't underestimate how cool old-school footage can look thanks to the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 instant camera. Featuring a built-in selfie lens and mirror, the Fujifilm Instax auto shutter and auto-brightness create 'gram-worthy photos every time. 

SHOP IT: Best Buy Canada, $140 

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.

Sours: https://ca.style.yahoo.com/ring-light-best-buy-canada-vlogging-130001723.html
The ABSOLUTE BEST thing I have IN MY CAMERA BAG! (You need this)

The best photography lighting kits in 2021: for studio, location and video

Picking the best photography lighting kits is fun and exciting, with plenty to choose from. It does, however, come with its share of pitfalls, as there's plenty of cheap lighting out there alongside the good stuff from reputable manufacturers. It's worth shopping around to make sure you're getting a good deal on a quality product; that's why we've put together this handy guide to the best photographic lighting kits available right now.

The best lighting kit for you depends on what you're planning to shoot. Are you expecting to stay in the studio, or perhaps do you anticipate loading the kit up and taking it out on location? There are lighting kits great for both purposes. You also want to consider whether you'll mostly be using flash for stills, and how bothered you are about having a continuous light for video.

Then there's also the question of budget. There are lighting kits and panels right across the spectrum when it comes to pricing, so it's worth having a think to see what's the best you can afford. We've made sure that this guide includes all different types of lighting kits, from plug-in studio lights to battery-powered lighting kits designed to be taken on location, as well as continuous LED lighting panels. 

If you want something smaller, simpler and more portable, it's worth checking out our list of the best flashguns. Flashguns are handy and fast in a pinch, but they do have their limits in terms of how much control you can exert over the light. 

Before we kick off our rundown of the best photography lighting kits, let's take a closer look at what we mean by each of these categories. 

What kind of lighting kit should I go for?

For a home studio setup, or if you’re shooting indoors on location, there’s no beating the power and versatility of a conventional mains-powered studio flash kit. Top options include the Elinchrom D-Lite and Interfit Honey Badger twin-head kits, which are fairly compact and easy to carry around, yet quick to set up and simple to use. But they’re no use if you’re on location with no access to a mains electrical outlet.

A growing range of battery-powered ‘location flash’ kits are now available, based on the same kind of IGBT (Insulated Gate Bi-polar Transistor) technology as regular flashguns, but with similar power to a studio flash head. Supplement the kit with a dedicated hotshoe-mounting trigger, and you’ll also get the bonus of automatic TTL (Through The Lens) flash metering and HSS (High Speed Sync) flash for shooting with fast shutter speeds.

The not-so-secret third option is to go for a constant light. The latest LED panels are relatively cool-running and give fairly strong output, although they’re much less powerful than a flash head or regular flashgun. Maximum output is measured in Lux, usually at a distance of one metre, and the quality of light is measured in CRI (Colour Rendering Index). Plus points include a ‘what you see is what you get’ approach to lighting a subject and, when shooting video, constant LED lighting is perfectly viable whereas a flash head will be entirely useless.

Flash for studio and location work

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1. Elinchrom ELC 125 / 500 TTL To Go Set

These brand new flash units boast top-notch features at a decent price

Specifications

Head power: 131Ws / 522Ws

Power range: 5 stops / 7 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops (custom)

Power supply: Mains only

Cooling fan: Smart pro-active cooling system

Modelling lamp: 20W

Modelling lamp settings: 40-step dimmable

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Elinchrom Skyport Pro trigger

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: C N S P F MFT

Head dimensions: 23x 16.7x26.3cm

Weight per head: 2,000g/2,500g

Reasons to buy

+Loads of advanced modes+Well-designed interface

Reasons to avoid

-Mains power only-Not the cheapest

In 2020, Elinchrom updated its portfolio of studio flash units in a big way with the introduction of the ELC 125 TTL and ELC 500 TTL heads and kits. Available together in a single kit, these two heads make use of IGBT (Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor) technology, which allows for more sophisticated shooting modes to be available to the user.

The two heads offer an impressively broad power range, each able to output as little as 7Ws, with maximum ratings of 131Ws (for the 125 TTL) and 522Ws (for the 500 TTL). The built-in transceiver works in tandem with the Elinchrom Skyport Pro trigger, which comes in seven different variations to cover a variety of camera makes, from Canon and Nikon to Micro Four Thirds. This adds High Speed Sync to the equations, allowing the user to capture images with flash even at super-fast shutter speeds like 1/4,000sec or 1/8,000sec. 

The units are also solidly made, with an all-metal chassis that feel secure and durable. The cooling fans are driven by a ‘smart pro-active cooling’ system, which effectively 'learns' your shooting practices in order to deliver the most efficient cooling process. As you'd expect, these units are also compatible with Elinchrom's extensive range of light modifiers and other accessories, so if you're already invested in the system, the upgrade just makes sense.

Read more: Elinchrom ELC 125 TTL / ELC 500 TTL review

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2. Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 To Go

The best studio flash kit around, this lighting solution comes with real clout

Specifications

Head power: 400Ws

Power range: 5 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops (custom)

Power supply: Mains only

Cooling fan: Auto-sensing

Modelling lamp: 100W

Modelling lamp settings: Prop, full, low, off

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Included

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: HSS with C N S P MFT trigger upgrade

Head dimensions: 14x26x19cm

Weight per head: 1,500g

Reasons to buy

+Immaculate build quality throughout+Superb performance, easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-Pricier than some competitors-Requires trigger upgrade for HSS flash

Elinchrom’s D-Lite flash heads and kits have earned a reputation for excellent build quality, ease of use and superb performance. The Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 To Go is a range-topping kit that includes a pair of 400Ws flash heads, sturdy stands, a 66cm square softbox, a 56cm octagonal softbox, and a translucent deflector that enables a beauty dish effect.

The included EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus radio-frequency trigger enables users to adjust flash head settings remotely and has a range of up to 200m. Alternatively you can upgrade to the Elinchrom HS Transmitter, which also offers high speed sync flash. Alternative save modes include triggering from a flashgun, and ignoring any pre-flash pulses. 

Elegant and intuitive, the push-button control panel offers easy adjustment of power output through a 5-stop range, in 1/10th stop increments. Selecting proportional, full, low and no modelling lamp output is similarly simple, using a conventional 100W bulb. An auto-sensing cooling fan is built into the head. Output is remarkably consistent on a shot-to-shot basis, and power adjustments are highly accurate.

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3. Interfit Honey Badger 320Ws 2-Light Kit

The best budget flash kit comes with some serious attitude

Specifications

Head power: 320Ws

Power range: 7 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops

Power supply: Mains only

Cooling fan: Always on

Modelling lamp: 60W (equivalent) LED

Modelling lamp settings: Prop, full, manual, off

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Included

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: N/A

Head dimensions: 13x13x15cm

Weight per head: 1,400g

Reasons to buy

+Fairly powerful yet compact+Competitive price

Reasons to avoid

-Audible fans run constantly-Pop-up softboxes mediocre quality

If you're on a tighter budget, the best photography lighting kit for you is the Interfit Honey Badger 320Ws 2-Light. Taking its name from reputedly the world’s most fearless animal, Interfit’s Honey Badger head makes a bold entrance in bright yellow and black, with a strong maximum power rating of 320Ws – which isn’t far off the Elinchrom D-Lite kit at number 1 in our guide. It’s a bit more noisy in operation because the relatively small heads have cooling fans that run full-time, rather than just kicking in when the going gets hot.

The photography lighting kit we've chosen is the dual head option with softboxes and a wireless remote. This enables you to adjust flash head settings and trigger them from the hotshoe mounting transmitter. The maximum range is around 90m, which should prove ample for most shooting scenarios.

Maximum flash intensity is a little down on the Elinchrom D-Lite 4, which isn’t surprising given that the Honey Badger has a 320Ws rather than 400Ws rating. At the bottom end of the range, flash output is more subtle than in the Elinchrom, equating to an aperture of f/7.1 rather than f/16 in our standard one-metre test at ISO 100 (with standard reflector and no brolly or softbox). Recycle speeds are pretty much identical for both competing heads.

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4. Flashpoint Xplor 300 Pro / Godox AD300 Pro

A very worthy B10 rival at just a third of the price!

Specifications

Head power: 300Ws

Power range: 9 stops

Power adjustment: 1/3 or 1/10 increments

Power supply: Battery only

Cooling fan: Yes

Modelling lamp: LED, bi-color

Modelling lamp settings: 3000½K ~ 6000½K

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Adorama R2 / Godox X 2.4GHz

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: 1/8000 sec

Head dimensions: 19x10x9cm

Weight per head: 1,250g (including battery)

Reasons to buy

+Incredibly compact+Great battery life+Bi-color modeling lamp is good for video

Reasons to avoid

-Isn't mains-powered 

Sold as the Flashpoint Xplor 300 Pro in the USA and the Godox AD300 Pro in the rest of the world, this brilliant flash head hit the scene gunning straight for the Profoto B10 (elsewhere on this list). However, while the B10 certainly edges it in terms of control and consistency, the fact is that the 300 Pro is just one third the price

Its kit version is currently on backorder, but the 300 Pro is so capable and affordable that you can pick up a couple of heads and modifiers of your choice and have a brilliant bespoke kit of your own. 

A very compact and easily portable unit, the 300 Pro packs 300Ws power with the option of 1/8000 sec high speed sync to overpower the sun and take control of the scene when on location. Its brilliant bi-color modeling light can be used for video, too, with its 3000½K ~ 6000½K temperature range. 

The meaty battery gives you around 320 full-power flashes and charges in just 2½ hours. Optional adapters can mount Profoto, Elinchrom and Broncolor accessories, and the 2.4GHz trigger system is compatible with 7 camera brands. 

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5. Interfit Honey Badger Unleashed 250Ws

The best budget location flash kit

Specifications

Head power: 250Ws

Power range: 9 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops

Power supply: Battery only

Cooling fan: No fan

Modelling lamp: LED, 1250 lumen

Modelling lamp settings: Prop, full, off

Sync socket: 3.5mm jack

Wireless RF trigger: Interfit HSS TTL, £80/$100

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: C N S

Head dimensions: 15x18x15cm

Weight per head: 2,300g

Reasons to buy

+Amazing value+Silent running 

Reasons to avoid

-Modest 250Ws power rating per head-Can’t be mains-powered 

Slightly larger and nearly a kilogram heavier than the mains-powered Honey Badger head (number 2), the newer ‘Unleashed’ edition runs on a rechargeable battery. Indeed, unlike the Elinchrom and Profoto battery-powered kits, you can’t run it from the mains, so you might need to add a spare battery or two to your kit at around £59/$60 each.

Our chosen kit option includes two heads, batteries and mains chargers, two 60cm pop-up softboxes and a sturdy backpack. The optional Interfit HSS TTL remote trigger is similarly great value at £80/$100. This, as its name suggests, enables TTL and high speed sync flash modes. Unlike with the mains kit, there’s no cooling fan here, which means the Unleashed edition is virtually silent in operation – a particular bonus when using its bright 2500 lumens LED modelling lamp as a constant light source for movie capture.

Although the 250Ws head gives less output than the 500Ws heads in our guide, this is the only battery-powered kit that features two flash heads rather than one, making it excellent value at the price.

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6. Profoto B10 Plus

The new ‘Plus’ is bigger and more powerful, making it the best luxury location flash kit

Specifications

Head power: 500Ws

Power range: 10 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops

Power supply: Mains/battery

Cooling fan: Auto-sensing

Modelling lamp: LED, 2500 lumen

Modelling lamp settings: Prop, full, manual, off

Sync socket: None

Wireless RF trigger: Profoto Air Remote TTL, £349/$429

Dedicated TTL/HSS triggering: C N S F MFT

Head dimensions: 11x24x10cm

Weight per head: 1,900g

Reasons to buy

+Luxurious quality, super performance+High-power modelling lamp

Reasons to avoid

-Accessories are expensive-Half the battery life of competitor kits

Larger and 400g heavier than the standard Profoto B10, the new B10 Plus edition is twice as powerful, at 500Ws. Like the Honey Badger Unleashed (number 4), the battery clips into the head instead of being housed in a separate power-pack but, this time, you can power the head from the mains as well as from the battery.

The kit includes a head (twin head kit also available), stand adaptor, battery, battery charger and a padded carrying bag. The kits and accessories are pretty pricey – the heads don’t feature a sync socket and the Profoto Air Remote TTL trigger will set you back an additional £349/$429, while Profoto’s standard OCF Magnum Reflector costs a further £189/$209. 

On the plus side, all components are of very high quality. Rear-panel controls are simple and intuitive. TTL, high speed sync and freeze flash modes are available, and there's an iPhone companion app that links up via built-in Bluetooth.

The powerful LED modelling light is useful for stills and video capture and comes complete with adjustable colour temperature. Recycling speeds are pretty quick but battery life is relatively limited, at 200 full-power flashes.

7. Broncolor Siros 400 S Expert Twin Head Kit WiFi/RFS 2

A high-end studio kit for serious users, this is a kit for precise colour replication

Specifications

Head power: 400Ws

Power range: 9 stops

Power adjustment: 1/10th f/stops

Power supply: Mains

Cooling fan: Yes

Modelling lamp: Halogen, 300Ws

Modelling lamp settings: Not specified

Sync socket: Standard

Wireless RF trigger: Broncolor RFS 2.1

Kit weight: 3,200g

Reasons to buy

+Amazingly fast flash cycle+Superb colour stability

Reasons to avoid

-More expensive than others

At the lighter end of the premium lighting kit space, this kit from Broncolor is built around two of its Siros 400 S lighting heads. These 400Ws monolights deliver plenty of functionality to crow about, not least of which is their nine-stop power range and 1/19,000sec flash duration, allowing you to get thoroughly precise with your lighting.

The Siros S can make use of a specialised "Speed Mode", which specifically speeds up the charge time and flash duration for a super-fast series of exposures, meaning you can capture the most fleeting of moments in huge amounts of detail. At the very fastest setting, this can go up to fifty individual flashes per second, at the cost of a reduction in maximum power.

This comprehensive kit also includes a softbox with speedring, an umbrella, two basic M-stands and bags to carry it all in, so you'll have everything you need to set up a makeshift studio. Fast and effective, the Broncolor Siros 400 S Expert Twin Head Kit  is an ideal lighting solution for pros on the go.

Continuous LED lighting

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8. Rotolight AEOS

More of a lamp than a complete kit

Specifications

Max output: 5,750 lux, 3ft

Power adjustment: Stepless

Power supply: Mains (optional battery)

Bi-colour: Yes

Colour Rendering Index: 96+

Flicker-free: Yes

Cooling fan: No fan

Wireless RF trigger: Phottix Odin II TTL, £125/$125

Head dimensions: 30x2x30cm

Weight per head: 1,400g

Reasons to buy

+Excellent light quality+Good maximum power+Special effects for video lighting

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive to buy-Barely any accessories included

Next is our pick for the best LED panel: Rotolight's AEOS. Although it's nearly three times as expensive as the Manfrotto Lykos Bi-Color LED light (number 8 below), the AEOS is more powerful and has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. 

Good for stills, the AEOS really excels for video capture, with customisable fade up/down and a range of special effects including flickering fire, lightning, TV, strobe and blue flashing emergency vehicle lights. The bi-colour LEDs have a 100,000 hour lifespan and, as with the Manfrotto, enable completely flicker-free output, this time with a colour range of 3150-6300 Kelvin. Maximum output has a much higher rating of 5750 lux, albeit at a shorter distance of 3ft (0.9m). Twice the output is available in flash mode with zero recycle time, complete with high speed sync if you buy an additional Phottix Odin II RF trigger.

On the down-side, the basic kit only includes the circular LED panel itself, a mains power supply, a heavy-duty ball head and a filter pack. The optional carrying case costs £150/$165, and a V-mount li-ion battery costs £275/$300 (without charger) for up to four hours mains-free use.

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9. Manfrotto Lykos Bi-Color

This compact LED panel is a useful companion for your camera

Specifications

Max output: 1,500 lux, 1m

Power adjustment: Stepless

Power supply: Mains (optional battery)

Bi-colour: Yes

Colour Rendering Index: 93+

Flicker-free: Yes

Cooling fan: No fan

Wireless RF trigger: N/A

Head dimensions: 26x4x15cm

Weight per head: 470g

Reasons to buy

+Small and lightweight +Bi-colour LEDs give a useful colour range

Reasons to avoid

-Colour Rendering Index below average-Lighting effect not the softest

The lightweight Manfrotto Lykos Bi-Color constant light is designed to slot into your camera’s hotshoe, via the supplied mini ball head. The ball head and the lamp itself can also be mounted on a regular tripod head for off-camera use, courtesy of standard 1/4-inch threaded sockets.

The kit is based on a rectangular lighting panel that measures 26 x 4 x 15cm and contains 48 high-intensity LEDs. The version on test is the more expensive Bi-Color edition, which contains a useful mix of daylight and tungsten colour temperature LEDs, plus an additional control knob for adjusting the colour balance. An illuminated rear-panel display shows the overall power setting and the percentage split between the bi-colour LEDs. On the down-side the lighting effect is less soft than from a larger LED panel.

The panel has a beam angle of 50 degrees and is rated at 1500 Lux at one metre. In our tests, this equated to an overall power range that enabled apertures of f/1.2 to f/3.5 at 1/60th of a second, using a sensitivity setting of ISO 100. The required aperture at maximum power shrinks to f/3.2 when using only the daylight or tungsten rated LEDs.

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10. NanGuang Luxpad 43H

Amazingly affordable for a bi-colour LED panel

Specifications

Max output: 930 Lux, 1m

Power adjustment: Stepless

Power supply: Mains (optional battery)

Bi-colour: Yes (3200-5600K)

Colour Rendering Index: 95+

Flicker-free: Yes

Cooling fan: No fan

Wireless RF trigger: N/A

Head dimensions: 35x3x24cm

Weight per head: 910g

Reasons to buy

+Relatively cheap but good quality+Bi-colour output+Quiet, fanless operation

Reasons to avoid

-Could be more powerful-No status display on rear panel

The best budget LED panel is the NanGuang Luxpad 43H. Although larger and heavier than the Manfrotto Lykos Bi-Color (number8), this NanGuang is still quite compact and weighs in at less than a kilogram, making it eminently portable. It’s also between a third and half the price of the Manfrotto, making it light on the wallet, too. It actually beats the Manfrotto Colour Rendering Index, so you don't need to worry about sacrificing high-quality illumination.

Like the other LED kits in our round-up, this one is mains-powered. A multi-voltage AC adaptor is supplied with the kit, and you can also run the panel from a pair of optional Sony SP-F type li-ion rechargeable batteries. Alternatively, an optional adaptor is also available for six AA batteries.

Thanks to bi-colour LEDs, stepless temperature balance adjustment is available through a range of 3200-5600K, from tungsten to daylight values. The output power also has stepless control, both adjustments relying on dedicated rotary knobs. However, there’s no status display on the back panel.

Sours: https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/buying-guides/best-photography-lighting-kit

Now discussing:

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