I recently got my hands on a Savage Luminous Pro LED Video Light and decided to toss it on my camera for a photoshoot. This new LED light has a couple really neat features, and while obviously working wonders for illuminating video, I decided to try it out as a continuous light source for a few quick lifestyle looks for a client. This isn’t the norm, but if you’re in a crunch, or just enjoy shooting with constant light, I will say, this LED light is quite the catch.
Over the past decade, I’ve gone through a handful of LED panels for my DSLRs. As many people do, I made the mistake of purchasing the first cheap one I found online. Unfortunately for me, it was a non-dimmable, non-color temperature variable hunk of junk. It was incredibly bright and didn’t even have a mechanism at the bottom to tighten it onto my hot shoe. After being incredibly agitated with it’s lack of features, I found another one that did have a dimmable feature but had these magnetic filters that fixed onto the front to change the color temperature. Carrying around filters was cumbersome and I got tired of it really quick.
Then I found the Savage LED Video Light. The features are great and include color temperature variable from 3200-5500K, extra-long 3 hour run time when it’s used with the included battery, and the ability to connect three together to provide a wrap-around light source. I knew the color variable was going to be huge and I really wanted to try it out with a quick client shoot I had for a local brand. The client had a specific look in mind and I knew I could make the light work to my advantage.
Keep in mind, this is a video light first and foremost, and it will work great as a video panel affixed to a hotshoe. However, I wanted to show how you can use it for photos and even use it on an off-center bracket. Experimenting with your gear is the key to creativity, using a video panel for photos could give you a finalized image that you never even thought of. My only concern was if having this video light on throughout the shoot would grab some attention from people passing by, but once I started shooting I realized people just thought it was a video shoot and stayed out of my way. Overall the use of the panel for photos didn’t slow down the shooting process at all, and if anything made it easier to find my focus quickly around the dark spots we were shooting.
For this test, I used the Custom Brackets Mini-RC 1/4″ – 20 Mount. This is a bracket typically used with a speedlight, however, I found that using it at a vertical angle fit perfectly on my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 35mm f/1.4L. Being able to move the hotshoe clip on the LED panel was a great feature. You’re able to clip it vertically or horizontally in a few seconds. Savage also made the panel attachable to other identical panels, giving you the ability to attach three in a row to give you a wraparound effect.
The LED panel isn’t very heavy so carrying it around was easy, even on my bracket. Putting the panel directly off the lens gave me the exact lighting I was looking for, I got the shadow to the left of the model that would separate her from the background and give us the feeling that she’s popping out of the photo. With other smaller panels I found the light being a little too harsh since the light source was smaller. The broad output of the Savage LED panel made the light more soft and helped when lighting the model I was with.
My favorite part about the Savage LED panel is the convenient color temperature knob. This made shooting out on location quick and simple, I was able to match the color temperature of my environment quite easily without having to lug around a bunch of temperature gels. With a range of 3200k to 5600k, you’re covered in nearly any environment.
Shooting photos with constant light requires a strong light output so you don’t have to crank up that ISO to get crisp pictures at relatively quick shutter speeds. The Savage light panel has great light output at 1440 Lumens at 1m measured at 5500K or 3200K and 820 Lumens at 4200K. I was staying around the 3200k to match the lighting in the LED lit Los Angeles streets.
When I pulled the panel out of the box the first thing that struck me was how thin the panel was – it’s almost half the size of the other panels I’ve owned. I have attempted to attach other LED panels to my camera with the Mini-RC bracket, but they were way too thick to attach without hitting my camera. The thin profile of the Savage LED panel made it a breeze to attach to the bracket.
In conclusion, the Savage Luminous Pro LED Video Light will be the only panel that will find it’s way into my camera bag. Using it as a constant light on a photoshoot is convenient, however, I can’t wait to actually use it for what it was actually made for, which is video. With all the nifty features on it, it will make any video shoot in the future simple and quick. Retailing at $107.99, I would say that this LED Panel is one of the best affordable video lights on the market.