Lighting is very important when it comes to videography and photography. The lights you usually find built-in on DSLR cameras can come off as harsh, negatively affecting how your footage turns out. On-Camera LED lights are very useful tools for any videographer or photographer. They’re convenient to use and easy to set up, significantly enhancing your video and photo quality.
- 1 Why Are On Camera Lights Useful?
- 1.1 1. Best Overall Value On Camera Light
- 1.2 2. Runner Up
- 1.3 3. Best “Premium Choice” On-Camera Light
- 1.4 4. Best Ultra Thin Design
- 1.5 5. Best On Camera Light – Budget Option
- 2 Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best On Camera Video Light
Why Are On Camera Lights Useful?
Before making a purchase, you may be wondering what on-camera lights are useful for. Here’s some examples.
- Run and Gun Shooting – if you’re going to be moving around a lot while you record, and don’t plan on setting up lights with each individual shot, it can be very useful to have a mounted light.
- On-The-Street Interviews – If you’re doing street interviews, on camera lights are your best option for keeping your subjects well lit, especially at night.
- Photography Without The Flash – If you’re doing burst-shot photography, or simply have a subject who is sensitive to flashes, you can opt for a continuous on-camera light to avoid blinks and epileptic seizures.
- Getting Dramatic – On camera lights are much more harsh and jarring than proper three-point lighting setups are. They can be used to achieve a more dramatic, stylized aesthetic.
1. Best Overall Value On Camera Light
The best overall On Camera light that we would like to recommend is the Altura Photo 160 for its great features that come at a nice valued price. The Photo 160 has a soft and bright light with 8 levels of brightness for finer control, which is more than other on-camera lights in the market. It has an ultra bright light that maxes out at 5500k, which replicates daylight.
It has a lightweight design that makes it perfect for on-camera applications. You can also keep track of your light’s battery by checking the 4-LED indicator on the rear side of the camera.
This on-camera light does come in a kit that comes with 1 soft diffusion filter (Frosted Diffuser) and 1 tungsten (Orange) color conversion filter. It also comes with a rechargeable Li-ion battery, a charger, and an adjustable Hot-Shoe Mount.
You’ll get all of this for your camera light coming packed in a portable hard-shell protective carrying case that makes it easier to travel with.
Overall this is an excellent on-camera light both in quality and in value for the user. The Photo 160 is a high-quality camera light that comes at a pretty affordable price, considering the features that come with it.
2. Runner Up
The runner up for our top 5 list for best On Camera lights is the L116T from VILTROX. The L116T is a nice lightweight and portable camera light that adopts the new LED honeycomb design. It has high brightness levels, nature and soft lights, and stable color temperatures that are suitable for many situations.
You will find that the color temperature can be adjusted between 3200k-5200k with the brightness levels adjustable between 20-1oo%. The battery life for this On Camera light can last around 2.4 hours at maximum brightness. Both nature and softs lights are great as they don’t emit the brightness in a harsh manner.
We really like the display on this camera light as it allows you to easily monitor brightness levels, color temperature, and battery life. The light itself has a nice durable and thin design that can handle a variety of different situations, both indoor filming and outdoor. It’s compatible with DSLRs, DV Camcorders, and tripods.
This camera light comes with:
- 1 L116T LED light
- 1 Hot shoe adapter
- 1 NP-F550 battery
- 1 battery charger
- 1 User manual
Overall, the L116T is an excellent option for anyone who’s looking to buy an On-Camera Light for their filming set-up. You’ll get a nice set of lights at a very good price.
3. Best “Premium Choice” On-Camera Light
The LED-7100T makes our list as the premium choice On Camera light for DSLRs in 2019. This camera light is great for anyone who’s looking for something that will feel very professional and premium. The LED-7100T comes from Genaray’s professional series of on-camera lights, offering a bright, soft light output. It has precision controls that makes it easy to adjust brightness and control your lighting settings.
You can adjust the brightness to a warm 3200k, all the way up to a 5600k for more of a “cool” look in color temperature, great for different shooting conditions. This light also has 312 LEDs that deliver up to 1400 lux brightness from 3ft. away. The brightness on the LED-7100T is dimmable from 10%-100% without any light flickering.
It’s also easy to adjust the color and brightness using the smooth-turning dials on the rear side of the camera light. You also get a magnetic snap-on diffuser that lets you soften the light output and reduce the contrast between the different areas of the subject you are shooting/filming.
We’d also like to mention the 360° swivel and 180° tilt ball head and the protective carrying case that comes included with this light, adding to this already great package.
Overall, the LED-7100T from Genaray is a very professional on-camera light that is perfect for anyone looking for something that’s is very high-quality. It’s a durable on-camera light that will definitely make a difference in your videography, photography, and your overall work-flow.
4. Best Ultra Thin Design
The ESDDI 3200-5200k On-Camera light is a great choice for anyone who’s looking for something with a thinner design. Having a thinner designed on-camera light makes it easier to travel with and can be more convenient to use in filming/photography situations.
Even though this camera light has a thinner design, it still works great at emitting light.
This camera light has a Bi-color light panel that provides 3200k-5600k adjustable color temperature while preserving over 95 CRI (Color Rendering Index), helping reproduce every detail. You can increase brightness and dim the lighting down to fit different types of situations (Dimming Range 10%-99%). You won’t need to install any extra color filters since there’s already the Direct Color Adjustment feature.
And package includes a cold shoe adapter- exactly what you need to mount this light with your DSLR, camcorder or tripod.
This On Camera light comes with:
- 1 PLV-380 Light Panel
- 1 Cold Shoe Adapter
- 1 NP-F550 Battery
- 1 Charger with Micro-USB Charging Cable
- 1 User Manual
The ESDDI 3200-5200k is a great on-camera light with an ultra-thin design. It’s highly portable and easy to use while providing you with good quality lighting when using a DSLR camera.
5. Best On Camera Light – Budget Option
The last on-camera light on the list that we want to talk about is the 160 LED from Neewer. This is a great choice for anyone who’s looking for an on-camera light in a lower price range. It has a lightweight design that is durable, making it easy to travel with.
It features 160 super-bright LED lights to help brighten the shot. This light is also equipped with a dimmer switch that allows you to adjust the intensity while you’re shooting. The color temperature of the light is 5600k, but you can adjust down to 3200k with the 2 filters that are included. These filters can be used to apply a spotlight effect, a diffuse effect, and for reducing the color temperature.
This light features a standard hot shoe, allowing you to use it on a wide variety of DSLR cameras, camcorders, and tripods. It also comes equipped with a pivoting head, which allows you to raise or lower the light’s angle while in use. This light has a good heat dissipation system that extends the life of the bulbs. There’s also low consumption and power saving modes. The battery life usually lasts between 60-80 minutes. It does require 6 AA batteries, however, with the included battery adapter, you can use specific Sony NP series (NP-F550, NP-FM55H, NP-FH60), or Panasonic CGR-D16S rechargeable batteries. (Please keep in mind that batteries are not included)
Overall, the 160 LED is an excellent on-camera light if you’re shopping with a lower budget. It definitely gets the job done at a fraction of the price when compared to the premium LED 7100T by Genaray. You’ll find good use with this light as it will definitely improve your lighting in photography and videos. This is a great choice for a starter light for those who are just getting started.
Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best On Camera Video Light
While all those options and great and all, they’re not very helpful if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here are a few factors you should be taking into consideration when trying to choose the best on camera led light to suit your needs.
Thickness and Weight
If your setup is already light, you may be more willing to accept a heftier on camera light. Conversely, if it is very heavy, or if you are approaching the weight limit on your stabilization, you may want to consider purchasing a lighter choice.
Battery life is an important factor. Our favorite lights are those that allow for batteries that can be changed out, so you don’t need to take a break from shooting to recharge.
This factor is also tied to the previous one, as thinner lights can’t house as many batteries.
Color Temperature Range & Dimmability
Finally, depending on what you’re looking to shoot, and if you own gels or not, you may want to pick an option with a wide range of dimming and color temperature options. If you just need a simple device to improve lighting conditions, these features are optional, but if you want more versatility, they’re a worthwhile investment.