In this review, We’re taking a look at a pair of portable Monoprice LED lights. These lights can be used for either photo or video or even just general lighting. The lights I’m going to tell you about are a 64 LED panel and a larger 160 LED panel. Without further setup, let’s get on to the review.
64 LED Photo/Video Light Panel
As you can see above, Monoprice spends more time on product development than actually coming with a clever name. Their product ID is the 9880. According to the specs, it can produce up to 480 lumens of light in 5500K temperature. That’s a little more than a 40 watt lightbulb, but it’s also all forward facing. The light has a built-in clear defuser. The panel is 3″ x 3″ by 1.2″ deep. It runs on a 4-pack of standard AA batteries. I found this to be a good all around small light.
One really neat feature of the design is that the light actually has cold shoe mounts. For the mount it takes up, it gives you 3 back in return. One on the top and two more on the right and left sides. The light also comes with a 6.5″ extension that’ll screw into the tripod mount if you don’t have an extra cold shoe. Its a very versatile little light. Operation is also dead simple. It doesn’t have a slider switch, but it does have a switch to toggle between two brightness settings. If there is one negative about this light, it’s the tightening wheel for the cold shoe. It’s never really tight enough to be fully secure and it can be a bit difficult to unscrew.
Pricing for this light is currently $33.16. You get it direct from Monoprice. If you need a cheap 3×3 light, it’s worth a look.
- Puts out plenty of light for its size
- Has 3 additional cold shoe mounts
- Built-in defuser
- Uses standard AA batteries
- Cold shoe tightening wheel isn’t the best design. Hard to get truly tight.
- Only two brightness settings
LED Photo Light 160S
The 160S is the big brother of the 64 LED light. As the name implies, this light has 160 LEDs in the 5500K spectrum. Monoprice does’t give the exact lumen rating, but I assure you it’s quite bright. It comes with two light filters, one frosted clear and the other is amber. The light itself is controllable through + and – buttons on the light. The light has a hot shoe mount and can be synced with your camera flash for photography.
The 160S is powered by 6 AA batteries, but if you’re a Sony shooter, they’re an even better value. It’ll take most of the F-series of packs used by Sony’s Alpha DSLRs and HandyCam lines. You’ll need to keep the directions to make sure exactly which ones though. The only documentation is in the included manual. Changing between AAs and battery packs is simple and requires only an included add-on tray. The hot shoe mount isn’t the most secure, but it’s better than the 64 LED version. If you don’t want to mount it on a camera, it also comes with a its own foot stand. If you were hoping for additional cold shoe mounts like the smaller light, you’ll be sadly disappointed. Being able to mount a Mic on top of the 160S would have been very welcome. The other weakness is in the hinge. I haven’t found a way to change the angle without removing the nut. If you’re doing this in the field, it’s too easy to lose.
The 160S costs just a bit under $50 at $49.55. For the amount of light it gives off, I found this price very reasonable. If you need a large light than can fit on top of a camera, the Monoprice LED light 160S is a great value in camera lights.
- 160 LEDs for a LOT of light
- Multiple light settings
- Uses AAs or Sony battery packs
- included light filters
- included stand
- Hot shoe connection
- No cold shoe on top for mounting other accessories
- changing angle of light requires removing nut on hinge
Both Monoprice lights represent excellent options whether you’re a beginner or looking to add more lights to your mobile setup. They’re inexpensive and have quite a few features for the money. I have no qualms using them myself or recommending them to others.