Best LED panels for photographers: 6 top models tested and rated

    | Accessories | Reviews | 04/04/2014 00:01am
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    Delivering constant illumination, LED panels have their uses for photography, but you need to choose one carefully. Here we’ve rounded up 6 of the best LED panels for photographers to see which offers the best value for money.

    As light sources, arrays of high-efficiency LED panels have found favour in everything from torches that you can wear on your head to low-energy lights for homes, offices and shops.

    LED panels also have advantages over flashguns for photographic use. Instead of a bright but very short pulse of light they deliver constant output, which makes it easier to view lighting effects while composing a shot.

    The down side is that the maximum output of LED panels is typically much less powerful than that of a flashgun, so you’ll often find you need to place an LED panel very close to what you’re shooting.

    Constant lighting is essential for video shooting. LED panels can be effective for this, but be wary of models which give a flickering output, especially when the power setting is reduced. None of the LED panels in this test group exhibit flickering.

    To test the maximum output of competing panels, we used a Sekonic Litemaster Pro L478DR in incident metering mode, placed at a distance of one metre from each panel in turn.

    The aperture for a correct exposure was measured in the dark at ISO200 and a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second.

    SEE MORE: A layman’s guide to LED light panels

    Best LED panels for photographers: 01 Interfit Matinee LED 320

    Best LED panels for photographers: 6 top models tested and rated

    Price: £165, $240
    Despite being the second cheapest panel in the group, the Matinee boasts a fairly sizeable active surface area of 25x8cm.

    It’s still lightweight enough to be mounted in a hotshoe, and a mini ball head for this or tripod fitment is supplied. A mains power pack is also included.

    Alternatively, you can run the panel from a Li-ion camera-style battery, which can be bought separately complete with mains charger.

    The maximum claimed output of 1900 Lux is impressive for a panel of this size, and dual-colour LEDs enable you to vary the colour temperature between 3200-5600K.

    SEE MORE: What is colour temperature: free photography cheat sheet

    Adjustments for this as well as output power are easily made using the two rotary knobs. In our tests, the maximum power in operation equated to a lens aperture of f/3.6.

    Verdict
    Pros Fairly powerful yet light; variable colour temperature.
    Cons Can’t be powered from regular AA batteries.
    We say Large enough for soft lighting, and unbeatable value.

    Score: 4/5

    Best LED panels for photographers: 01 Interfit Matinee LED 320
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    Best LED panels for photographers: 06 Limelite Mosaic Daylight 30cm LED Panel
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    Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 12:01 am under Accessories, Reviews.

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