Best video lights in 2024: get better lighting for vlogging and filmmaking

Rotolight Neo 2
(Image credit: Rotolight)

Using the best video lights will instantly lift the visual quality of your content, whether you're recording footage or streaming live. While natural light is totally unpredictable, these devices will create a consistent and pleasing light for your subject. 

The best video lights are a great addition to one of the best cameras for video as they allow you to balance exposure levels in a scene, retaining more detail in shadows and highlights. You can also use them to create effects, using different colors to evoke different moods or even to simulate things like a flickering TV or the blue flashing light of an emergency vehicle. Lights can help you tell a story.

They don't have to be bulky and expensive, either: a video light can be something as simple as an LED panel that fixes to the hotshoe of a camera. In our guide to the best video lights below, we've picked out a range of affordable but capable units that any videographer can make use of. 

So whether you're working with a mirrorless camera, DSLR setup or shooting on your camera phone, read on to discover the best video lights available today, and the facts and figures you need to choose the right one for you.

(Image credit: Rotolight)
The best powerful video light that is also a flash

Specifications

Color temperature: 3000-10000K
Output (0.9m): 5443 Lux at 3 feet
Power: NPF-750 24V
Dimensions: 145 x 50mm
Weight: 354g (excl battery)

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and lightweight
+
Constant light and flash modes
+
Wide range of lighting effects

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively expensive
-
Flash power is quite low
-
Wireless flash trigger sold separately

The Rotolight NEO 3 builds on the success of the preceding NEO 2, adding a raft of impressive new features. Both models deliver flash output as well as constant lighting, but the NEO 3 delivers a full range of color in both modes, with full RGBWW options. It comes in various configurations and kits and accessories will vary according to which you choose.

Small but powerful and extremely versatile as a constant LED light, the NEO 3 is a quantum leap forward from the NEO 2. It delivers a full color range in both constant and flash modes, with a huge range of electronic color filters and special effects, all available via a simple and intuitive color touchscreen menu. Maximum flash output is disappointing compared to a ‘proper’ flashgun but, even so, the NEO 3 is a brilliant solution for anyone who needs to shed a little extra light on both stills and video capture. For more details, read our full Rotolight NEO 3 review.

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)
The best video light for extremely portable power

Specifications

Colour temperature: 2700º K to 6200º K
Max power: 20708 lux at 100W
Power source: Optional Li-ion battery / 100W USB-C PD / DC-Adapter
Dimensions: 144.5 x 94 x 36.1 mm
Weight: 385g without battery

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful light
+
Very portable
+
Cooling fan is effective and whisper quiet
+
Accessory ecosystem is well thought out

Reasons to avoid

-
100W PD power source hard to find
-
Gets hot with extended use
-
No RGB colors or lighting effects
-
Only 30 mins battery power at 100%

The X100 is a revelation for content creators who move around a lot, this light is super compact and portable and can be set up almost anywhere instantly with its optional battery (available in the combo kit). The 100W power is bright enough for all close to medium-distance situations such as talking to camera or a studio shoot. It is a shame there are no lighting effects for a content creator aimed light though. The light can get also quite hot with extended use, so you need to think about storage if moving around frequently, but the DynaVolt fan does a great job at keeping it cool. 

Cool features like PD USB-C, as well as a dedicated power supply offer improved versatility. If you choose to get the optional battery pack, then this makes it even easier to get great lighting on the go. The accessory system is well thought out, with great quality accessories from Zhiyun as well as a Bowens mount adapter. 

Read our full Zhiyun Molus X100 review for more details.

(Image credit: Zhiyun)
A heavy-duty handheld light with a range of colors to choose from

Specifications

Colour temperature: 2700º K to 6200º K
Max power: 20708 lux at 100W
Power source: 2600MAH Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 502 x 46 x 47 mm
Weight: 920g

Reasons to buy

+
Adjustable color temperature and hues
+
Variable intensity
+
100W output

Reasons to avoid

-
Fans can make a little noise
-
Not waterproof

The Zhiyun Fiveray FR100C Light Wand is compact enough to carry in your kitbag but thanks to its 100W output it will illuminate the darkest locations. Its rechargeable battery should keep it shining for the duration of your shoot and the control dial enables you to adjust color temperatures to match the location’s available light or you can dial in neon hues for a more creative look.

Its fans can get a little noisy to cope with that intense light in such a small package, which is something to be aware of for sound recording.

(Image credit: Rotolight)
A heavy-duty hand-held light ideal for larger shoots

Specifications

Colour temperature: 3000-10,000K
Max power: 11,500 Lux at 3 feet
Power source: mains, optional V-lock 24V 150W Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 295 x 25mm
Weight: 2.4kg (excl battery)

Reasons to buy

+
RGBWW constant light and flash
+
Digital filters and special effects
+
Slim, lightweight construction

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive to buy
-
Some kits lack battery packs
-
RF wireless trigger sold separately

This powerful, hugely versatile yet lightweight portable LED lighting panel is a radical redesign compared with the original AEOS. It gives you 16.7 million colors of light to play with, instead of just various degrees of white. And that goes for both constant lighting and flash, the latter with a high-speed sync option. The interface is also completely overhauled, with the addition of a color touchscreen that makes it quick and easy to access a huge range of lighting options, digital filters and special effects. 

The AEOS 2 is available in several kit configurations: the cheapest 'Basic' kit only includes a mains power adaptor and no battery, although the light does come complete with a good-quality diffuser dome. The Explorer Kit adds a battery and charger, plus a padded soft case. Next up the price ladder, the Masters Kit doubles up on lamps and diffusion domes while also adding light stands and a padded soft case, but this time batteries aren’t included. Top of the range is the Ultimate Kit, which is essentially the same as the Masters Kit with the addition of two batteries and chargers.

Even the cheapest AEOS 2 Basic kit is still a hefty investment, but it’s a joy to use and a top performer, making it worth the money. For more details, see our full Rotolight AEOS 2 review.

(Image credit: Future)
Combining continuous LEDs and flash making them really versatile lights

Specifications

Color temperature: 5600k
Output: 6000 (continuous) 12,000 (flash)
Power: Battery pack or mains
Weight: 785g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact, lightweight, powerful
+
Rugged build 
+
Consistent flash

Reasons to avoid

-
Fixed color temp
-
Pricey

Designed with both the photographer and videographer in mind, the StellaPro Reflex S dual head kit is compact yet powerful and perfect for shooting in a studio or on location. When on flash mode it can keep up with a continuous burst mode of 20fps which is perfect even if shooting high-action sports. When using the lights on continuous mode that can run for up to 30 minutes on full power or an impressive 10,000 flashes so you can shoot all day long even on location. It is expensive and what's more is the accessories are also pricey so that is worth thinking about but it is an excellent hybrid kit that performs very well.

Zhiyun Molus G200 review

(Image credit: George Cairns)
Best for extreme power in a compact form factor

Specifications

Colour temperature: 2700K - 6500K
Max power: 9,460 Lux
Power source: DC-Adapter
Dimensions: 127 x 67.5 x 225mm (head without reflector)
Weight: 2.209kg (without reflector)

Reasons to buy

+
9460 LUX output
+
300W output
+
180º tilt range 
+
Quiet cooling fans
+
Music mode

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of animated preset light effects

The Molus G200 LED light is far too bright for my specific needs as a video maker but if you need to light a subject from a distance then it is well worth considering (especially thanks to its ability to boost the default 200W output to the max 300W). It will suit professional corporate and studio-based filmmakers more than social media content creators, who might be better off with the cheaper and smaller Molus X100.  Music mode could be useful to certain connect creators but I imagine that it’s not a deal breaker for most people. The lack of animated preset effects (such as Flash and Lightning) is disappointing, given that they are featured on other similar COB bi-color lights.

Read our full Zhiyun Molus G200 review for more details.

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)
The best video light for extremely portable power

Specifications

Colour temperature: 2700K - 6500K
Max power: 2,376 lux (11,194 lux with reflector)
Power source: 100W USB-C PD / DC-Adapter
Dimensions: 90.6 x 67 x 66.95 mm
Weight: 300g

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful brightness for its size
+
Very portable
+
Cooling fan is effective and whisper quiet
+
Excellent accessory ecosystem

Reasons to avoid

-
100W PD power source hard to find
-
No RGB colors or lighting effects
-
No optional battery pack
-
Quirky looks not for everyone

The Zhiyun MOLUS G60 is probably one of the best options for any content creators who move around a lot, who don’t have a lot of space, or just need a simple but incredibly functional lighting source. The 60W power is bright enough for most close to mid-distance situations such as talking to camera or a studio shoot, and the DynaVolt fan does a great job at keeping it cool. Neat features like PD USB-C, as well as a dedicated power supply offer improved versatility. The accessory system is well thought out, with great quality accessories from Zhiyun as well as a Bowens mount adapter. 

There are some small disappointments like the lack of an optional dedicated battery pack, or lighting effects or colors, but these are easily looked past when you are reminded of how much power Zhiyun managed to squeeze into this Rubix Cube size box. 

Read our full Zhiyun Molus G60 review for more details.

(Image credit: George Cairns / Digital Camera World)
The best spotlight video light

Specifications

Color temperature: 1800K - 20000K
Output: 88W
Power: Battery pack or mains
Size: 224 × 110 × 88mm
Weight: 1.08kg

Reasons to buy

+
RGBLAC technology allows a wider range of colors
+
Supplied Bowens mount adaptor lets you add accessories 
+
Portable thanks to battery grip
+
Extensive range of customizable special lighting effects

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively narrow beam (using the supplied reflector)
-
Expensive

The Forza 60C is an expensive bit of kit but when it comes to accurate and creative color rendition this powerful yet compact LED outperforms many of its rivals thanks to its advanced RGBLAC color technology. We also enjoyed its wide range of creative animated lighting effects though these will be of more use to creative video drama producers than to photographers. 

Despite the intensity of light funneling through the attached reflector, the LED didn’t run too hot (and we didn’t notice any distracting fan noise), so we could quickly pack it away at the end of the shoot without a long cool-down period.  A compact, powerful, precise, and versatile LED.

Read our full Nanlite Forza 60C review for more details.

(Image credit: Beth Nicholls / DCW)
A powerful light perfect for shooting video or stills

Specifications

Colour temperature: 2700K - 6500K
Max power: 84500 LUX within 1m
Power source: Dual Adapter / V-Mount Battery
Dimensions: 240 x 122 x 237.6mm
Weight: 5.55kg

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful light 
+
Easy to use 
+
Many adjustment settings

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't come with stand
-
Softbox tricky to assemble

With a variable color output from 2700 to 6500K for interior, exterior, and mixed light situations, this video light is a great choice for both location shoots and gloomy studios. Powerful enough to be used as a key light, it allows you to steplessly adjust the brightness of the fixture to get exactly the right brightness level. It's easy to use and operate, boasts the latest in COB light technology, and provides you with accurate colors and well-lit subjects. It's great for shooting stills too: for more details, see our SmallRig RC 220B COB Bi-Color LED Video Light review.

  (Image credit: Lume Cube)
A tiny but powerful light that can be attached to your cameras hotshoe

Specifications

Colour temperature: 5600K
Lux (at 1m): 750
Power source: Lithium-ion battery
Dimensions: 41 x 41 x 43 cm
Weight: 99g

Reasons to buy

+
Tiny but powerful
+
Bluetooth connectivity
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Original was more waterproof

It was a long wait, but we finally got a proper successor to the charming Lume Cube, the little mountable light. The Lume Cube 2.0 is pretty much everything you could want – a brighter light compared to its predecessor with a larger beam angle and overall better quality. 

Weighing just 99g, it's small enough (and affordable enough) that you could quite easily construct a setup with three or four of them. The battery life is good, and USB-C compatibility is a welcome addition to this version. 

The only real downside is that the waterproofing has been scaled back a little on this iteration – possibly due to the new construction, it's only rated down to 30ft. And if you're not a deep-sea diver, do you really care? For more details, see our full Lume Cube 2.0 review.

(Image credit: George Cairns)
Great color fidelity for both video and stills

Specifications

Colour temperature: 2700K - 6500K
Max power: 84500 LUX within 1m
Power source: Dual Adapter / V-Mount Battery
Dimensions: 240 x 122 x 237.6mm
Weight: 5.55kg

Reasons to buy

+
149,000 LUX output with special effects
+
Quiet cooling fans
+
Variable light intensity

Reasons to avoid

-
Fixed color temperature
-
Glitchy app experience

The powerful SmallRig RC 350D COB (chip-on-board) LED Video Light is the perfect accessory for a studio or location-based shoot, combining a strong key light output for talking heads style interviews with a collection of special lighting effects to enhance dramatic productions. Its relatively silent fans won’t give your sound recordist any concerns. It's an expensive device that will suit the needs of a high-end video producer rather than a hobbyist vlogger.

If connectivity is important to you, then note there were a few issues with controlling the light using the companion app. The light is also on the pricier side compared to some of the competition, but its features and build quality go towards justifying a higher price.

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)
The best wand light for power and color accuracy

Specifications

Color temperature: 2700K - 6200K
Output: 60W
Power: Lithium Battery (4200K/100% Brightness) 24min
Dimensions: 448 x 53 x 53 mm
Weight: 891g

Reasons to buy

+
Bright powerful light
+
Battery power with backup DC/USB power option
+
Easy to adjust variable color temperature and brightness
+
Cooling works well

Reasons to avoid

-
No resistance feedback when turning dials
-
Limited battery life at peak brightness

The Zhiyun FIVERAY V60 is one of the least complicated ways to instantly improve the lighting in your photos or videos and is well worth adding to your kit bag. The V60 is simple to set up and control, you can easily put the light in previously inaccessible places and become even more creative with your shots. The V60 is bright enough to light up a substantial space down to a blogging studio, and variable color temperatures can match any environment. Music sync mode and lighting effects, especially when controlled via the Zhiyun app are one of the simplest ways to step up your storytelling. 

The V60 is let down a little by loose control knobs that don't offer enough resistance to accidental or precise turns. The Max boosted power mode is also a useful addition, but this is first and foremost a portable light, and it just won't also be worth the hassle of carrying the DC adapter and finding an outlet for many.

Read our full Zhiyun Fiveray V60 review for more details.

(Image credit: Future)
A very portable video light but with basic features

Specifications

Color temperature: 2700K~6200K
Output: 40W
Power: Lithium Polymer Battery (3.7v 2,600mAh)
Dimensions: 137 x 78 x 29 mm
Weight: 320g

Reasons to buy

+
Very bright for its size
+
Portable with good battery life
+
Fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't light huge areas
-
No effects or colors
-
Not easy to use with light modifiers

For content creators and videographers who regularly shoot on the move, the Zhiyun Fiveray M40 LED light offers a versatile lighting solution that won't weigh you down. It's very small and portable, not a huge amount thicker or wider than a large phone so can be used no matter how small the space you're shooting in. 

On full brightness, this light is seriously bright for its size, but it can also be dimmed from 0-100% to shoot each shooting scenario, it also has a very quiet built-in fan for cooling, which means longer shoot times. Unfortunately, its only pitfall is there are no lighting effects or colors to choose from.

Read our full Zhiyun Fiveray M40 review for more details.

FAQs

What factors should you consider when buying a video light?

To choose the right video light for your needs there are a number of things you need to take into account. These include: 

Power supply: Can the LED be used by both a mains plug and a battery? This will enable a more versatile set-up and enable you to film both indoors and outdoors

Color temperature: Look out for the LED’s colour temperature range; a wide range is preferable as this will give you both warm and cool light options to match the ambient light you are shooting in or the effect you’re trying to create.

Modifiers: Check to see if the LED comes with any modifiers in the box. These could be diffusers to soften the light or filters to change the light’s color temperature.

Flicker-free: Some LEDs show a fluctuation in brightness, known as flicker. The best lights are flicker free to provide a constant level of brightness.

Bluetooth technology: The inclusion of Bluetooth technology in your LED light will allow you to connect to a smartphone and control adjustments like brightness and colour temperature remotely.

Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.