GVM proves studio lighting doesn't have to cost photographers a fortune

GVM Pro monolight
(Image credit: GVM)

Off-camera lighting can be an expensive business, but GVM (Great Video Maker) is making studio monolights more affordable. It's latest offering is the pro-grade GVM PRO-SD650B bi-color monolight, designed for enthusiast and professional applications.

(Image credit: GVM)

Headline features include a high color rendering index (CRI) of 97+ (meaning the light is able to reveal color exceptionally accurately). Color temperature is adjustable between 2700K and 6800K, and unlike some bi-color lights, power output is automatically matched to the corresponding Kelvin temperature, to maintain consistency and avoid dimming at the extremes of the temperature range.

The powerful 650W-equivalent light output can be dimmed smoothly through 1000 steps, and through a choice of four dimming curves: Line, Exp, Log, and S. Additional lighting effects such as flickering bulb, fire, strobe and candle simulations are available for cinematic looks, while an additional 12 light source modes are on tap for replicating ambient lighting.

This is all controlled via a separate Control Box unit which incorporates industry-standard DMX connectivity, as well as a button and display interface. Alternatively, the PRO-SD650B can be controlled over Bluetooth with support for mesh networking via the accompanying iOS or Android app, allowing multiple monolights to be controlled from a single smart device. Power comes from 100-240v mains input, or the PRO-SD650B can be run off a pair of optional V-mount batteries.

The GVM PRO-SD650B is available now from Amazon, priced at $999.

GVM Pro monolight

(Image credit: GVM)

If you don't need quite such a professional setup, then the PRO-SD300C offers the same CRI 97+ color rendering accuracy as the PRO-SD650B, and with an even greater 2000K-10000K temperature range, just with a lower 300W brightness. The control interface is moved to the monolight itself, though you can still control the light via the GVM Bluetooth app, and the PRO-SD300C supports mesh Bluetooth networking for controlling multiple lights simultaneously.

The GVM PRO-SD300C is priced at $549/ £329.99.

(Image credit: GVM)

The baby monolight of the range is the PRO-SD200B. Its 200W brightness makes it ideal for a smaller home studio, yet you still get the accurate CRI 97+ color rendering, stepless dimming, and dimming curve pre-sets found in GVM's more expensive models. Support for mesh Bluetooth networking, as well as app-based control, are also present, as is DMX Control and a choice of lighting effects and light source matching.

The PRO-SD200B costs $239/£259.99 at Amazon, making it exceptionally good value for a monolight with such an extensive feature set.

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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.