Whether you’re chatting with friends on Zoom, trying to impress clients in a videoconference, or webcasting to your adoring public, one thing’s for sure. After so long relying on video link-ups for keeping in touch when we haven’t been able to meet face-to-face, everybody’s sick and tired of bland and boring background lighting, based on rudimentary overhead room illumination or daylight creeping in through a window. The Godox CL10 aims to jazz things up with a plethora of lighting colors and special effects, adding some pizzazz to your video presence.
Godox CL10 specifications
Power supply: USB 5V/2A
LED power: 10W
RGB color: 0-360 degrees
Max illumination: 1,100 LUX
Beam angle: 120 degrees
Wireless: Remote controller, Smartphone app
Light effects modes: 39
Compact and lightweight without being flimsy or overly small, the Godox CL10 is an LED-based lamp that aims to deliver just the right ambience for webcasting, whatever mood you wish to convey. As such, it offers full control over color, with an advertised 36,000 options that step through the visible spectrum. On top of that, it boasts a similarly wide range of special effects, including flash, laser, intermittent bulb, TV light, candle, flickering fire, fireworks, police car, fire truck, ambulance, music, and SOS, most with additional sub-selections.
Although suitable for subtle stills photography lighting, the main emphasis is definitely on video capture, where the CL10 benefits from a silent, passive cooling system. Power is supplied from a bundled USB mains adapter and 2-meter cable, the lamp itself featuring a USB type-C port. As such, you can run it not only from the mains but also from a computer or laptop that you’re using for webcasting. The downside is that the CL10 has no internal battery, nor the option of adding rechargeable batteries or a Li-ion battery pack to cut down on cable clutter or extend its placement beyond the reach of your longest power lead. Even so, if you’re webcasting from outdoors via your mobile phone, for example, you could always use a USB power bank as an electrical supply.
Onboard controls are rudimentary to say the least, boiling down to a single on/off pushbutton. Straight out of the box, all adjustments are made via the bundled remote controller, which connects to the lamp via an infrared link. Logical and mostly straightforward, the remote controller features a top row of buttons for on/off and brightness adjustments. Just below this is a bigger bank of buttons which are labelled for basic red, green, blue and white light color options, along with plentiful unlabeled buttons for a multitude of colors from ranging from orange, yellow and purple to the likes of indigo, carmine and purple-pink. Just below this, two pairs of buttons enable you to increase or decrease the hue and saturation of each preset color.
The bottom section of the remote controller is dedicated to the selection of special lighting effects. There are 14 buttons in total, each with graphical icons for easy reference, almost all of which have three different options. For example, pressing the + or - button when in the ‘flash’ effect mode cycles through flash, press conference and paparazzi alternatives. For many of the effects, the +/- buttons simply alter the frequency or speed.
Build and handling
Although lightweight at just 270g, the CL10 feels well-engineered and sturdily built, typical of Godox products. The central LED lamp and its surrounding metalized circular reflector measure 7.6-inches in diameter, producing a fairly soft lighting effect from fairly close up with an extensive beam angle of 120 degrees. The built-in mounting adapter connects to a supplied plinth and features tilt and swivel adjustments with separate locking knobs, which are easy and intuitive to operate. Remove the plinth and the mounting adapter enables direct attachment to a standard floor-standing or tabletop lighting stand.
The infrared remote control has the customary ‘line of sight’ requirement and can’t ‘see’ through obstacles in its path. However, the CL10 also features built-in Bluetooth and you can download a free Android/Apple app for alternatively controlling the lamp from a smart device. It also has an internal microphone, for driving the dual-option sound-to-light special effect modes.
The CL10 has a 10W power consumption at maximum brightness, which is pretty frugal. The maximum light output is rated at 1,100 LUX using the green color option. In our tests, the equating Guide number at ISO 100 in meters measured between 1.4 and 1.6, depending on the color of light selected, but it’s fairly uniform across most of the spectrum. So basically, if you’re shooting an object with the lamp at a 1-meter distance, you’d need a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second with an aperture of around f/1.4-1.6 at ISO 100 for a ‘correct’ exposure, when using only a single CL10 for illumination.
Naturally, f/1.4-1.6 is a wider aperture than most lenses can deliver but you could use a slower shutter speed or bump up your camera’s ISO setting as necessary. it’s a bit of a moot point anyway, as the lamp is really designed for secondary, ambient lighting rather than as a primary light source. For its intended purpose, it delivers plenty of oomph.
Verdict: Godox CL10
When you want to add a little razzle dazzle to ambient lighting for webcasting and other video applications, or even for stills photography, the little Godox CL10 goes a long way in delivering effective illumination, in any color of the rainbow and beyond. The wealth of special effects modes are an added bonus for shooting video. Without the option of a built-in or clip-on battery, the need to feed electric power to the lamp via a USB cable can be a bit frustrating and limiting but helps to keep the weight off. At least you don’t need to worry about batteries running flat mid-webcast. The bundled infrared remote controller works well and is fairly straightforward, while built-in Bluetooth and the free Godox companion app for Android and Apple devices provides a useful alternative. For the money, the CL10 is a well-made ambient lighting kit with good performance and versatility.