These days LED (Light Emitting Diode) stick (or wand) lights are all the rage due to their versatility, portability, and affordability (compared with more traditional-looking studio LED lights such as the Nanlite Forza 60C.) As a light wand, the Nanlite PavoTube 30C consists of dozens of tiny diodes arranged inside a long plastic tube. These diodes can work together to emit an even field of light and simultaneously change to any color in the spectrum, which is an effective way to add drama and atmosphere to a photo shoot. They can also be triggered to produce a range of colors and intensities at different times which enables you to add animated lighting effects to your creative video projects.
The PavoTube 30C is part of a wider range of Nanlite light wands. At the cheaper end of the range, we have the simple yet effective Nanlite PavoTube T8-7X. The Nanlite PavoTube T8-7X is very functional but its opaque white frame looks cheap and it isn’t as robust as the sturdier and more robust PavoTube 30C (which costs around 3 times as much as the T8-7X).
There’s also a newer version of the PavoTube 30C (the Mark II) which has additional Bluetooth app connectivity and a 20% brighter output, so you should be able to pick up the original PavoTube 30C for a slightly cheaper price. If your budget is tight then it’s worth considering the 30C’s little brother - the PavoTube 15C. This shorter tube still boasts all of the functions of the 30C when it comes to changing color hue and special effect presets.
LED Total Power: 32W
CRI: Average 95
TLCI: Average 95
Color Temperature: 2700K to 6500K
Dimming: 0 - 1-00% (Continuous)
Control: Onboard controller, 2.4G
Special effects: Cop Car, Storm, Candlelight, Multi-Flash, SOS
Size: 1170 x 48 x 48mm / 46.1 x 1.9 x 1.9’'
Weight: 1.2kg / 2.65lb
Diameter: 4.8 cm
Illumination: 579 Lux at 1 meter
Thanks to its LEDs the PavoTube 30C can change its colour temperature (in CCT Mode) to match other light sources in your location. You can use its two onboard control knobs to reduce the intensity of the light and dial in colour temperatures between a warm 2700K to a cooler 6500K.
The HSI button enables you to use the two knobs to dial in a wide range of colours for more creative lighting, as well as change the hue, saturation and intensity produced by the LEDs.
The Special button enables you to toggle between special animated lighting effects such as the obligatory red and blue alternating flashes of a police car. You can power the light stick from the mains or charge its internal battery for cable-free roaming.
Build & Handling
At a length of 117cm, the PavoTube 30C can be a challenge to transport safely. Fortunately, our test model shipped in a padded Nanlite carry case that offered some protection to the wand (as well as providing pockets for accessories such as a power supply and metal support wires that you can use to suspend the tube on location.)
The carry case’s handles are in the middle, which means the case is designed to carry the PavoTube 30C in a horizontal position. If you’ve ever used a fishing rod then you’ll know that it’s safer to carry long thing poles vertically to stop them from hitting other objects. A shoulder strap on the carry case would be more useful as it would enable you to transport the PavoTube 30C in a vertical orientation and reduce the chances of damaging it.
Inside the carry case is a handy clip that snaps onto the body of the PavoTube 30C. You can then use the clip’s 1/4-inch thread to mount the light on a tripod. On our test shoot, we used a ball-head tripod so that we could rotate and position the PavoTube 30C in a more useful (and safer) vertical position (see our supporting test video).
The 6 buttons near the base of the wand enable you to jump between modes such as HSI and CCT with ease and the mini OLED screen lets you know which property is currently being adjusted when you twist the control knobs. You can also control the PavoTube 30C remotely via the Nanlink app, but to do so you need to buy an additional Nanlink WS-TB-1 Transmitter Box. The newer PavoTube 30C II comes with a built-in Bluetooth feature which makes it easier to control the light remotely via the smartphone app (and it doesn’t require the additional wireless transmitter.) The lack of Bluetooth connectivity may knock the PavoTube 30C's overall rating, but as you’ll see from our video review it was still easy to control via the onboard buttons and knobs.
At 579 Lux (from a range of one meter) the PavoTube 30C is not as intense as the blinding 12.810 Lux produced by the Nanlite Forza 60C spotlight but that’s not really a limitation. Wand lights such as the PavoTube 30C are designed to produce a softer and wider field of multi-colored light that can add modeling illumination to your photographic subjects (or enhance your video projects with dramatic animated lighting effects).
The fact the PavoTube looks like a lightsabre (and changes color too) meant that we couldn’t resist treating it like one on our test shoot. I set the HSI to a vibrant blue and posed as an attacking Jedi while snapping a shot on the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s Slow Shutter app. I then turned the PavoTube 30C’s control dial to create a red saber and snapped a second exposure to create a motion-blurred Jedi joust!
The PavoTube 30C has a professional and robust look and feel (compared to the toy lightsaber look of the much cheaper PavoTube T8-7X). The various color and effect modes of the PavoTube 30C provide a springboard for creative photography and videography.
However, the lack of Bluetooth connectivity means it’s not as easy to remote control as the newer PavoTube 30C II which supports Bluetooth remote control of the Nanlink app on a smartphone. The newer model also boasts 15 special lighting effects (compared to the PavoTube 30C’s miserly 5).
Read more: Interested in LED lighting? Find the right lights for you with our guides to the best video lights, the best photography lighting kits, best LED light sticks, and the best LED lighting panels.