As video makers and photographers, we have a wide choice when it comes to choosing LED lights to illuminate our subjects. Unlike traditional flashguns, LED lights such as SmallRig’s RC 60B provide a constant light source, so there’s no need to sync a burst of flash with the camera’s shutter.
Output: 11,200 lux with reflector at 1m
Lamp body weight: 650g
Battery Life: 45 mins at full power, 75 mins in Eco mode
Screen: 1.3 inch LED
Color temperature range: 2700K - 6500K
SSI: Average 89
TM-30 Rf: 96
TM-30 Rg: 100
Animated preset effects: Flash, Paparazzi, Lightning, Party, Faulty Bulb, TV, Flame, Fireworks, Breath
Fan: Silent cooling at 23dB
LED lights vary in power and design. Light wand LEDs, such as the Zhiyun Fiveray F100, look like light sabers and can emit a range of gel-like colors as well as provide animated light patterns such as Lightning and Flickering TV sets.
The SmallRig RC 60B is a COB (chip-on-board light) that looks and behaves more like a typical studio light. As a 60W bi-color light you can adjust its colour temperature to complement daylight or indoor light sources. You can also adjust the intensity of the light's output to avoid over-exposing your subject.
However, the RC 60B also shares properties with wand lights in that it is much more portable than typical studio lights such as the much more expensive and heavy SmallRig RC 350D. This makes the RC 60B a useful tool for photographers and video makers who need to get out of the studio and light their subjects on the go in a variety of differently lit scenarios.
The SmallRig RC 60B, being a bi-color LED, you can change the color temperature of its output between a range of 2700K-6500K (degrees Kelvin). Typical daylight is measured in 5600K, so the RC 60B can emulate a wide range of light sources, from an indoor tungsten bulb at 2500K to bright daylight at 6500K.
You can also control the intensity of the LED’s output to add a strong key light from a distance or gently fill in some shadows on a model’s face. The light ships in a padded carry case that includes a hyperreflector. When you clip this reflector to the lamp its output is a striking 11,200 Lux.
SmallRig RC 60B: Design & Handling
The RC 60B was much smaller than I expected - I could hold it in the palm of my hand. The supplied handle that you attach to its base has a rubberized textured grip so the RC 60B can be carried easily and secularly in one hand. Once you clip the hyper-reflector it looks just like a mini studio right, but you can take it anywhere.
At only 650g you can hold it in one hand while shooting with the other. The kit includes a handle that you can screw into the base of the lamp which makes it comfortable to carry. There’s also a tilt-able light stand mount that enables you to operate the light hands-free.
Two rubber and textured knobs enable you to adjust various properties of the lamp with ease (even if you have sweaty fingers). The knobs also act as buttons, so you can adjust color temperature or intensity. You can also use the knobs and buttons to access the 9 lighting effects and adjust properties such as the frequency of lightning flashes or the color temperature of a paparazzi flashgun. All the settings are displayed on a handy 1.3-inch LED screen.
The lamp is constructed from a flame-retardant plastic body. As well as the two main control buttons it features three smaller buttons and switches to turn the lamp on or change its mode. Quality-wise these little buttons are reminiscent of buttons you’d find on a plastic alarm clock, so they look like they could be damaged if you dropped the LED. However, at around $200 the RC 60B is a budget light compared with the more expensive SmallRig RC 350D COB LED which retails at over $800. As they say - "you get what you pay for".
SmallRig RC 60B: Performance
To test the RC 60B I booked a TV studio, since the lamp looked like a studio light from its picture. On opening the carry case I was surprised at how small and light it was. Once I attached the handle and reflector to the LED I had all the light sources I needed to film a series of clips at different locations in the building.
I used the RC 60B as a key light when in dark corridors or as a fill light when daylight streamed through a window. At the twist of a knob, I was able to make the color temperature of the lamp complement existing light sources, from cold daylight to warm indoor light. I was able to shoot holding my iPhone in a SmallRig cage in one hand while carrying the RC 60B comfortably in my other hand. Occasionally I press ganged a pal to hold the RC 60B like a portable light stand so I could change its angle pin my subject.
I was impressed at how wide an area the light could illuminate and I rarely needed to to shine at 100% as this was too strong a light source for my subject. The built-in fan kept the RC 60B cool enough to operate without interfering with my audio (as you’ll hear from this review’s supporting video).
Unlike larger studio lights such as the SmallRig RC 350D COB, the SmallRig RC 60B has an internal battery that you can charge via its USB-C port. This gives you a wireless solution to lighting a subject in any location (without worrying about access to a mains supply).
Our test kit shipped with a SmallRig power bank adaptor that clips on the back of the light. This mount contains a clamp that can hold a typical power bank which you can connect to the RC 60B to extend its operating time. The RC 60B’s internal battery should give you around 45 minutes of illumination at maximum power, or 75 minutes in ECO mode. We must point out that the RC 60B can only achieve its maximum output if you connect an external 65W-100 PD power bank to it.
I was initially confused by the Eco button which is designed to extend the shooting time of the lamp. After charging the RC 60B I was able to produce a strong light source but nothing seemed to change when the Eco button was pressed. I realized after some research that you only get the maximum output from the lamp when a power bank is attached to the supplied clip-on mount (after which you can toggle between Eco mode and full power!)
The RC 60B also provides a collection of 9 animated lighting effects that emulate the flashbulbs of the Paparazzi or add flashes of lightning to your drama productions. You can change the color temperature of these lighting effects but you can’t add colored gel-like effects (such as the blues and reds of a police car for example).
SmallRig RC 60B: Final Verdict
The SmallRig RC 60B COB LED is an attractive purchase because it combines portability with power. You can light a subject in any location without worrying about access to cable power supplies. Even when powered solely by the interior battery we found the light source was too bright on full power, so you should be able to comfortably enjoy an hour-long shoot (or much more if you clamp a power bank to its clip). Being able to adjust color temperature is a valuable feature too.
The 9 animated light presets could be useful for drama creators (using effects such as Fireworks or Flame). However unlike other LEDS (see alternatives section) the lack of vibrant gel-like colors such as blues, greens, and reds means that the animated effects are limited to the Kelvin scale of warm to cool variations. So you can’t use the RC 60B to emulate the blue and red flashes of an emergency services vehicle or produce a more colorful firework display for example.
For its price, this light does provide value for money and thanks to its carry kit you’ll enjoy transporting it to a shoot and adding a range of lighting effects to your subject.
The Hobolite Micro Creator Kit is another palm-sized LED light, though it only packs 20W of power compared to the SmallRig RC 60B’s 60W. However, it does a great job of illuminating portraits in any location thanks to its built-in battery. The Hobolite Micro also produces animated lighting effects to enhance your video productions. Like the SmallRig RC 60B the Hobolite Micro is a bi-color light, so you can only change its color temperature.
However, it ships with a collection of 6 magnetic color gels that enable you to change the mood of your clips and stills by adding blues, greens, etc - something you can’t do with the RC 60B. The Hobolite Micro is also cheaper than the SmallRig RC 60B (which reflects its lower 20W power output).