RGB light­ing is an inter­est­ing option not only for shoot­ing video, but also for cre­at­ing spe­cial effects in pho­tog­ra­phy. Pho­to cred­it: jon-siegel.com

Do you want beau­ti­ful col­or light­ing like the best blog­gers, but do not want to spend a lot of mon­ey on expen­sive light­ing? We have select­ed for you sev­er­al mod­els of good qual­i­ty RGB lamps that are per­fect for video shoot­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and online broad­casts.

RGB Lights

RGB illu­mi­na­tors allow you to select light of any col­or shade on the col­or wheel (usu­al­ly col­ors are indi­cat­ed in degrees, where 0 ° is red, 120 ° is green, 240 ° is blue). RGB light quick­ly con­quered Youtube, and today many blog­gers — from begin­ners to the very top — can see beau­ti­ful col­ored LED back­light­ing.

RGB light­ing will make any inte­ri­or inter­est­ing. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Tech Space

But the use cas­es for RGB light­ing are much wider: video­g­ra­phers and pho­tog­ra­phers alike use them to cre­ate effects. In addi­tion, col­ored light is not the only light­ing option that RGB lamps can cre­ate. They can also be used for clas­sic light­ing of dif­fer­ent col­or tem­per­a­tures — from a warm incan­des­cent lamp to a cold day­light.

We have pre­pared a list of the most inter­est­ing options in terms of price and qual­i­ty that are in the bud­get range. There are three main types of illu­mi­na­tors — com­pact on-cam­era, wands (lightsabers) and large LED pan­els for video.

Let’s make a reser­va­tion right away, there will be no ring illu­mi­na­tors in our list. This is a spe­cif­ic tool that is not suit­able for many pho­tog­ra­phers and video­g­ra­phers: it is dif­fi­cult to con­trol and direct such light direct­ly at the object — it illu­mi­nates not only the face of the mod­el, but every­thing around.

Portable LED Lights

In the cat­e­go­ry of bud­get RGB-illu­mi­na­tors, first of all, com­pact on-cam­era lamps fall. The log­ic is very sim­ple: com­pact size -> few­er LEDs -> low­er price.

Portable LED illu­mi­na­tors are small rec­tan­gu­lar “bricks” that are suit­able as addi­tion­al light (for exam­ple, fill­ing in shad­ows), back­ground light­ing, cre­at­ing light accents and for shoot­ing on loca­tion when there are sim­ply no oth­er light­ing options. For use as the main source, they most often do not have enough pow­er, although it all depends on your idea. Such a pan­el can be used for shoot­ing in a low key or for a dra­mat­ic effect in por­traits (for exam­ple, light­ing only one half of the face with it). A portable LED illu­mi­na­tor will do a good job with prod­uct pho­tog­ra­phy, but the result will also be with a touch of dra­ma.

There are many options for such light bulbs on the mar­ket, and it is not easy to under­stand such a vari­ety. In this seg­ment there is a rec­og­nized clas­sic, how­ev­er, it costs a lit­tle more.

Aputure MC RGB

You can buy at least ten “Aputur­ok” and con­nect them into one sys­tem using the appli­ca­tion. Pho­to: Charles Haine/nofilmschool.com

One of the most rec­og­nized com­pa­nies in the light­ing mar­ket has cre­at­ed a com­pact and inex­pen­sive lumi­naire that has become the bench­mark for qual­i­ty in this niche. This, of course, is about Apu­ture MC RGB. The light bulb has a stan­dard set of modes: col­or tem­per­a­ture (3200–6500K), RGB and a bunch of spe­cial effects, for exam­ple, a police flash­ing bea­con.

The baby has a strong body and a high-qual­i­ty dif­fuser (dif­fuser) in the kit, thanks to which you can get a pleas­ant dif­fused light with­out any light mod­i­fiers.

This is a very small “brick” with a pow­er of only 5 W (here­inafter, the pow­er is indi­cat­ed for white light), so it can­not be used as the main source. But it has excel­lent col­or ren­der­ing with a CRI (col­or ren­der­ing index) of 96+ (for main­stream sources, CRI of at least 95 is rec­om­mend­ed). Apu­ture is able to con­nect to the appli­ca­tion on a smart­phone, so that sev­er­al such lamps can be used at the site at once in one syn­chro­nized sys­tem.

Apu­ture MC is charged via USB Type C — you can always recharge the box from an exter­nal bat­tery right at the loca­tion. True, like most oth­er com­pact illu­mi­na­tors, it does not shine for too long — two hours of oper­a­tion at 100% bright­ness.

Boling BL-P1

Bol­ing comes with a cold shoe for quick con­nec­tion to the cam­era. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel HR Images

Anoth­er clas­sic com­pact LED illu­mi­na­tor is the Bol­ing BL-P1. Here, too, there is a reg­u­lar light with a col­or tem­per­a­ture set­ting, RGB and var­i­ous effects. Com­pared to Apu­ture, it is more pow­er­ful (12 W) and there­fore brighter.

The main fea­ture of the “Bol­ing” is a con­ve­nient brack­et with which you can eas­i­ly give it any posi­tion.

It was this mod­el that at one time gave rise to a bunch of clones from oth­er Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers, but Bol­ing is a favorite of blog­gers and video­g­ra­phers to this day. Its CRI 96+, at 100% bright­ness, pro­vides approx­i­mate­ly two and a half hours of oper­a­tion, and is charged via USB C.

Ulanzi Vijim R70

Guess who Ulanzi bor­rowed the famous paren­the­sis from? Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Tans Con­coc­tion Stu­dio

If we take a lit­tle less well-known mod­els, which are, respec­tive­ly, cheap­er, you can not help but pay atten­tion to the Ulanzi Vijim R70. This is an excel­lent Bol­ing clone, which, unlike oth­er copies, also has a canon­i­cal brack­et-brack­et, which allows you to con­ve­nient­ly posi­tion the illu­mi­na­tor at any angle.

The case, like the two illu­mi­na­tors above, is com­plete­ly met­al, which gives the lamp strength and solid­i­ty.

An inter­est­ing dif­fer­ence from the Bol­ing BL-P1 is a much larg­er bat­tery capac­i­ty (5000 ver­sus 2970 mAh). So in prac­tice, you can count on about three hours of shoot­ing on a sin­gle charge.

Raylab RL-LED08RGB

Ray­lab RL-LED08RGB has a lot of spe­cial effects, includ­ing cool ones like “Crash” or “Bro­ken Lamp”

If you need an anti-cri­sis option, then a suit­able mod­el can be found at Ray­lab. The RL-LED08RGB is made of plas­tic and does­n’t boast super high build qual­i­ty. But it has a very cool fea­ture for a lamp of this price cat­e­go­ry — it comes with a dif­fuser, just like in Apu­ture MC, which helps to get a nice dif­fused light.

Oth­er­wise, noth­ing unusu­al: USB‑C con­nec­tor, 1/4 ” tri­pod mount and cold shoe includ­ed, CRI 95+, col­or tem­per­a­ture adjust­ment, RGB and many effects (12 options). Be pre­pared for the illu­mi­na­tor to beep soft­ly, although in most shoot­ing con­di­tions this will not be heard.

By the way, there is an even small­er and cheap­er box: Ray­lab RL-LED06RGB. It’s a com­pact lit­tle guy with a built-in cold shoe and the cool abil­i­ty to attach mul­ti­ple bulbs to each oth­er (or oth­er acces­sories) on the sides.

Wands of Light

But this is already a spe­cial form fac­tor, which has its pros and cons com­pared to com­pact lamps. There is only one minus, but it is quite obvi­ous — the wand is far from being so portable. Yes, and qui­et­ly hide it in the back­ground to cre­ate a light accent, most like­ly, will not work: a glow stick catch­es the eye.

But this is also its trick: an elon­gat­ed stick in itself cre­ates a good light pat­tern, and at the same time it does not shine at all 120 degrees, so you can zone the light­ing with a sim­ple turn. The wand is easy to use and it is dif­fi­cult to make a mis­take with it, illu­mi­nat­ing the object some­how wrong.

Yongnuo YN360 II and III

YN360 III is pow­ered by an exter­nal NP‑F bat­tery. Pho­to: lightpaintingblog.com

Yongn­uo YN360 II has already earned the respect of users and the sta­tus of the canon­i­cal light wand. Recent­ly, the com­pa­ny has released the third gen­er­a­tion of the beloved mod­el — YN360 III Pro.

Both rods have CRI 95+ and about four hours of oper­a­tion at 100% bright­ness. Pow­er is about 19W for YN360 II and 21.6W for YN360 III Pro. There is a set­ting for light tem­per­a­ture, RGB and effects, as well as an inte­grat­ed dif­fuser.

The main dif­fer­ence between the sec­ond and third ver­sions is in the form fac­tor. YN360 II is semi-cir­cu­lar and can be placed ver­ti­cal­ly on the floor with­out addi­tion­al fix­ings. YN360 III Pro is flat, with a tri­pod mount at the bot­tom, it needs to be screwed to the stand.

YN360 III Pro is pow­ered by remov­able Sony NP‑F bat­ter­ies: bat­ter­ies and AC adapter must be pur­chased sep­a­rate­ly. YN360 II has built-in bat­tery and adapter includ­ed.

Both ver­sions can be con­fig­ured via the appli­ca­tion, but the YN360 III has a new fea­ture: a remov­able remote con­trol that allows you to con­trol the wand remote­ly (on the YN360 II, all tun­ing dials are inte­grat­ed into the body). Using the remote/app, you can assem­ble eight lightsabers at once into one sys­tem.

If you choose the III gen­er­a­tion, it is bet­ter to take the Pro ver­sion: it is more pow­er­ful — 21.6 W ver­sus 19 W.

Large LED panels

There are also large LED-pan­els in the bud­get cat­e­go­ry, which, in terms of pow­er, can eas­i­ly pass for the main source and boast a pleas­ant light. Inter­est­ing­ly, there are a lot of options for cheap pan­els with­out addi­tion­al RGB bulbs, but if you need col­ored back­light­ing, your choice nar­rows down sig­nif­i­cant­ly.

Neweer 660 RGB Pro and GVM 800D

The Neweer RGB 660 Pro has a stur­dy met­al body with the same met­al shut­ters. Pho­to: dalinuosi.lt

Any­one look­ing for a sim­i­lar illu­mi­na­tor will soon­er or lat­er stum­ble upon these two options: the Neweer RGB 660 Pro (or the slight­ly weak­er 590 Pro mod­el) and the GVM 800D.

These are very sim­i­lar fix­tures in terms of form fac­tor, size, and price. The fea­tures are almost iden­ti­cal too: you have cool/warm light, RGB, spe­cial effects, and app con­trol. Also, both lamps can be oper­at­ed from the mains or from option­al exter­nal NP‑F bat­ter­ies. There­fore, we will con­sid­er and imme­di­ate­ly com­pare both mod­els in a sin­gle block.

GVM 800D is slight­ly weak­er, but boasts more accu­rate col­or repro­duc­tion. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel Hamza Mujta­ba Films

The Neweer 660 RGB Pro is 50W, while the GVM 800D is slight­ly weak­er at 40W. In prac­tice, the Neweer is slight­ly brighter than its com­peti­tor at 5600K/3200K, and notice­ably brighter in RGB mode. At the same time, in terms of col­or accu­ra­cy of ordi­nary light (5600K / 3200K), it is the GVM 800D that wins. In Neweer, the skin tones are some­what shift­ed to a warm red­dish hue.

In terms of build qual­i­ty, the Neweer looks a lit­tle stur­dier — unlike the GVM, it has met­al shut­ters that secure­ly close the lamp dur­ing trans­porta­tion and are unlike­ly to break if dropped. Both bulbs are attached to the rack through a brack­et — so you can adjust not only the height, but also the angle of illu­mi­na­tion.

If you are look­ing for a main light source, for exam­ple, to illu­mi­nate the face of a blog­ger, the GVM 800D will be prefer­able due to more accu­rate col­or repro­duc­tion. If you are look­ing for a device for back­light­ing or back­light­ing, then the Neweer 660 RGB is a more com­pe­tent choice — this LED pan­el is brighter, espe­cial­ly in RGB mode.