I’ve loved SmallRig’s camera support gear for a long time. While I most related their brand with the top quality cages and L-plates that will I’ve put on each of the last few cameras, I used to be surprised to see that they have branched out into lighting. Do these new light items continue the brand’s reputation of great performance at a quite competitive price point? In this evaluation, I’ll put the new 220D and 220B COB DIRECTED lights to the test.
Desk of Contents
In this review, Ill be taking a look at both models, the particular 220D and 220B. Both lights are rated regarding 220 watts of energy. Their designs are identical, with the only difference being the actual LED on the front side. The D models are usually daylight balanced, with a colour temperature of 5600K, while the B models offer a range between 2700K to 6500K.
To be clear, this isn’t SmallRig’s first lighting item. SmallRig has also produced some other LED products, typically smaller sized LED panels for on-camera and vlogging use. These people previously offered the 120D and 120B , which are also COB LED lights, and each feature 120 watts associated with power. All of these lights are usually continuous rather than strobes .
The overall design is comparable to that of other monolight-style COB LED lights, with a stylized, boxy, and compact form factor. Compared to some other monolight LEDs I have, they’re more compact, while still offering more power. They come using a standard mount on the bottom level, which supports tilting, locks easily and securely, plus supports an umbrella right from the mount (a good convenience feature for light-weight travels).
Moving to the front of the light, there’s the Bowens suitable mount within the front. It’s really nice to see SmallRig using an industry standard mount like this – if you haven’t shopped for light modifiers before, Bowens mounts for lights are like the equivalent of an Arca-Swiss tripod mount, a de facto sector standard. They support easy attachment, by just twisting on the modifier, along with a built in secure.
The light includes, amongst its many accessories, a metal reflector they call the hyper-reflector. While that’s a bit of branding buzz-speak for an otherwise standard reflector, it truly does a good job. With all the reflector mounted, the 220 models can throw out a good deal of light, with the 220B rated for 84, 500 lux and the 220D putting out 98, 700 lux. To put that in viewpoint, I bounced one of these from the ceiling of a 400 square foot room, and was able to easily light up the entire room with a single source.
Directed at a subject, you are able to just bathe the area within high quality light, even via a dense modifier. On lighting quality, there’s a few metrics to understand: CCT drift, CRI, and TLCI.
CCT should already be a familiar concept when you have manually set white stability, with the color temperature approximately referring to how “warm” or “cool” the light is. Warmer lights, with a lower color temperature, like 2700K will certainly light a scene like old incandescent bulbs, whilst 5600K is industry standard for “daylight. ” The particular D model is fixed to 5600K, with a margin of error of about 200K, while the B model can reach up to 6500K for a much cooler look.
CRI and TLCI
Color making index, CRI, and tv lighting consistency index, TLCI, are two similar concepts. Both look at how the light reproduces certain colors in comparison to daylight or a standard synthetic source. A good CRI or TLCI of 90 or even above, with higher getting better, means the light will faithfully represent the colors in your scene. In this case, the particular SmallRig 220 models are rated very high, with a CRI of 97 to 99, and a TLCI of 99.
This matches or beats the ranked scores from their competitor’s lights, some of which can cost twice as a lot, like the Nanlite Forza 200W .
These lights definitely don’t skimp on the accessories. In the box is an extremely nice quality light bag, with precut foam inserts for the lights and add-ons. The bag is zippered and tastefully branded; it would be a great option for continued sa the light. It also features a zippered pouch along the top, making it easy to store some gels or diffusion material correct in the bag.
Also included is a plastic protector for the LED itself, as well as foam intended for protecting the reflector.
The power wire is about 20 feet overall in length, with the brick part located halfway down the length of the cable. The brick is not small, nor is it lighting. Further, the surface of the brick is definitely smooth – as such, I’d love to see some mounting options for the brick, just like a strap or loop to allow it to be hung from the light stand.
Both lights are extremely straightforward to use. Plug the particular included AC adapter into the wall, then attach the XLR style plug to the light, and you’re prepared to go. If you’ve purchased the separately-available V-mount battery adapter, the setup is still the same, just via battery power instead.
It’s particularly nice to see this battery option, as it provides a ton of flexibility in use, and when you find yourself shooting in the field or anywhere where lighting connects aren’t common, definitely consider getting this accessory.
When powered, operating the particular lights is simple. On/off is usually controlled with a flip turn on the back, while two dials control intensity/CCT and results. There’s also a small totally reset button.
The light has a manageable intensity of 1 to completely output, with the individual tips being incredibly smooth.
Unlike RGB lamps, these lights are centered on white light output, and they also come with fewer alternate modes. The B model facilitates adjusting the color temperature, plus both models offer nine lighting effects. These include simulating flash bulbs, paparazzi, lightning, celebrations, faulty bulbs, TVs, flames, fireworks, and a “breathing” impact.
I don’t generally use these special effects modes, but they’re a nice choice to have for video utilizes.
Handheld remote control
When the light is rigged upward, accessing the various controls may be difficult. Fortunately, the light supports app based control with the SmallGoGo app (SmallRig’s lights control app). The light is available on both iOS and Google Play.
Pairing is slightly unintuitive, requiring your phone to be upon and in Bluetooth range. Then, from the Add Equipment page of the app, you can manually turn on the light, and press and hold the reset key. The light should then appear on the equipment page.
As a side note, I don’t like that the app requires a login. For exactly what amounts to a Bluetooth controller, login feels like an needless and frictional step regarding basic functionality.
Once logged in, nevertheless , the app performs perfectly. Adjustments transfer to the light almost instantly, and it’s simple to dial in specific settings like color temperature.
Setting aside the login annoyance, it’s really nice to have a remote control option at this price point. I’m used to being able to control all my strobes via remote control and having that same functionality in continuous lights is very convenient.
One concern for virtually every continuous light is the way the light manages heat result. Since continuous lights are always producing heat, they often need an active cooling solution, like a small fan or heatsink. The 220 models manage heat well, with their mixed aluminum and polycarbonate entire body able to shed heat passively, while a quite active cooling system kicks on only when the lamp body exceeds 140F.
This particular active cooler is virtually inaudible, with SmallRig ranking it at 25dB from 3 feet. This puts it somewhere between rustling leaves along with a whisper, and at a level that I couldn’t even pick up on our basic audio setup. Whether or not you’re using the light intended for video or just in a photo studio, it won’t dirty your set with fan noise.
Compared to Other Models
Against versions from Aputure, Nanlite, plus Godox, SmallRig’s 220 series offers great performance plus value. Let me go through some of the top competitors below.
Aputure’s amaran 200D and 200X are close competitors. For a few dollars a lot more at MSRP, the SmallRig lights offer higher lux output, higher CRI and TLCI, and a better electric battery implementation option. Along with that, the SmallRig light’s double dial controls are a bit easier to operate than the one dial of the Aputure.
At about two times the price at MSRP, the particular Forza 200 from Nanlite is a significantly more expensive option. The Nanlite is graded for a lower total result, and notably, has a fixed 5600K color temperature. This can make it tricky to incorporate with ambient light sources, or even just other brand’s daylight LEDs, which can every handle 5600K slightly differently. The light also takes Forza mount modifiers, requiring a different adapter to take Bowens install mods. I do like that Nanlite includes a V-mount adapter within the box.
Godox offers two equivalent models, the FV200 plus SL-200W II . Both are larger and more expensive units, with lower rated specs to get output and CRI. The particular FV200, however , has an fascinating flash style mode, which may be worth looking at for cross shooters. Otherwise, these lighting don’t present the same value as the SmallRig setup.
When i indicated in my guide to continuous and strobe lighting , lighting gear is all about trade-offs. Size, cost, output quality, and a numerous other factors have to be balanced when choosing your kit. The SmallRig 220 series isn’t perfect, but it handles these tradeoffs well.
On the whole, my complaints with the lighting are minor. I’d prefer to see the control app not really require a login, and it will be nice to have a way to safe the power brick to a lightstand.
At an MSRP of $329 and $369 , these lights are a good value. Beyond just being affordable, however , they’re powerhouses, with the 220 watt spec plus strong real world performance which makes them perfectly capable of filling modifiers and lighting a scene with ease. It’s nice to find out SmallRig continue their higher standards and reasonable costs even as they branch into the lighting world.