The Brute 3 is a versatile light that is capable of great contributions to beginning and intermediate level videographers as well as reporters and others working on quick productions.
LEDZ continues to push its culture of being economically friendly, and upon receiving the LEDZ Brute 3, this became clear. The wrapping paper felt "recycled". Inside, however, is a light that is anything but disposable. The light is fun-sized at just under a pound and a little wider than one's hand. It is incredibly simple to use with one jack for AC and one dial that dims and powers it on or off. There are two 1/4-inch threads for mounting to a tripod or an included handle. A mount adapter, AC power adapter and a 12-foot extension cable fill out two pieces of soft foam and a single piece of cardboard folded into a box.
Small and portable lights are often the staple of a beginning videographer's pre-shoot checklist, and this one is no exception. Ease of handling allows the Brute 3 to be operated by nearly anyone, even for crews of little or no experience. For those who have been shooting for a while, the combination of a powerful light that dims and the lack of a power cable with the optional battery may reduce the amount of lights and set up necessary for a shoot.
When we first pulled the Brute 3 out, it felt good to hold, and we were illuminating all sort of objects with a brilliant white-blue light. Regardless of its color temperature, the three circles of light make up a highly mobile source of light for use, even in small spaces. The three spots of light do not form an oval-shaped light spread, but instead bring out triangular flares from a circular spot, similar to those of a cartoon sun. The LEDs in the Brute 3 keep it energy efficient, but do not make for a great spotlight since it casts a triple shadow. Very little heat comes off the light, making it quite suitable for hand holding and adjusting. The Brute 3 makes an excellent fill light especially with the dimming dial.
The Brute 3 does a good job of putting out light, but be careful not to bump the dial since there are no clicks or notches to signify whether the light is on, off, or anywhere in between. One more item to be cautious about is the power jack, which leaves the AC plug sticking out from the body - leaving ample opportunity for damage from either dislodging or forcing the AC jack. Both cause damage from being exposed during operation. It's also good to be aware that a small phenomenon occurs when the AC plug is already connected to the light and the AC adapter is then connected to a socket, all three lights flash. However this can be avoided if the AC adapter is already plugged in.
The back side of the Brute 3 looks like a strong metal comb, and while tempting to affix a tripod to anywhere along the comb-like surface, the finish could be chipped making the hold less secure. In addition, mounting the light may be an issue since there is no separate plate, forcing you to spin the body of the fixture against a 1/4-inch thread.
Versatility is still a central concept exemplified by the Brute 3. It is small and easy to pack into a bag you plan to carry on your shoot, but when packing, be sure to protect the left and right sides of the light. A large part of versatility will come with the optional battery pack. We didn't get to test this model, but it looks to be a great feature. Otherwise, the form is very smooth, flush on the top and front, with a face-plate for optional gels.
Simply looking at size and power, many will be happy to have the Brute 3 in their highly mobile shooting packs. An optional battery can help the LEDZ become even more mobile. Being compact, energy efficient and time efficient are welcome attributes of the Brute 3. Of course it doesn't hurt that they're also fun to operate. For all of these reasons the Brute 3 shows up as a very good option for almost any videographer.
Bulb Types: LED
Carrying Case: no
Accessory Mount: yes, one handle and one mount adapter
Spot/Flood Adjustable: no
Gels: no, optional
Total Weight of Kit: 13.5oz
- Light output is exceptional
- Durable and easy to handle
- Dimmer dial provides versatility
- Multiple shadows
- Requires AC connection, and jack is susceptible to damage
- Battery, gels and other attachments not included
The Brute 3 is a versatile light that is capable of great contributions to beginning and intermediate level videographers as well as reporters and others working on quick productions. Its size makes it fun to use, and easy for travel.
Jackson Wong is an Associate Editor for Videomaker.