If your work is confined to a traditional studio then traditional studio lighting may be just fine for you. If, on the other hand, you find yourself shooting in various locations and situations – indoors, outdoors or in mixed lighting – then you will have a few more lighting requirements than the rest. Things like mobility and portability, functions of weight, size and power source, become vastly important – as does the ability to easily adjust for the color temperature of your light source.
The Visual Buddha LED light panel comes in two flavors: the Flood with a 60 degree spread and the Spot with 30 degrees of coverage. The model we tested was the Flood, which came mounted in a tiltable yoke with an attached stand adapter. Power is delivered via battery with either the integrated V-Lock mount or Anton Bauer Gold Mount Battery Plate. Ours came equipped with the Gold Mount option. Power may also be delivered using the included power supply and AC power cord. Also included is a slide-in-place diffusion filter to soften the already soft light even further. In addition to the standard stuff we also received a set of optional barn doors for controlling spill.
Build and Performance
Due to its plastic construction, the Visual Buddha LED 1×1 light panel weighs in at a svelte four pounds. This, plus its size of one foot square, thickness of less than two inches and battery power makes it highly portable. It even has a handy-dandy flip-out carrying handle on the rear for easy handling and transport. Multiple mounting options only add to its versatility as it may be mounted on a standard light stand using the included yoke mount or with others in a multi-panel arrangement using the eight mounting holes on the back.
…shooting in various locations and situations…things like mobility and portability, functions of weight, size and power source, become vastly important.
Dual channels down either side of the front allow for quick attachment of the included plastic diffusion filter and the optional barn doors, which simply slide into place. The barn doors are very sturdy, made of metal and come with heavy duty triple hinges.
Well known commercial photographer and Director/DP Vincent Laforet and partners are at the helm of Visual Buddha. As professional users of lighting gear, they try to find the best gear available and when necessary they make it themselves. They designed the LED 1×1 to deliver consistent, high quality light and color temperature at an affordable price. It would appear that they have succeeded nicely.
At the rear of the panel are the power switch and two analog dials for lighting control. The Dimmer dial lets you reduce the light intensity from 100 percent all the way down to zero without any noticeable shift in color. At full intensity output is very bright, equivalent to a 650w traditional light and bright enough for just about any key lighting situation. For even more light the Spot model kicks out the equivalent of 1000w!
The Color dial lets you adjust the color temperature from a warm 3200K to a very cool 5600K and any temperature in between. Half of the LEDs in the fixture are set to 3200K while the other half are set to 5600K. Turning the dial changes the mix from all one color to a blend, resulting in the various temperatures achieved. This makes the panel especially well suited for all sorts of lighting chores whether indoors, outdoors or even in those wonderful mixed lighting situations.
The LED 1×1 boasts a CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 93+, with 100 being the highest possible value. The index indicates the ability of a light source to reveal colors as compared to an ideal light source. With its high CRI value, the LED 1×1 does a great job of accurately bringing out colors.
This panel even has DMX remote control capability for use in multi-panel configurations or with lights mounted high up or far away. It doesn’t have separate in/out connections as with other designs but rather shares the interface with the AC power unit which uses a 3-pin XLR type connector.
This panel delivers that characteristic LED softness and heat-free operation. Heat-free means no burns, no fans and no noise, and they can be used handheld and packed away for transport immediately after use. Combine these features with variable intensity and color temperature controls, battery power and attractive pricing and Visual Buddha’s LED 1×1 Bi-Color light panel is a real winner.
LED 1×1 Bi-Color Panel: $1295
Optional Barn Doors: $80
Color Temperature: adjustable from 3200K to 5600K
Output: comparable to 1000w (Spot – 30 degrees); 650w (Flood – 60 degrees)
Dimming: 0 to 100% with no noticeable color shift
Power: AC power or DC battery (integrated V-Mount or Gold Mount battery plate)
Fan Noise: None
- High CRI
- Variable color temperature
- Variable intensity
- Plenty of soft, bright light
- Battery powered portability
- Low heat; can be used handheld
- Attractively priced
- No separate power and DMX connectors.
Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.