Westcott Ice Light

Update: Westcott recently introduced the Ice Light 2, a successor to the Ice Light with many improved features. The orginal Ice Light, reviewed here, will still be available at a reduced price.

The Ice Light is a fairly new LED light that includes some wicked features that are easy to use and great for both beginners and professionals. This LED light is compact, extremely lightweight, and incredibly durable making it one of the mightiest portable lighting products on the market. Designed by a professional photographer and manufactured by a company that cares deeply about everything lighting for photography and video, what isn’t there to like about this innovative piece of lighting equipment?

The Backstory

Jerry Ghionis is a world-renowned photographer and lecturer and is very passionate about photography and the people who he photographs. Ghionis designed the Ice Light with the intention of creating a lightweight, dimmable, daylight balanced, continuous LED light with a built in battery. In other words, Ghionis understands the pain of having to tote around heavy lights with stands and wanted to design a handheld light that’s friendly to run-and-gun situations and confined spaces.

F.J. Westcott Co. is a long time innovator in all things professional lighting for photo and video and they truly understand the need for great lighting on your projects. What you get from the Ice Light is an innovative design from designer-photographer Ghionis and a quality build by Westcott. For a compact LED, it’s powerful, delivering on its design promise — portable, durable, continuous lighting.

Out of the Box

We first recognized, when picking up the Ice Pack, that it was extremely lightweight as if there was nothing inside. As we opened the case, we found the Ice Light inside its own smaller case with a strap, fitted perfectly into the Ice Pack. That’s the other thing about the Ice Light and the Ice Pack — we noticed that the whole case layout was designed to locate an item quickly. As we breezed through the case, we also located the plastic tungsten gel cover, a universal tilter bracket and spigot, a two-way connector, a bracketed barn door system and the charger. We found all of this in less than a minute and we were on our way to setting up the Ice Light.

The LED light itself is long and cylindrical, almost like a light saber from those famous movies that we all know. It has mounting threads on both ends so you can fasten the Ice Light to a stand without having to waste time looking for the proper end. The heaviest parts of the light are the two metal ends and the center ring just below the LED light bulb. These three sections of the light are what make it so durable. If the Ice Light was to be laid down or even dropped onto a flat surface it could bounce or roll and the buttons would never touch the ground, nor would the LED light bulb. 

The Ice Light LED is powered by built-in lithium ion battery technology and can run on AC or DC power, making this a truly portable light.

This also makes the Ice Light especially useful when you are working without an assistant and need to make adjustments while keeping the same brightness in the light. You can easily lay the light down without worrying about messing up the settings by turning off the light. In all there are three buttons, the off button and 2 up and down arrow buttons to control the brightness of the LED bulb. You turn on the bulb by holding down the up arrow for a couple of seconds. When the light turns on it goes straight to the brightest setting and from there you can dim down to your desired brightness. When you look at the Ice Light there isn’t much to it, but what it lacks in fancy controls it makes up for in usability. 

Cool Features

The Ice Light LED is powered by built-in lithium ion battery technology and can run on AC or DC power, making this a truly portable light. The downsides of this are that you can’t connect a new fully charged battery when you run out of juice, and the light only lasts 60 minutes with a full charge. If you need to light a subject or a scene for more than an hour on a location where you don’t have access to an outlet, it’s recommended that you have a back up light. 

We all know the hassle of having to lug around heavy equipment all the time and that setting-up and taking down for just a quick photo or video session can be tiresome. The Ice Light is perfect for those situations where you need complete convenience and space-saving technology. Since LEDs run cool, you can also hold this light without having to use gloves. This makes the light even more useful when you don’t have an assistant and need to move the light around to quickly find the proper position and angle. 

Ice Pack and Ice Light with barn doors and tungsten cover
Ice Pack and Ice Light with barn doors and tungsten cover

Finally, we were also very happy with the built-in diffuser, which made for some great soft light. It’s daylight balanced so we didn’t need to white balance with gels outdoors, and it comes with an orange plastic cover, in case you’re working with other tungsten balanced light sources. This light was even all the way around the subject, helping create some unique shadows and increasing the quality of our images with ease. With a fair price of $450 (Ice Light only) you’ll be lighting up your scene with portability and ease in no time. Add another $199 for the Ice Pack and you’ll have the luxury of a small lighting kit that weighs less than 9 lbs. The Ice Light and Ice Pack kit are true innovations in location lighting for people who are always on the go.

Conclusion

When working in photo and video, we need light to tell the story, but lighting a scene can be difficult, especially when you’re dealing with a low light situation in a confined space. As videographers, we sometimes need to shoot a scene in some of the most constricting of locations — locations where bulky lights and light stands take up a bunch of space and won’t allow us the freedom that we need. When you have a tool like the Ice Light, it makes lighting those confined shots feel a little less claustrophobic. The Ice Light was designed to help make your life easier and to help make your scene and subjects look great. 

So who cares if it isn’t a real light saber? We’d still choose this light for its user-friendly functionality. Check out all the videos that are posted online and you’ll see why this LED light has a growing user following and why products designed by users will always have unique benefits.

Westcott
http://www.fjwestcott.com/led-lighting/ice-light
Light: $450, Pack: $199

Tech Specs

Bulb Type:LED (50,000 hour LED life)
Watts per Light: 150W as compared to quartz halogen
Dimmable: Yes
Color Range: 5,200-5,400
Beam Angle: 72.6°
Battery: Built-in lithium ion: 7.4V
Battery Life: 60 minutes on full 2.5 hour charge
Current Draw: 1.5-15W
Voltage:100-240V AC, 50-60Hz
Light Dimensions: 20.25 x 1.75-inch
Light Weight: 1.3 lbs

Strengths

  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Weaknesses

  • Best in confined space
  • 60 min light time

Zac Fernandez is a freelance videographer and photographer and has worked as director, editor and cinematographer on numerous local and international documentary films.

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Susan is the Art Director at Videomaker and YouTuber Magazines.

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