Ever wonder how your LED light compares to others on the market? 600 LEDs? 1200 LEDs? Adjustable Color Temp? 5600K? CRI? 2200 Lux? Yadda Yadda Yadda... There's a few dozen LED video lights on the market, but i'm not sure if there are true standards in which they are being tested before the specs are listed on the packaging. Light output can be measured at different distances, and if the rating on the box seems pretty high it's possible it was tested at a distance of 1 foot while another may have been tested at 4 feet away.
There are just too many variables, so I finally decided to run a few tests of my own in a more standardized fashion. I'm starting out by placing various lights at a distance of 4 feet. I'll be able to compare the spread (diffusion) of each light with this method. I'll be using the Sekonic C-500 Color Meter to take a few LUX readings to see which has the highest light output. I'm also able to take color temperature readings and check for color bias (green/magenta cast).
[Note: The readings on the C-500 may not be accurate with LED lighting, but should provide a baseline for comparison between the lights. Do not accept my readings as an accurate source for each manufacturers specifications]
A few things to keep in mind about the various LED lights on the market. Higher output doesn't necessarily make a better LED light. It could just mean one is more spotty instead of diffused. Bi-Color LED lights have much less light output than LED video lights with only one color, but the Bi-Color light can quickly adjust to match ambient lighting as opposed to a light that may be stuck at 6000K and require you to carry filters. An LED light might look great at full power, but adjusting the dimmer or adjusting the color temperature can introduce color shift, color cast, or sometimes banding or flickering.
Not to mention the physical qualities like size, weight, power requirements like battery type, AC/DC adapters, build quality, remote capabilities, available light modifiers, and finally pricing. Some people may want a harsh spot light while others may want a very soft diffused source. Some will request the biggest and brightest, while others will require something more portable. There are many LED video lights on the market, each with their own pros and cons. My goal with this project is simply to set a benchmark test that can compare and contrast side by side a few of the lights available today.
(above) CN600 vs K4000
BTW, If you're wondering what my preference is between the two lights I just tested, I prefer the F&V. Although the CN600 had a stronger LUX reading it is mostly concentrated in the center. The K4000S diffuses better (even without the diffuser on), can maintain better color (less greenish tint compared to CN600), and can quickly be dialed in to match other lighting without carrying around additional filters.
Sure there's a bit of green on the K4000S, but only when it gets down to 3200K. A simple minus green filter or WB shift in-camera can easily correct this. I feel the K4000S pros outweigh any of the cons compared to the CN600 and the F&V K4000 lights are also a bit cheaper for each piece if you opt in for the 3 pc Studio Kit (found here).
K4000 Single Color / K4000S Bi-Color LED Video Light Kits