(Old video review above) Looks like Polaroid got a hold of the 312 LED Video lights. That's a good thing, because they seem to have negotiated prices much much lower. There is a more expensive v2.0 out which has an updated case and better plastic diffusion panel, but that will run you at least $60 dollars more. We're still using the old versions that haven't failed us yet, and the new low price makes it worth adding to any arsenal.
The 312 is one of our most favorite on-camera LED lights with it's big panel for better diffusion and color adjustable feature to help blend in with ambient lighting. It comes with two Sony NPF style batteries, Sony style battery charger, mini ball head, and it's own traveling case. The light can be powered off one battery, but can house two for longer run times. There's also a DC input if you want to power the batteries from a wall or external battery pack (like my Tekkeon).
LED light Test from WideOpenCamera
Here's a tip. Some of these Sony batteries that power the 312 run only at 7V. The DC input can accept 14V. We're finding we can get slightly more light output when using the DC input at 14V.
These lights normally average prices around $165 and if you find them cheaper make sure to check what parts they come with. Some sellers try to sell them cheaper but don't offer batteries, charger, ball head, case, etc. Now that Polaroid has them, the price has dropped. On eBay Polaroid is selling them for $140 dollars, but right now it's going for just $119 via Amazon (click here).
Polaroid 312 LED Video Light Kit - Dimmable Color Temp Adjustable
Looking for a large off camera LED light panel? One of the advantages of LED lights is the ability to run on battery power, but a majority of large panels run only off of V-Mount batteries. A single V-Mount battery could run well over $150 dollars + the price of a charging station. That's a very expensive additional cost for the convenience of powering off the grid. Then maybe you'd be interested in the upcoming 508 LED video light. A light that Herbert seems to have his hands on first. [Thanks for the pics Herbert].
Here's where the new 508 LED video light becomes interesting. Using the same body as the popular 312 LED light, the new 508 can still be powered by those super inexpensive Sony Style Batteries. Generic versions of these batteries run under $7.00 dollars. Of course because it's using the body of the 312, the new 508 can still accept an external DC input if you wanted to run it off of something like my Tekkeon battery pack.
Now as excited as I am about the new larger LED panel that's being powered off of cheap Sony style batteries, there's two things i'm fairly concerned about - Power output and Price. Is this large panel just more bulbs with the same power output? If so, then the price should be under $320 dollars because any person could just as easily grab two 312 LED video light panels and place them side by side, adding up to a 624 LED light source. Not to mention it would be easier to store away too once you break it down to two pieces. Hmm..sounds like an interesting test we need to tackle.
508 LED Video Light Panel
The 312 is one of our favorite LED lights. It's big and the color changing feature allows you to blend it in better with other light sources. The video (above) is a look at the original 312 LED Video light, but now this popular light gets a few upgrades. The first thing visibly is the new magnetic filter holders, much like the Z96 LED light. Why can't all the LED lights use this feature? This is awesome. Second upgrade is thicker filters for better diffusion. There's an upgraded hot shoe ball mount, and finally an overhaul on the entire frame. The body of the LED light has been redesigned with heavier plastic making the unit feel more solid and less flimsy. Other notable mentions are a longer 2 year warranty on LED lamps. With all the new upgrades, surprisingly prices stayed low. You can find the latest versions of this light (click here)
Latest 312 Color Temp Changing LED Video Light
Thinking back not long ago LED video lights were outside the normal budget. Bigger and better designs plus affordable prices make LED video lights the new standard. I don't know anyone using anything else these days for portable on-camera lighting. These 312 Portable LED Video lights aren't very new. People have sent in links to this LED light but it wasn't something I was very interested in. There is however one version of this that's fairly new, which recently caught my attention again. So check carefully and don't get confused between them if you're shopping for one.
Relative Size on Camera
The first version of this LED video light comes in with 312 LEDs with Variable 'Color Temp'. If you've seen how this technology works, you'll basically be ending up with about 1/2 the light output. Here's an old article I posted about the larger color changing LEDs http://cheesycam.com/latest-led-color-changing-video-light/
Although color changing features make for a great LED light, you'd be carrying around a fairly large form factor for just 1/2 the power. Not something I was interested in for this type of portable on camera video light. The latest version of this LED light is much more interesting. It seems as if they've removed the color changing feature and just added 312 bright 5400K LEDs.
Above - Color Changing with two Dimmers
Above - Non-Color Changing with only Brightness Dimmer
Why is this more appealing to me now? Well for people like me looking to stack portable LED video lights like the Z96, this might be the better and cheaper route. If you purchased (3) Z96 LED lights at current price, you'd end up paying more, come in with less LEDs, and have to deal with more batteries and more pieces. The 312 LED video light is a good size to still be considered portable with very little pieces to muck around with. There are two versions of the 312 LED video light, but all come with 2 Batteries, Battery Charger, a diffusing panel, and hot shoe adapter. Not only a better deal on the total number of LED's compared to the Z96, but throw in the rechargeable batteries (looks like Sony) + charger, the price is looking pretty sweet. It's a very clean professional looking form factor with obvious dimmer knob(s) on the back and a nice battery meter to show you how much power you have left.
312 Dimmable (or Color Changing) LED Video Light, Batteries + Charger included