The Next Big Thing? Yongnuo’s LED Video Light

Yongnuo DSLR LED Video Light Dimmable

Ok, so a long time ago I posted something called the CN-126 LED video light which became a huge hit with DSLR videographers on a budget. That's still a very popular LED light in use today, but even though it's a reliable performer, the form factor and build quality is nothing to write home about. Next big thing on the blog was the Z96 LED Video light. Still a top performer with better build quality than the 126, but she's since turned Diva and only caters to high price buyers. Inflation, greed, and demand from a growing audience of needy DSLR shooters has consumed her. So what's next? We've been waiting for quite some time for a new player, and I think we might be seeing it today.

Yongnuo is a company well known amongst Photographers, and runs a fairly tight ship of products. Not much going on for the Video accessories. Yongnuo is not one of those over seas companies that just rebrands products. They are best known for their own unique innovation, with less than 10 products showcased on their website. Quality of products are always raved about (especially for their prices), in fact Yongnuo flashes are often considered the next best option compared to Canon OEM Speedlites. You'll find a few articles around Yongnuo on this blog, and I own plenty of Yonguo products.

AA Battery Compatible

Well i'm excited to see that Yongnuo has released an LED Video Light with all the features I crave. 135 LEDs, Dimmable, AA Battery Compatible, claiming 5500K color temp, stackable to create larger light panels, and get this - support or NB3-L Lithium Rechargeable Batteries. Say what? If i'm not mistaken, that's Canon's battery. With a special adapter placed in the AA compartment (included), you can throw in two NB3-L batteries and charge the light via it's own USB interface. Aftermarket NB3-L Canon Batteries can be had for about $3 dollars each these days. The Yongnuo light does not appear to come with a Tungsten colored filter, but I wouldn't call it a deal breaker. The other LED light filters really weren't spot on to begin with. Every kit does come with a hotshot mount, flat flash bracket, and little baggy.

NB3-L Li-ion Rechargeable Battery Compatible with Built in USB Charging

So is this new LED Video light going to be a big deal? Well I just rolled my Magic Eight ball and the message returned with 'All signs point to Yes'. I think it will be a hit for a few reasons. First, it's Yongnuo. I'm thinking the quality is going to be pretty good if they build it like their other products. Second, it's got 135 LED's which is more than the Z96 or the CN126 and still has all the dimmable, stackable, with AA battery compatible features that make the other lights popular. Third, it's cheaper than the Z96 (right now that is). The popularity of the Z96 and the inflated prices have people turning to other light sources with few options. This may be that new one to think about, and hopefully i'll have my hands on one soon to see what the quality is really like.

find-price-button Yongnuo DSLR Dimmable Stackable LED Video Light

31 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing? Yongnuo’s LED Video Light

  1. Martin

    The flickering issue seems to have something to do with the correct shutter speed and/or the video refresh rate. Try out different settings. Especially 60fps seems to produce lots of flickering.

    Maybe it has something to do with the utility frequenz issue ( e.g. Europe and America = 50Hz vs 60Hz ).

    My guess is, the flickering is not a defect of the video lamp.

  2. So close to pulling the trigger on a video light got a shoot in a few weeks that will be on the streets and good old English overcast days and night club back drops i really need a nice fill light so far the z96 is winning for me to stick the diffuser on but will have to keep looking and see what looks the best.

  3. I bought one of these and liked it so much I bought another. I am thinking of buying a couple more still, useful little light.

  4. Kevin

    For everyone wanting a better filter solution, just cut your own to size and glue on magents to the gel and light. Maybe even attach the gels to some cut plexiglass first so you dont have a flimsy solution.

  5. As Emm said I was thinking the Z96, that is what I had planned on getting before I bought the YN-135. I was also thinking about the newer CN-160. I would like the dimmer wheel instead of buttons for the brightness and it would be nice to have a built in way of mounting filters, but neither of those are deal breakers. As far as the light output itself the YN-135 worked fine so I would be ok with a replacement that didn't flicker. I haven't heard from the seller yet as to what I'm getting but the unit I sent back hasn't been received yet, so it will be sometime next week before I know anything more.

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Allen - I think the Z96 is still a good alternative, but more expensive due to demand. The Yongnuo's are supposedly really good stuff. When i'm back from Vegas i'll do a quick look on mine. (came in the mail).

  7. I have done just that, the seller didn't say if he was going to give me a refund or replacement, but it is on the way back to him for one or the other. I've found some other video reviews of the light online and it appears to work fine for those people too, so it is likely just my light...and not surprising considering the price and all that there would be some quality control problems. If he sends me a replacement I will post back with the results of that one, if he sends me a refund I might decide to get a different LED.

  8. I put some cheap double A batteries and let the light run till the batteries dies. No flicker problems at all, it sounds like you received a specifically defective light. I would send it back and ask for a replacement.

    Interesting note: The light runs with only 3 AA batteries in it. I was using the cheapest batteries around (I got 16 of them for a dollar in a dollar store) and they ran for more than a couple of hours before they lost power.

    I ordered another one today and will probably get a bunch if nothing better releases anytime soon.

  9. Jowry

    I just received a pair of these today, popped in some batteries just for test, and was pleasantly surprised at the light output on full bore.

    The number on the box is the SYD-1509. I haven't tested the color temp with my T2i, but that's coming shortly. The camera flash bar that comes with it is fairly cheesy plastic, but I intend to put these pups on light stands and try them out with umbrellas for small product shots.

    You sure can't beat the price, and they attach to each other quite nicely to achieve a light bank. I've got to order the NB3Ls now so I can charge via USB, and not fill my local landfill with AAs in a couple of weeks. Overall it's a slick design, and it'll be real simple to gel these guys. The dim feature (- key) works quite well, and I didn't notice a bit of flicker.

  10. I purchased one of these and lights and have experienced no such flickering, although I haven't let the batteries get low yet. I'll run the batteries down and test it tomorrow. I hope not, since I jut ordered a second one of these.

  11. I just got mine today...BUT I have two issues with it, one minor, one major. The minor issue is that the hot shoe foot is not permanently attached to the light, and it is cheap plastic, so it is hard to get on there real tight. The first time I mounted it to my camera and went to turn it on, it nearly fell on the floor because the light came off it's shoe mount (the shoe mount itself stayed on my camera).

    The major issue is that it does in fact flicker at anything less than full power. I installed some freshly charged Eneloop batteries (which I would consider good quality batteries...and it is what I intend to use as I have a large supply of them) and there is a visible flicker at every brightness interval right up until full power. The flicker is not too noticeable at a couple of the settings just below full brightness, but it is still there, and it is pretty bad at the lower brightness settings. I could probably live with it flickering when the batteries got low as long as it still gave me a couple of hours of usable, dimmable light. I don't have any regular AA batteries as I have all but replaced them with Eneloops and I don't have a Li-Ion that fits, so can't test how it works with either of those. But since I had intended to use this with Eneloops this light is really not usable at anything less than full brightness even with fully charged batteries, which as far as I'm concerned makes it defective.

    Here is a quick video I did against a wall to show the flicker. This was shot with a Canon 60D and 50mm 1.4 at ISO 100, 1/60, f2.8.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @DH - Wondering if he's using good batteries. Even the Z96 will flicker when the battery voltage drops too low. I'm waiting for mine to come in.

  13. DH

    Hi Emm,

    This is the only review I could find (so far):
    It is actually a bad german review without a proper setup and is more like a comparison to the older SYD-0808, which is smaller in size. I'm really looking forward to your review because it is a interesting product, although in the video I saw that the light flickers when being dimmed. Also, the color of the light seems very blue. Can you recommend some good gels to compensate?
    Thanks for all your work here!

  14. J Toha

    Why oh why the Z96 has to increase so much in price? The cheapest I've found is still about US$76-80 including shipping to Singapore, compared to this new 135 one.

    The Z96 uses 5 AA batteries while the 135 uses 6. The former can be placed in different angles (because of the arm I guess) while the latter is in fixed position.

    Looking forward to hearing your review, Emm. That'd help make the decision where to pour forth the hard earned dollar 😀

  15. Sorin

    I had just ordered a 126 led a week ago and now this comes out? The link says it contains a bracket, a usb charging cable as well. So the value is great. Looking forward to that review.

  16. Emm

    Post author

    @Pawel - Thats the same old 126 that's been out. I mentioned that in the first sentence. They work great, just a fairly larger form factor and less build quality than the Z96.

  17. Luke

    Do u have the youngyou in hand yet? I saw on this site a video comparison of the light throw between the 126 vs 96.

    Can you do the same for the 96 vs the new 135?

    I want to order today... but I need to know which is better.

    I especially like how the 96 doesn't vignette the corners. It seem to be more evenly balanced.

  18. Olphus

    It's a real shame that the z96 have gone up in price.
    The Yongnuo might have the green cast/tint that many led video lights have but not the z96.
    The Yongnuo can't swivel like the z96.
    Also I'd hate to deal with flimsy gels which is a must with the Yongnuo.
    I just hope the z96 goes down in price.

  19. this light looks like a very good call. glad i waited. the rechargeable battery is such a plus. saves you a lot of cake in the long run. filters are easy to find and/or make.

  20. Emm

    Post author

    @Pao - Just grab a sheet of the correct color gel to compensate. very cheap for a small piece. we just need to figure out the correct gel color to buy. since these dont transmit much heat, should be able to use cheaper gels.

  21. Pawel

    Looks like next great video light, but its 5500k, and probably doesnt have filters to go down up to around 4500k.
    Its not big deal because price is preety good.
    PS. i watch your blog everyday lol

  22. slicKrox

    This one looks really interesting enough. Two weeks ago I ordered Z96 led. I hop it was not mistake...

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