Why LEDs are taking over from flash. We test six light panels
As light sources, arrays of high-efficiency LED lamps have found favour in everything from torches that you can wear on your head to low-energy lights for homes, offices and shops. They also have advantages over flashguns for photographic use. Instead of a bright but very short pulse of light they deliver constant output, which makes it easier to view lighting effects while composing a shot. The down side is that their maximum output is typically much less powerful than that of a flashgun, so you’ll often find you need to place an LED panel very close to what you’re shooting.
Constant lighting is essential for video shooting. LED panels can be effective for this, but be wary of models which give a flickering output, especially when the power setting is reduced. None of the panels in this test group exhibit flickering.
To test the maximum output of competing panels, we used a Sekonic Litemaster Pro L478DR in incident metering mode, placed at a distance of one metre from each panel in turn. The aperture for a correct exposure was measured in the dark at ISO200 and a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second.