I'm trying to shoot video of a buddy playing music. I have a room that I need to light up for the camera. I'm looking into LEDs as they have good light output/low heat.

What is the difference between a NEEWER CN-216 with 13W total power / NEEWER CN-160 w/9.6W max power


Buying a clamp light and throwing a flood LED light in it, such as Hyperikon PAR38 14W (CRI 90+)?

Total is around $22.50 per LED+clamp vs a CN-216 which is $40 with lower wattage. Besides portability is there anything else I'm missing here?

  • 1
    One thing you're missing is colour. Cheap LEDs have all sorts of nasty spikes in their spectrum, so they often give off light that looks white to the naked eye, but will give skin a sickly greenish or magenta-ish cast. The on camera light you suggest will probably be all over the place as far as colour goes, but it will likely be in the ball park compared to a domestic bulb. Buy a cold shoe adaptor with a 1/4" thread, and then work out a way of attaching that to some sort of clamp.
    – stib
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 12:52
  • @stib I thought this article was interesting: popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/reviews/g164/… -- looks like LEDs in general have better color reproduction than CFLs (according to their test). LEDs look to be second only to incandescent bulbs and of course sun light :)
    – worbel
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 7:48
  • 1
    Thanks for that link. That article focussed on the perceived quality of the light, which is less relevant for shooting video, what was useful was the spectral distribution of the light - as you can see incandescent light has a very smooth spectrum, so it's very easy to balance. LED is smoother than CFL except for a bulge in the yellow and a spike in the blue. The problem about that is that the camera will pick it up much more strongly than the eye, resulting in colour shifts - it's especially noticeable on skin. The smoother the spectrum the easier to grade it is.
    – stib
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


The first question you asked answers itself: just read the specifications of the two products and compare.

The second question you asked is perhaps more interesting. LED matrix lights on cameras give to video the kind of look that flashes mounted on cameras give to photographs. They separate foreground from background due to the (typically) large falloff of light between nearby and distant objects. They tend to create a very contrasty look, with surfaces perpendicular to the camera reflecting lots more light than surfaces less so. I.e., foreheads and cheekbones will be very bright, sides of face less so. Being relatively small sources, they tend to throw distinct shadows, but because of their location relative to the camera, the camera doesn't see the shadows. The LED matrix lights can obviously be removed from the camera and placed on a stand, but you haven't mentioned buying a stand or a shoe mount, and you might hate the shadows that they do cast, so they are likely to wind up on the camera.

A clamp light can be mounted off the camera, and a clamp light needs AC voltage, so you have to find a place to plug it in. Since LEDs burn as cool as they do, it's easy to put diffusion across the face of a clamp light. Large-faced clamp lights can give you even softer light, which means fewer distinct shadows falling on your subject.

If you do go with the PAR lights, you might want to get a second one so that you can use one for a key light and one for a fill light. Or get a third so you can add a rim light. Three point lighting makes all the difference in how things look in video.

If you go the PAR route, I recommend looking at SORRA Vivid (CRI 95+) products.

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