On Camera LED Lights

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FAQ About On Camera LED Lights

Peek into any professional or semi-professional photographer's camera bag and you'll find at least one on-camera LED light. It's a must-have tool for on-the-go shutterbugs, providing studio-calibre light whenever (and wherever) it's needed most.

What is LED technology?

Light-emitting diode (LED) lights are a form of solid-state lighting (SSL). Since they're not comprised of flimsy wire filaments they're far more robust than fragile incandescent light bulbs. This makes LED lights popular in applications where they might be subject to lots of movement or jostling, such as in the bottom of a camera bag. They're also highly directional, meaning the light they emit is focused in a specific direction. This makes them a natural fit for on-camera lights, which need to be portable, powerful, and precise.

What are on-camera LED lights?

On-camera LED lights attach to your DLSR or video camera via the hot shoe (the mounting area on the top of the camera) or by way of the tripod screw on the underside of the camera. Because LED bulbs can be engineered to be very small without sacrificing light intensity, manufacturers of on-camera LED lights can place a large number of bulbs into a single unit. One light can have up to several hundred individual LED bulbs in it, while remaining small, easy to transport, and highly powerful.

What are LED camera lights good for?

Think versatility and convenience. On-camera LED lights are great for on-the-go multipurpose photography needs, giving you the freedom to leave extra equipment and light stands at home or in the studio. In the field, LED camera lights offer a range of benefits. For starters, they emit more lumens (light) per watt (unit of power consumption) than incandescent/tungsten bulbs, so they don't drain your battery as fast. They also give off far less heat, making them easy to throw back in your bag after you're finished using them. If you're a videographer, you can shoot with your DLSR or video-enabled camera while still enjoying great lighting.

What other features should I look for in an on-camera LED light?

One of more useful features available on certain models of LED camera lights is the ability to dim the intensity of the bulbs while you're shooting. This adds an extra level of versatility. If you're a nature videographer or photographer, or simply find yourself shooting outdoors a lot, you might want to try and find a waterproof light. Rechargeable lithium batteries are another useful feature for heavy users, limiting the amount of time and money you'd otherwise spend replacing AA or AAA batteries.

Want more info about On Camera LED Lights? Check out some of our resources:

Plug-in Blog: How to Shoot Portraits Like a Pro
Dusk and Dawn; Tips to Get the Best Pictures During the 'Golden Hour' 
A brief history of cameras 

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