Light is, no matter how you look at it, the most important part of a photograph or a film. The ability to control the amount, intensity, angle and color of light is a great tool for any photographer/videographer. I have tried my hand at flash photography many times before, but the ability not to see all the changes when moving, diffusing and flagging the light is really frustrating.
The ability to directly see the changes when moving and diffusing the light is one of the great advantages of using continues lighting. Thats why i bought 2 Aputure AL-H 198 led lights. I wanted to see what kind of output, and what possibilities i could have with these smal LED lights.
The AL-H198 has, as the name implies 198 LED lights. The beam angle is quite wide, with a 60 degree angle. The light output is rated at 3430 LUX at 0,5 meters. The light is compact at 151 x 100 x 56 mm, and can be used as an onboard camera light. But the light can easily also be used as a fill light or a rim light. The light is probably strong enough as a key light for a headshot/half body shot without a diffuser, but suffer from low output if you need to diffuse the light (As you normally would on a key light). But if you are close enough, you can easily light small objects as you can see next.
Here is a test video i made using two AL-H198 led lights. The video was shot with my trusty Fujifilm X-T2. Shot at 1080, 60fps, edited in FCPX. For camera movements, i used a cheap rolling dolly skate. Remember to turn up the volume up and select 1080 resolution!!
This is just a quick and dirty test, shot on my kitchen counter. There are some shadows on the wall, and the backdrop is a bit to close etc, i know. But this gives you an idea of what you can achieve. The mixed color temperatures was deliberately;) Next of I need to get some more modifiers, so i can flagg and control the light better. The key light was at full power in the video. The shutter speed was 1/120 sec, at f2.8. For a correct exposure i was at approximately iso 400-800 (Depending on the lights placement)
The clips are lit as follows:
clip 1: From left one AL-H198 bouncing light back from a gold reflector. From right, one light shooting thru a diffuser (50cm, round)
Clip 2: From left one AL-H198 bouncing light back from a silver reflector. From right, one light shooting thru a diffuser (50cm, round)
Clip 3+4+5: From left one AL-H198 bouncing light back from a gold reflector. From right, one light shooting thru a diffuser (50cm, round)
Clip 6: From left, one AL-H198 bouncing light back from a gold reflector +tungsten filter. From right, one light shooting thru a diffuser (50cm, round)
Here is a basic overview, of the pretty simple setup. (Thanks to Online Lighting Diagram Creator by QHphotography.com)
In the package get a decent quality, small, padded bag, with velcro and double zipper closing.
At the back of the AL-H198, you find the brightness adjustment wheel, that also function as a power switch. It would be preferable with a dedicated power switch, so you don’t mess with the light intensity when turning it off temporarily. But at this price point, I think it is fair. There is also a handy battery indicator, and a connection for Sony NP-F batteries (Here shown with NP-F550). You can also open the lid, and power it with regular AA batteries! (NP-F or AA batteries are not included)
In the case you also find a small ball head, adaptors, diffuser and tungsten filter. The filters snap on easily on the small knobs on the front (Only one at a time). The AL-H198 also has a clear plastic front over the LED’s, protecting them from a direct hit. Remember that there also is a AL-H198C model available. The “C” stands for color, and is a color temperature adjustable version. It can be adjusted from 3500 kelvin, to 5500 kelvin. But remember that you have much lower light output, as you then have 50% of each color temperature LED’s. The AL-H198 model is a fixed daylight temperature model (5500K), but can easily be color corrected with a gel. (Or the provided tungsten filter, but not sure how accurate the color is)Overall I’m satisfied with the lights. They are more powerful than I expected, but as mentioned earlier, not something to light up a complete scene or use as a key light. (Except if you connect several together, as you actually can!). The plastic feels kinda cheap, but still seems sturdy enough for most people’s use. My plan is to add an Aputure HR672S in the future, and use the two AL-H198 as a fill, rim or backlight.
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Buy from Amazon: Amaran AL-H198