on camera light shining onto Sony mirrorless camera

Best On Camera Lights in 2023 (Continuous LED Light Panels)

An on-camera light provides continuous lighting, usually via an LED panel. Discover the on camera lights that offer the best bang for your buck.

By Jeff Collier

An on-camera light provides continuous lighting, usually via an LED panel that’s mounted to the camera’s hot shoe.

They’re also called ‘video lights’, although it’s getting more popular for photographers to use them too.

You can even attach an LED light to a light stand to provide another angle or direction for your light source.

The best on-camera lights have long battery life and even distribution of beautiful soft light that wraps around your subject.

They allow you to alter the light intensity and colour temperature of your light to match any ambient light in the room, or allow for experimentation with colours,

(They’re also great for light painting.)

In this guide, we’ll cover a variety of on-camera lights for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras and even include an LED light panel for a smartphone.

What is the Best On-Camera Light for Video in 2023?

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageLume Cube RGB Panel ProOUR #1 CHOICE
  • 360 RGB Color Options
  • Bluetooth Compatible
  • 5-100% Brightness Control
  • Easy App Control
View Price →
shk2-table__imageAputure Amaran Mini On Camera Video LightTOP RATED
  • Multiple Mounting Options
  • Built-in Lighting Effects
  • Wireless Charging
  • Custom Mobile App
View Price →
shk2-table__imageVIJIM Bi-Color Mini LED Camera LightGREAT VALUE
  • Small Size with Big Power
  • 2500K-6500K Colour Range
  • Multiple Mounting Options
  • 2000mAh Rechargeable Battery
View Price →
shk2-table__imageSmallRig Pix M160 LED On-Camera Video Light
  • Built-in Magnets
  • Large 3800mah Battery
  • 100 Saturation Adjustment Levels
  • 12 Lighting Effects
View Price →
shk2-table__imageViltrox L116T Video Light Panel
  • 260g Lightweight Body
  • Built-in Light Diffuser
  • Supports 12V Ac Adapter
  • Detailed LCD Screen
View Price →
shk2-table__imageNeewer RGB Video Light
  • Advance App Control
  • Aluminum Alloy Construction
  • 20 Lighting Effects
  • 2500K-8500K Colour Range
View Price →
shk2-table__imageLitepanels Astra Bi-Color LED Light Panel
  • 0-100% Smooth Dimming
  • Bluetooth Compatible
  • Flicker Free
  • 46° Beam Angle
View Price →
shk2-table__imageGVM Phone LED Ring Light
  • Lightweight Material
  • Dual Power Options
  • Stabilize Hand-held Grip
  • Bluetooth Compatible
View Price →

 

Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Pre-programmed presets
  • 1,000 lumen output
  • 3,000 to 5,700K color temperature range
Cons
  • Limited color temperature range compared to other products on our list
  • Can be large for some setups

The Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro is a mountable on-camera LED light that provides up to 1,000 lumens light output.

With a longer battery life than many smaller on-camera LED lights, the Panel Pro can be mounted to DSLR cameras to provide lighting for continuous shooting applications.

There are over 263 LEDs within this on-camera light, which also features a number of presets. For example, you can strobe this light to look like fire, emergency services, or lightning.

While it’s not the most high-end light on the market, the Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro can be affordable if you’re looking for something with adjustable brightness and color. You can also adjust the strobe speed as well.

The Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro comes with a travel pouch, a mini camera shoe mount, a USB-C charging cable, and a softening diffuser. It’s also Bluetooth compatible as well.

If you own a DSLR camera and want a better light that’s as powerful as it is capable of cozy lighting, this dependable light panel is a great choice. It’s extremely versatile and can aid you in shooting portraits, landscapes, and everything in between.

The Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro ranges in color temperature from 3,000 to 5,700K. The only potential downside is that it doesn’t sport the compact design that some of the other LED lights on our list feature.

Aputure Amaran Mini On Camera Video Light

Pros
  • Tactile side buttons
  • Compatible with Sidus Link mobile app
  • Small footprint
  • 3,200-6,500K color temperature range
Cons
  • Limited mounting points
  • No light diffusing attachments included

The Aputure Amaran Mini On Camera Video Light acts as a solid light source for any photoshoot. It produces a variety of color temperatures and charges wirelessly to keep you going all day long.

The LED panels on this light contain a variety of lighting modes. For example, you can toggle between presets that include fireworks, lightning, fire, party, emergency services, and paparazzi.

(I had a lot of fun tricking my friends at a recent party with the blue/red flashing lights emergency services simulation – they thought the police had turned up to shut the party down!)

The entire footprint of the Aputure Amaran Mini On Camera Video Light makes it ideal for both stationary photographing and working out in the field. In addition, the tactile buttons can help you adjust settings quickly to get the best shot.

If you’re looking for one of the best LED light setups that fit into your pocket, this one could be it. It ranges in color temperature from 3,200 to 6,500K and can provide plenty of fill light for your photo shoot.

Roughly the size of a credit card, the Aputure Amaran Mini On Camera light incorporates magnets as a mounting point. You can also use the mounting tape to permanently mount it if you’d like.

This on-camera LED light wirelessly charges and comes with a case, charger, and the mounting tape necessary to get started. It’s also one of the first RGBWW film lights that doesn’t run off AA batteries or battery power.

VIJIM Bi-Color Mini LED Camera Light

Pros
  • 2,500-6,500K color temperature range
  • Max brightness levels last up to 120 minutes
  • Includes 4 cold shoe mounts
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
Cons
  • No presets
  • Limited range of motion

As far as on-camera lights go, the VIJIM Bi-Color Mini LED Camera Light offers a number of features that make it a great pick. At full power, it’s plenty enough light to greatly impact the results of your studio photography.

Rather than running off AA batteries, the VIJIM Bi-Color Mini LED Camera Light features a rechargeable internal battery. This rechargeable battery completes a charging cycle within 3 hours, making it one of the best on-camera lights for fast charging.

In terms of color temperature, the VIJIM Bi-Color Mini LED on-camera light is capable of temperatures between 2,500 and 6,500K. It can also last for up to 120 minutes at maximum brightness or up to 480 minutes at minimum brightness.

The VIJIM Bi-Color Mini LED Camera Light comes with 4 cold shoe mounts and a 1-year warranty. It also features a hot shoe adapter for a tripod, mic mount, or light stand.

The frame of this innovative on-camera light incorporates a wheel you can use to quickly adjust the brightness. It also features a thickened light cover that allows you to diffuse the light if necessary.

Depending on where you need light the most, the VIJIM Bi-Color Mini LED on-camera light can rotate up to 170 degrees. It’s one of the best on-camera LED lights you can invest in if you’re looking for versatility, portability, and affordability.

SmallRig Pix M160 LED On-Camera Video Light

Pros
  • Lightweight aluminum body
  • 12 lighting effects to choose from
  • Built-in rechargeable lithium battery
  • Includes honeycomb grid and softbox
Cons
  • Brightness adjusting knob can make it hard to replicate settings
  • May not adapt to all cameras

Don’t let the word “small” in the SmallRig Pix M160 LED On-Camera light name fool you. While this LED light certainly has a small footprint, that doesn’t mean it can’t put out great light for your photo shoot.

As one of the best on-camera LED lights at this price point, the SmallRig Pix M160 has a color temperature range of 2,500 to 8,500K. In fact, it’s one of the widest ranges on our list, allowing you to match the mood of your shoot.

Compared to multiple LED light panels, on-camera LED lights diffuse light from a single source (on your camera!) You can also use the included honeycomb grid and softbox to diffuse the light in a specific pattern.

The SmallRig Pix M160 LED light features an aluminum body that’s light to carry around. Plus, it’s compact enough to fit easily in your camera bag.

While the display screen on the SmallRig Pix M160 remains small, it can help you adjust settings and see how much battery life you have left. The built-in lithium battery should have enough power output to keep the SmallRig Pix M160 going for hours at a time.

You can mount the SmallRig Pix M160 LED light with magnets or directly onto your camera. It comes with a USB-C charging cable, a carrying pouch, and ball head mounts as well.

The SmallRig Pix M160 on-camera LED light also includes 12 lighting effects to choose from. You can pick from stroboflash, lightning, candlelight, screen light, or emergency services.

Viltrox L116T Video Light Panel

Pros
  • Adjustable brightness from 20-100%
  • LCD display screen
  • 987 lumens
  • 1-year warranty
Cons
  • Limited color temperature range
  • One of the larger LED light panels on the market

One look at the Viltrox L116T Video Light Panel and you’ll see why photographers find this to be one of the best LED light panel products on the market. It even comes with a 1-year warranty to protect your investment.

You can easily adjust the brightness on the Viltrox L116T Video Light Panel between 20 and 100% via the rear LCD panel. It also produces up to 987 lumens for powerful lighting you’ll come to depend on for outside photoshoots.

The color temperature of this LED panel ranges from 3,300 to 5,600K. Get rid of harsh shadows with this LED light panel, which remains a handy tool for amateur and professional photographers alike.

The Viltrox L116T Video Light Panel includes an LCD display screen set in the back. You can use the nearby adjustment buttons to switch color temperature as well as brightness mode.

As one of the best LED light panels on the market, the Viltrox L116T will resume your previous settings after you turn it back on again. This can greatly reduce setup time.

Additional accessories include a double-hole hot shoe, a USB charging cable, and a honeycomb diffuser surface. It also includes a simple on/off switch that makes it easy to operate this LED light panel.  

Neewer RGB Video Light

Pros
  • 20 presets
  • 3 cold shoes included
  • 2,500-8,500K color temperature
  • Charges in under 3 hours
Cons
  • Small integrated screen
  • Not the most powerful light on our list

Choose the Neewer RGB Video Light if you’re looking for a great overall light package. This portable and lightweight LED light provides enough power with the versatility of more expensive LED lights.

The Neewer RGB Video Light features a 120-degree beam angle that you can easily aim to get the best shot. It also includes the ability to adjust your brightness from 0-100.

Charging the Neewer RGB Video Light only takes about 3 hours. Plug the rechargeable battery in with the provided USB cable, and you’re ready to go.

Neewer also includes 3 cold shoe mounts with their LED light. The color temperature range starts at 2,500 and goes all the way up to 8,500.

With such a broad temperature range, it’s easy to see why many photographers, new and experienced appreciate this product. You can also take the Neewer RGB Video Light just about anywhere since it’s so compact.

Neewer preloads 20 different effects into their LED light. These include fireworks, lightning, TV, candles, colored flashes, and HSI slow and fast.

The Neewer RGB Video Light panel benefits from 61 LEDs that provide a difference of light in any photo shoot. 

Litepanels Astra Bi-Color LED Light Panel

Pros
  • 2-year warranty
  • 50% brighter than previous models
  • Optional Bluetooth communication model
  • 3,200 to 5,600K color temperature
Cons
  • Large footprint
  • Limited beam angle

The Litepanels Astra Bi-Color LED Light Panel might be the most expensive LED light on our list, but it certainly offers plenty of light. In fact, you might even say it’s bright enough to resemble sunlight.

With a color temperature range of 3,200 to 5,600K, the Litepanels Astra Bi-Color LED Light Panel offers the flexibility to match the mood you’re trying to recreate. It’s made from lightweight material to be easy to adjust as needed.

One of the biggest selling points of the Litepanels Astra Bi-Color light panel is that it’s free from any flickering, no matter what your frame rate or shutter speed is.

This can definitely make a difference if you don’t want to mess with settings as you move from one camera to the next.

This generation of the Litepanels Astra Bi-Color LED Light Panel is 50% brighter than the previous generation. It also comes with a 2-year warranty to protect your investment.

You can also purchase an optional remote to adjust brightness and color temperature. The Bluetooth remote will also adjust the cooling mode to be quiet if necessary.

GVM Phone LED Ring Light

Pros
  • 0-100% dimming
  • Long throw of light over a large field
  • Quiet cooling mode
  • Aluminum construction
Cons
  • Can be bulky
  • May not get same effects based on your particular smartphone camera

Last but not least is the GVM Phone LED Ring Light, which is a phone camera light. This means it’s meant to mount to your phone as a way to illuminate your subject for a truly portable setup.

Though large, this phone camera light provides a sturdy mounting base for your phone that allows you to move it around and position it as desired. Plus, it’s great for a lot of extra light when you need it most.

Knobs on the back of this unit allow you to adjust brightness and other settings. Plus, you can also change the dimming from 0-100%.

The GVM Phone LED Ring Light is great for throwing a lot of light onto the scene. It also can be strung together with other lights in order to complete a daisy chain.

With a quiet cooling mode and a curved yoke design, the GVM Phone LED Ring Light remains free of flickers at any shutter speed or frame rate. Plus, the frame is made from aluminum to be lightweight and durable.  

Are LED Lights Good for Photography?

man adjusting on camera light panel at photoshoot

There are pros and cons to working with LED lights in photography. While LED lights are a common alternative to larger softboxes, umbrellas, and strobe lights, they aren’t always the best choice in every situation.

For instance, being portable and attached to your camera, LED lights usually need to run off batteries, and their battery life is limited, depending on which power setting you use.

However, there are plenty of benefits of using an LED camera light, whether on or off camera.

When working in enclosed spaces, an LED light is preferable to other lights, especially in warmer climates. The LED lights don’t put off as much heat as other types of lights, so you can stay cooler in the studio.

Many photographers prefer an LED light over studio lights due to the close resemblance to natural light. At the same time, LED lights also come in a variety of colors.

It’s typically much cheaper to invest in an LED light panel, though you will have to deal with some cords. On the other hand, the brightness level of an LED light can affect certain subjects on the set.

Photographers should note that LED lights feature lower power outputs, which limit what shutter speed you can use. This is especially true for moving subjects.

Which LED light is best for photography?

The best LED light for photography is the one that fits the profile the best. For example, you may need an LED light panel with long battery life for your shoot.

Other times, you may choose a specific color temperature over battery life. Color temperatures can make a huge difference in some cases, especially at the extreme ends of the spectrum – trying to recreate a cold, wintery look, for example.

LED panels with adjustable color temperature help you adapt to your surroundings and set the mood. They can also highlight specific features of your photograph without having to use editing software.

If you’re looking for more flattering light, you may want to go with lights from a softer source instead. The power consumption on these won’t be as much as brighter LED lights, so that can help keep your battery life high.

There are also different types of LED lights to choose from. These include LED light panels, LED lights on stands, on-camera lights, and portable lighting.

At the same time, you can choose from the many products we’ve listed above to find the best LED light. Popular options include the Aputure Amaran Mini On Camera Video Light, the Viltrox L116T Video Light Panel, and the Litepanels Astra Bi-Color LED Light Panel.

Additional products include the SmallRig Pix M160 LED On-Camera Video Light, the GVM Phone LED Ring Light, and the Neewer RGB Video Light. No matter which LED light or LED light panel you choose, you’re sure to find one that fits your needs.

You can also use LED light strips in photo light boxes – the best ones have them built in already.,

Do LED lights interfere with photography?

LED lights can definitely interfere with your photography.

Although color temperature is usually adjustable on an on-camera light, there may still be slight variations, especially during prolonged usage. This would mean you’d need to alter the white balance in post-production to get the exact look you’re going for.

In addition to color temperature, LED lights also flicker at an increased rate compared to most on-camera lights. The camera’s shutter speed and frame rate, when out of sync with the LED lights, can actually record horizontal black lines.

A professional photographer will combat LED light issues by shooting in manual mode with a custom white balance. This ensures any on-camera lights don’t interfere with the camera’s exposure.

Best Camera Lights | Final Words

Continuous camera lights offer a convenient ‘what you see is what you get’ solution to photography lighting.

While flashes and strobes usually require some experience (not to mention plenty of test shots) to find the right exposure, an LED light is usually simple to operate, with the results immediately visible.

If you’re shooting video, on-camera lights are a no-brainer. For stills photography, you’ll need to pick and choose the situation – sometimes they’re useful, while others they can be a hindrance.

We hope you’ve found our guide useful in your search for the best LED light panel for your next photo shoot.

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