Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
Whenever I compose a product review, I include plenty of high-quality photographs. These provide the reader with good visualization of the device and helps to describe how it functions. Quality photographs, however, require proper lighting.
My first lighting system consisted of a pair of table tripods and two 5500K fluorescent lightbulbs. The lights, unfortunately, produced plenty of glare and tended to burn out at the most inconvenient of times.
I updated my system to a full-sized tripod stand featuring a pair of five-inch ring lights attached to flexible metal arms. While not as bright as my prior system, these lights produced significantly less glare and could be positioned precisely where they were required.
The ring lights performed well when photographing smaller objects but failed to completely push back the shadows when illuminating items such as tower fans or robotic vacuum cleaners. I decided to upgrade to a brighter and more sophisticated lighting system that could handle both my photographic needs and, if required, be used to illuminate podcasts.
This time I looked closely at options featuring tripod-mounted LED panels. These would, I expected, be far brighter than my ring lights while maintaining their flexibility, portability, and ease of use. After checking out the products available at Amazon, I purchased a pair of light panels from Neewer.
This system consists of a carrying bag; two SNL660 LED light panels equipped with a set of barn doors, a white diffuser filter, a pair of power adapters, and two adjustable tripod stands.
Each of the panels contains 660 LEDs. These 9.1 x 7.87 x 1.97-inch aluminum panels weigh 3.3 pounds. They are equipped with a set of barn doors and a removable diffuser.
Power is supplied by the included adapters or an optional set of batteries.
The lights’ color temperature may be adjusted between 3200K and 5600K, and brightness can be modified in ten percent increments.
These units are wi-fi capable and can be controlled via a phone application.
This system’s lightweight metal stands can be adjusted between 36-79 inches.
- Brand: Neewer
- Name: 2 Pack 660 LED Video Light Sytem
- LED panel model: SNL660
- 3200K color temperature: 330 LEDs (CRI: 93)
- 5600K color temperature: 330 LEDs (CRI: 93)
- Color temperature adjustment: 3200K – 5600K
- Intensity adjustment: Yes
- LED display: Battery power, brightness, color temperature and channel
- Power: 40 watts
- Battery: NP-F550/F970 (optional item)
- Panel dimensions: 23.2 x 20 x 5 centimeters (9.1 x 7.87 x 1.97 inches)
- Panel weight: 1.5 kilogram (3.3 pounds)
- Barn door mechanism: Yes (removable)
- Diffuser: White (removable)
- Wi-fi application: Android or iOS
- Stand height: 92-200 centimeters (36-79 inches)
- Package contents: carrying bag, two SNL660 LED light panels equipped with a set of barn doors and a white diffuser filter, a pair of power adapters, and two adjustable tripod stands
Neewer is trademarked by the Shenzhen Xing Ying Da Industry Co.
The Light Panels
Each of the panels contains 330 CRI93 LED bulbs with a color temperature of 3200K and 330 LED bulbs with a color temperature of 5600K.
A dial on the back panel adjusts brightness. A second dial is used to modify the light’s color temperature by brightening or dimming the two sets of differently colored LEDs.
These panels feature a display that provides information pertaining to battery life (if equipped), intensity, color temperature, wi-fi connection, and channel used.
Also included is a DC power input, power switch, and accommodations for up to two batteries.
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A white plastic diffuser may be slid in or out of its position in front of the LED array. Four black-colored metal barn door panels are attached to a frame that circles the front of the panel. This frame can be easily removed.
A bracket is fixed to both sides of the panel. This allows the panel to be attached to its stand.
This plastic sheet scatters the light of the individual LEDs, reducing the presence of glare against the object being photographed.
The Barn Doors
The four metal panels can be adjusted to confine emitted light to a specified area. While a barndoor might be helpful in the production of a podcast, I find them unnecessary when photographing items used in my reviews. I should remove them, but—and I know this is silly—these barn doors look really cool when attached to the light panels.
Each stand consists of an aluminum pole with two adjustable extensions and a tripod that, if required, can be opened enough to provide a very large footprint. These stands may be set to any height between 36 and 79 inches.
Connecting the Light Panels to the Stands
There are two methods of assembling this system. I usually attach the base of the panel’s bracket directly to the top of the stand. While the connection is secure, the light panels do tend to wobble slightly. Also, when tilting the light panel, its bracket interferes with the positioning of the barn doors.
The second method is to connect the base of the panel’s bracket perpendicular to the top of its stand. This provides a solid connection and allows the barndoor assembly to operate without interference. The tripod’s legs, however, must be opened as far as possible because this type of connection moves the light’s center of gravity forward. When assembled in this manner, the light system is too bulky to be stored in my hall closet.
While this product is equipped to use NP-F550 or NP-F970 batteries, they are an optional item. I purchased a pair of Neewer NP-F970 batteries and a charger. During my tests, I verified that one of these batteries could power a light panel for up to three hours.
If required, two batteries could be plugged into a single light. These light panels may also be powered by the AC adapters that came with the system.
I use this light system to aid in photographing a variety of items. Generally, I point one light directly at the product being reviewed. The second LED panel is positioned higher and aimed downward.
The color temperature is typically set at 5500K, providing a strong white light. If the photograph includes someone holding the product, I usually adjust the color temperature lower to provide additional warmth to the image.
If I encounter glare, I reposition the lights or reduce their intensity.
Although I am not completely happy with the methods provided to attach the light panels to their stands, I do like this product.
It is relatively inexpensive, provides plenty of light, and is extremely versatile. I am especially impressed with the ability of the individual light panels to operate for up to three hours on a single battery. The Neewer 2 Pack 660 LED Video Light System is recommended.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Walter Shillington