LEDs have come a long way since they were first introduced in 1962. Compared to the early days, they have become more efficient, cheaper, have better color quality and are not to mention a lot brighter. All of this has made LED lighting panels a great option for things like photography, videography and streaming.
Neewer 2.4G 660 bi-color LED panels are an example of this type of product. They come with a wide range of features, for example, adjustable color temperature and the option to run them on batteries, while still being affordable. They also come with a remote control and stands and are great choice for key, fill or background lights.
Let’s look a little closer at the Neewer 2.4G 660 LED lighting kit and see if it is worth your time and money.
The Neewer 2.4G 660 LED bi-color video light kit contains the following:
- 2 Bi-color LED Panels with U-bracket and barndoors
- 2 White diffusers
- 2 Power adapters with power cable
- 2 Carrying cases
- 2 Adjustable light stands
- 1 Remote
- 1 Manual
|Number of LEDs||660 (330+330)|
|Panel dimensions||9.1 * 7.9 * 1.9 inches / 23.2 * 20 * 4.8cm|
The most important thing in any LED lighting kit is undoubtedly the LED panels themselves. The panels in the Neewer bi-color 660 LED lighting kit come with (you guessed it) 660 LEDs, 330 in warm white and the other 330 with a cooler daylight color temperature.
The two sets of LEDs let you set the exact color temperature of the panels. Color temperature is a measure of how warm (red/yellow hues) or cool (bluish hues) light is. It is measured in degrees Kelvin.
You can set the panels to the color temperature of daylight (5600 kelvins), that of a tungsten light bulb (3200 kelvins), or anything in between. This lets you control the mood and atmosphere of your shots.
In addition, the LED panels have a claimed CRI (color rendering index) of 96+. CRI is measured on a scale of 0 to 100 percent and indicates how accurately a light source can reproduce natural light. The higher the CRI, the more natural the colors of illuminated subjects look.
A 96 CRI is great, but I usually take the claims of these Chinese brand products with a grain of salt. From what I can see with the naked eye however, the color reproduction of these lights is nothing to complain about. So if you are a photographer, videographer or artist who wants to have their work shown accurately, these lights will let you do so.
The panels themselves operate without fan and are completely silent, making them ideal for video work or other situations where you need absolute silence.
They are also relatively compact and lightweight, which lets them be easily stored or transported.
Each panel comes with a removable white diffuser. You can add the diffuser to create softer light. This is especially useful for when you want to avoid harsh shadows on your subjects, for example when you are doing portrait work.
When using a diffuser there is always some light loss, so if you are going for maximum brightness it is better to leave it out.
The diffuser can be easily removed by sliding it out through the side of the panel assembly. There are two extendable tabs (one on each side) of the diffuser that hold it in place. You will need to press one of them down first before you can slide the diffuser out on that side.
Each LED panel has its own set of controls, which are located on its rear. They allow you to individually adjust the light for that panel by adjusting two knobs.
One knob is for adjusting the color temperature (3200-5600K), and the other is for adjusting the brightness of the LEDs. The brightness can be adjusted from 0 to 100% in steps of 10%. In practice I found this to be more than enough resolution and did not need any finer control.
The control panel has an LCD screen that displays the color temperature and brightness of the light. This comes in handy when you want to read the current color temperature of the LEDs, for example to match it in your camera settings or in Lightroom later.
The LCD is also practical for when you want to have consistent lighting across different shoots. Configuring the brightness and color temperature settings based on the positions of the knobs alone can be difficult.
Note that the non-2.4G version of this kit does not have an LCD screen on the back of the panels. This was the main reason I went for this one instead, along with the remote functionality.
When adjusting the settings, the LCD screen lights up. So even when you use the LED panel in dark environments the settings are easy to read.
The bottom of the control panel hosts a power socket for the AC power plug, and a switch that lets you switch between AC power and battery power (more on this later)
The 2.4G version of the Neewer 660 bi-color LED panels comes with a remote. It uses the 2.4Ghz frequency for wireless communication, hence the 2.4G.
The remote itself is fairly simple and plasticky. It has two buttons for adjusting the brightness of the light and two more for adjusting the color temperature. Just like with the controls on the LED panel itself, the LCD screen on the remote lights up when you adjust the settings.
It is possible to wirelessly control either one LED panel at a time or multiple at once. This saves a lot of time when you need to configure or adjust the light on multiple panels, as there no need to walk up to each panel and adjust the knobs.
More points of interest
- The claimed range on the remote is 20 meters (~66 feet). I found it to be about 14 meters indoors with a concrete wall in between, so 20 meters in open air sounds about right.
- Batteries for the remote (2* AAA) are not included.
The Neewer 660 LED lights have two slots that fit NP-F550, NP-F750 or NP-F970 rechargeable Li-ion batteries. This gives you the choice to run the panels completely from battery power instead of AC power. If you want to take the lights on the road, use them at a location without power outlets, or simply keep your studio or room free of power cables, this is a great feature.
You don’t strictly need to use two batteries, as the LED panels will also run from a single battery.
Battery life depends on the energy capacity of the batteries used, but people report about 1 hour of use with a 6300mAh NP-F970 Li-ion battery, with the panel at full power. Using a second battery and/or running the lights at a lower brightness will increase the battery life further.
The 2.4G kit does not have any batteries included, so if you want this functionality you will have to buy them separately, which is an extra cost. The NP-F series batteries are standard Sony batteries, so if you happen to already use Sony gear with these batteries then you can use those instead.
More points of interest
- The claimed power usage of the LED panels is 40W. When I measured this myself it gave me a maximum power usage of 44W. This was with the brightness at 100% (obviously) and the color temperature at 4400K. So if you want to have maximum brightness from the lamps, these are the settings to go for.
4400K also happens to be the exact point between 3200K and 5600K, so it is likely that this is the point where both the white and yellow LEDs are set to maximum.
Adding light in the right places is easy, but removing it from the places you don’t want it to be can be challenging. This is where the included barndoors come in handy. Adjusting their angle can aid you in controlling the light, creating shadows or preventing light from reflecting into the camera lens.
The barndoors are easy to remove by hand, by unscrewing the thumbscrews that attach them to the LED panel body. They come off as one complete unit, so there are no loose parts to keep track of. Not even the thumbscrews, which you can secure to the barndoors.
Just like the LED panel body, the barndoors are made from brushed black aluminum. They are mounted with the right amount of tension, meaning they are not hard to adjust, but they also do not flap around unwanted. There is definitely a quality feel to them.
I found that when the barndoors are detached it is best to store them in the LED panel carrying case.
One downside of the barndoors is that they interfere with the U-bracket of the LED panel when you try to aim the light downwards. This prevents the panels from pointing down. Let me show what I mean with an image:
It seems like Neewer has thought about this however, because there is a simple way to solve this. The U-bracket can not only be mounted vertically to the stand, but also horizontally. Mounting the U-bracket horizontally lets you rotate the LED panel further down. So basically this is a non-issue.
One of the weaker points of the Neewer 660 LED video light kit, and the one that receives the most complaints, is the stands that come with it.
Most notably, the stands receive a lot of criticism for being wobbly. In my experience there is definitely truth to that. The stands are indeed wobbly, especially when they are extended all the way up to their maximum height of 2 meters (79 inches).
This can be a problem in dynamic environments where there are a lot of people walking around and someone might walk into the stand or trip over the power cable. In a static environment it is not a problem however. The stands are stable enough to not fall over by themselves, and as long as nothing knocks into them they will stand up just fine.
Secondly, when the stand is extended beyond 160cm (63 inches) height and the LED panel is running off of AC power, the power adapter block hangs in mid air. This is because the cable between the power adapter block and the LED panel is too short.
The hanging adapter pulls on the power plug, and might cause it to wear out faster. This is an important thing to keep in mind, and when the stand is fully extended it is probably better to tape or velcro the adapter to the stand.
Aside from these downsides, the stand is easily adjusted and does not take up a lot of space when fully retracted, so it is not all bad.
More points of interest
- The LED panel can also be used without the stand. The U-bracket that is attached to the panel is an excellent support that can be adjusted to position the panel on a lot of different surfaces.
All in all, the Neewer 2.4G 660 LED lighting kit is a versatile kit that provides a lot of value for its price. While it is not perfect (especially the stands), I highly recommended it to anyone who needs plenty of light for photography, video or streaming and is not yet ready to invest in high-end photography lighting.
Give it a try for yourself and see what you think!
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