Boling LED Light Panels, a short review

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Boling LED Light Panels, a short review

For several years, I have with delight followed the development in LED lights, as it has been quite clear, that good things were on their way. In november 2016, I finally took the leap, and went for a 100% LED setup for my small portrait studio, that so far had been equipped with a bunch of Elinchrom lights. The product(s) that I found covered my needs without emptying my wallet completely, was the Boling LED Panel Lights.

I stumbled upon the Bolings in a local photo lighting store, and after doing a bit more research about them and similar products, I went and got two 2280P and three 2250P. (“80” is for 80cm long and “50” is 50mm long. There is also a smaller one: 2220 at 20cm.) The P marks the daylight model (5600K). There are also color variable versions called PB. These will probably appeal to the video people, but I went for the P.

The basic idea was to make a Peter-Hurley-ish setup, making a rectangle with the 2280’s as sides and the 2250’s as top and bottom. The third 2250 was for lighting my background. I will talk much more about this setup in my next blog post, and focus on reviewing the Boling lights in present post.

They come very well packed, and they are shipped inside their padded nylon carrying bag which is inside a cardboard box. The carrying bags seem very nice, and will come in handy whenever transport is needed.
You get the panel itself, the mounting bracket, the power supply, plus a white diffusion panel and a CTO (orange) diffusion panel. I also got the softboxes, and they come with their own bag and (ta-dah!) grid. (BTW what´s up with the prices the brand names want for their grids? Are they perhaps sewn by Savile Row taylors? 😀 )

Portrait using two 2280 panels side by side, to create a classic “window” light.

One of the big plusses that these babies have over similar panels, is the well thought out accessories that all slide into their groove in the aluminum panels: You have the diffusion panels, the softbox (with or without grid) and you have metal barndoors. And you can have both diffusion panel and softbox/barndoors on at the same time. This gives you a much more flexible setup, than so many other LEaD panel lights I have seen, where you can get the light and nothing else.

On the back, you have two battery mounts (sony V) (on the 2280, only one on the 2250) which may come in handy one day. And then there is a power switch, the power control wheel and a small but clear display that tells you the current power in percentage from 10% to 100%. So simple to operate, that there was no owners manual included. One tiny annoyance: The wheel goes the “wrong way” if you are a westerner at least. But no biggie.

Build quality is overall very satisfactory where it counts. The solid backbone is the aluminum profile, that simply is the whole constuction. The mount is solid and gives you many options.

I find the quality of light to be excellent. No flickering and the CRI (ra) is rated 96+, which I believe is a good rating. In the dark winter time here in Denmark, I have had great pleasure of leaving the lights on all day, just because the light feels good.
Which brings me to another great feature: The low power consumption and the low heat. A definite win-win and even more so for people living in warmer regions.

The power range is very satisfactory to me, but this lazy reviewer has not actually measured the range in stops. In use, I just turn the wheel until it looks good. 😀 With four lamps up close (headshot) I run them at about 35%.  With fewer lamps or more distance, I turn the power up. If you often do bigger group shots or need lots of power for a huge depth-of-field, I would recommend old fashioned flashes. But for my purpose, which is studio headshots and portraits, they totally rock. (Oh, and you need to be able to shut out most ambient light, if you want maximum control.)

My setup for shooting these two feminist bloggers (the shot below). The four panels in the front were gridded to keep the background gels effective. Background was lit with three lights: Red in the sides and purple in the middle.

Conclusion

All in all, I am very, very happy for my decision to sell my Elinchrom system, and go with these no-brand chinese LED panels. The joy of my work has simply been elevated in several ways, so I am definitely not looking back.

Pros:
– Great value for money.
– Excellent quality of light.
– The optional softboxes and barndoors (and the fact that the lights come in three sizes) makes it feel like a system, not like a singular product.
– Low power, low heat.

Cons:
– Power reads out in percent. My dream lights would have a clicking dial that goes in 1/3 stops.
– No remote control of power. Not a problem for me, as I am usually standing right next to the lights, but my dream lights would definitely have a remote that would also display the power of each unit.

Shooting with LED’s, one of the HUGE benefits, is that what you see is 100% what you get. And this keeps you from wanting to check what you have shot all the time. You KNOW what you have got.

In a following blog post, I will talk about how I actually use my (now seven) LED lights in my work and how working with LED lights compare to working with traditional studio flash, so stay tuned.

By |2018-12-18T17:41:25+00:00august 28th, 2017|Gear, In english|1 Comment

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One Comment

  1. Thomas 19/10/2017 at 23:20 - Reply

    Tak Lars. Det er lige hvad jeg selv har ledt efter, da the Hurley flex kit er monstrøst dyrt…
    Tror jeg skal en tur forbi Frederiksberg i meget nær fremtid og shoppe 🙂

    Mvh

    Thomas

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