New Rentals: Best Portable Lighting for Photography and Video

New Rentals: Best Portable Lighting for Photography and Video

With the exception of small lights, like flash guns and hot shoe LEDs, portable lighting options are limited. Fortunately, every year we’re getting better, more powerful, wireless lighting. Here are 4 great new battery-powered lighting kit rentals that are good for both photographers and videographers.

FotodioX Flapjack LED Ring Light ($25* for a 3 Day Rental, Learn More)

Among all of our battery-powered lights, the Flapjack has probably the best overall battery life. You get up to 4.5 hours of run time at 100% or up to a whopping 9 hours at 50% brightness. It produces uniquely soft results thanks to an innovative redirection of the LEDs. They are positioned inward toward a diffusion material and bounced back out at your subject. This is a flickr-free light with a CRI of 85, which may seem low but know that CRI is a relatively lousy way to measure LEDs that relies on human observation and all of its limitations. But, in general, the higher the CRI (or TLCI, which is the more modern measure that’s better suited to digital filmmaking), the more expensive the light. The Flapjack strikes a balance on quality and price. At only $25 for a long weekend, this ring light is a great value.

The opening of this ring light will accommodate lenses up to 5.12″ in diameter and the whole ring itself is just shy of 10″. You can control dimming and temperature (3200K – 5600K) and mount it on 15mm or 19mm rod systems using the included mounting bracket. The Flapjack is a great wireless solution. Bonus: you have the option of plugging it in with the included AC power supply and cable.

FotodioX-C-318RLS
FEATURES:


Continuous LED with variable temperature, dimming, and up to 4.5 hours battery life at 100% brightness. Less than 10" diameter and around 8 lbs for the entire kit.

GOOD FOR:


Photo booths, interviews, fashion

Profoto B10 AirTTL Flash ($90 for a 3 Day Rental, Learn More)

Delivering 5x the power of the common flash gun while being only marginally larger than one, the Profoto B10 is a powerful lighting tool with enough versatility to be appreciated by videographers, despite Profoto’s audience being mainly photographers. Boasting both a 250W/s strobe and 150W-equivalent continuous LED, you can go from studio portraiture to sit-down interview in one session. The B10 operates off lithium-ion batteries that last up to 400 full-power flash pops or 75 minutes of continuous lighting at 100% brightness. What’s better is that you have the option to pass-through charge your battery while powering the B10 with wall power (AC power supply and cable are included).

Ultra-fast settings are available in Freeze Mode, providing flash durations as quick as 1/42,000th of a second (according to t0.5 specifications, which is important info for extreme action-freezing strobe experts but immaterial for the rest of us). Please note that color consistency will be sacrificed here and you’re only getting about 0.5W/s of energy when using these ultra-fast settings. If you’re using a camera with higher X-Sync capabilities, this strobe will be excellent for “overpowering” the sun, allowing you to create gorgeous, controlled lighting in broad daylight – even without pushing it to its extreme limits.

profoto-b10
FEATURES:


Strobe with LED option with variable temperature, dimming, and up to 75 minute battery life or 400 flash pops. Less than 7" long and around 3 lbs.

GOOD FOR:


High-speed work, events, portraits, and multimedia projects.

Quasar Science Q-Lion Q20LS LED ($35 for a 3 Day Rental, Learn More)

This no-fuss tube light offers 90+ lumens per watt, outperforming many other continuous lighting sources in this form factor on the market today. A single charge gets you up to 4 hours of operation (but note that it doesn’t allow for pass-through charging – the only downside). The built-in magnetic feet will fuse easily to most stands but there is also a 3/8″ port for attaching to lighting grip pins. This is a flickr-free light with a CRI of 95+, which is great but it should be noted again that CRI is not the best determiner of LED-based lighting quality. Battery life, price, ease of use, grip options, coverage, and overall versatility are all important factors to balance. But for those who do pay attention to the little details, Quasar Science reports this light as having a TLCI reading of 97+, which is excellent. It emits both daylight and tungsten-balanced light (3000k/5600k, press and hold the power button to alternate between modes) and offers incremental (stepped) dimming.

Quasar Science has been a leader in tube-style lighting fixtures for awhile. Their lights have been seen in music videos for major artists like Missy Elliott. Independent filmmakers love them for their relative affordability, outstanding quality of light, and versatility. While designed for filmmaking, the convenient form factor and WYSIWYG behavior of these types of light sources is making them ever more popular among photographers. We also are now renting Quasar Science Rainbow LEDs, which you can read more about in our The Top 10 New Video and Photo Gear Releases of 2018 post.

Quasar-Science-Q-Lion-Q20LS-LED
FEATURES:


Continuous LED with dual temperature (3000K/5600K) and up to 4 hours battery life. 24" long with built-in magnetic mount points.

GOOD FOR:


Quick setup, events, travel, and accent lighting.

Profoto B1X 500 Flash ($126 for a 3 Day Rental, Learn More)

If you’re intrigued by the Profoto B10 but need more power, this is the right light for you. Delivering up to 500W/s, this is a powerful tool that can keep up with the fastest action thanks to a special Freeze Mode that delivers flash durations as fast as 1/19,000th of a second (as mentioned above with the B10, this is according to t0.5 specifications, which is important info for extreme action-freezing strobe experts but immaterial for the rest of us). Color consistency will be sacrificed and you’re only getting about 2W/s of energy when using these ultra-fast settings. If you’re using a camera with higher X-Sync capabilities, this strobe will be excellent for “overpowering” the sun, allowing you to create gorgeous controlled lighting in broad daylight. It will perform admirably without having to be pushed to its extreme limits.

A sleek lithium-ion battery will provide up to 325 full-powered flash pops. Although it does include an LED modeling lamp, it doesn’t last as long as the B10’s, nor is it as bright (130W equivalent, compared to the B10’s 150W). The Profoto B1X is a great option for photographers who can’t be tied down to outlets and is ideal for sports, portraits, high-speed effects, and product photography lighting. What’s more is it’s perfectly backwards-compatible with the Profoto B1.

profoto-b1x
FEATURES:


Strobe with LED option with variable temperature, dimming, and up to 45 minute battery life or 325 flash pops. 12" long and around 6.5 lbs.

GOOD FOR:


High-speed work, events, and portraits.

This list includes only higher-powered lights where everything you need to operate wirelessly is included in your rental. We have a number of other new lighting options that can be made wireless when paired with broadcast-style batteries. This includes the Intellytech LiteCloth LC-160 2 x 2′ Foldable LED Mat 2-Light Kit, which comes with a V-mount battery plate for each controller ballast, or the Hive Lighting Hornet 200-C PAR LED Kit, which accommodates a D-tap/P-tap battery pack via a 4-pin XLR connection. Please contact us with any questions about our lighting options.

*As of this writing. Pricing subject to change.

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Alexandria Huff's photography and lighting tutorials can be found on 500px and her blog. She is a Marketing Coordinator for BorrowLenses.com and also writes for SmugMug. She learned about lighting and teaching while modeling for photographers such as Joe McNally and has since gone on to teach lighting workshops of her own in San Francisco. Previously, she shot motorsports for X-Games, World Rally Cross, and Formula Drift. See her chiaroscuro-style painterly portraits on her website.

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