Continuous Lights For Still & Video

Continuous lighting solutions have seen a lot more attention over the last few years thanks to the need for a constant light source that will provide illumination for both stills and video. Traditionally based on tungsten, halogen and fluorescent bulbs, the advantage of continuous lights for still shooting is that the effects can be seen in the real world as you make changes to lighting positions and add or subtract lights or lighting-modification tools. On the other hand, they produce a lot of heat and consume far more power than strobes, though LED technology is making large steps toward mitigating that downside. Traditional sources of continuous lighting are much more affordable than the relatively new technology of LEDs, however, and you still get more bang for your buck in terms of light output with a traditional lamp.


• Low heat output
• Low power consumption
• Adjustable color temp
• Long-life bulbs

• Can be expensive
• Lower light output

That being said, LED lighting technology has made leaps and bounds over previous-generation bulbs, offering very minimal color shift during dimming and LED modules that better cover spectral gaps in the light output for more true colors. The efficient bulbs are able to produce a comparable amount of illumination to traditional fixtures, although they have far less power draw, which makes them a power- and dollar-saving boon over the long term, especially useful for studio use where the minimal heat output also helps to keep closed-off environments far cooler.

More compact LED fixtures also can be used as an on-camera light source because they can feed from typical AA or AAA batteries. LED technology is very promising in terms of the technology, as well. Unlike traditional bulbs that have to be swapped out, many LED models allow you to dial in color temperatures in a general range from tungsten to daylight and often a mix between the two, with the promise of even more versatility to come.


Flashpoint offers a number of affordable, simple-to-use LED units for meeting basic lighting needs on camera and off. With an estimated working time of five hours on two Flashpoint Sony replacement batteries (the purchase includes one), the Flashpoint 312 LED fixture produces the equivalent output of a 100-watt bulb and offers a mix of daylight and tungsten, as well as a diffusion panel for softening the spread of light. Estimated Street Price: $139 (Flashpoint 312 LED); $13 (Flashpoint Sony Replacement Battery NPF550).


The Microbeam series of lights from FloLight is available in multiple versions: two on-camera models, the MicroBeam 128 or MicroBeam 256, and two studio light stand models, the MicroBeam 512 or MicroBeam 1024. Each is available in daylight or tungsten at approximately 5600K and 3200K, respectively, with your choice of a 30º (spot) or 60º (flood) beam angle. Additionally, you can choose from Panasonic or Sony batteries for up to three hours of runtime. List Price: From $299.


The iLED 312 from ikan offers a compact (7.5×1.25×4.5-inch) on-camera unit with durable metal construction and 312 individual LEDs that present a range of color temperatures between tungsten at 3200K and daylight at 5600K. Rather than standard AA batteries, the iLED 312 includes two Sony L Series DV batteries with a life indicator for extended runtimes. The iLED 312 is available in multiple-unit interview kits, and creative gel kits are available for adding some color to your scene. List Price: $399.

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