Are you looking for a lighting kit that can be used for indoor studio work or outdoors on location?
Well, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best portable lighting kit for photography that covers all budgets. You’ll also find some continuous lighting kits that are great for shooting video as well as still photos.
1. Westcott FJ400 Strobe Backpack Kit
The Westcott FJ400 Strobe Backpack Kit makes it to the top of our best portable lighting kit for photography for several reasons.
This strobe kit by Westcott is an all-around gem made by one of the most respected lighting brands around. It’s not cheap, but it’s also not the most expensive portable strobe out there (much cheaper than Profoto lights, for example), and it comes with a collapsible Rapid Box Switch Octa-S softbox light modifier. Everything fits nicely in the backpack for easy, hands-free transportation.
An FJ-X2m universal wireless trigger comes with the kit and is compatible with most camera brands such as Canon, Nikon, Sony (with an optional adapter), Fujifilm, Panasonic, and Olympus. The universal trigger is a great idea, but Westcott is one of the few manufacturers that offers this. Universal triggers save you having to buy a separate trigger for your specific camera brand.
The high-speed sync (HSS) function allows you to shoot in bright sunlight even at f/1.4 – something that traditional flash sync speeds can’t do. It also makes freezing movement a breeze. Recycle times range from 0.5-0.9 seconds, which is impressively fast. This flash can also do continuous capture of up to 20 frames per second, so you can really get creative with your shooting.
The FJ400 comes with an AC/DC power supply, meaning you can use the battery on location or plug it into a wall outlet with the AC power adapter and cord. The battery itself is rated for over 480 full-power flashes on one charge, and that makes this strobe a great one for weddings, events, and other location shoots.
2. Neewer Vision 4 Double Strobe Kit
For those on a budget looking for the best portable lighting kit for photography, the Neewer Vision 4 Double Strobe Kit may be just what you’re after to set up your studio on a shoestring.
The kit comes with two 300W strobes featuring lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, two wireless triggers, rectangular softboxes, and shoot-through white umbrellas. The only things you don’t get are light stands, so you’ll have to buy them separately if you don’t already own some.
The Neewer Vision4 strobe kit is amazing value for money, considering that a single battery-powered strobe can cost much, much more. The fact that it comes with wireless triggers and lighting modifiers means it’s basically a photo studio in a bag.
Recycling times can be a little on the slow side, though. For beginners just starting out with manual flash strobes, this kit is ideal. With around 700 full-powered flashes per battery charge, you can shoot all day with ease, and having two strobes gives you much more versatility when it comes to lighting options.
The Vision4 is a manual flash only so you will have to work out the power settings you need as there’s no TTL option here, but it does have a Multi-Mode that lets you program for the sequential firing of up to 15 flashes in a row.
3. Godox AD600BM
Our picks for the best portable lighting kit for photography wouldn’t be complete if there wasn’t a Godox strobe in the mix! In this case, the Godox AD600BM is a top contender.
This strobe packs a decent amount of power for a reasonable price. While it doesn’t come with TTL capabilities, meaning you’ll have to control the power output yourself, it is still a great option for those who want something a little more premium.
It comes with high-speed sync capabilities so you can freeze movement and shoot in bright sunlight without having to use a narrow aperture to compensate as you would with traditional flash sync speed. The Godox wireless trigger is easy to use and reliable, while the battery will provide over 500 full-power flashes between charges.
The AD600BM is a model that’s excellent value for money, and a good all-around manual strobe that will suit a range of photographers.
4. Profoto B10 Plus
Profoto is a highly-respected Swedish brand that produces high-end, high-quality lights like the Profoto B10 Plus
The B10 Plus is a favorite of wedding, sports, and events photographers and it makes it on to our list of best portable light for photography for many reasons. It’s around the size of a large lens and is lightweight compared to the competition. This makes it much easier to hold and carry around on an all-day shoot.
The B10 Plus packs a huge 500W of power into such a small light, which is plenty for most indoor studio scenarios, and it’ll still do well outdoors. The light quality of this round-head flash is simply beautiful, with a soft, natural falloff at the edges. The strobe packs enough punch to overpower bright sunlight, and the high-speed sync (HSS) enables you to shoot in sunlight with a larger aperture than traditional flash strobes are capable of.
It also features TTL, which means the power of the light will change as you adjust your camera settings – a big bonus for shooting in places with rapidly changing light conditions.
This light is also a hybrid type – you can use it as a traditional strobe, or as a continuous LED light with a dimming range of 10-100% and adjustable color temperature between 3000-6500K. This makes it a versatile choice for both photographers and videographers, although you only get 75 minutes of full-power light per charge or 200 full-powered flashes.
The biggest downside is the price, but the B10 Plus is worth the money as a serious investment for a professional photographer, or a great piece of kit for those who have the cash to splash.
5. Neewer i6T EX 600
The Neewer i6T EX 600 is compatible with either Nikon, Canon, or Sony cameras, but you need to buy the version that works with your brand.
At 600W, the i6T EX is plenty powerful enough for both indoors and out and makes a great all-purpose strobe. It comes with high-speed sync to make shooting in bright sunlight much easier, and the TTL mode is reliable and accurate.
TTL makes it much easier to shoot in fast-changing lighting conditions. With TTL, when you change your camera settings the light power settings will change accordingly to give you proper exposure without you even having to adjust the light settings. This is a great feature for beginners using external lights and those who need to shoot in a fast-paced environment.
The i6T EX is compact and relatively lightweight and comes with a backlit LCD screen that is easy to read even in strong light. It’s a good light for both beginners and professionals who don’t want to spend thousands on a portable strobe.
6. Aputure Light Storm 60x Bi-Color LED Light
If you’re looking for the best portable lighting kits for photography or videography, then the Aputure Light Storm 60x Bi-Color LED Light is a feature-packed option that offers great value for money.
The bi-color 2700-6500K LED light comes with adjustable focusing which means you can internally adjust the spot or beam angle between 15-45 degrees.
The kit comes with an 8-leaf barndoor modifier, but it also includes a custom Bowens Mount Adapter that attaches to the accessory mount. This makes it a good choice for many photographers who may already have Bowens or Godox light modifiers.
One of the big selling points of this light is the weatherproofing. This strobe is great to use on a variety of outdoor shoots as it’s dust and waterproof. The 60x also has metal casing for extra durability. The power comes from a wall socket, or a couple of V-mount batteries (not included) that fit on the receiver on the yoke.
The Sidus Link mobile app gives you another method of controlling the light, and the 60x features a range of special effects, as well as offering continuous light. These include paparazzi, fireworks, lightning, faulty bulb, TV, pulsing, strobe, explosion, and fire (all with adjustable temperature control).
This light (as with all continuous lighting systems) can be used with your smartphone camera to shoot photos or videos in addition to being completely compatible with any DSLR, mirrorless, or video camera set up.
7. Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color LED Light Kit
The Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color LED Light Kit is a robust and durable choice for photo and video. The bi-color dimmable light ranges from 3200-5600K, and you can mix the light from the white and yellow LED bulbs together to create a customized hotter or cooler light temperature.
The U-shaped brackets make positioning the angle of these lights easy, and they are a good choice for shooting in smaller spaces. The included light stands will do in a pinch, but they aren’t very strong so you may want to use sturdier ones instead.
Having said that, this double light kit is excellent for the price and will suit many photographers and filmmakers.
8. Nanlite LumiPad 25
Last (but not least!) we have the Nanlite LumiPad 25. This ultra-slim LED panel can be powered by either an AC adapter, NP-F style batteries, or DC through a D-tap cable (batteries and D-tap cable sold separately).
The LumiPad 25 produces a lovely soft, diffused light without the need for any extra light modifiers or diffusion cloths. The easy-to-use control knobs let you adjust the brightness from 0-100% and the color temperature from warm to cold (3200K-5600K).
Although the LumiPad 25 is only a little over 2 inches thick and weighs 2.2lbs, the light this unit produces is impressively bright. This LED light is suited to a variety of uses, including live streaming, vlogging, photography, video lighting, and photo booths.
Nanlite has been making quality lighting solutions for over 25 years, and the LumiPad 25 is great value for money as well as being easy for a beginner to use.
Which Portable Lighting Kit is Best for You?
The best portable light for photography and videography will depend on both your budget, and your needs.
To recap, some of the absolute best choices are the Westcott FJ400 Strobe Backpack Kit, or the Neewer i6T EX 600. If you’re looking for the most value for money, the Neewer Vision 4 Double Strobe Kit is also a great pick.
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