I’ve been using a two light setup for my live streams for quite some time. In fact, when I started, I purchased a kit from LimoStudio that included 4 lights, 2 umbrella style and 2 softbox style lights, a green screen, and the stands to mount the green screen for about $150 dollars and have used it for years without any issues.
However, there were a couple things I didn’t like about my current setup that caused me to start looking for new lights to replace the two lights I use from the LimoStudio kit when I live stream.
I purchased the LimoStudio lights just before LED lighting started becoming popular and the price for LED lights was still high. This means I was stuck with using CFL bulbs which didn’t allow me to do two important things. Change the color temperature of the lights between daylight or tungsten (white or orange), but more importantly, I couldn’t adjust the brightness. At least, not without replacing the entire bulb and carrying different wattage bulbs for each color for different lighting setups.
I eventually landed on a kit from Neewer who is a budget-friendly brand I’ve purchased stuff from in the past that, for the most part, did what I needed them to do. Given that they were going to remain stationary and I wouldn’t be taking them down and setting them up repeatedly means I didn’t mind going with a budget-friendly brand.
So let’s roll the intro then jump in to my review of the Neewer 48W LED Softbox Lighting Kit that is being sold on Amazon for about $150 USD.
ROLL THE INTRO
Most streamers and content creators don’t realize that proper lighting is much more important than the equipment you are using to record with. You can make a webcam look good if you have good lighting, but you can’t make an expensive mirrorless or DSLR camera look good with poor lighting!
The reason I decided to pick up these lights specifically was because of the price and there were just several features that these LED lights have that my CFL lights just didn’t. Again, the biggest being the fact that I could change the color of the light from daylight to tungsten or 3200K to 5500K and the ability to adjust how bright I want the lights.
While I could have used the old lights still and just got different wattage CFL bulbs for my different needs, it still meant having to constantly change out bulbs depending on what I was shooting or the lighting style I wanted. However, even if I did that, there was still other issues like the energy usage issue, which means increased heat which affected my office.
Even though CFL bulbs don’t put out near the heat traditional lights did, when you’re using 105W CFL bulbs which is equivalent to about a 400 watt incandescent bulb, it’s still going to be putting out quite a bit of heat. Pair that with the fact that I got a large green screen hanging across the back of me basically creating a small space and blocking in the heat from lights, my gaming pc and everything else, it would easily heat up my gaming space!
While it’s not necessarily horrible during the winter months here in Ohio, in summers it can make it brutal, even with the AC running!
So did I make the right choice? Was it worth paying $150 for a set of two LED softbox lights which is equivalent to the price I paid for my entire green screen kit with 4 CFL lights?
Well, yes….but also no…
In terms of upgrading from CFL to LED technology, there are a lot of things I like about the lights and LED lighting in general, but there are several things I dislike about the Neewer lights specifically which makes me wonder if I should have chosen a different brand or if budget-friendly lights are even worth it at all.
Let’s start with what I love about these lights and more specifically about LED lights in general.
First, I do love the fact that I can adjust the brightness and color temperature of the lights directly from the rear by spinning one of two knobs. It makes creating different lighting techniques easy and I find myself actually doing it now. Before, while I had different size CFL bulbs, most of the time I’d just leave the same ones in as I didn’t feel like hassling with digging in the bag for other bulbs and then having to actually switch them out.
I also think these lights get plenty bright enough for everything outside maybe professional use. For both making YouTube videos as well as live streaming I’ve never had an issue with these putting out enough light. In fact, I never even run these lights at 100% brightness as I just don’t need to in order to achieve enough lighting!
I like that they include a built in fan to help with heat dissipation to make sure they don’t overheat causing damage to the electronics of the lights as this is something I’ve seen be an issue with other budget-friendly lights.
Like the GODOX light I reviewed a while back, they can be run not only off AC power, but can also be run off Sony NP-F550/970 batteries if needed in case you wanted to use them somewhere without access to direct power.
I also love the softbox shape that they come with. Most lights I’ve purchased and used come with a square softbox. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, I’ve found that with the rectangle shape I can direct the light a bit better by deciding to have the long side horizontal or vertical.
And lastly, I think overall they are a good bang for the buck light when compared to a lot of other budget-friendly options in the same price range, however, this leads me to what I dislike about them and why if I had to do it over again, I’d probably just save up a bit more money and try to get some lights that were a bit higher priced.
In a nutshell, it’s the build quality. While they aren’t horrible and they work well in terms of doing what they need to do, the quality of the materials used actually shocked me quite a bit compared to other Neewer products I’ve owned.
When I unboxed them, one of the plastic pieces over the display on one of the lights had fallen off and I had to superglue it back on. And you heard that right, plastic, which I don’t necessarily mind as they are budget lights and would have ignored if that was the only issue.
But… the stands for the lights… are shit, I wouldn’t be surprised if constant use of setting them up and tearing them down didn’t render them useless after just a year of use. In fact, if I had to compare them to all other lights I’ve ever used, including other budget-friendly lights, they easily win at having the worst quality stands I’ve seen. Luckily for me, once setup, these particular lights don’t move and never get torn down and setup repeatedly so I’m hoping it won’t be an issue.
Lastly, the mechanism for attaching the softboxes require you to place rods into the head of the light that then are placed in the softbox, however, the plastic isn’t reinforced in any way and literally after just being in place for a while, one of the rods broke through the plastic which required me using duct tape to be able to keep it in the hole moving forward in order to continue using them since the plastic was now broke.
The first and last issue could have just been a fluke with my units as the other unit didn’t have a problem with it’s display screen nor has any of the rods broke through the plastic, but nonetheless, there was just too many small issues to feel confident in recommending these lights to others.
They easily could have reinforced the holes which the rods insert in to and they easily could have produced better stands without spending much more money on the production of them.
I’m honestly surprised how good of ratings these lights have on Amazon if I’m being completely honest. But I guess if you’re only looking at budget-friendly options they may be the best in that category which would explain the high rating.
So you may be asking, well if you don’t recommend these lights, which ones do you recommend? I wish I had a suggestion in this $150 range, but I just don’t. Again, if it was me, I probably would have held off and saved up a bit more and gone with a company like GODOX who’s stuff I’ve been enjoying quite a bit lately.
I’ll link a set of their LED softboxes below in the description, but know they are going to be a bit more than something like these or another budget-friendly brand, but I honestly think it would be money wasted if you went with anything similar to these Neewer lights. The way these budget-friendly options currently handle the way softboxes are attached is just atrocious.
If you’ve already purchased these lights and want to leave your comments down below, feel free! Like I said, maybe I just got a bad batch of lights…but for now, I definitely have to rate these as Buyer Beware!
And with that said, thanks so much for watching! If this video helped you out, please don’t forget to hit the like button and consider subscribing to the channel as well as ringing the bell to be notified when I post new videos!
And until next time, peace out everybody!