If you're wondering is it Prolight RGB worth a review, you have to admit that smartphone photography is a thing, as is smartphone videography. Professionals use smartphones in the shoots all the time now-days. I even sell significant amounts of 4k footage taken on a humble iPhone. There is now an entire ecosystem of accessories built around smartphone photography and film making. For the most part those accessories are either for photography or for video, rarely are they for both.
Recently, Sandmarc reached out to us to look at a new product, a product that is suitable for smartphone photography and video. Indeed it’s even useful when shooting with your larger cameras. The product is their Prolight RGB LED light.
As we all Light Stalking reviews, this review is fully independent, Sandmarc sent us the product but we have full control editorial control over what is said about it.
Unboxing Prolight RGB
The light arrived in a very well presented box. A nicely designed outer sleeve gives technical overviews and details of what’s in the box. Sliding that off reveals a sturdy black cardboard box with magnetic flap type opening. The box is clearly designed with the travelling photographer in mind, providing a sturdy way to transport and protect the light. The embossed Sandmarc logo is also a nice touch.
Inside the box it the light itself, a thin white rubber diffuser and short USB to USB-C cable for charging. There is also a black soft pouch for carrying the light.
The Build Quality And Design
First impression of Prolight RGB is that it's surprisingly heavy for its diminutive size. It is 4.4 x 2.8 inches square with a thickness of 0.53 of an inch. That’s 11,1 x 7.1 x 1.3 cm for those of us that think in metric. It weight in at 5.7oz or 190 grams.
The outer shell is made of metal and feels very solid, as do the single button and rocker dial.
The front consists of the the LED light itself with a fairly thick bezel around it. That bezel is larger at the bottom of the light.
On the back we have a small LCD screen. This is where we can see details such as power remaining, the colour, saturation and power output settings.
On the left side of the light, there is a rocker switch. This allows us to change the hue, saturation and power of the light. Pressing the rocker switch will alternate between these three parameters, while moving the switch up or down will change the values.
At the top we have the on/off/mode switch and the a USB-C slot. This is where you charge the light up from. You can use any regular USB charging block such as a phone charger to charge the unit up. At the bottom is a standard 1/4 inch tripod mount, ideal for mounting on a tripod or light stand in a studio setup.
Overall the build quality is one of a premium product that is designed for daily use indoors or out. It feels very good in the hand and despite their small size, the minimal controls are easy to use and feel very solid.
The Features Of Prolight RGB
The key feature of the light is that it is RGB. You can literally change the colour to one of 16 million different options. This is done via the rocker switch on the side. With the light on, you can press the rocker switch to select hue. Rotating the rocker switch will cycle through all the hues available. Press the switch once more and you get to saturation. This allows you to dial down that hue. At 100% you are getting the full colour of the hue, at 0% you get pure white light. This gives immense control over the light and allows you to closely match the ambient light.
The other key feature is the power of the light. This is controlled by the third option on the rocker switch and goes from 0-100% where 0 is off.
The brightness of the light at 100% is 700 lux at half a meter. To put that in a more practical term, at full power and half a meter, it is bright enough to make you close your eyes.
One last feature is the FX modes. By short pressing the power button at the top, you can cycle between several different light FX modes. These include, morse code and simulated police lights.
The battery life is rated at about 90 minutes on full power.
Using The Prolight RGB
The light is designed to act as a full light or fill light for smartphone photography. It can also be used on larger cameras. I found it to be ideal as a fill light when vlogging. I used a g-clamp with tripod screw to mount the light to my Osmo Gimbal effectively creating a travel studio.
The range of RGB colours means that you can easily match the light to the ambient light, or use a completely different colour for dramatic contrast. The light will need to be fairly close to your subject, two meters is probably the limit. At less than two meters, the light has a significant effect on your subject.
The white rubber diffuser is a very handy addition, especially if using the Prolight as the primary light. Without it, when positioned straight on, you get the harsh look of flash. Adding the diffuser softens this significantly giving a much more pleasing result.
The light can be used for different types of subjects, not just people. It can be a useful tool for lighting small products or for adding light to close-up video shoots. Even the FX mode can be used, for example, to reflect the blue flashing lights of a police car off of a background.
Overall the Prolight RGB is an impressive product. It’s ideally suited to close work with smartphones but it can be used for lighting stills or video. The 90 minute battery life is good, it may not be enough for the more voracious outdoor vlogger, but for short outdoor projects and for indoor home studio work, the battery life is fine.
It’s compact nature and solid feel make it an ideal light to take with you on your travels. It provides and quick simple way to light up your subjects, and as a continuous light has distinct advantages over camera flash.
The Prolight RGB is available from Sandmarc and retails for $129.99