Ever since tiny LED lights gained enough power and reliability to be used in commercial settings, they have been an option for not just video work, but also stills photography. Constant illumination may seem reserved for video work, but more and more photographers are using constant LED lighting as more predictable light-shaping solutions. This is the primary reason for shining a spotlight on the Genaray SP-AD75 SpectroLED-14 LED Light.
Constant LED lighting has lots of benefits over traditional light sources, especially when buying into the latest technology. The number one point is usually power output, where modern LED lights can throw out far more illumination per watt than traditional lights. Also, high output LED lights don’t give off anywhere near as much heat as regular lighting and don’t feel like they’re going to burn your face off with a few seconds of exposure.
There are other built-in benefits, but the emphasis here is to see if a high-quality LED light solution can measure up to traditional studio lighting. Not having to work with a light source that is hotter than a barbecue on a summer day is one thing, but can LEDs cover all the bases needed for quality studio lighting?
The Genaray SP-AD75 SpectroLED-14 LED Light measures 37cm by 17.8cm and has a reassuring weight of 1.59 kg. This may seem strange, but when you’re buying into quality lighting solutions, it has to feel of substance.
The light itself has a power output of 120 Watts and a CRI rating of 96. It comes with an included power adapter, diffuser, and 3/4-stop diffusion sock.
The beam angle of light is 120 degrees coming from the 600 LEDs, with a standard color temperature of 5600K. The rear of the light couldn’t be simpler to use, with a large red on/off switch, power port, a dimmer dial which ranges from 10 to 100 percent, and the small LED number readout for brightness levels. An optional Genaray MB-WRT remote can also be used for wireless dimming.
The unit itself is made from ABS plastic which is surprisingly robust. The included mount has a socket for slotting in the likes of an umbrella, which also has a 65-degree tilting angle and a 5/8 of an inch attachment. The light source itself is circular which should provide more natural lighting characteristics, along with natural-looking catchlights.
The Genaray SP-AD75 SpectroLED-14 LED Light in Use
With 120 Watts of LED power at your disposal, on full power, the Genaray is eye wateringly bright close-up. Without any diffusion, the emitted light isn’t as harsh as with a bare bulb flash or strobe – it’s more naturally spread out. Without going into the physics of it all, lots of little lights can provide a more even spread of illumination than one single high-powered bulb.
When additional light diffusion is needed, the included 3/4 diffusion sock can easily be slipped over the whole lighting frame. This does drop the light output a little, but is very respectable in providing soft lighting.
If the included diffuser is not to your tastes, then a large umbrella can be slotted through the included mount or with a bit of DIY, a softbox can also be used. The company also supplies an optional dedicated octa softbox if you wanted a dedicated solution. The mount itself is made from plastic, which doesn’t feel like the most solid option, but it is worthy enough for the price point.
One big advantage of having cool running LEDs is that the shooting environment doesn’t start to warm up like a well-used sauna and models don’t feel like they are under a heat lamp. This is not so much a problem if you’re working in the middle of winter and need some additional heating, but in most cases, an all-day shoot requires cool workings.
The included power cord is just over four meters long, which is a very helpful inclusion, and optional battery packs can be used with the product. There were no issues positioning the light or worrying if the power cord could reach. Once the light is set up, it provides very even skin tones and natural color temperature.
For close-up work, the Genaray works well as a beauty light for headshots and as the light is constant, it’s very quick to get an ideal exposure. The light output control is simple with just a dimmer switch, which means it’s more trial and error to dial in the right amount of light. But if the very simple workings appeal, you can’t get a simpler way to set up a light source.
For still shots, you won’t have the same level of output or control as the likes of a Profoto B1, more like a flashgun on full power. For video work, the Genaray works the best for close-up shots, providing soft illumination.
How Does It Compare?
Finding a comparable LED light that is in the same price bracket, has a rounded shape, and similar output was a difficult task, but the Rotolight NEO 2 LED Light has some similar properties. This is a smaller solution than the Genaray, as it’s made more for on-camera flash use, with just enough output for close-up stills photography.
The Rotolight NEO 2 will work best as an accent light or a background light for video shoots. If you require more light output with the same surface area as the Genaray, then you’re venturing into more costly options. Many LED solutions are rectangular in shape and can be very costly, making the Genaray SP-AD75 SpectroLED-14 LED Light a well priced solution.
|Genaray SP-AD75 SpectroLED-14 LED Light||Rotolight NEO 2|
|Beam Angle||120 Degrees||N/A|
|Number of LEDS||600||N/A|
|Power||AC adapter/optional batteries||AC adapter/battery|
The Genaray SP-AD75 SpectroLED-14 LED Light may not be a light that will cover every need for both stills and video work, but in the right circumstances, it has a lot of positives. For close-up portrait work, the Genaray provides good quality light and a very natural color temperature. For video work, it can be a good accompaniment to other light sources, providing soft and rounded illumination.
There are, of course, more expensive higher output lights on the market, but the rounded shape of the Genaray means it provides a more natural way of illuminating a subject, as long as you’re happy with the power output.
For stills work, it’s great to have constant lighting to quickly dial in exposure settings, but it may be just too simple for constant professional use. However, for video work, it’s a solid solution that can be easily set up for basic lighting.