A powerful, compact video light that’s great for smaller-scale productions.
In the past year and a half, video has become a way of life for most people. It’s how we communicate with the outside world, do business, and for some, it’s how they support their families. And, anyone that has sat in front of a bright window during a video conference with no direct lighting on their face will tell you, good lighting is essential for a successful video. There are many different types of lights in the market though and even more lighting manufacturers. I’ve dabbled with different brands, but exclusively use Godox products now. One of their newest products is the SL100Bi Video Light. It’s a 100W bi-color LED light that is optimized specifically for use with video. It’s a hearty light that is extremely portable. I’ve been fortunate to be able to use this light on a few jobs and have loved how it has worked. This review will detail the specs on the light as well as my thoughts on its performance.
The SL100Bi (bi-color) was designed alongside the SL100D (daylight) and Godox lovingly refers to them as the “SL100 twins.” The SL100Bi is a compact unit with high brightness. It’s ideal for smaller-scale productions and because it offers Bi-color, the user can add more creativity into their setup. The light features a built-in umbrella mount and Bowens mount, which makes it easier to choose accessories for it. It produces 32100 lux at 1 meter (with the included reflector) and can easily be used as a key light for YouTube videos or any other web-style video. When paired with the SL100D, the SL100 twins can make a quick-rig setup that is budget-friendly.
The SL100Bi adjusts gently between color temperatures. It has a range between 2800K and 6500K and it reproduces accurate colors for a natural-looking scene. The SL100Bi scores over 96 on CRI and 97 on TLCI. The light is compact and lightweight (weighing only 3.5lbs). It has a handle built-in, but it does have to be tethered to a power cable. The controls consist of four buttons, two dials, a power switch, and an easy-to-read display. This light does feature a wireless connection to the Godox Light App, which allows the light to be remotely controlled from a smartphone. The light can also be controlled by a remote (RC-A6), which is not included and is completely optional. Both the SL100 lights have lighting effects built-in, the SL100Bi, however, has three additional lighting effects.
- FX1-Lightning 1
- FX1-Lightning 2
- FX1-Lightning 3
- FX8-Broken Bulb
The lighting package for the SL100Bi includes the light body, reflector, protection cover, and power cord.
|Power Supply||AC100V ~ 240V (50/60Hz)|
|Group||16(0~9/A B C D E F)|
|Color Temperature||2800K ~ 6500K|
|Light Adjustment Range||0% ~ 100%|
|100% Illuminanace (LUX)|
(with standard reflector, testing distance, 1m)
|Temperature of Working Environment||-10º – 40º|
|Light Effect Mode||11|
|Contol Method||Smartphone App/2.4G Wireless|
|Bluetooth Transmission Distance||~30m|
|2.4G Wireless Transmission Distance||~30m|
|Net Weight||1.6kg (not including reflector)|
|BT Frequency Range||2402.0-2480.0MHz|
|Max. Transmitting Power||5dbm|
The SL100Bi arrived in a simple brown cardboard box with a Godox product label stuck to the front. I like this form of packaging because it properly protects the product inside, identifies it clearly from the outside, and doesn’t seem to be overly excessive. On the inside, the light is carefully housed between two sections of styrofoam with the instruction manual sitting on top and the power cord nestled below the light. The protective cover is locked into place around the LED bulb by a manual switch that must be disengaged in order to release the cover. This cover fits neatly into the Bowens mount and so the lock also prevents any accessory from falling off the light.
The light body is built really well. I love that Godox includes the handle on the back since it makes it so much easier to transport that way. Also, with it being so lightweight, it could potentially be handheld for a quick video shoot if needed. The one thing I wasn’t really thrilled about was that the SL100Bi can only be powered by a wall outlet. I do have portable battery packs with AC outlets, but I would have loved to have the option to slap a battery pack on the back of the light for additional portability. The knobs are easy to turn and the buttons are very tactile with a solid ‘bump’ when you press them. That was a plus to me because I’ve seen a lot of control panels that have touch-sensitive or non-bump buttons and you aren’t 100% sure if your command is being accepted with those. The buttons on the SL100Bi are solid, but easy to press and you definitely know when you have made contact with it.
One of the features that make this light perfect for video work is the noise it produces – or lack thereof. It is nearly 100% silent. I was shocked at how quiet it was when I turned it on. Usually, there is a whirring or humming and there was nothing when I turned the SL100Bi on. In fact, I didn’t hear anything until the light was in standby mode for a little while. The sound is so minimal that I doubt any microphone would pick it up. Another feature that really makes this a winner to me is the app control. When you get a light up on a stand and in the right position, the last thing you want to do is have to pull the light down just to change a color setting. The app makes it possible to adjust the light’s brightness and color temperature without having to physically get to the controls on the light’s body. In my tests, the light connected immediately to the app and any commands I input into the app were immediately accepted by the light.
The app functions just fine, but there are some things that I hope they update. For example, when you go to add a new device to your list, the option at the bottom of the page to confirm the selection is spelled ‘comfirm’. Also, the SL100Bi has a color temperature range of 2800K-6500K. The control in the app goes all the way up to 8500k even though the light’s color temp actually stops at 6500K. There are just some small tweaks that could be made to the Godox Light App that would make it better.
The SL100Bi is very color-accurate and bright. It’s easily adjustable and just as powerful as other, more expensive lights in its class. This light is ideal for indoor shoots as a key light. As an example, I’ve included a couple of still shots showing what a particular area looks like with and without the light on. It’s a pretty dramatic difference and the ability to shift the color temp as needed to change the mood makes this light all the more worth it.
Lighting can dramatically affect the outcome of your video shoot. If you don’t have the proper light to get the job done, your video will not look at good as it could. The Godox SL100Bi is a great light for most smaller-scale video productions. I would recommend it on the basis that it’s easy to use, produces powerful, high-quality lighting, and it is budget-friendly.