I have lots of LED lights. I have had lots of traditional studio flashes. I have used just about every kind of auxiliary lighting you can think of. So when I say the HOBOLITE Mini (https://amzn.to/3STJaFl) is like no other light I have ever seen, you might want to sit up and take notice.
Here are the stats:
[Portable & Professional] The Hobolite Mini is a continuous LED light that creates a micro studio wherever you need it. Weighing in under a pound and packing 20W of power, light output ranges from 2700K – 6500K with an excellent CRI of 96 and a focusable lens allowing for beam control from 15˚ spotlight to 45˚ floodlight.
(The HOBOLITE in action in my studio. Note the effect the barn doors have on the shape of the light cone falling on the model car…)
[Smooth Dimming] The Mini LED studio light shares smooth and responsive dimming curves, including a 0% ‘Blackout’ option allowing for continued control and adjustments without emitting light. An HD LCD display allows for easy reading in any lighting condition without spill from the backlight to interfere with the scene.
[Refined and Classic Design] The Mini continuous light for photography is made with faux leather accent-side panels and a cast aluminum light body. Whisper quiet fans at the back are nearly silent while running. When the situation requires complete silence, fans can be disabled temporarily.
[Advanced UI & APP Controls] NFC Tags make adding and controlling units quick and easy. Tap the fixture to open the Hobolite Control App. Assign and control groups of fixtures from your seat, or off camera from the craft table. The compact size of the Mini LED photography light provides professional-grade lighting where and when you need it.
[Accessories Installable] The continuous photography light has an integrated V-Mount quick release system, which allows easy connection other accessories. This Mini LED Light Standard Kit includes a barn-door, honey comb, diffuser dome, color filter gels, power adapter, and mini Type-C cable.
There are certain intangibles that make this kit very attractive. We live in a time where people yearn for connection and that usually evidences itself via nostalgia. The throwback, old-school vibe in the design of this product is highly attractive to me and will be to others. Is that a good reason to buy it? Not really – at least for most people, but I would argue that people make more frequent (and more importantly) more creative use of tools that inspire them. When you look at this light you can’t help but be fascinated.
It’s a very attractive setup and while the visual appeal is undeniable, it needs to check boxes in other areas like build quality and performance. More on that in a bit.
Here are some specific examples of how you can use the Hobolite Mini LED Lighting Creator Kit:
Photography: Use the light to create flattering portraits, illuminate product and macro photography, or add creative lighting effects to your landscape shots.
Videography: Use the light to film interviews, product demos, or YouTube videos. The built-in lighting effects can also be used to create cinematic effects, such as lightning or fire.
Content creation: Use the light to illuminate your vlogs, live streams, or social media posts. The compact size and portability of the kit make it ideal for on-location shoots.
And those are just examples that I could quickly come up with. There are many more.
In terms of build quality, I don’t think the Hobolite has any equal in this price range. The milling of the metal, the fine detail, the use of very high-quality materials all yield me to think this product will last a lifetime – and it better because the manufacturer has blessed it with a lifetime guarantee. It’s solidly built and in no place did Hobolite’s makers and designers cut corners.
In terms of light output, the unit is a little on the weak side – but then again it’s a small light so that’s no deal breaker. At this price point I’d still like to see a little more power.
The color of light is very good, but a tad less accurate than professional lights such as those you might buy from Aputure Lighting Corp. I don’t actually know anyone doing work that requires a great degree of color accuracy than these lights apply but since this is a common measurement of value I thought I’d mention it.
The barn doors are super solid – not flimsy like on most similar lights. They work with or without a grid and several different color filters – all of which are magnetic and VERY high quality. They are a joy to work with.
The barn doors are very effective and I was able to get a small beam of light with no problem. I will note that the table-top tripod that ships with the Creator Kit is nice, but there’s nothing special about it. I wish it were AT LEAST two to three inches taller. If you already have a table top tripod you can opt for the slightly less expensive Standard Kit. The Creator Kit gives you everything you get in the Standard Kit plus a table top tripod, a special V-mount ball head tripod adapter and a special v-mount cold shoe adapter.
Both kits come with a Type-C cable and as a nice touch, the company throws in a power adapter/brick. Most companies expect you to have your own and you probably do – but the problem is most of your other gear is using that adapter so it’s nice to have an adapter you can dedicate to powering these lights.
I also want to mention the storage bag the Creator Kit came in (I am not sure if the Standard Kit uses the same bag but from the literature it seems to.) This is hands-down the best storage bag I have ever seen come with a lighting kit. Very handsome and it matches the style of the lights.
I want to write a word or two about the app. It’s not the best app I have ever seen but then again, I rarely use these sorts of apps since I am typically working in product/macro environments and standing next to the light. Adding a step of turning on the app so I can turn on the light when all I have to do is flick a switch on the light to turn it on – well that doesn’t make sense to me. Your mileage may vary.
The Hobolite Mini LED Lighting Creator Kit is a versatile and portable lighting solution for photographers, videographers, and content creators. It comes with a bi-color LED light, a variety of light modifiers, and a carrying case, making it easy to take your lighting setup with you on the go. There is no escaping its look and feel. It’s pure old school and minimalistic. It’s stunning to look at. But there are pros and cons to every piece of gear.
Compact and portable
Bi-color LED light with a wide range of color temperatures
Eight built-in lighting effects
App control and NFC tap for quick and easy adjustments
Variety of light modifiers included
Durable and well-built carrying case
Light output could be brighter
Color accuracy is very good but some cheaper products have slightly better
App could be more user-friendly
Overall, the Hobolite Mini LED Lighting Creator Kit is a great product. I recommend it. I cannot HIGHLY recommend it because it’s not a great value for the price. While there’s no doubt of its pleasing aesthetics and the fact that it is a versatile and portable lighting solution, you can buy something like the Godox AD200 series of lights (https://amzn.to/479qp4W) which aren’t nearly as cool looking, but which are more powerful and probably a better choice in some situations. For that reason, I think it just misses the mark of my highest recommendation. Now – will I keep these units? Of course. I am a sucker for cool products and have the money to spend. But if I weren’t flush, I’d probably move on past these to something a little less cool but more practical.
If you’re curious about the name HOBOLITE it comes from the term “HOBO” which was often coined during the Great Depression as a vagabond who traveled for work – often traveling with the fewest possessions possible to make travel easy. Minimalism is all the rage right now, so this makes sense. Hobos are often referred to as bums but to be clear, a hobo travels and is willing to work. The accurate term to describe someone who will not work is “TRAMP.” Look it up in the dictionary.
In any event this is a lifestyle that does seem to be relevant to today’s gig-economy. Lots of young people in particular have rejected the notion that you have to go to school, get a job, buy a house, settle down, etc. Many creatives in particular are interested in traveling for work and not being tied down by lots of big assets such as cars, boats and homes.