I was a bit disappointed by the Photo Plus Expo this year in New York, because unlike last year, I did not find a lot of innovative products to be excited about. It seemed like the exhibit floor was full of the same things we had previously seen, except this year the organizers did not allow any Chinese companies on the floor (most likely because some of them were selling the exact same products as the bigger companies at a much lower price last year). However, there were a few things that I found that got me very excited and one of them was the Lume Cube. After seeing the product, Roman and I actually went back to see it again next day to find out more about it and to snap some pictures for our readers. So what is Lume Cube and why do I think it is an innovative product? Let’s take a closer look.
Basically, the Lume Cube is a small, powerful LED light source that can be used for all kinds of photography and videography needs. With 1,500 lumens in a 1.5″ cube design, it is small enough to put several units in your pocket and use when needed. And that’s not even the best part – the Lume Cube can be controlled remotely with your phone. In fact, you can control up to 5 Lume Cubes wirelessly (over Bluetooth) to give you plenty of control over your setup. These little devices can work either as external flash for photos, or as continuous lights for video. Brightness can be adjusted from 0 to 1500 lumens, giving you plenty of flexibility over its use. In addition, you can attach it to any tripod or camera accessory with the standard mount and the built-in magnet / suction cup design allows the Lume Cube to be attached to pretty much any surface. The people behind this product have previously worked on very successful projects. If you have been using Nik Software (now Google Nik Collection), these are the same guys that wrote the software and eventually sold it to Google.
The possibilities with the Lume Cube are endless. If you are a wedding photographer, think about how cool it would be to use a few of these as video lights, or perhaps additional lights to light up the dancefloor! With the ability to remotely control each light, you could easily dim the lights in those special moments, or have them assist your flash and only light up when your flash goes off (yes, this little thing has a built-in optical sensor too!). You could even get a waterproof case and throw these things in a pool to light it up for your next underwater project. I could go on and on, but you get the idea – having a small, powerful and portable light has a lot of advantages! Just think about it for a second – the Nikon SB-500 has three LED lights and it can only output up to 100 lumens, while the Lume Cube is 15 times more powerful at 1500 lumens. Now that’s a lot of power for a device this small. You would need a pretty big flashlight to match the power and you know how inconvenient those would be to carry around everywhere. And if white light bothers you, heck, attach a gel in front of the light and you can make it any color you want. For landscape photography, think about all the night painting you could do with this, or mount one on your camera and use as a flashlight when hiking to your favorite sunrise location. Like I’ve said, the possibilities are endless!
Here is the Lume Cube attached to a light stand:
And you can see how small it is relative to one’s hand:
Since it is currently a KickStarter campaign, you get the special intro pricing. You can get a single unit for $59 or a set of two for $99. After the product ships, the price will most likely increase quite a bit, given how popular the device will be (and it sure will, according to our estimates). So our recommendation is to sign up early and back one of the deals. Personally, I would either go for the dual set, or better yet, get the 5 pack for $249 (personally, I went with the 5 pack). That’s fifty bucks a unit.
To learn more about the Lume Cube, check out the below video hosted by KickStarter:
Racist comments? Oooooo please. Get over yourself nancy. I didn’t hear “slant eyes” or “chincs”. All I heard was people being pissed that intellectual property is constantly……CONSTANTLY….being stolen by the Chinese. That’s not racism. It’s what’s happening and it”s a problem. If you don’t like hearing it, then it’s one of the cultural values that distinguishes wherever your from and where I’m from. Stealing is a moral issue and engaging in it and/or defending it is dastardly.
That said, these look pretty interesting. Curious to know how they’d perform if I threw a couple into a soft box for continuous lighting. I may have to find out.
sorry for the late reply, but after reading your article, i would love to see a couple of pictures shot using the lume cubes. Maybe a separate post/article on that a little later on…? This has definitey piqued my interest, owing to the fact that they have endless ways by which they can be used…
I was also pissed that the Chinese were not allowed. I was hoping to pick up some IGBT monolights for a song, but there was a photographic mafia at work. If this happens again next year that’s it for Photo Pus Expo for me.
Gotta say I think these are gonna be great. Just ordered the 5 pack. For talking heads, set up your soft key light as normal, and then throw these things in to dress the frame – a kicker for the hair, maybe a couple in vision on low power as backlights, another couple to selectively light the background. As has already been said, the possibilities are many, but just as importantly, they should be quick to implement.
Hi Nassim and Mornee
One important question, I haven’t seen either here or on the Kickstarter website: what is the angle of illumination? According to the pictures
at Kickstarter it seems rather narrow, which will reduce the usability of the gadget.
I can’t believe all the anti-China vitriol here. As I read the information and the thread I see one of the creators indicates that this item is made in the US. Who cares if it is cloned later and indeed if it is cloned it most likely will not be of the same quality and even if it is, all Nasim has done here is to let you all know about a great new product. I’m waiting for an answer from the team before purchasing but I’m sure in any event I’ll take the five pack.
Nasim, thanks for the heads up on this little gem of an item. I know I will love using them for different applications in my photography and not the least as you recommended is “light painting”.
Exactly! I love coming here but racist attitudes like those expressed above are just disgusting and don’t belong on an international forum or this day and age for that matter.
Waldemar…..you will be waiting a long time for a copy, as these are manufactured by us and not in China…..copies will be very tough to recreate for the same cost as we have a special deal with Osram on these new High output LEDS, that nobody in the world can buy at the same price. But we appreciate your support ifs new idea. Who knows maybe people can get your photography work cheaper when someone copies it…..touché!
I agree. There’s not too much to worry about with cheap copies as the people who would be interested in your product would not be in the market for a cheaper alternative knowing it will be of inferior quality. There’s no way Apple would be losing iPhone sales to cheap Chinese android copies because those people would not seriously consider getting an iPhone to begin with, if they did they would actually buy an iPhone. In the case of your product and like many other products such as speedlights etc. the cheaper products are never in the same league as the originals, and in the rare cases they are it makes one question (rightfully) why the huge price differences.
People do get photography for cheaper and that exactly the point, there is always cheaper. And many times it does not mean cheap quality. In your case $49 for each is not the end of the world and actually has some good value. However, as a photographer, I cannot believe the nerve some companies have charging absence amount of money with little value.
For example, American made Alien Bees are my favorite lights. The value the Einsteins strobes deliver is at least four times as much as lets say….Prophoto B1 500? My $80 led video light is twice as strong as the $500 Westcott ice light. and the list is long.
I will definitely think seriously about purchasing your light. I might even ask for it for Christmas :-).
Hi Nasim. Can this replace a regular flash? High speed sync? Wildlife photography? Burst mode?
The specifications state: 2-Hour Battery Life @ 50% power & 1-Hour Charge Time w/ USB Charger
If that’s not enough light time, just get some extra units because they’re already close to the size and price of a battery pack.
I watched their whole video and website, not a single mention of the batteries. Weird. This is key. I wouldn’t pay $50 for a device where if the internal battery dies, it must be discarded.
Mark, the batteries are internal at this point according to their website. For more info, read the ‘comments’ section of their kickstarter site – the company responded to battery concerns there.
Gary, the internal battery an be replaced by us….Lume Cube, should your internal battery die. This is why we havea warranty. Additionally batteries these days are very good and thrones we use are great. For example….how do you change the battery in your iPhone?
Hi Mornee, I think the concern (at least in my part) is that if I ordered two cubes but needed them for a rather long shoot how would I go about using them uninterruptedly for extended periods without having to plug them in to charge? it would be much easier to be able to just change the battery with a freshly charged one. Cheers.
Does it come with a charging cable? If you order a 5 pack do you get 5 cables?