I use both standard studio strobes AND continuous lighting. I pick and choose between the two depending on what Im lighting and what I think will do a better job. For my continuous lighting I have relied on the Westcotts Spiderlite TD5 and TD6. The TD6 has really served me well with a better overall design over its predecessor. As nice as the Spiderlites are the one thing you’ll never hear anyone say is that they are easy to travel with! With the TD6 you have a fairly large head and 6 individual bulbs that need to be unscrewed and packed in a way that they won’t break. Clearly studio strobes and speedlights have the advantage here. So Westcott thought outside the box and combined the two
The New Westcott Skylux
The Skylux is an LED continuous light in the form factor of a regular studio strobe. This is smart for a few reasons. First off they are smaller and MUCH EASIER to travel with. Set up is also faster as its just a matter of putting the light on a light stand and attaching whichever modifier you prefer. Speaking of modifiers, thats the next advantage. You can use virtually ANY light modifier you want. Theres a built-in umbrella mount and you can use a Bowens S-Type Mount Speedring to adapt any of your existing softboxes.
The Skylux puts out a 1,000 watt equivalent of soft beautiful light. This puts it on par with the TD6. It also has a dimmer on the back to dial it up or down to give you a 30%-100% range.
The Skylux is 5,500K daylight balanced just like the Spiderlites. This is something that a lot of people take for granted and sometimes go with cheaper solutions only to find out that the color temperature of some of those cheaper products can vary over time.
You can buy the Skylux as a standalone light or in a complete kit with a stand and either a 36? or 48? deep octa softbox as pictured above.
OK so what do I like about the Skylux?
- Small compact design that fits right in with my strobes
- Lightweight and easy to travel with if need be.
- LED light is cool (low heat)
- Great for both still photography AND video
- Low fan noise which is crucial for video
- Easily adaptable to various modifiers
- Great catchlights
The Could Be Better
Like any product the Skylux is not perfect and many of you know that I try to do fair and balanced reviews so heres the areas where the Skylux could be better:
- Like the Spiderlites, the light output is good, bright and soft, but strobes will give you more light. This means that in certain situations you’ll either need to lower your F-stop, slow your shutter speed or increase your ISO to expose the shot the way you want. With most modern day DSLRs you can usually go up to 800 ISO without batting an eye, but I like to stay at 200-400 ISO as much as I can.
- There is a power switch on the back of the Skylux head AND on the power brick. However the dimmer is only on the back of the Skylux head. Id love to see one on the power brick as well.
- Speaking of the power brick, it is a BRICK and large. In studio this is no big deal at all, but on the go it does add weight and little more bulk.
The Bottom Line
Westcott is no stranger to LED continuous lighting solutions. The products are great and provide great professional results. I have no problem recommending. However, like most newer technologies there is a price to pay and the cost of LED continuous lighting may be price prohibitive to some. What helps me justify the cost in my head is knowing that these solutions can not only be used for still photography, but also for video work. Since every DSLR being made today does both still photos AND video, video lighting is something that more and more people will want to have. I welcome the Skylux to my arsenal.