The Genaray 34″ Spectro LED Baton Light is impressive, but not without some faults. The 4-light Pro Kit, sent to me by B&H, is very useful in a variety of scenarios. The lights can be a valuable part of any photographer’s toolkit.
Before I dive in, I want to mention that this is not an Ice Light, although it’s been called that in videos on YouTube. Westcott makes the Ice Light, and while it is an excellent light in its own right and might have been one of the first — if not the first in its category — this is a different light.
Table of contents
I have to start with the specs this light offers because it’s super impressive.
- This is a 34 inch bicolor LED wand-style light.
- There are 320 LEDs inside of the light, with a diffusion screen in front.
- The bicolor light produces 2800–6500 kelvin light.
- The light can dim from 100% to 10% brightness.
- The light has a 110-degree spread.
- The CRI is 95-98 for accurate color rendering and no flicker for video.
- It operates with a standard household plugin, but the connection at the light is XLR, like a microphone.
- It has supports for DMX 512 so that they can be controlled from a console.
- There is no fan in the light, and it’s extremely quiet.
- To mount on a light stand, you use the Arca-Swiss mounting plate and ball head it comes with.
- You can also mount it to metal objects using the magnetic mounts in the bag.
- There is an optional (not included) battery to power the light from anywhere.
The lights are well made and are built with plastic and alloy. I wouldn’t recommend dropping them, but they should handle well over time from regular use.
The 110-degree spread of light is excellent, but at times can be too much. If placed to the side of a subject, you might have to put a flag to reduce light bleed to the background.
I didn’t notice any noises, and the light temperature did not shift during my testing. The physical weather did not change much either. These batons stay cool for a long time, even at 100% brightness.
Being able to mount to a light stand with a ball head and slide up and down nearly the light’s entire length makes positioning very easy and versatile. The magnetic mounts enhance that flexibility.
With all of that great stuff comes some things I’m not as fond of, and even one wishlist item.
The light doesn’t come with a remote, but I wish it did. Many super cheap lights even come with remotes. So why Genaray doesn’t include one is beyond me.
The light doesn’t come with a battery. I understand that could increase the price more, but it would be nice not to buy one separately. Maybe include batteries in the kits and not the individual lights.
It can get annoying to plug each light into an outlet, especially if they are all in one location. Being able to daisy change them for power would be a big win.
While the light spread is wide, the light themselves can be narrow at times. The only way to get around this is to bring the light further away and place a large diffusion screen in front (also distance). Or to combine multiple baton lights using a metal plate mounted to a boom arm and then the magnetic mounts. Not a quick on-the-fly solution, but doable with planning.
As mentioned, some parts are plastic when they should be metal, like the ball joint lock for the light stand mount. That, in particular, is a fragile part of the system. At least it’s not the light itself and only the mount.
The most convenient part of the light is that you can control the power, kelvin and brightness from two places — the top of the light and the back of the light.
The back button panel includes presets, so with one click, you can quickly change the brightness from 25% to 50% to 75% to 100%. You can also change kelvin from 2800° K to 3200° K to 4300° K to 5600° K and 6500° K.
If you want more fine-tuned control, you can use the up and down arrows. Neat, right?
- Good CRI
- Good kelvin
- Versatile mounting
- Powering is easy
- It doesn’t come with remote
- It doesn’t come with a battery
- It cannot be daisy-chained
- It can be too narrow at times
- Some parts are plastic
I do have one big wishlist item, which is to make these lights RGB instead of bicolor. The reason is baton-style lights are perfect for accenting a scene rather than being a key light.
Having the ability to change the color to be anything you want, instead of having to gel the light, would be a huge convenience.
The Pro Kit
Earlier, I mentioned that this was a kit, so I can’t go without discussing the other items in the Pro Kit. This includes:
- 4 x Spectro LED Batons
- 4 x Ball Head Mounts
- 4 x Light Bags
- 4 x Power Adapters
- 4 x DMX Cables
- 4 x Chrome-Plated C-Stands
- A 7 Foot Chrome-Plated Boom Arm
- 5 x Filled 15 lb Orange Cordura Sandbags
I have already gone over the lights, so I want to talk briefly about the rest.
I’ll start with the sandbags. I mean, they’re sandbags, so not much to them. However, they are bright orange, so you see them in a dark studio. But being bright doesn’t mean it will reflect light because of the type of fabric they are made of. The Cordura fabric will absorb light, so no worries there. I love that they are pre-filled with sand so I don’t have to worry about that part and that there are a couple of straps for hanging. They also sit perfectly over C-Stand legs.
Speaking of C-Stands, this kit came with four stands and a boom arm. In general, C-Stands are C-Stands with not much differentiating them all. There are some cases where C-Stands stand out from the crowd. These Impact branded stands go up to 10.75 feet high and have a nice locking mechanism to keep the legs closed or open, unlike some others, which open and close too easily.
At the same time, these are chrome plated and very shiny. Generally, I prefer using matte black stands in my studio to remove or reduce any light reflects. When in the studio, I want to control light, and stands can sometimes get in the way of that.
The boom arm is strong and extends to seven feet. Compared to a C-Stand boom arm I already owned at a whopping 3.3 feet, I feel like I can accomplish a lot more now than I could before. Again, this is chrome plated. It is not the end of the world, but not my personal preference.
A number of different use cases
This will become an essential part of my studio. Not for every photo session, I have but necessary in various ways. After spending a month with this kit I can tell you that the lights will be used for the following situations:
- One of the lights will become a rim light for my YouTube videos. it will be placed behind me, out of sight, when at a specific set.
- Whenever I photograph children, this kit will be used instead of strobes. This way, the children aren’t scared of the flashing lights. I will likely experiment with aiming the light away from the set more than directly at the subjects. That way, I reduce the chances of odd highlights in the eyes.
- Whenever I have a headshot session, I will use some of the lights as fill on backgrounds or subjects.
I foresee other uses for these as well, and I cannot wait dig even deeper into what they offer.
Genaray SpectroLED 34″ Baton Box Lighting Pro Kit
B&H has put together this heavy-duty Genaray Spectro LED 34″ Baton Box Lighting Pro Kit for image-makers seeking the unique look that positioning the Batons in a 4-sided box configuration offers. The kit includes four bi-color Spectro LED 34″ LED Batons with Arca-type ball head mounts. Four C-Stand are provided, as well as a 7′ chrome-plated boom arm to hang one of the lights overhead. Five 15 lb sandbags are added to the kit to stabilize the lights and stands.