Customer Reviews: Chromo Inc CI55000020 160 LED CI-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel, Camcorder Video Light for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and Olympus Digital SLR Cameras
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on October 21, 2012
I had recently bought a NEEWER 160 LED light that I gave away, and found this light with the same number of LEDs at an even lower price. The price wasn't my concern, and I had hoped for a little better mounting bracket this time around.

The differences between these two lights is almost negligible, but I discovered that the Chromo light seems to put out the same brightness that the NEEWER light does. It has the same number of LEDs. Instead of having the dimmer on the side, it has it on the back. The button to check for battery life does the same job as the one on the NEEWER light, except that on the Chromo light the light has to be "on" first to test the battery. No problem. There are the same selection of colored gels like the NEEWER light, except that you don't get the plastic sleeve to put them in. Small issue. The light is a bit bulky, mostly because of its dual battery design / Sony or AA batteries. I would recommend not using AA batteries since you need six of them, and it makes the light much heavier and is more expensive to be using disposable AA's than one NP-550. Of course, if you wish to use rechargeable AAs that's another choice, but using just the one Sony battery is a lot easier in my opinion. The Chromo doesn't come with a battery, but NP-550's aren't expensive and neither are the chargers for them.

The mount for the Chromo, in my opinion, was a lot better than the NEEWER mount. The light itself has a threaded hole on the bottom, so you could screw in your own mount if you like -- something that the NEEWER light can't do since its mount uses four tiny screws into the light's frame. The hot shoe mount that comes with the Chromo light is much like others I've seen that come with other brands of LED camera lights. It is a screw-in swivel with a thumbscrew to set the angle you wish to hold the light. It's cheap, but seems to be effective -- a combination of metal and plastic parts -- not just plastic. Mine actually had some rust on the ball joint, something that I was able to easily scrape off and spray with some parts cleaner. These products from China remind me of the old days when we'd get the same type of quality from Japan. However, in general, I'm giving this light 4 stars since so far it seems like it will do the job and is a lot of light for the money. It's also less stressful on the job if this light breaks or gets dropped rather than having spent a lot of money on it like products from LightPanels, that make an obviously superior product but overcharge for what you're getting. We just did a shoot in the Mohave with the NEEWER light. It got rolled in the dust accidentally, but never stopped working and after a bit of cleanup, it still worked fine. These lights are great to use to fill in shadows even in daylight, but you have to get in close. At night, they are amazingly bright. Good also for lighting car interiors and for a quick emergency light when you have to get the shot. With the Chromo, you'll just have to find a place in your bag for the extra gels. Not a big deal.
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on July 7, 2014
Hey guys,

Check out my video review! Hopefully you find it useful when purchasing this light. It's a great light for a great deal. You won't be disappointed. One note I'd like to make is that it is plastic (but still good quality plastic), so it's not indestructible. However, assuming you take good care of your camera, there's no reason that you can't take good care of the light as well. Definitely worth all 5 stars.
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on December 6, 2012
I had bought the Neewer CN-160 and was quite happy with it. It is affordable gives decent light and has infinitely adjustable brightness. My concern with it was the plastic mount.

I then bought another light, the Chromo CI-160. They are essentially the same, have gels which I would not consider using except the diffuser. Otherwise there are a few notable differences.

Much as I liked the CN-160 very much, I was impressed with the Chromo CI-160

* CI-160 is $10 cheaper
* It is smaller and shallower, though the weight is about the same.
* There is a more versatile mounting option on the Chromo. The lamp has a threaded tripod mount socket on which the ball shoe mount is mounted. Should you lose the the ball socket, you can still mount the Chromo directly on a tripod. With the NEEWER you would be out of luck if you lost the hot shoe mount.
* The hot shoe mount is of a better quality, being make of metal vs the all plastic mount on the NEEWER.
* The light dispersion of the Chromo is wider than the Neewer, which is excellent for wide angle use. This does not come at a cost to brightness at the center.

CI-160: About $10 cheaper, a bit smaller in all dimensions, same brightness as the CN-160. However, the beam is also wider which is excellent for wide angle lenses. The shoe mount is also of a better quality, being ball metal. It is also more adjustable

At the price, nothing beats the Chromo CI-160
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on January 5, 2013
The light comes with three filters: a 3200 conversion filter, a diffuser and a pinkish filter. The diffuser doesn't really diffuse -- you can still see all the LEDs and they are annoying bright. I would not ask my talent to stare into one of these if it were on top of my camera. It needs more diffusion. I epoxied two small clips recycled from trade show badgeholder necklaces onto the sides of the light that can hold some diffusion material.

The pink filter is obviously an admission that the LEDs put out a greenish light. The pink/magenta filter brings the light back to neutral. The top-mounted slot holds only one filter at a time.

The lights are small and very light. The attached picture shows a three-unit kit inside of a 16" x 12-1/2" x 2-1/2" case that holds the filters, lights, batteries and improved BestDealUSA Multifunction Ball Head Umbrella/Flash Mount/Holder/Bracket L Stand so I can mount them on 5/8" stud light stands.

Lights dim easily and will be useful for accents, rim lighting or run-and-gun on-camera shooting.
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on October 26, 2012
Chromo's LED video light is far less expensive than competing products that contain similar numbers of LED bulbs (160 in this product arranged in a 10x16 pattern). It is extraordinarily bright when set to full, lighting up a 12'x12' room sufficiently to get "reasonable" video with a 40mm to 70mm lens (very wide angle lenses may succumb to a bright center image and heavy vignetting at the edges).

In fact, it is too bright for close up interviews when set to full illumination, and will cause adults and children to squint. But it has a very functional wheel based dimmer switch that can raise and lower the brightness in infinite increments and can bring the illumination down to just barely on. Nonetheless, spare your subjects' vision and use the included diffuser panel along with a gentler brightness setting.

It takes 6 AA batteries and also some video camera rechargeable battery packs, however, the instructions do not itemize which specific battery packs those might be. Nor do the instructions stipulate to remove the window-pane panel on the back so as to insert the AA's. Use common sense and a gentle hand when figuring out how to use this the first time.

The entire unit is thin plastic. For such a bright light it does not weigh as much as might be expected and with 6 AA's is still lighter than my Metz-58 strobe. That said, I have no intention of placing this on my DSLR's hotshoe (just as I do not mount the Metz on the hotshoe) since over the years I have broken off far too many hotshoe mounts even when using less weight than this.

It has a standard tripod mount in the base to allow it to be threaded directly onto a light pole or a tripod. Its mount is recessed and consumes an extra three threads, so a short tripod screw will not reach, though longer screws will. Alternatively it includes a ball head adapter mount that will receive a tripod screw or will slide onto a hot or cold shoe via a thin plastic foot. The ball itself is stable enough to keep the light upright when tightened, but the design of the adapter is such that it tends to rotate far too freely around the center axis for my purposes; I'll just mount it directly to a tripod screw.

Durability? I can say nothing of that yet. On arrival all the LEDs lit, the switch worked, the battery indicator showed full charge from my fresh AA's, and the dimmer is exactly what one would expect. I will order another one of these as a backup. Further, if anything goes wrong, I will provide an update.


Update: 10/28/2012
I just returned from an outdoor video shoot for a web commercial. One Chromo light was used to fill in for deep shadows when shooting under a shelter roof. Using one set of AA's the lights continued to burn brightly after more than an hour of shooting (the power indicator show 50% power remaining). The lights did well when focused on the subject in the middle of a darker background, but were insufficient when the sheltered subject was backlit by bright scenery (compensating for outdoor backlighting is an unfair test of an LED light, I know, but since I tried it I thought I would tell about the results). Still, the Chromo lights proved their value even outdoors as a fill light in deep shade/shadow. Very glad I brought the light.
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on March 14, 2013
I have a meeting to attend and record in half an hour so I'll be quick.

The light is fine. Got it last month. My first one. Run it on my DSLR to make up for lack of lighting conditions, which is exactly what I needed, one can only bump up brightness and contrast so much in an NLE before it gets ugly and noisy.

Now all of you reading, today I picked up the little hot shoe mount off the light, starting removing it, noticing chips coming out from the mounting screw, knew what would happen next.

Check my picture above. The plastic around the light mount screw shattered. At least the lower part. I fiddled the screw through real slow, came right out. Now I'm applying super glue to what's left of the base in hopes I can still mount it on my camera.

I'm not even mad. Maybe I screwed in the hot shoe mount too much, maybe I abused and pulled on the mount during transport. Maybe it is my fault. Doesn't matter though, I have a ticking time bomb waiting to fall out and break on the floor. I'll see how much life I can get out of this before it completely dies.

So, in summary, my word of caution, it's an okay light, but when transporting, please, remove the hot shoe mount from the light, and be real careful when it is mounted, or you could end up like careless me, with a light waiting to fall off your camera.
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on November 20, 2012
I've been wanting to purchase the Litepanel LED for a couple of years now. However at $200 it seemed too pricey for what I wanted it for. I'm a wedding photographer and wanted to try using it for some detail shots like the rings. When I saw the Chromo for $30 I had to try it out. It seems fairly well built. The dimmer switch worked well and at full power produced more light then I would ever need. I also love that it works with AA batteries. It does just what I need. A definite bargain.
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on December 27, 2012
This is a solid little LED light. The construction is good and works as advertised. Puts out a decent amount of light, but with a slight greenish hue. I also bought the NEEWER 160 which was about $10 more. The construction, especially the stand mount, is actually better on this cheaper Chromo model. The stand mount is metal on the Chromo and easily screws into the bottom of the light. The NEEWER is all plastic and attaches to the bottom of the light via 4 small screws.

I haven't had either one of them long enough to make any comment on reliability, but here's where the big difference is... the NEEWER is noticeably brighter and has a more natural white color with almost no green/blue hue. The difference is significant. I even swapped batteries between the two because I couldn't believe the difference since they're both rated the same, ie. 160. The difference was still there. Neither have any dead LEDs, but one of the LEDs on the Chromo looks slightly more greenish than the others. Not a big deal.

The price difference between the two on the day I purchased was $10. Although the general construction, stand mount and filter holder are better on this Chromo, I'd have to recommend spending the extra $10 for the NEEWER for the additional output and better light color. Of course this difference could just be the two units I received, since I doubt there's much consistency between any of these budget Chinese LEDs, but based on what I received, the output of the NEEWER is worth the extra $10.

Some have reported this light sometimes selling for $20. At half the price of the $40 NEEWER CN160, I might prefer 2 of these for the price of one NEEWER.

UPDATE: Looks like the NEEWER isn't all that much brighter, but appears so due to being more directional with less spread. The Chromo has a blue/green cast that has a wider spread. Tough call which to recommend. Within $10 I'd probably lean toward the NEEWER because of the color beging more natural white with almost no green/blue hue.
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on June 26, 2013
I've owned a tiny on camera LED light for some time and with my shoulder mount mini DV camcorder, it worked pretty ok, then i started shooting video with a DSLR and found that the beam and brightness was no longer quite enough, so i ordered this bad boy and i am quite pleased with the light i get from it and better yet it works with the Panasonic rechargeable batteries from my old DV camcorder, I'm as pleased as punch, Priced right, shipped right on time, I would buy a couple more of these in the near future. As always, good show Amazon !
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on October 24, 2012
similar to the neewer 160 light. Has a better connector than the neewer lights for $10 less. Construction very similar,the dimension are a big higher, but not as wide as the Neewer brand lights.
Both use AA (6) or sony batteries. The Temp on this light is a lot bluer than the neewer, so if you mix and match, it may be a problem. Will test out the next week, to see if it just as durable as neewer. Stay tune for update. If it works as well as the neewer for a lower price, than my rating will go up.

It really crazy that these light at all trade show use to be in the $200 and up range. Of course those were better quality, but not so much that it cost almost 8x as much.
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