If you're a professional photographer or videographer, you know that lighting can make or break a shot. Without proper lighting, subjects are harder to see, your camera introduces more noise, and color grading becomes significantly harder as there's less color information to work with. Of course, that doesn't mean that more light automatically translates to better lighting, which is why adjustable lighting is crucial for a versatile setup.
I recently picked up the Godox SL-60W, a popular light that stands as an affordable alternative to the fan-favorite Aputure 120D. It's been absolutely fantastic so far, and I've already noticed a huge improvement to the lighting in my videos thanks to it — but I bought it a bit too early, and missed out on the Black Friday sale that I should have known would be coming. Here's hoping you don't have to.
Professional lighting for cheap: Godox SL-60W | $35 at various retailers
The SL-60W is an affordable alternative to popular studio lights like the Aputure 120D, outputting tons of daylight-balanced light with an included reflector and both an on-board dimmer and a remote for wireless dimming. Its Bowens mount allows you to use universal accessories.
Soften that light: Aputure Light Dome Mini II | $40 off at Amazon
The Light Dome Mini II is a soft box that helps diffuse the light from setups like the SL-60W for a softer, more natural look. Its quick-release system makes it easy to set up and tear down, and it comes with a honeycomb grid for more directional lighting.
Proper lighting often gets overlooked when it comes time to buy new gear, because lights aren't as sexy or exciting as a new camera or lens — I'm guilty of this too, but arguably, lights are far more important for properly conveying your shots. Even the fanciest RED and ARRI cameras can't magically light your shots for you, so it's worth investing in a proper setup.
The Godox SL-60W is an absolutely phenomenal value compared to the $700+ Aputure lights out there. For just over $100 (or just under, thanks to Black Friday), the SL-60W can easily brighten up an entire room with its 5600K light. Of course, using the built-in dimmer, you can also reduce the lighting for a far more dramatic effect; I've found that even the minimum 10% brightness is enough to light many of my product shots and A-roll.
When I ordered my Godox light a couple of weeks ago, I also picked up the Aputure Light Dome Mini II, since the SL-60W supports the same Bowens mount. At only 21.5 inches in diameter, the Light Dome Mini II is great for smaller spaces, yet it makes a huge difference in terms of softening the light from the SL-60W compared to the included reflector.
What sold me the most on the Light Dome Mini II was its quick-release system, which features a series of built-in collapsible tension rods for incredibly fast setup and teardown. It also includes a honeycomb grid, which allows you to aim your light far more directionally, creating a nice dramatic effect.
I've already gotten enough use out of this lighting setup that I certainly don't regret having bought it early, but I definitely wish I could have saved some money with this Black Friday pricing. It's too late for me, but you can still get a killer deal on an incredibly versatile lighting rig.
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