The SL60W is a monobloc-style LED continuous light from Godox. Godox is probably more well known for its excellent flash systems, which incorporates everything from small Speedlites to 600W battery flashes. We’ll see if they can also match this excellence in continuous light with the Godox SL60W.
About the light
While taking the look of a monobloc, the Godox SL60W is actually smaller than a typical studio flash head. It still weighs in at a hefty 1.6kg. First impressions of this light in the box were that it was a little smaller than I expected and that although it looked plastic, it looked well made.
Removing the light hood revealed the LED itself and the aluminum heatsink. It gave the light an immediate hi-tech look – instantly increasing the perceived build of the lamp. The heatsink, combined with the internal fan, keeps the LED chip cool.
As the LED lamp is a combined controller chip and LED, it means the light has a high CRI, translating to accurate and consistent color in use. Rated at 5600k ±300, this is daylight balanced, which matches your midday light and any flashes you may have.
In the box are a long IEC cable, a Bowens mount reflector and remote control. The remote needs AAA batteries (not included). The remote can be set to 16 channels with 4 groups, the same as the light. This allows for a large number of lights to be controlled remotely. While the remote does appear to allow temperature changes, this light is white light only. You can dim the light from 100-10%. A single pushes give 1% changes while holding down the + or – buttons speeds this up. You can also turn the LED off from the remote, while the light remains powered up.
As well as the remote, you can dim the light from the dial on the back, and power on and off.
The included reflector has a pop-out hole that allows an umbrella shaft to run through, for better on-axis light modification.
The Godox SL60W has the following specifications:
- AC Power Supply: AC 100~240V 50/60Hz
- Channels: 16
- Groups: 6 Groups (A-F)
- Power: 60W
- Color Temperature: 5600k ± 200K
- 100% Illuminance (LUX): 4100 (1M)
- 100% Luminous Flux: 4500
- Color Rendering Index: >93
- TLCI (Qa): >95
- R9: >80
- Light Brightness Range: 10%-100%
- Operation Temperature: 10-50ºC
- Safe Temperature: <70ºC
- Dimension: 23X24X14cm (without lamp cover)
- Net Weight: 1.61kg approx
The key things to note are that the light can be used worldwide and has high color accuracy.
Why continuous light?
Despite having years of experience with flash, I get that it takes time to learn. You’re effectively guessing what the light will look like, every time. With continuous light, there is no guessing. You turn it on and modify it as you see fit. Every change you make is there before your eyes. You can immediately see if it’s bright enough, and whether or not moving the light will improve the shot.
The first and foremost thought about using the SL60W is that what you see is quite literally what you get. No guessing or external metering required. Your in-camera meter will give an accurate reading and those on mirrorless with preview simulation on will see the shot in-camera before shooting (same for Live View users with Exposure Simulation on).
You’re reading this article at a photography site, but it’s worth mentioning that this light is perfect for basic lighting applications for video such as YouTube channels. Yes, it has a fan, but the light position behind camera mixed with directional mics should minimize this during recording.
Changing the look
You may be considering this light for food or product photography, so here’s how you can change the look of the light to get a variety of photo options. There are a few ways of getting modifiers onto the light. The most basic is the umbrella slot in the stand mount, coupled with the standard reflector. You can use either bounce or shoot-through umbrellas for this.
Further options open up with the Bowens mount. Any modifier than can fit a studio light with a Bowens S-type mount will work. As most studio lights have modeling bulbs that heat up inside the modifier, it should work no bother with the SL60W.
With just the included reflector you get a crisp hard light. Placing the edge of the light roughly 2-feet from the side of the plate gives you an in-camera reading of 1/400sec ISO200 at f/2.4. (My Fuji has a default ISO of 200).
By bringing in a white foamcore card from the opposite side, it fills in the shadows. While the hard shadows from the reflector are still visible, the bounced light softened the overall look.
By placing a shoothru umbrella on the light, you’ll get a softer light, but at the expense of lower power. This is because you tend to lose about two-stops of light when using any kind of diffuser modifier.
I’m using a Westcott double fold with the black back removed. The umbrella edge is also about 6-inches closer to the plate than the reflector, giving you a reading of 1/160 ISO200 at f/2.4. Not quite a full two-stop drop, but close. Notice how much softer the shadows are, even without a bounce card.
Adding your card again makes a difference. You could increase the shutter speed to compensate, but this sample hasn’t changed to show the increased light in the scene
With photographing products, it’s similar. Here’s the hard light scene on some colorful products. The high CRI means that you know you have good color accuracy here.
First, the reflector.
Using the white reflector card:
And the umbrella:
Finally, here’s how the umbrella looks with the foamcore card.
If you’re shooting for e-commerce, or even like this situation where you need to create product shots for reviews or tutorials, the SL60W makes it remarkably easy.
Here are a few random shots in this vein.
Again, the “what you see is what you get” factor is great. Using Fuji’s iOS app, I could pose myself easily for this self-portrait. Here I’ve used a Neewer 26″ Octagonal Softbox. This is now my go-to YouTube video setup.
The Godox SL60W is a keenly-priced continuous light with accurate color, good remote control, and more than adequate output for most of your indoor lighting applications. As well as photo applications, you’ll find it’s also usable for video – something more and more photographers are involved in.
If you need more light, the Godox SL200W is a higher-powered option.
I can’t speak to the long term reliability of the product yet, but I do own quite a few Godox products – some for quite a few years – and they still function perfectly.