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I was fortunate enough to get hold of the new Spekular Modular LED kit from the people at Spiffy Gear a little bit earlier than most. So I’ve been using it for a couple of months now on everything from a personal portrait project to a product shoot of a whole load of shoes, and lots of other things in between.
The kit comes in a handy carry case that keeps all of the gear together. You get four of the Spekular LED bars (I’m just going to call them bars, you might want to call them something else) and clips to join them together, along with a mounting connector that has a metal 1/4″-20 thread. This allows you to screw it onto a light stand, or as I’ve been doing, onto a tripod base-plate and using it on top of a tripod, which allows me to move the light where I need it. You get a multi-voltage power supply and a bit of documentation in the box, too.
The kit ships with a regular power supply and plugs in and is controlled very easily on one of the light bar units, with the power running from what would be 0% to 100% in step-less increments. There is also an external battery kit that you can pick up if you’re looking to use Spekular away from a power outlet.
The mounting bracket that is included simply slips along the back of any of the light bar units. You can adjust exactly where you’d like it to be connected to the unit, and then you simply connect it to a light stand or via a tripod plate or any other stand/magic arm with a 1/4″-20 connector.
Let us move swiftly on! Take a look at how the unit works and what it can do, according to the Spiffy Gear video below, and then we’ll get on with how well it worked for me in real-world situations!
I’ve read a little of what others are saying around the web, a few people mentioned that they don’t like the specular highlights the kit gives, to which I’d say, “So set it up differently!”
You can set the unit up as something that resembles a traditional rectangular LED panel, or you can set two kits up as a crazy epic star-like looking thing! As with any art/photography, the resultant look you’re after is subjective, and that’s fine! You can get seriously creative with this Spekular Modular LED kit, and that flexibility really impressed me.
The first shoot I took the Spekular kit along to was one of my own. It’s a portrait series that I’m working on, based on men’s mental health. The Spekular kit was on a Kupo Click light stand slightly above and forward of my camera position.
It was only a test, but I was very happy with the results! (Yes, that’s a self-portrait below, I’m taking the photograph using Sony’s Play Memories with my A7R II).
The other main use I’ve had with the Spekular kit was on a spur of the moment product shoot for a friend. I needed to photograph 20 pairs of shoes for a website. This is something I’ve not done much of, but I was very interested to try out the kit and see if it could provide the results that were needed for this job.
The thing I found about using the Spekular kit was that it provided a really great quality of even light when positioned correctly. I used a Kupo C-Stand and positioned Spekular, set up in a square format, over the top and slightly forward of the product. This really cut down on shadows!
Each light bar puts out 14.5W of light which is kinda similar to a 150W halogen light. The lights have a 94+ CRI (CR-What? Read What CRI is here)
Still not convinced? Here’s another video showing the Spekular LED light in use.
What did I like about the Spekular Modular LED light system? In two words, almost everything. The build quality is great, the unit stays level when attached from one side, it doesn’t twist like plastic units tend to do. I’d love to start using the kit with a battery pack to make it a little more portable.
One of the things I need to work on, but fixed very easily with Rosco Cinefoil ($34 for 25′ of the stuff) was the light spread. Naturally LED lights don’t tend to be super focused, so you need to find a way to shape them if that is the look you’re after. I found it very simple to do using flags or Cinefoil kind of shaped like barn-doors.
In my opinion, the Spekular kit is very good value compared to other options on the market considering what you get, how well it appears to be built (keep in mind I’ve only had the kit since July 5th), and how well it works.
Spiffy suggests that Spekular is “the Swiss army knife of LED lighting,” and I’d tend to agree! Well done!
Five Stars, Spiffy Gear, Five stars!