Review: Lume Cube Brings Light to Video, Video Conferencing, and Photography
Light is crucial to technology capturing a true image of what we see, or perhaps more pointedly, what we want to see. But light is a tricky thing. Too much of it and the image we see washes out. Our photos inherit bands and blotches of white that cannot be repaired by even the most expensive photo editing software. Many cameras come with lights to help illuminate our subjects, but they often prove too much or too little. Lighting rigs take time to set up and can cost hundreds of dollars to by or rent.
Enter Lume Cube as an interesting solution to some of the more mundane experiences that lack light. Lume Cube can act as a light source for video on a standard camera (using an auxiliary mount), illumination for video conferencing or as a standalone light palmed during a blackout or camping trip. It even mounts to steel surfaces via a built-in magnet on its back. Lume Cube also offers other mounthing options.
At its core, Lume Cube is a battery-operated waterproof box filled with LEDs. It’s rubberized square sports a lens cover for the LEDs, and a reflector to enhance their luminosity. The cube includes a rechargeable battery (micro-USB) so no need to lug more than small charger and cable to keep the Cube powered.
We evaluated the Lume Cube AIRVC which is designed for video conferencing, but the company also provided a camera mount for a standard DLSR mount.
Lume Cube: What we liked
The Lume Cube certainly brought the light. Its multiple levels of illumination offer some range, but none of them dim. For those who want the specs, here they are: 5600K daylight color temperature with a 90+/- CRI rating, and 400 lux brightness at 3.3′ in a 60° beam angle. What that means in practical terms is the Lume Cube illuminates objects nearby really well, and like all personal lighting (and camera flashes), does nothing to add value to photos taken in a football stadium or music venue. Nearby objects include your face on Facetime, your face while vlogging, or some physical objects around you. The Cube also makes a good light inside a scene, such as behind a plant on a bookshelf to create a special lighting effect.
A concealed micro-USB charge port seals the waterproof deal for the Lume Cube up to 30 feet.
Need more control? Pair the Cube to an Android or iOS device and the very intuitive app that provides for flash support, red-eye reduction, and strobe effects. Bluetooth pairing takes place automagically.
At 1.6” x 1.6” x 1.1” and weighing in at only 2 ounces, the Lume Cube delivers light to most personal video and photography situations.
If the light proves too harsh, the kit includes two diffusion bulbs for softer or warmer light. In our testing, we found these essential for photography use.
Lume Cube: What we didn’t like
Images captured with a raw Lume Cube bring blue overtone with them. The orange diffuser helps create a warmer tone—or you can adjust the images in post. Pink Camera media found the white diffuser their accessory of choice for photography (see the slider below for image comparisons).
The suction cup mount that came in the box doesn’t secure the Cube in the right position. So in order to point the Cube in the right position (forward or backward), it ends up with some play that creates occasional sound and wobbles. The auxiliary DSLR camera mount provides more accuracy with its positioning options.
The mounts also require adjustment to accommodate the diffusers. The mount must first be loosened before applying the diffuser. The mount fitting then requires tightening back atop the diffuser’s edge. This could add some wear and tear to the diffuser, but more importantly, it takes time to add and remove diffusers, and time in photography translates into missed shots. The diffusers would benefit from a notch on one side so they can be more easily added and removed.
Serious Insights Test Images of Harry Potter Funko Pop figures. Photo partner: Pink Camera Media.
Recommended. Lume Cube’s diminutive size, long battery life (2.5+ Hours @ 50% Brightness, 30-45min @ 100%) and variety of mounting options make it a great travel companion that brings light to almost any situation that calls for it. And it’s great around the office find finding things on the floor when it isn’t lighting up a smiling face.
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Note: Lume Cube provided an evaluation unit for review purposes.