Lume Cube Air: The tiny, yet mighty light

When creating photos or videos, lighting is king. The new Lume Cube Air doesn't disappoint.

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Image: Ant Pruitt

My backpack is usually stuffed with my camera(s), lenses, batteries, cables, and lights. That's quite a bit to pack, but for me, it's essential.

The offerings from Lume Cube may be just what I need since it's a lighting option that's ultra-portable, durable and most importantly—bright.

SEE: How to make your product photography shine (TechRepublic)

The Lume Cube Air

Lume Cube is known for its LED drone lighting options. (Not that you should fly drones at night as a hobbyist, but it's a great option to use a drone as an aerial light source for a shoot that you're doing at ground-level.) That was with the old Lume Cubes. The new Lume Cube Air packs all of the features of the original Lume Cube and also has a built-in earth magnet for extra mounting convenience.

I tried out the Lume Cube Air to see how well it fits into my workflow, as well as see if this lighting option gets the job done.

What I like

The form factor of the Lume Cube Air is great at roughly 1.5-inches cubed. I can fit the Air into my pocket, or drop it into my backpack pocket with ease. It's not as bulky as one my favorite LED lights, but it's definitely just as bright at 1,500 lumens. I love that the device comes with a daylight color temperature of 5,600K. Light sources are typically pretty harsh when illuminated, and this goes for the Lume Cube Air, too. Fortunately, the Air comes with two diffusers to help soften the light as well as adjust the color temperature. If you don't have a ¼-20-inch screw to get your Air mounted to your camera's hot shoe, the magnet is powerful enough to secure it. Just be mindful of the risks magnets may cause to other devices such as drone compasses or hard drives.

In addition to clicking the button on the Air to power it on, you can also control the Lume Cube Air wirelessly over Bluetooth via the Lume-X mobile app for iOS and Android. The app doubles as an optional smartphone camera app as well as offer controls of the light kit. You can control the power and brightness as well as set up flash and strobe settings to work with your shoot. Battery life on the Air is maxed at around two hours, depending upon the brightness settings. You can easily recharge the battery with a micro USB charger.

What I didn't like

I know this device is small, but I wish there was a battery life indicator on it. Sure, the Lume-X app can tell me this information, but I don't always use the app for my shoots. A few times, I fired up the Air, and it was dead within a few minutes because I didn't realize it wasn't fully charged.

Secondly, I would like slightly more ease of use regarding the power button. It's placed perfectly on top of the Air, but it takes somewhat of a long press to power on the device as well as cycle through the four levels of brightness. There's no need to make it a long press—just make it a simple click.

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Image: Ant Pruitt

Conclusion

I recommend the Lume Cube Air for its portability, brightness, and ease of use for photographers and videographers. The small size, yet powerful output allows content creators to try out different lighting styles. I've even attached it to a gimbal to aid in low-light shots, and it worked very well.

You can get the Air for $69.95. This investment gets you a solid light built to last and takes a beating, all while being small enough to fit into your pocket.

Also see

  • How to make your photo and video content stand out amongst the competition (Tech Republic)
  • Loupedeck+ Lightroom console now offering more for creatives (TechRepublic)
  • The market changes as Sony's mirrorless cameras are threatened by new models from Nikon and Canon (ZDNet)
  • Google Pixel 3 review: Excellent camera, pocketable form factor, and Google software are compelling (ZDNet)
  • The 10 best smartphones of 2018 (ZDNet)
  • The Leica M10-D pretends to be a film camera by ditching the screen (CNET)