April 19, 2014

LED vs flo

Are LED lights up to scratch with other types of light fixture? There are many benefits to using LEDs, but I generally use fluorescent lights more. This week we’re going over the key differences, so you can decided which system is right for you!

Check out the video to see the differences between shooting with LEDs and Fluorescent:

For roughly the same price, fluorescent lights are a lot more powerful. If using my LEDs as key lights, shooting at f/2.8 ISO 160, it can be a struggle to get a good exposure. Fluorescent light is a whole different story.

Colour Accuracy:

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 12.29.46 CRI is the general measure of the quality of light. LEDs in this price range tend to have a magenta tint, and Flo lights are known for having a green tint. BUT, the bulbs can be replaced with higher quality fluorescent bulbs, which give a much higher CRI (as shown above).


softness compare Fluorescents generally produce very soft, diffused light which is great for most applications. However, it’s essential to have a harder light source in every lighting kit, as it can be controlled more successfully, and gives a completely different look. Hard light can be made softer (at the expense of brightness) while soft light cannot be made harder.


So which is better? My advice would be to have one or two fluorescent fixtures as a key, fill, or background light. It’s soft, pleasing light, high power output, and high CRI are all great features for a key light. But, LEDs are great as a kicker, backlight, or hair light. The hard light can be flagged so that it only affects a precise part of the scene, and gives harsh shadows. Both types of light have their uses!


Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 12.31.08

LED Rim light (Aputure AL-528 at 100% power)

Fluorescent light, with 3 stops of diffusion, (50% power)

Fluorescent light, with 3 stops of diffusion, (50% power)

The final shot.

Camera settings F/4 ISO 160 1/48th


Fluorescent Light: BUY UK      BUY US

High CRI Bulbs:    BUY UK      BUY US

Aputure AL528:    BUY UK      BUY US

Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.