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Review: Switronix TorchLED Bolt On-Camera LED Light

by Thursten Kent on 08/16/2012

Switronix’s TorchLED Bolt is one incredibly bright light. I had sometime to use this light. For the size, it outputs a surprising amount of light. Did I mention it was bright? In my time with this unit we were able to come up with a few ways to showcase it’s raw energy. So take a deeper look into what this light has to offer.

 

Tech Specs

Provided by B&H Photo

Lamp Type 16 LED
Mount Type 1/4″-20 (includes swivel shoe-mount adapter)
Color Temperature 3000-6000K
Illumination Approx. 1800 lux (3200K @ 1 m)Approx. 2000 lux (5600K @ 1 m)
Dimming Range 5-100% (separate controls for 3000K & 6000K temperatures)
Color Rendering Index 89
Power Source Powertap input for connection to a standard 14.4V brick batteryAlso accepts Sony L-Series-style battery 1
Power Connector Powertap cable
Power Requirements 7.2-16.8V DC
Power Consumption 22W max (at full 4100K light output)
Material Housing: Black ABS plastic
Dimensions (HxWxD) Light body only: 4 x 5.6 x 2.95″ (10.2 x 14.2 x 7.5 cm)
Weight 1.15 lb (0.52 kg)

Ergonomics

Below is a little video I put together as a small overview of the Bolt Light.

Somethings I did not mention is that this light has a DC port to connect the Bolt with a PowerTap connection. So if you have some bigger batteries that are used on Anton Bauer kits, this will make be a great help. Once you dial in your settings you want. All you have to do it flick on the on/off button and you can keep your settings. It’s nice that you don’t have to turn the dials all the way to the left to shut the light off. This way you won’t have to worry unless someone bumps into the light.

In Use

For a little creative fun, we decided to set the Bolt into a softbox. The scenario we thought of was a very impromptu musc video shoot. Just one light and the softbox. We asked our musician friend Jessie and he took a moment out of his schedule to help us out.  You should definitely give his music a listen. Take a listen here, but here is the video I shot with the light:

One of the best things I liked about this light was just how powerful it is. I think it’s unique that both different color temperatures can be used at the same time. The quality light was very beautiful. I had no problems adjusting the intensity based on the scenario.

But, there were a few things that nagged me. It was was not the light itself. Rather, the cold-shoe mount was a bit scary to use at times. I would suggest buying a sturdier one. It took a lot to sometimes make it lock and would not stay secured to the cold-shoe on a couple of Canon DSLRs we used it on a few tests.

The battery charger that came with the bigger battery in our Bolt kit, cannot be plugged into a wall vertically. It simply just falls out of the socket. I actually for my own battery charing needs picked up a few plates for my Impact battery charger. All I did was slide the plates out and replace them with a plate for the Sony L-Series batteries and I was good to go.

Here’s another video that Chris shot with the light using the Sony NEX F3.

Conclusion

The Bolt is a light that I could recommend to any videographer. With the bigger battery, you are going to feel a bit more top-heavy when using this on a shoulder rig. The flaws are outweighed by the benefits. You are getting a light that can make lighting on camera-talent a much easier task to get that instant fill. Even in a bright day with direct sun, I was able to light a subject with no problem.

If you think creative you can mount this almost anywhere. Have a Gorrilapod? That can work in conjunction to get this light into an awkward spot on a shoot. Lighting scenarios are only limited to the size of your  creativity.

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