Review: Westcott Ice Light

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (2 of 8)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 5.0

Westcott’s Ice Light was affectionately called the Light Saber by many–and upon first look one can easily think so. In fact, the light is often used in shoots that are meant to pay homage to the blockbuster film series: Star Wars. But surely, Westcott didn’t create the Ice Light just for some George Lucas fanboys. Like any lighting piece, it can be used in a variety of creative ways.

In a nutshell, think of the Ice Light as a light strip–a constant LED light strip that is quite a bit of money.


Pros and Cons

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (8 of 8)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.5

Pros

– Highly portable

– Simple to use

– Lots of light output

– Extremely soft light in many situations

– Its design forces you to be crreative

Cons

– Price

– A bit too specialized

– We were overly careful with it because we didn’t feel the build quality was super

Gear Used

We tested the Westcott Ice Light with the Fujifilm X Pro 1, 35mm f1.4 R, SLRMagic 23mm f1.7, Canon 5D Mk II, and the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the product

Rating 150W as compared to quartz halogen, 50,000 hour LED life
Color Range 5,200-5,400K
Beam Angle 72.6°
Dimming 1.5 – 15W and anywhere in between
Cable Not specified by manufacturer
Mount 1/4″-20 on each side
Battery Lithium ion: 7.4V
Battery Life 60 minutes on a full 2.5 hour charge
Current Draw 1.5 – 15W
Voltage 100-240V AC, 50 – 60Hz
Dimensions 20.25 x 1.75″ (52.07 x 1.75 cm)
Weight 1.3 lb (0.58 kg)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (3 of 8)ISO 1001-40 sec at f - 5.0

Westcott’s Ice Light is essentially a strip with a handle–and the simplicity behind it will ensure that anyone trying to get into lighting won’t be intimidated. The strip takes up most of the device.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (4 of 8)ISO 1001-40 sec at f - 5.0

To control the Ice Light, you’ll use a couple of buttons. To power it on, you’ll use the up or down button. The green LED light will then power on as well. To turn it off, press the appropriate button. The up and down buttons dim or brighten the light. When the power is getting low, the LED turns to orange.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (5 of 8)ISO 1001-40 sec at f - 5.0

To charge the light, you’ll connect an AC adapter to this little hole right here. The adapter has an indicator light telling you when the unit is fully charged.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (6 of 8)ISO 1001-40 sec at f - 5.0

If you’d like to put the light on a stand, you can connect it via the 1/4 20 tripod hole that is on either side of the Ice Light. We didn’t do this, but we totally see it being useful if the light is connected to a boom pole on a shoot.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (1 of 8)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 5.0

The Ice Light feels–weird. The exterior has this soft texture that I’m personally not used to a part of me is being overcautious about anything hitting the bulb and therefore making it not work. I really wish that Westcott had given it a more solid and ruggedized feel that studio shooters like myself appreciate.

However, I need to be honest. At one point, I dropped the Ice Light from my desk to the floor, which is a three foot tumble. It continued to work flawlessly and the light output was totally fine. So if anything, I just may have personal pet peeves with it.

Ease of Use

Power on, power off, move the light around. That’s really all that there is to this. Continuous lighting is significantly simpler and straightforward to use than flashes and so anyone will be able to pick this up and create great images with it if they have the vision.

Light Output

Product Shooting

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Westcott Ice Light Review photos (7 of 8)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.5

 

The Ice Light abides by the standard laws of lighting stating that the larger the light source is in relation to your subject, the softer the light will be. And so when I tried to light my Sony headphones on the right, it obviously didn’t give off such a soft light because of how large they are. However, I do like the effect when combined with some tinkering in Adobe Lightroom.

Cosplay

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu Left 4 Dead Witch Westcott Ice Light color re-edit (2 of 8)ISO 8001-30 sec at f - 1.8

When my friend Lulu wanted to dress up as the Witch from Left4Dead, I thought about a lot of the lighting in the game and the high key lighting that would deliver an eerie and terrifying look. And to accomplish that look not only required a good location, but also a smart use of the light’s abilities.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu Left 4 Dead Witch Westcott Ice Light (3 of 22)ISO 64001-30 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu Left 4 Dead Witch Westcott Ice Light (18 of 22)ISO 16001-30 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu Left 4 Dead Witch Westcott Ice Light (19 of 22)ISO 16001-30 sec at f - 1.0

Pro Tip: Don't ever forget about placing lights behind a subject. It can totally change the look and feel of a photo

Pro Tip: Don’t ever forget about placing lights behind a subject. It can totally change the look and feel of a photo

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu Left 4 Dead Witch Westcott Ice Light color re-edit (7 of 8)ISO 64001-30 sec at f - 2.8

While the light has some very nice output, it still can’t beat the power of a good strobe. And I indeed needed to either mix in strobe light at times or crank my ISO up to 6400.

Conclusions

The Westcott Ice Light is an approximately $500 lighting unit that gives off continuous light in a special way. While its versatility is very apparent in the hands of a true creative, we’d be lying if we said that this look couldn’t be achieved in other ways for a more affordable sum of money. There are loads of hacks that one can create to give off this effect–which brings us to the Ice Light’s other strength: acting like a light saber. Unless you’re trying to become the next George Lucas and bring Emperor Palpatine back from the dead as a force ghost, there are other options that we recommend that you stick to.

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