What Is Continuous Lighting?
Continuous lighting does exactly what it says on the tin, offering a consistent level of lighting as long as you need it. Unlike flash or strobe lighting which offers a pulse of high-quality light, continuous lights are designed to aid previsualisation by staying on constantly. The category of continuous lighting covers anything from desk ring lights to high end broadcast level lighting, basically any lights that stay on for an extended period of time.
Why Use Continuous Lighting?
Used predominantly in videography and cinematography, continuous lighting is also utilised by photographers to see exactly how the shot will come out. The light will already be on their subject and adjustments can be made easily. For this reason, continuous lighting can be easier for beginner photographers to pick up and use.
What to look for in Continuous Lighting?
Battery / Mains Powered
Continuous lights are typically mains powered by default. When looking at lights it may be worth checking whether a battery comes with it, or if there is a battery mount in case mains powering the light isn’t convenient in future (for shooting on location for example).
Due to their nature of always being on and the strength of the lights, historically continuous lights can get quite hot. When comparing these lights, it is important to bear in mind some units can make noise with the fan running to keep the lights cool, and others will run almost silently for example the Godox VL200.
Some lights offer Bluetooth phone app control, and some come with a dedicated physical remote control.
CRI (Colour Rendering Index) Rating
The closer this number is to the maximum rating of 100, the more accurate the lighting will be in revealing the colours of the object you’re photographing. When considering new lighting, it’s important to know the CRI rating before purchasing. Any number in the 90s is considered very good.
Protective case/ Portability
Continuous lighting is usually used in permanent studio set ups, but there are instances where portability will be a key factor. A good sturdy bag is ideal even just for storage purposes. Depending on your needs, it’s important to look out for accessories like transport bags and batteries/battery mounts in case they’re applicable to you.
What we'd recommend
For photographers on a budget – Godox SL-60W
The silent option - Godox UL-150
The professional’s choice - Godox VL300