Aputure F7 LED Panel.
I'm an easy touch when it comes to small and inexpensive LED light panels so when I read about the Aputure F7 light panel I decided to risk $100 and give it a go. What is it? A: A small, lightweight bi-color LED panel that can fit in a hot shoe or be used as an off camera light source. What makes it good? A: Aputure's literature, and the reviews of people I trust, point to a very high TCLI or CRI which is a good measure of how accurate the color temperature of the unit is. They also spoke about the unit's relatively high output. But then again, a lot of small LEDs boast good specs so...what distinguishes the F7? Hmmm. I guess I'll go with this: Most bi-color LED units feature a color range from 3200K to about 5600K. If you are at either extreme you are only using half the bulbs. You get half the power. But the F7 has a range from 3200K to 9500K, if you set the light's color temperature to 5,600K (daylight) you will have both sets of bulbs (tungsten and daylight) illuminated at once so a daylight rendering also gives you the full power of the unit.
Unlike other small, cheap units I've bought or played with in the past the makers of this one did not scrimp on the mounting hardware. The bullhead that screws into your choice of three sides is stout, easy to adjust and locks firmly in place. The light ships with two strengths of diffusion and the diffusion slots right into slits on either side of the tough, plastic front cover.
The light uses a rotary dial with a push button feature to toggle between adjusting color temperature (read out on a display) and output levels (also on the display). Unlike most competitive products which generally are only adjustable from 10% power to 100% power the F7 can be dialed all the way down to 1%.
I found the color quality of the light at 5600K to be very good. Another benefit for serious users is that the unit can be powered in three different ways. You can use Sony video batteries like the NP-9xx series which means I can use any one of about five different Sony video batteries I currently have scattered around the office. You can use a USB charger or USB connected battery pack for looooong shoots. Or, if you are a video pro who uses batteries that have a D-Tap for your pro cameras you can grab power off said batteries with a D-Tap connector. Fun to have options.
Short story? I like it. There is no long story.
Color Temp (top figure) Power level (bottom figure) battery charge indicators (the green bars).
I have a battery on the back that weighs more than the light itself.
You can opt for smaller batteries.....
Side view. Big battery. The unit is well ventilated which means it will
run longer and last longer. On the downside it means that it's not at all
One of two diffusers. Weak and Strong.
(credit: hand model: Charlie Martini).