The HONGDAK HD-192 LED High Power Camera Light was kindly provided to me by HONG YAN free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The HONGDAK HD-192 LED High Power Camera Light is available in the UK from HONG YANG on Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £25.99 with free P&P. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The HONGDAK HD-192 LED High Power Camera Light is supplied in retail style cardboard packaging.
Inside you will find a second plain brown cardboard box that contains the HD-192 light wrapped in bubble wrap, two diffusers and a hot shoe mount adaptor individually wrapped in resealable clear plastic bags and also an illustrated A4 information / instruction sheet.
Measurements of just the light at its greatest points are 16cm wide, 10.5cm high and 4.9cm deep. Installing either of the filters or using AA batteries to power the light does not add to these dimensions. Use of a rechargeable camera battery will add to the depth of the light and such batteries sit recessed on the back by 6.5mm and protrude from the rear of the light. Also, if using a mains adaptor to power the light the connector will also protrude from the rear of the light.
The light weighs 265g excluding any batteries or diffusers. The frosted diffuser weights 35g and the amber diffuser weighs 31g.
The light has a 1/4″ thread mount on the underside that allows the light to be directly mounted on a tripod. Also supplied as a hot shoe adaptor that allows the light to be directly mounted on a camera (or a hot shoe stand), this adaptor also has a 1/4″ thread mount as well, so when the adaptor is attached to the light it can be used both on camera and off camera without having to remove the adaptor.
Excluding the mounting thread the adaptor measures 55.8mm high, 40.3mm wide and 37mm deep at its greatest points and it weighs 42g. This adaptor can be articulated on the horizontal and vertical planes by way of two hinges. Firstly the top section of the adaptor that contains the thread mount to attach the adaptor on the light swivels infinitely on the horizontal plane. This is free moving (does not have a lock or release mechanism) but it is a little stiff, although not so stiff it can’t be easily manipulated when mounted on your camera.
Located below this is a flush hinge that allows the adaptor to move on the vertical plane (It tilts by up to 90 degrees forward and 90 degrees backwards). Like the previous hinge this is also free moving, but it is noticeably stiffer (it’s very stiff), so much so that I have slight concerns about manipulating the light forward or backwards when it is mounted on my camera (Largely due to the fact my tripod is rather light being made from carbon fibre).
That said the stiffness of the hinges it allows the light to remain at any position set, I just wish that for the vertical hinge at least it had a lock & release mechanism instead of simply being very stiff. For those thinking that some lubricating oil will loosen things up I suspect that A: It probably will not and if it does B: the hinge will now be too loose to retain the light as any angle set due to the lack of a locking mechanism.
There is one more point to make about the adaptor and that is the shoe contact plate. This measures 16.5mm wide and 18.5mm long and if you mount it as such (so the hinge on the adaptor tilts forwards and backwards) the light feels very insecure as the plate isn’t as wide as the mount on a camera and there is a lot of wobble not to mention it can be difficult to align and keep it straight.
Now you can actually compensate for this by mounting it sideways as the 18.5mm length is a perfect fit for the width of a hot shoe. The problem is if you do this the vertical hinge not longer tilts forward and backwards, but rather side to side instead. Now, as much as I like this light and I very much look forward to using it with my reviews I will be at the earliest possible convenience replacing this shoe adaptor as I really don’t like it.
SPECIFICATIONS & CONTROLS.
Power: 6x AA batteries (the battery compartment states that 1.5v batteries should be used, that said, comparing a set of 1.2V Panasonic Eneloops against some 1.5V Duracell disposables… I see no difference in the light produced). One further note regarding the use of AA batteries is that the batteries are installed in series not in parallel. (They are not installed all the same way around, the first is negative up, the next is positive up then negative up etc, etc).
Rechargeable camera batteries can also be used to power the light with the list of compatible batteries as follows… Sony NP- F970/F750/F550. It should be noted that these batteries are listed as being compatible on the light it, however on the packaging, manual and product listing only F750/F550 batteries are noted as being compatible.
Sadly, I do not own any of these noted batteries and so sadly I am not in a position to comment on compatibility or the capabilities of the light using such batteries. I can say however that six fully charged Eneloop 1900mAh batteries last at the highest brightness for about 4 to 5 hours.
Lastly the light can also be powered using a mains adaptor (none is included). The manual notes this should be a 7.4v adaptor although the light itself is marked 7.4v-12v. The pin for this connection is quite hard to measure being recessed although I think it is 2mm in diameter and the recess itself measures 5.3mm in diameter.
Sadly, I again do not own any suitable adaptors to test the light using this method. I am rather curious, however as to whether or not it is possible to charge any batteries installed while using a mains adaptor although I can’t help be feel that it probably isn’t. (I don’t mean to recharge AA batteries as obviously the light can be used with disposable AA’s and if the light did recharge these the outcome would be very, very unpleasant. I was in fact referring to the use of mains power with a camera battery installed).
CRI (Colour Rendering Index): >85
Colour Temperature: 5400 – 5800K (equivalent to Day White LED household bulbs). Curiously the product listing states the temperature is 3200/5600, I assume the figure of 3200 is when using the amber diffuser.
Luminance: @1m = 2180Lux, @2m 726Lux, @3m 350Lux. The light can be dimmed and I assume these readings relate to the light at its brightest setting, sadly not own a Lux meter to test testing these claims, all I can offer is to include some distance testing images with my review.
LED Angle: 60 Degrees
I have to confess that after being hounded for the better part of a year by my local Indy camera store manager to invest nearly £100 in a video light I really wasn’t expecting a great deal from the Hongdak HD-192 light given its meagre cost in comparison.
While the light I was being persuaded to purchase was about 20% larger and was clearly made from better quality plastics the comparison simply did not equate… If the difference was 50%, I could understand but with a 75% difference in price my initial impressions of the light were very good. (I will admit and have previously noted that I do have some reservations about the articulation ability of the hot shoe adaptor however, and I would welcome paying a little extra for a better solution than the one offered).
As noted the plastics used in the construction of the HD-192 light aren’t of the highest quality but costs have to be kept down somehow. That said the light appears well constructed and there are no notable panel gaps and even with a diffuser and six AA batteries installed when the light is given a good shake there is nothing but silence.
The thread for mounting the hot shoe adaptor is made from brass and alongside the mounting thread is also a small hole that a plastic pin on the mounting adaptor also secures onto to prevent the light twisting when attached. (This does however mean that the hot shoe mount provided with the light is only of use with the light unless the plastic pin next to the mounting thread is cut off).
On the rear of the light is a simple two pole toggle switch used for turning the light on and off. Above this is a small 17.5mm diameter dial that slightly protrudes from the surface that is used to control the brightness of the light. With this turned all the way clockwise for maximum brightness a 270 degree turn anticlockwise reduces the light to its lowest setting.
Using a fresh set of Panasonic Eneloop 1900mAh 1.2v batteries at highest setting the light fills a 5m square room with light (pretty much does a better job than the six 7w led wall mounted bulbs in the room). At the lowest setting it still casts enough light to show the contents of a 5m square room and rather impressively still shines a light beyond a range of 8m (at least indoors).
On the rear of the light is a removable plastic cover that provides access to the AA battery compartment, when using rechargeable Sony camera batteries they mount directly onto the cover. As previously noted I have no such batteries so cannot comment on its use with them.
This cover is secured into place with two latches that must be pushed to the side whilst simultaneously pushing the cover away from the light. In the absence of a third hand, this can be tricky and I advise you do it sat down with the light in your lap to reduce the risk of dropping the light whilst gaining access to the battery compartment.
While I understand that the dual latches provide a secure means of keeping the cover attached to the light when using a camera battery as such a battery is secured onto the removable cover, but I can’t help but note that it is a bit of a nuisance for those only intending to use AA’s.
The final feature on the rear of the light is a bit of a surprise given the cost of the unit and that is a battery level indicator. Located near the bottom edge of the light between the battery compartment cover and the mains power socket there is a small diagram of a battery. Located within the image of a battery there are 3 green LEDs and just to the side an index diagram. (Three lights on means the batteries are full and a single flashing light shows the batteries are nearly dead).
It should be noted however that at an angle it isn’t always possible to accurately read the battery level as the indicator lights are recessed and at certain angles regardless of the number of light illumined it always looks like all three are.
The two diffusers supplied are… well there plastic and appear to be well moulded with no rough edges. The mounting hole on the light for the diffusers appears at first to be at first glance a little too small for the diffusers, this is however just part of the retaining mechanism. To ensure easily installation, simply insert a diffuser in via the corner and not flat and level, once you have a corner insert the remaining installation is problem free.
In use while the amber diffuser obviously alters the colour of the light produced the frosted diffuser only serves to prevent light being reflected off of surfaces (slightly softens the light and also very slightly dims it as well). Regardless of the set brightness either with a diffuser installed or not, simply looking directly at the light is a rather painful experience.
The more keen eyed of you may well have noticed that the light does not come with a set of barn doors and due to the design of the light retrofitting some may not prove an easy task. As such those looking for a light for the purposes of producing street interviews or the ability to control the dispersion of light may well wish to look elsewhere.
For those looking for something cheap and effective light capable of illuminating an area of 3m to 5m square where there is no explicit need to control the angle of the light produced the HONGDAK HD-192 is a fairly easy light to recommend. It would however be easier to recommend if it came with a better quality hot shoe adaptor.
One thing I will say is be aware that with bright lights come big shadows. While you may start with buying just one light after a trial run you may find that adding another at a different angle / corner of the room will eliminate most shadows cast by a light mounted on your camera.
For those wondering if such a light will also serve a secondary function of replacing a flash the answer is no. That said use at a lower brightness alongside a speedlite can help to reduce or even eliminate any shadows if you only have access to one speedlite, although nothing can truly compensate for using multiple speedlites. Those of us on a budget or who cannot justify the cost of several speedlites will find that they can compliment each other at times.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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