The Ice Light by Westcott – Product Review

Having easy access to the right light at every photo shoot is essential to any photographer, and in this case made possible by the Ice Light. A portable and brightness adjustable, continuous LED light source, the Ice Light is a lightweight and simple on-demand lighting solution. If anything, its similar build to that of a light sabre, will almost always be a conversation starter between you and your photo subject. This review will discuss the pros and cons of the Ice Light, as well as some photo shoot scenarios where it shines the most.

History of the Ice Light

A relatively new product, the Ice Light was developed in 2012 by world-reowned photographer Jerry Ghionis and manufactured by Wescott. The Ice Light’s main attributes are its ability to transmit daylight-balanced LED lighting via a long, handheld device, and the fact that is is powered by a rechargeable battery. Despite its relatively simple function, the Ice Light was groundbreaking as the very first daylight-balanced, handheld LED light on the market. It has quickly become a favorite light source for on-the-go photographers and videographers.

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The Ice Light Specs

The Ice Light’s long light bulb emits a perfect 5,200K color temperature through a frosted diffusion panel, helping your camera find the best white balance in the scene. With an outer encasing of aluminum, the Ice Light is durable, yet transportable. It stands about 24 inches long, weighs a mere 1.3 pounds, and it fits inside most regulation carry-on luggage. In fact, a slim carrying case is included with the light, making it easy to swing over one’s shoulder, or clip to a belt while on a photo shoot. The Ice Light has a very comfortable hand grip on one end, but also has mounting threads on both ends so it can be easily mounted to a tripod or light stand.

Powered by a single rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, the Ice Light can run for up to 60 minutes at full power, and be fully charged up in about 2.5 hours. Battery packs are also available to boost battery life by an extra 5 hours. There are also some light modifier accessories available including tungsten gels and barn doors to further modify the light.

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Best uses

Given the Ice Light’s long shape, it can be likened to a rectangular strip light that operates according to the logic of the larger the light source is in relation to the photo subject, the softer the light will be.  As a result, the Ice Light really shines in these specific photography situations:

Achieving dramatic lighting

Due to the Ice Light’s long, narrow body, achieving a photo that is equally balanced with light requires at least two Ice Lights, or a single Ice Light and a reflector. However, if you’re aiming for a dramatically lit photo with lots of shadows, the Ice Light can give you just that!

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When you don’t have a knowledgable photo assistant

If you consistently perform run-and-gun type of photography, or change locations frequently, you will likely be in need of an assistant to hold or set up your lights as you shoot. If you have a spur-of-the-moment need for lighting, the Ice Light’s easy-to-use interface makes it simple for anyone to operate. There are three simple buttons: an on/off switch, a button to increase light, and another to dim it. As a result, there’s less time required to futz around with light testing as you might have to with strobes, and you can use any Average Joe as a lighting assistant.

When you need continuous lighting

Another big advantage of the Ice Light is its ability to emit continuous lighting rather than strobes. This can be hugely beneficial for videographers or any other media specialists who need a constant, on-demand stream of daylight-balanced LED illumination.

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Sold? Well, about that price…

All in all, the Ice Light makes a compelling case to be a photographer’s new best friend. There is only one potential downside: the cost. A brand new Ice Light runs roughly $400, while its newer, upgraded version the Ice Light 2 is priced at $549. Both Ice Lights include a battery charger, power cords, plug converters, gel clips, and a carrying case. Still, the price may seem steep to some.

Maybe try your own DIY solution – How to make creative images with a $12 LED light

What are your thoughts on the Ice Light?

Have you tried out an Ice Light? If so, would your recommend it to others?

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