It's been nearly two years since the people at Lume Cube launched their Kickstarter to bring their vision of an incredibly powerful and portable light to the photography community. For the last few weeks, I've had the pleasure to test these bad boys out in the wild and see what all the hype is about.
Form and Function
The Lume Cube comes in at a whopping 1.5" on all sides and has the build quality of a GoPro on steroids. I can easily drop this in and out of my camera bag. It has the stamina to last a very long time. To top the size and portability, I have to say the connectivity to the iPhone app was clean and simple. Controlling most settings from the phone was quick and precise.
To be totally honest, I was not expecting the brightness to be so powerful. Not knowing exactly what 1,500 lumens truly was, I was blown away by the range it had all from the palm of my hand. On the top side of the cube, you have two buttons, one for strobe and another to flick through 10 settings of intensity.
My first test came with a simple long exposure in the night sky, something I often shoot with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark 2 for its long exposure feature, which allows me to light paint without worrying about overexposing the foreground. The cubes performed perfectly at 50% power as I filled in the trees on the side of my house. I even snuck in a slight flare to test out what all I could capture with the cube.
Another fun example of the versatility of the cubes was using Joby Gorilla Pods to literally attach them to any situation you might have. While in Oregon shooting for Airstream, I ran into a situation where our scripts called for two children making a fort inside the trailer and lighting it from behind with "flashlights. Now, if any of you have camped or been on the road for a long period of time, you know space is in high demand. With limited space to place larger flashes or hot lights that would have been too close to the models, I was able to place these lights directly next to them with ease and flipped them to 50% power for about an hour while we shot. The end result was a fun family moment with kids playing in the trailer.
What I Liked
- Small size
- Fully waterproof up to 100 feet
- 1/4" 20 Mount on bottom (perfect for most tripods)
- Rechargeable via USB
- Bluetooth-ready (full control via an app)
- 2+ hours battery life at 50% (25 minutes at full power after testing)
- Incredibly durable (tough outer shell)
What I Didn't Like
- Hot after prolonged use
- Battery life could be slightly better, but overall good
- Color grade (cool, if I could change temperature in a later version, that would be outstanding)
- Price: at $79, the cube does offer quite the punch, but for a little more battery life or a lower price, I would have been more easily sold on the purchase
In the end, this is a super-powerful gadget for any photographer needing lights on the go. I was able to use the cubes in various situations and rarely brought them above 30% power, which saved me loads of time needing to worry about charging them in a full day's shoot. I will easily be keeping one or more of these in my bag when traveling, their versatility and power are perfect for so many situations.