Recently, Spiffy Gear had released a very unique-looking light named Spekular. What caught my attention was its ability to combine, shape, and separate one single "light" in so many different ways. From my perspective, having the variety of options for on-the-go shooting held value. I ended up taking the LED light kit for a spin. There were some aspects I liked and some that could use some improvements. Let's dive in.
What Is the Spekular?
The concept of the Spekular LED lighting kit is designed to be the "only light you need" to save space, carry more, and have more bang for your buck. One Spekular LED light is composed of four LED strips that can shape into several different light shapes. One strip acts as the source that powers the fellow two or three strips to form the light's shape, as you'll see in the video. The light can be formed into several different shapes for whatever creative output you're looking for, as you can see below.
My first impression of the Spekular out of the box is that the case is sturdy and organized. Yes, this may seem like an obvious feature but I can't tell you how many times I've bought some products where they overlook packaging. It's very important for an on-the-go photographer/videographer and the details do matter.
Inside one case you'll find four LED sections or "strips," four adjustable connectors or "elbows" to connect strips, a mount to attach to light stands, power supply adapter, and a sling for carrying.
Build and Quality
First impressions of the build quality are so-so. I'd keep in mind that Spiffy is a smaller company and I'm sure they did their best to get quality parts for this light, but I felt the materials' quality had a little left to be desired. The elbows are made out of what felt like a standard plastic and I can't be sure on how long they'd hold up with extended wear and tear. Other than that, the light strips are made of durable aluminum that should hold up fine if you're looking to invest in this kit. Each light strip is 30x4 centimeters. They're very lightweight at 2.9 pounds. I'll get into more of the build and quality when discussing the ease of assembly.
Putting together the light has its pros and cons. It is pretty simple to assemble, but I ran into some issues at times. When connecting the light strip to the elbow connector, the male and female connection sometimes felt off and you'd kind of have to wiggle or apply more pressure. I was hesitant to apply pressure because I wasn't sure how the male connection would hold up and could possibly be damaged.
That was really my only concern assembling the light. I'd say just be cautious and connect with care. As stated earlier, there are a plethora of shapes you can design which makes this light very unique. I opted for rectangular because I'm very fond of the catch light shape it gives off.
This thing packs a punch. For its size, at 14.5 watts per light, it sure does throw a lot of light. I've used plenty of different kits at all sorts of price ranges. It produces as much light as some kits priced upwards of $1,000–$1,500. The light color temperature is locked in at 5,600k and has a beam angle of 120 degrees. One of its downsides is that it does not have the ability to change light temperature. The one adjustment available is for dimming from 10–100 percent. Each LED section is nice and compact for travel.
To really get the full potential out of the Spekular, they offer an expansion kit. Because one LED strip is essentially the power source, in order to expand the light to a three-light setup, the expansion kit is required. It's basically an extension cord that connects two LED panels that comes with additional "gap-free" connectors.
Another feature is the Spekular Star Adapter. I personally didn't use them, but if assembled, they do put out a unique "star" effect that you don't see too often.
What I Liked
- Versatility - This is what really stood out to me and what had me interested in the first place. The ability to combine, shape, and split lights is an awesome option.
- On-the-go - The Spekular's concept is well-designed at its core. The ability to split one light setup into a three-light setup by just using one LED light is very clever.
- Build quality - With the few examples I mentioned earlier in this review, I believe that build quality is what left the Spekular "incomplete" and filling out its full potential. Especially to warrant the price which I'll talk about in a second.
- Light temperature - Gels are nice and all, but to compete at that price point, the ability to change from cool to warm color temperatures would really make this light A+.
- Heat - One aspect I noticed after I was done using the kit is the LED strips would get hot to the touch. I've owned a couple LED lights and haven't run into this.
- Price - $650. I could see consumers batting an eye at the price for what you're getting.
It's a great idea and concept but this kit has room for improvement to reach its full potential. I've mentioned it a multitude of times in this article, but the ability to break down a one-light setup into a three-light setup using the same LED light is very clever. It's relatively easy to put together and operate right out of the box. There are features I like, but there is room for improvement. The build quality could use a slight upgrade, especially with the heating concern I ran into when using the kit. I would love the light to have the color temperature to be adjustable. You can justify the price either way; the LED does throw a good amount of light, but there are some features lacking that you could argue doesn't justify the price.
You can find more information and purchase the kit and accessories from B&H.