When it comes to artificial lighting, small and portable lights can be as valuable as having larger and more powerful light sources. With an option that requires no cables and can be used virtually anywhere, this light from SmallRig definitely has a lot to offer.
With usually larger and more powerful lighting fixtures now becoming more portable, continuous lighting for both photography and videography is now getting more convenient. At the same time, technology now allows us to carry batteries that can easily power these lights to even the most remote locations with less hassle and bulk to carry. One such combination is that of the SmallRig RC60B and the VB99 mini V-mount battery.
Build and Design
The SmallRig RC60B comes in as a 650 g block of plastic and fire retardant metal with a size of 10 x 8.5 x 8.5 cm. This single piece already includes the control module, the COB light itself, the cooling fan, and the 49 Watt-hour battery built into the fixture.
In front is the COB module encased by a smaller Bowens mount that is compatible to the supplied standard reflector and also the mini parabolic softbox. This, however, is not automatically compatible with other “mini Bowens” mounts being used by other lighting brands and should be double-checked for compatibility due to the variation in size.
On one side it has a colored LCD screen with an on-board interface along with a mode button and two control knobs for changing the light intensity, temperature, and switching through various lighting effects while the other side only contains “60 W” and “RC60B” markings.
The rear panel has a dedicated shortcut button to activate Eco Mode, a USB-C PD compatible port for both charging and continuous power supply, and an on/off switch taking up the bottom 10% of the surface. The top and bottom edges of the rear panel has indentations to accommodate the double-sided powerbank bracket that occupies the remaining 90% of the rear panel when mounted. This powerbank bracket can securely hold even larger portable powerbanks but does not perfectly hold anything bigger such as the VB99 mini V-mount battery.
The top surface has vents that open into a low-noise fan to efficiently keep the light cool even at full output capacity. The bottom surface has a 1/4” thread right smack in the middle to mount the included support column, light stand adapter, or any other mounting accessory with a 1/4” thread such as a tripod plate or friction arm.
Output and Battery Capacity
The SmallRig RC60B basically has a standard continuous light CCT mode that cover color temperatures between 2,700 K to 6,500 K and various effects modes to emulate light sources from certain scenes like flash bulbs, television, broken bulbs, flame, fireworks, etc. The maximum output brightness is rated at 54,300 lux at a distance of 0.5 m at 5,600 K temperature. Color outputs are rated to be at 97+ on the Color Rendering Index (CRI) and 98+ on the Television Lighting Consistency Index (TLCI). At full power, the 49 Watt-hour battery can keep it running for about 45 minutes or up to 75 minutes on ECO mode. Alternatively, it can run for 1.4 hours at 75% power, or 3.2 hours at 30% power.
SmallRig VB99 Mini V-Mount Battery
This 99 Watt-hour Lithium-ion battery comes in as a 10.5 x 7.3 x 5.3c m block that weighs 540 grams. It features a 14.8-volt DTAP output capable of up to a 14 A draw, two DC barrel output ports, a USB-A output port, and a USB-C PowerDelivery port for both output and charging. On its own, this battery is of course has a lot of possible applications considering the output options. This can be used to power other lighting fixtures even those with larger power consumption. At the same time, this can be used to power other devices using the DC ports and the USB-A and USB-C ports.
In combination with the RC60B, this virtually triples the battery capacity of the light source, which of course varies depending on the actual output settings being used. Nonetheless, this is a convenient on-the-go power source that can be used for lights, cameras, laptops, smartphones, and a range of other tools.
The SmallRig RC60B is definitely a handy and viable 60W light source that can be used in various applications both indoors and outdoors. While a single 60W light can actually be useful when indoors, it would totally depend on the use of modifiers and reflectors to achieve good quality lighting altogether. The supplied mini softbox does offer significant diffusion, but considering the size of the light source and the modifier itself, it might be beneficial to have more layers of diffusers in combination with the optional honeycomb grid. For better compatibility and usability, especially if in combination with other lighting fixtures, it would have been great if the package included an adapter onto the standard Bowens mount so that the light itself would have better cross-compatibility with other lighting modifiers.
Nonetheless, the concept of having a 60 W portable light source with a built-in battery really does have a lot of practical implications. I appreciate the fact that even the handle/light stand adapter is not automatically attached to the light itself, which instead opened it up to be compatible to other mounting options. It would have been great if the bottom part also had other thread options such as a 3/8” thread for even better compatibility with other tools.
While this light can be used for both indoor and outdoor shoots, I personally see it as a light that best shines during low-light situations in outdoor locations especially those that requires a lot of logistical efforts. Having the RC60B would be very convenient for independent filmmakers, content creators, and photographers who shoot in remote locations with a small team or even no team at all. Having a portable light source such as this, especially since the built-in battery basically makes it a wireless light that you can put anywhere (with the right tools), has a lot of potential applications with less hassles to think of. With its 60-watt full power output, it will have limitations for shooting in broad daylight, but in any other situation, especially when shooting at twilight or at night, this light can be used to achieve good lighting regardless of the location.
What I Liked
- Compact and portable
- Sensibly sufficient built-in battery
- Multiple charging and extended battery options
What Can Be Improved
- Limited compatibility with modifiers
- Powerbank bracket does not perfectly hold mini V-mount battery