In the world of LED lights, Hobolite has once again pushed the envelope, revealing the “Micro” to their lineup. At first glance, its compactness is enchanting, promising both convenience and functionality. The real question, however, is: does it deliver?
A hallmark of Hobolite has been its consistency in design, and the Micro doesn’t stray from the fold. Borrowing its predecessors like the Mini, Avant, and Pro, the Micro’s design elements evoke familiarity.
Every facet of its construction appears meticulously thought out. From the dual knobs at the back, which provide tactile control for the user, to the faux leather veneers that give it a touch of luxury, there's a harmony to its form. And let’s not forget the V-mount below, a nod to Hobolite’s commitment to utility.
Despite these familiarities, the Micro introduces some groundbreaking changes:
Battery Accessibility: The ingenious top latch is a game-changer for photographers on the move, ensuring smooth transitions when the battery drains. This is further accentuated by the Creator Kit, which not only provides additional batteries but also a charging dock, making sure you are always powered up for your shoots.
Magnetic Lens Mount: A major enhancement in this version is the magnetic lens mount. What does this mean for the user? Simplicity. It streamlines the process of attaching gels and other accessories. If you're in the mood to experiment, stacking multiple gels is now effortless.
Furthermore, the Creator Kit is a treasure trove of tools. The Fresnel lens, for example, promises to amplify the Micro's potential. For novice photographers, the ease of this magnetic system is invaluable, removing technical barriers and letting creativity flourish.
Key Features and Specifications
- Ultra-compact design: Fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
- Feather-light at just 0.52 pounds.
- Performance Metrics:
- Output: 8W.
- Illumination: 500 lumens.
- Brightness Reach: Up to 138 lux at one meter away at 2,700K; 196 lux at 6,500K.
- With the Fresnel lens: Over double the lux within one meter.
- Consistent aesthetic with the Mini, Avant, and Pro models.
- Features include: two knobs, a screen in the back, faux leather veneers on the sides, a vent at the top, and a V-mount below.
- Magnetic lens mount for easy attachment of gels and other accessories.
- Twist-off lens mount design to accommodate the Fresnel lens from the kit.
- Battery latch for swift battery replacement.
- Battery Life: Rated at 50 minutes at max brightness.
- Compatible with a 1/4 tripod mount.
Performance In the Field
Shot with Fresnal and Barn doors. Shutter speed 1/100s, f/1.8, ISO 400.
When I ventured out to test the Micro in real-world scenarios, its versatility quickly became evident. Although it may not excel as a primary light source, it proved invaluable as a complementary light, especially when paired with smartphones.
Today's smartphones have evolved into robust content-creation tools. However, while they may house cutting-edge camera technology, the built-in LED lights often fall short, particularly in challenging lighting conditions. This is where the Hobolite Micro truly shines (pun intended). Its intensity and range far surpass that of any smartphone LED, ensuring that users get the right amount of light exactly where they need it.
For many smartphone photographers and videographers, the ability to control the quality of light can dramatically elevate the end result. By providing a consistent and adjustable light source, the Micro allows users to capture images and videos that rival those taken with professional gear.
The advent of platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts has ushered in a new age of mobile content creation. Most content creators on these platforms primarily rely on their smartphones for filming. With the Micro by their side, they no longer have to be limited by the inconsistent light of their environment. Night-time shoots, indoor scenes, or those cloudy days that often dull smartphone footage — the Micro ensures that these challenges become opportunities for creativity.
Despite its luminance, what sets the Micro apart is its design. Compact and chic, it doesn’t scream “additional equipment”. Instead, it can seamlessly become a part of any content creator's mobile setup without feeling cumbersome. Carrying it around feels no different than carrying an extra smartphone lens or a mini tripod. Its lightweight and user-friendly design means that even the most spontaneous of shoots can benefit from this little light.
Additionally, the accessories are what truly set this light apart. Although there are plenty of alternatives available, There aren't many that offer a slew of add-ons and light modifiers that come with the Hobolite Micro.
Shutter 1/100s, f/4.0, ISO 200. Two Micro lights used.
In essence, while most people might initially resort to the built-in LED lights of their smartphones, the Hobolite Micro presents a significantly more powerful and adaptable alternative. It bridges the gap between smartphone convenience and 'professional' lighting standards, ensuring that content creators no longer have to compromise on quality due to equipment limitations. The fact that it's stylish to boot is just the cherry on top.
Practicality and Portability
My profession has often had me juggle between different equipment, and the Micro has been a revelation in many scenarios. Its compatibility with 1/4 tripod mounts, especially the mini ones, is a testament to its adaptability. The ease with which you can set it up, even in the most constricted spaces, adds to its charm.
One of the standout features is its weight – or the lack thereof. It’s so light that it invites spontaneity. Instead of meticulously planning every shot, you find yourself moving it around, letting the light dance and play, and discovering what works best on the fly.
Moreover, the Micro is not just a tool; it invites play. Its portability, combined with the Hobolite app's capabilities, urges you to experiment. Pair it with another Hobolite product, perhaps another Micro, and the possibilities multiply. Its potential as an accent light is particularly impressive, making it an invaluable tool for both photography and videography.
What I Liked:
- Compact yet stylish design: It’s a marriage of aesthetics and function.
- Magnetic lens mount: This simplifies the entire process of adding or swapping accessories.
- Versatility in lighting conditions: From bright to ambient, it adapts.
- Innovative creator kit: Every accessory has been designed to enhance the Micro’s capabilities.
What I Didn't Like:
- Power output isn't sufficient for any professional work but this might an unreasonable point to make.
Hobolite's Micro is an embodiment of the phrase "good things come in small packages". It combines innovation with practicality, delivering a product that both novices and professionals would find valuable. Its magnetic lens system, portability, and the range of accessories available through the Creator Kit make it a formidable tool in the photographer’s arsenal.
In conclusion, if you are in the market for a compact lighting solution that doesn’t compromise on quality and innovation, the Hobolite Micro is undoubtedly worth considering. With the right approach and a bit of creativity, it promises to elevate your photography and videography to new heights.