The “Bolt” LED light for photographers.

LED lights are becoming more and more important as a tool for photographers. We are adding video and motion to our solutions, and continuous light that has color control as well as being able to run ‘cool’  is a great tool. This one runs on a battery as well as AC, so it becomes super mobile… and that is a good good thing.

NOTE: The Switronix folks who make the BOLT are having a special purchase incentive (now through August 31, 2012) and you will receive a battery free with purchase. The battery makes this light so wonderfully portable. This is the link to the special offer. Let me know what you do with your BOLT.

I like this little guy. A full 200 Watts of power in tungsten or day light, with a full 5% – 100% adjustment on both light configurations.

Now, 200 Watts of light is not a lot of light when compared to big flash units or even speedlights, but there is plenty here to use and love. I used it behind a scrim, as a fill light and it does wonderfully as a nice little kicker from near camera when doing video.

This little light has a great swivel stand top that works like a dream. Any angle you want. And add that to the top of a good stand-topper and you have maximum placement. The mount is made to fit any ‘hot-shoe’ configuration and will mount to the top of a DSLR with ease. And at a little over a pound, it is not much heavier than many of the big speedlights.

(NOTE: I rarely put my light on the camera, but I can see it is a front-fill use and will be trying that very soon on a project I am working on. I will let you know how it works.)

One of the features I like a lot is the ability to add a bit of warmth to the daylight. Since the unit has both lights, a slight kick of the tungsten can warm the light up to mix well with late day light, or to add a bit of warmth to a cold north light situation.

Here are a few shots to show you how well the light does for a small package.

Meet Griffie… my old and good bud. These are the sunset days for the Grifster, so we let him sleep wherever he wants. (He is also eating better than me with steak and chops and chicken at every meal… heh.)

The shot on the left shows the image taken at the same exposure as on the right. This is using the BOLT as a main light, and you can see it adds a full two stops to the shot. Distance from Griffie is about 4 feet. No modifier at all, just the diffuser that comes with the BOLT. The image on the right shows how well the little BOLT works as a main for smaller sets, with a nice ‘focused’ area of light. Click image to see larger.

In the shots of the saxophone below, we used a fill card for the left side of the sax, and that gives a nice even reflection along the saxophone. The fill card is totally vertical – at a 90 degree to the saxophone. When we add the BOLT from a distance of 6 feet, we get a much more beautiful highlight, as well as a nice, correct color balance. (My camera is set to (daylight’.)

I love the way we can add a highlight along the saxophone, and create a brighter area on the card and then get a nice “gradient” to the specular.

I moved the fill card to be far over the top of the saxophones for this shot. This is a very dramatic difference. Notice how the light wraps all around the saxophone. and adds a wonderful, clean “pop” to the specular along the top of the sax. And notice how clean the light is. Open and natural feeling.

I will be doing more and more shooting with this powerful little unit. I will be packing it for my trip to creativeLIVE for the product workshop in June, so pop in and watch how I use it for adding a little kick to still life and product.

I have also added it to my travel kit. I can see using it on location to add a bit of sparkle to food shots and lifestyle shots on location. Since it is not a flash, I can SEE what it is doing without having to chimp it in or use a meter… grab the ambient, add some fill or kicker and shoot.

We will be using the BOLT on a lifestyle shoot on this Sunday, and I will get some BTS video of the unit in action. You will also be able to see the BOLT in use at my upcoming creativeLIVE program on shooting Table Top Product photography in June.

What I like most about the light is the compact size of it, and the over all build quality. It is small enough to easily add to my location kit, and bright enough to make a difference. And even more important is how clean and bright and accurate the color of the light is. No color crap to deal with.

The unit is very well constructed with steel assembly and fine tuning pots for accurate color selection.

Shooting with continuous light is a true joy because you can see what you are doing and learn to see how small tweaks can effect the presentation.

Material of Light Housing: Black, ABS
Dimensions: 5.59″L × 4″W × 2.95″H (Light Body)
Color Temperature: 3000K-6000K
Illumination: Approx. 1800LUX(3200K, 1m), 2000LUX(5600K, 1m), combined over 200w output equivalent
Weight: 1.15lbs.
Electrical Consumption: 22w
CRI: 89
Power Supply: DC 7.2V-16.8V, Sony DV Battery(Large Capacity Models ONLY)**
Dimming Range: 5%-100%

Price Range: $299.

Full Disclosure on this product.
I was sent a device to test and use. My TOS and Ethics position is pretty clear. If someone sends me something to review, I will only do neutral + to positive reviews. If the product does not live up to my standards, it is simply not reviewed. I have no desire to do damage to a company because of an opinion that I have. Period.


I have been asked back to creativeLIVE to do a workshop on Table Top Product Photography. You can see more at their site. Dates are June 21, 22, 23, 24, 2012. Register for free and watch all weekend!

I was recently on creativeLIVE and have received some rave reviews of the workshop. If you are interested in taking a look at the workshop, you can find it on creativeLIVE’s web site here. I think it is a tremendous value and if you are unable to attend any of my workshops, this may give you a ton of information you will want to have to push your photography to the next level.

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