I want you to take a moment - step back and think about what’s in your camera bag. If your like me you most likely have a standard camera backpack, maybe one from Lowepro or another company. Inside that bag you most likely have your camera body, a few select lenses, your gimbal, some batteries, chargers, cables, maybe a microphone and a few mount accessories.
Now think about how many times you have been out filming when you are trying to get those last few shots of the day. We’ve all been there - the sun is setting, the golden hour is comes and goes - the sun has now set, it’s getting dark and it’s now almost impossible to get that last shot you need without cranking up the ISO.
Or maybe you’ve been in another situation where you needed to pick up a few shots inside a warehouse, or film an unexpected interview and the lighting is just crap. You didn’t plan for it, so in a pinch you pull out your iPhone and power on your smartphone’s light to get by. We’ve been there. We’ve done that. Theres a better way.
Of course in a perfect world it would have been ideal if you had packed a full lighting kit, stands and cables - but the reality is that you don’t always have that option. You don’t have that much room in your camera bag and let’s face it, lighting for the run-and-gun shooter like your-self isn’t always #1 on the priority list.
Thankfully mobile lighting has come leaps and bounds thanks to a small company called Litra.
Their top selling flagship product called the LitraTorch™ is a cleverly engineered mobile video light designed around photography and videography yet marketed as a ‘professional adventure light’. Don’t let its looks deceive you though - while it’s form factor may seem like it’s too small to actually be useful, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Litra Torch for its small size actually boast an impressive output of 2,200 lumens (max) which beams a nice even lighting profile without causing any hot spots. This is accomplished in two different ways. First it has a wide 80 degree beam angle and second, it has a carefully engineered LED array pattern which orients the LEDs in a square pattern to help evenly distribute the output so that lighting on your subjects looks more natural - at least for an LED.
Out of the box the Litra Torch is configured with a 5700K daylight temperature - which is a nice all around temperature for most situations. Interfacing the light with your camera is very easy as the kit includes 3 different mounts - a belt clip, a GoPro ecosystem adapter and a standard hot/cold shoe adapter for mounting on top of your DSLR/Mirrorless camera.
Also built into the side and bottom of the LitraTorch housing is standard 1/4-20 UNC female industry standard threading for interfacing with other rigging equipment, swivel mounts or handle systems.
What is most notable about the LitraTorch is the build quality. Once you've held one in your hands you’ll know what we’re talking about. It quite simply is the most rugged little cube light you will ever hold in your hands. In fact the light is built and certified rated to 810G military grade standards - meaning it can take a beating and also withstand water penetration up to 30’/10M deep, making it a perfect GoPro diving companion.
For mobile video lighting one of the nicely thought out things included in the LitraTorch kit is the silicone bulb diffuser which attaches to the front of the light giving a really nice reduction on the light’s harshness. At Low, Medium and High power output you can really have some control over the light and how you want to light your subject or scene. It may not be fully dimmable (which would be nice) but that is a feature to consider and is offered in their higher end LitraPro model.
So what are the drawbacks of the LitraTorch? In our testing the only drawback we found was battery life. It is rated up to 4 hours (on low) on a full charge. On high power setting you are looking at a solid 45 minutes to 1 hour of light - which does leave a bit to be desired for longer run times, but for it’s size it still is very usable and impressive.
One other note worth mentioning is heat. It can get a little hot so just keep that in mind. If you do plan on using the light for extended handheld sessions (especially on HIGH setting) you should probably be rigging up one of the Litra handle accessories before use.
Overall for its size, its build quality and the $79.95 retail price it really is a great little addition to your video tool-kit and in all honesty can be used for activities other than filming like mtn biking, hiking, etc…which really makes it an all around great tool.
Keep It Smooth.