Small, Powerful, Bluetooth “Lifestyle Light” for Your Go Pro, iPhone, Android or DSLR Camera – Also Used on The DJI Inspire 1 at Night (Video)
I am a big fan of lighting in all forms whether it be natural light and all the many variations it brings or a simple studio set up. Sometimes, decent lighting can come in the smallest form whilst producing incredibly bright illumination.
Introducing the Lume Cube
The Lume Cube was introduced around a year ago with the help of a successful, $230k Kickstarter project and has gone from strength to strength in a short time.
It was designed to be used with small form cameras such as the Go Pro HD Hero range or your Android/iPhone Smartphone but to be honest, now I have seen these things, I think the applications are almost endless for any camera set up.
Whether you use these as your main lighting, a supplement to your existing set up or as a way to satisfy your creative urges with lighting units that can go anywhere, I think everyone with a DSLR camera, Go Pro or Smartphone could do with a couple (or more) of these.
What are Lume Cubes?
The Lume Cube is a small, 1.5″ cube that produces an adjustable and incredible 1500 lumens of light on full power (flash and/or video) and can be used with Go Pro’s, Smartphones or pretty much any camera. One of the best features for me is that you can control the output, individually, of up to 100 Lume Cubes from your Smartphone/Tablet using their free app.
Oh, and it is 100% waterproof to 30m (100ft) with no casing required!
- Take It Anywhere: 1.5” Cube Encased in Water Resistant Silicone Shell
- Take Command: Fully Adjustable Flash Duration & Brightness via Smartphone App
- Sync It Up: Bluetooth Sync w/ iPhone and Android Smartphones
- Master Two Modes: External Flash for Photos or Constant Light for Video
- Light An Entire Scene: Sync up to 5 Lume Cubes Individually via Smartphone App
- Adjust Brightness: Dimmable Between 0–1,500 lumens
- Mount to Most Surfaces: Powerful Magnet & Innovative Suction Cup
- Direct Your Focus: Tripod Designed by JOBY® Points Light Where It’s Needed
- Lock It Down: ¼ 20 Mount Attaches to Tripods & Action Cam Accessories
- Sync A Slave Flash: Optical Sensor Easily Detects & Triggers w/ Outside Flashes
- Colour Temperature: 6000 K (Daylight White Balanced)
- Shoot Continuously: No Recycle Time Between Flashes
- Power Through: ~2-Hour Battery Life @ 50% power & 1-Hour Charge Time w/ USB Charger
- Light Entire Scenes: Available in Single Unit, 2-Pack or 6-Pack in a Variety of Colours
- Enhance Your GoPro®: Proprietary Mount & Waterproof Case Designed for GoPro® Hero Cameras
Caveat: As you may or may not know, I only review products on ATP that I find exciting, cool, interesting, useful or good for my readers and if it is cr*p…I won’t even bother reviewing it.
As I was going on holiday recently and had planned to review the Go Pro HD Hero 5 whilst in Spain, I was dying to get my hands on a Lume Cube to compliment the review as I had been looking at these cool little things for a while.
Lume Cube sent me two…as well as the Go Pro Mount! It was their Kit for Go Pro package which consisted of two fully charged Lume Cubes and a nifty mount bar that allowed me to place the Go Pro in the middle of both lights…great stuff and it all fitted onto the Go Pro Bobber no problem!
The light performed flawlessly both in and out of the water with no fluctuations, flickering or faltering. In fact sometimes (such as when my daughter carried it through a water tunnel in a swimming pool to do a “selfie slide”), it was too bright and we had to lower the output to around 40-50%.
I used the light in the swimming pool, in the sea and out of the water and it produced high quality, 6000k daylight illumination which was easily enough for shots close up or up to a few meters away.
On the front of the Lume Cube, you have an optical sensor which you switch on via the app or by holding down one of the rubber buttons. Once activated, the Lume Cube will act as a slave flash but is very sensitive indeed. It will fire even when you turn it towards a window or relatively low light.
The cube is small, solid and highly durable…it feels good in the hand. It only has two buttons which makes using it a piece of cake especially as you can control it 100% via the free Lume Cube app.
When the app was first released, it came in two versions…free and professional (which was a paid app). Now the pro version is free for everyone…good move Lume Cube.
I haven’t used it that much but I can say it works fairly well. I have lost connection via Bluetooth a few times but once connected, you can control the power output, flash power and monitor the signal strength (even underwater) between 1 and 100 Lume Cubes independently.
This is superb for bloggers, Periscoper’s, YouTuber’s, sports people and so on as it takes no time to set up and you can throw a bunch of Lume Cubes in your bag and barely notice them.
Flying with Drones
This for me was one of the biggest reasons for getting a couple of Lume Cubes as I recently updated my operations manual for flying a UAV to incorporate night flying for my business.
Flying a drone at night brings all manner of issues and regulations that need to be addressed such as only flying at a height of 50m and as far away as 150m. You also need to fully illuminate your take off and landing area as well as your secondary (emergency) landing area.
Lastly, you must attach lighting to your drone to:
- Alert other air users (and ground in many instances) of the UAV’s whereabouts
- Make the drone visible to the pilot in order to control it safely in the dark
You can see in the video above that the Lume Cubes, even on mid range power, are incredibly bright and allow the drone to be seen from a long way away.
In fact, in a video I recently shot for a huge fireworks display in Dorset, all of the organisers and events crew said they could easily spot the drone in the sky at all times and I was only set to mid range power (6 or 7 out of 10). The drone was at least 500-1000m away with fireworks going off all around as I was flying well behind the fireworks with the onlookers a fair distance away in the other direction over a huge lake.
I think the rule is that the UAV must be seen from 3 nautical miles away and with the Lume Cubes on, I don’t think that will be a problem. Great stuff!
The Lume Cube has an internal battery that is charged via micro USB by unscrewing the rear, waterproof circular cover (just make sure you put it back on afterwards).
A full charge took just 1 hour and 25 minutes from a unit that was completely drained during one of my tests below.
My Battery Time Findings
- On 10% power (step 1) the light stayed on for a whopping 15 hours and 8 minutes (I ended up carrying the Lume Cube everywhere whilst waiting for it to die on me).
- On 50% power (step 5) the light stayed on for 1hr 15 minutes before it started flashing
- On 100% power (step 10/1500 lumens) the light stayed on for 24 minutes in the dry
- On 100% power (step 10/1500 lumens) the light stayed on for 38m 50s whilst underwater
When I let the Lume Cube run for 15 hours, it stayed remarkably cool and didn’t heat up at all. This means it would be great for a number of uses indoors and out.
However, when I put it on full power, after 5 minutes it got hot. After 10 minutes it was too hot to hold, after 18 minutes, it was hot enough to burn you and when it turned off automatically after 24 minutes, it was incredibly hot so be careful.
On half power, it became too hot to hold after around 15 minutes.
If you plan to use it underwater like I did in Spain, or use it on a mount (metal preferably) this isn’t an issue.
Much in line with other companies these days such as Go Pro, DJI etc, Lume Cube have thought out and produced a good range of accessories for the Cubes. For me, I love the dual light Go Pro mount as it is perfect for underwater fun and japery (is that a word?).
Also, I bought the mounts for the DJI Inspire 1 which allows me to use these Cubes on my drone at night for fun for commercial ventures. They got a LOT of attention from many people who saw them!
Here is a list of the Lume Cube’s and accessories available:
- Single Lume Cube – $79.99
- Dual Lume Cube Pack – $149.99
- Quad Cube Pack – $299.99
- Kit for Go Pro – $179.99
- Photographer Kit – $99.99
- Smartphone Video Kit – $109.99
- Lighting Kit for DJI Phantom 3 Drone – $179.99
- Lighting Kit for Phantom 4 Drone – $179.99
- Lighting Kit for Yuneec Typhoon H Drone – $179.99
- Lighting Kit for DJI Inspire 1 Drone – $179.99
- Lighting Mounts for the DJI Inspire 1 – $39.99
- Lume Cube Bike Mount – $19.99
- Mounting Bar for Go Pro – $39.99
- Smartphone Video Mount – $39.99
- Lume Cube Hot Shoe Mount – $24.99
- Base Stand and Ball Head Mount – $29.99
- Ball Head Magnetic Mount (Stick it to Your Fridge Etc) – $29.99
- Magnetic Back Cover – $9.99
- Coloured Cap Kit – $9.99
My wife says I am terrible to buy for at Christmas and birthdays but if she got me any of the above, I would be a happy man. You can never have too many Lume Cubes!
After playing with these in various situations and environments, I can see a multitude of applications and places where they could be incredibly handy and creative. I am really impressed with the Lume Cube overall but just be careful with the temperatures when using at 40-50% and above for longer periods of time.