Portable Waterproof Lighting from Lume Cube
Post updated January 2018: Lume Cubes are small, strong, powerful, waterproof Bluetooth/App controlled "lifestyle lights". Use for Your Go Pro, iPhone, Android or DSLR. Also used on the DJI Inspire 1 at night (see video) in our Lume Cube Review.
Lume Cube Summary
Rock solid, reliable, long run time, bright and incredibly useful. I have used these on many occasions from stuck to my Inspire drone to filming underwater on holiday. Superb
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 in 2016 with the help of a successful, $230k Kickstarter project. It has now gone from strength to strength in a short time.
Lume Cubes were designed to be used with small form cameras such as the Go Pro HD Hero range. They are even good for 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.
You may just use these as your main lighting or a supplement to your existing set up. Maybe as a way to satisfy your creative urges with lighting units that can go anywhere. Whatever you do, 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 producing an adjustable and incredible 1500 lumens of light on full power. That is for flash and/or video. They 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. All from your Smartphone/Tablet using their free app.
Oh, and it is 100% waterproof to 30m (100ft) with no casing required!
Caveat: As you may or may not know, I only review products on ATP that I find:
If it is cr*p...I won't even bother reviewing it.
Recently I was going on holiday 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. There was also 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:
...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 and it feels good in the hand. It only has two buttons which makes using it a piece of cake to use. 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. 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. 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:
- 1Alert other air users (and ground in many instances) of the UAV's whereabouts
- 2Make 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. They allow the drone to be seen from a long way away.
In fact, I recently shot a video 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. I was only set to mid range power (6 or 7 out of 10) on the Lume Cubes.
The drone was at least 500-1000m away with fireworks going off all around. 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. 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
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.
Also, I bought the mounts for the DJI Inspire 1, These allow 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!
Lume Cube Review - Conclusion
My wife says I am terrible to buy for at Christmas and birthdays. However, if she got me any of the above, I would be a happy man. You can never have too many Lume Cubes!
I have now played with these in various situations and environments and 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.