Jetbeam FL-12 Review (USB-C, Adjustable LED Fill light for Videography & Photography)

Jetbeam has a new product on the market that is aimed at videographers and photographers but has some application in the flashlight world as well. It’s a small portable fill light, with adjustable tint, and brightness, in a small package that’s made to be mounted on your camera or nearby to provide fill light when videoing or taking photos. Thank you to Jetbeam for providing this for me to take a look at. It’s been on my want list since it was announced.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/5PXLAnS
YouTube Version of this Review: 

Packaging
Packaging on this fill light is minimal. Outside is a retail box, unfortunately mine was damaged a bit during shipping. On the front it shows the light, on the back it gives a runtime charge we are used to seeing. Inside the light is housed in a plastic tray. Accessories with this are pretty minimal. It comes with a lanyard and USB-C OTG cable used to charge the light and it can be used to use the light as a powerbank to charge other devices. More on that a bit later.



Construction
When I first put the Fl-12 in my hands the first thing I thought was, this feels alot like an iPhone. The sides and back are milled from a solid piece of aluminium, and then anodized in a silver. It looks to be very precise. The only downside as with many phones is that it makes it a little slick to hold onto. On the back an area is cut out near what I am going to call the top for a small OLED screen that gives you the status indicators. It displays what tint/temperature the light is outputting, the intensity level (available in 5% increments) and then the estimated runtime at that level and tint.



Cut into the metal bezel is a ¼ 20 threads to allow you to attach the light in a horizontal or vertical configuration to a tripod, a hotshoe adapter or any other place where you can put a ¼ 20 accessory. Also in the side is the USB-C charging port. No silicone cover is provided for this connection which is a little unfortunate as it exposes it to dust, and moisture but most Smartphones follow this method and don’t have a problem.

The front has 120 LED’s a combination of ½ to provide the warmer tones, and the other ½ to provide the cooler tones. They are arranged in a matrix of every other and are even for the most part. They are slightly rearranged around where the threaded insert is inserted. Over the top is a piece of clear acrylic and it shipped with a piece of protective plastic over the top. I am leaving this on mine to provide a bit more scratch resistance.

The back is a solid piece of milled aluminum that has a small OLED screen that’s used to tell you what mode you are in, power level, brightness, tint temp, and estimated runtime. The internal non user replaceable battery is rated at 2600mAh of capacity.

Size and Weight
I measured the Length at 131mm, width at 66mm, and depth at just under 10mm. Weight came in at 142.9 Grams.

LED/Runtime
The exact LED’s used in this are not mentioned which is a bit of a disappointment. It would be really nice to know what the CRI on them is as well. For video and photo work you ideally want a high CRI LED, and these are more of a cri in the 70-80 range I would guess. There are a total of 120 LED’s on the light, with 60 being used for Warm white, and 60 being used for Cool White. The array is fairly even but there is some rearrangement that happened to accommodate other components in the casing.


The light will also run while plugged in to USB-C so it could be nearly endless amounts of runtime if you wanted.

I did 2 runtime tests with this light, both at 100% brightness with one being the warmest temperature, the other being the coolest. So for the 3000k test, total runtime was right at 70 minutes. During this time output gradually decreased despite being at 100%, it lasted 65 minutes at 80% relative output. This is a little better then the OLED screen predicted. The 5500k runtime test was very similar, 70 minutes of total runtime, and the light slipped to just under 80% relative output at about 50 minutes.

UI
UI is very easy on this. You have 4 buttons along the side of the panel, that if it’s mounted to your camera horizontally will be on top. You have a power button, pressing once quickly wakes up the interface, you need it on in this mode to use the OTG charger to charge another device. If you press again and hold slightly the light interface comes up. Here you can preset using the + and – icons which options you are on, press the mode button to select it and then use the + and – to adjust the brightness and tint temp. Press mode again and then + or – to adjust the other. Press the power button once more to turn it on once you have your settings preselected. It’s pretty intuitive when it’s in your hand. You can adjust brightness and tint temp on the fly while the light is on as well to get your perfect exposure.

Charging
The FL-12 comes with a USB-C 3 where the other two ends are a full size female USB 3.0 port, that allows you to plug in a standard USB cable and use the FL-12 as a powerbank to charge your phone, or camera that can be powered by USB. You can’t charge your device and use the light on the FL-12 at the same time unfortunately. The other end allows you to charge the FL-12 via a standard male USB connection if you don’t have a USB-C cable handy at the time. I measured charging speed at 0.8A which isn’t super fast but should be good for the long term health of the battery.

Pro’s

  • Feels well built, and the size is very similar to a modern smartphone
  • USB-C recharging and can act as a powerbank!
  • Nice OLED screen on the back for info & runtimes that the light beats slightly.
  • I like that it can mix and match tints between 3000k and 5500k

Con’s

  • Plastic front panel is susceptible to scratches, I left the protective cover on.
  • I would like to know more on what the CRI is. I would suspect its between 70-80.
  • No cover for the USB-C port, although most phones get by fine without this too, so not a big concern.

Conclusion
I have showed this to a few friends who also do video/photography work and they instantly wanted one. They were both pleasantly surprised at the price point when I told them. It’s around that $50 mark currently with Jetbeam’s website. It’s well built and reminds me a lot of a premium smartphone. My only major complaint is no CRI data is given. CRI is pretty important invideo work, especially if you shooting video of people for something like an interview. My guess is this is somewhere about 70-80 CRI, it’s not bad but could certainly be better. Other then that I think it’s pretty awesome, I plan to use it as a fill light for photos and I may use it as a top down fill for some video content as well. Having a small portable light will come in handy!

Jetbeam has a new worldwide website for sales, they have asked I share a link to the light on their https://goo.gl/GwxgNX (Affiliate Link)

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