Emily Soto/Courtesy of Westcott
Westcott’s Skylux is a deceptively small LED light that’s bright, compact, versatile and continues in the company’s tradition of making rock-solid photographic products with innovative design elements.
The Skylux looks for all the world like a traditional, small monolight. More accurately, it looks like a lunchbox that’s capable of producing a blinding light—if photographic lighting were breeds of dogs, the Skylux would be a pug, with a short, flat face devoid of protruding flash bulbs. The squat design of the light makes it look less powerful than it is—inside the metal housing is a dimmable light source that uses new 94 CRI LED elements for brighter, more accurate color than many other units.
The external power supply provides consistent flicker-free operation and can even double as a light stand weight, thanks to the long strap. Designed to work with a variety of voltages, the Skylux can be used overseas simply by swapping out the power cord.
Any number of light modifiers can be attached to the Skylux, and it comes with its own simple reflector. The light from the
Skylight is already diffuse and soft, thanks to the built-in frosted panel, and we often use the Skylux when shooting review videos with nothing more than a low-cost lighting umbrella—the output is bright enough and diffuse enough to cover a small room evenly, and the 5500K daylight output fills out the ambient light in our recording space perfectly.
The company measures the output at 8.490 lux at 1 meter, 945 at 3 meters and 371 at 5 meters. If you’re not familiar with lux values, we measured the output as at least 1/160th at ƒ/8 at ISO 100 from 1 meter away.
While the unit requires a built-in fan to keep it cool during operation, the fan is nearly silent, which is one of the reasons why we’ve been using the Skylux for our video studio. Unless you’re standing directly at the unit, there’s almost no discernable noise—certainly none a mic picks up a few feet away.
The Skylux costs $1,000, and the box contains the light, reflector, protective cap, external power supply/ballast and the connecting cables. Thanks to the simplicity of the design, there’s no real setup—simply take the light out of its box, put it on the stand, plug it in, and go.
The unit is so simple and so powerful that there really are no drawbacks. Many LED lights are harsh, or have a loud fan, or are large and cumbersome, but the Skylux is none of those things. A photographer would be hard-pressed to find a better solution in a package this convenient. It’s not the cheapest lighting solution available, but as is the case with many studio-quality tools, the price brings with it durability and dependable performance. It would be nice to have a Skylux with a tunable color output to go from daylight to tungsten, but if that meant any reduction in the light output, we’d rather keep the unit as it is and just use a color-balancing gel.
For photographers and videographers alike, the Skylux is a hard-to-beat lighting solution for any number of studio and location needs.