Aputure MC Review: Best portable budget LED light?

aputure mc video light

The Aputure MC is a super compact RGB light with a heap of really nice features for portable lighting on the fly.

 

I’ve used this one a bunch over the last few videos and found it to be a great option to set up quickly for product lighting or  if you need colour accuracy when your setting up scene lighting this is a great option.

 

It’s currently $150 dollars which I think is value for money considering the features Aputure has packed into this one so lets take a look at what it comes with.

 

aputure mc carry bag

What’s Included

 

Inside the box you get:

this little pouch to keep it protected with a clip attached to it, makes it easy to clip attach to your backpack or on a belt loop

a diffuser

USB C to USB A cable

some sticky velcro pads for attaching to light shades for example

aputure mc hot shoe mount

a hot shoe mount to attach it to the top of your camera for interview style video or photography.

 

aputure mc

Build Quality

The build quality feels quite premium on this one with the buttons and controls being responsive, the body is made from a combination of aluminium and plastic with of course these super strong magnets on the back, theres also this red accent around the outside of the led panel which looks really nice too. 

aputure mc oled screen

 

 

The OLED screen is bright enough for you to easily see what settings its on everything is reasonably spaced apart, which makes it easier to read.

 

The MCs size is a little larger than a credit card and about a fingers width wide, making it a great choice if your looking for a small form factor light.

 

What it is

The MC has a brightness rating of 400Lux and has full HUE, saturation and intensity control meaning you have the power to reproduce any color you want. 

aputure mc colour wheel

There is 3 main lighting modes HSI, CCT, and FX. HSI is for your colours, CCT gives you control over a white light with a bicolour range of 3200K to 6500k and FX is a set of 9 built in lighting effects which can come in handy for a whole range of movie style scenes.

 

Theres Faulty bulb

cop car, 

paparazzi, 

Tv

lightning, 

fire 

 

Also, magnets! These two on the back are very strong they stick to anything that’s metal they’re even strong enough to hang off a wall stud if you can find one which makes it a very versatile little light for quick run and gun type setups.

aputure mc magnets

They’re strong enough to were you don’t feel like the lights going to easily come unstuck even if the surface it’s mounted to is mobile.

Speaking of being mobile it makes a great on camera light to use when your vlogging, easily  bright enough to use as a key light for those purposes or even as an extra source of light for low light video or photography.

 

Charging

 

So what about charging, well there is two ways to charge this one you can use the supplied USB C cable port to plug in which takes 2 hours for a full charge.

There’s also wireless charging so it will work on one of those wireless charge pads but won’t charge up as quickly, taking a little longer at 3.5 hours.

aputure mc charging

There is also the option to plug this light into a power bank and run it for as long as the power banks battery has power which makes battery life a non issue,

 

One thing I did notice when running this light off a power bank though is that the light will heat up quite substantially but if your not holding onto it and have it mounted instead that’s not really an issue but something to keep in mind.

 

The shorter USBC cable you use the better and if you want maximum light output while using a power bank it’s output should at least be 5V 2Amps to ensure you both charge the internal battery of the MC and keep it so that it can retain a 100% light output. 

 

Anything less than 2Amps of output from the power source your connected to will affect the lights maximum output by 20% increments all the way down to 0% depending on the power source, just stick to the recommended 5v 2amps and you shouldn’t have any issues

App

Next up is the Sidus app which allows you to have complete control over the light wirelessly, so you can change the HUE, saturation, Brightness and turn on the different effects as well. 

 

I found this really useful if you’ve got the light setup in a tricky spot and can’t easily get to the manual controls. 

 

There’s also this neat colour picker feature that makes it so you can colour match any image you point your phones camera to. You simply take a picture of your subject and the light will match up to the colour instantly and re-create it illuminated through the light and all you have to decide is how bright you want it.

 

And from what I’ve experienced, its quite accurate which is a big time saver, so you don’t have to sit there trying to get the light colour right instead it’s so much easier.

 

The MC when paired with other lights uses a mesh network so that each new light acts like a signal booster, effectively increasing the strength of the network with each light thats added.

 

So as long as your lights are within 80 metres of one another you can setup a range of lights up to 400 metres away and still be able to change each of the lights settings.

 

MC kits

The MC can also be purchased in a travel kit of 4 or a production kit of 12 and the case itself has wireless charger pads built in so you don’t have to deal with a bunch of cables running everywhere.

picture credit: Aputure website

On the side of the MC are manual controls which included a control wheel that also acts as a button when pressed in to navigate through the lights menu settings

 

Beside that is the on/off switch along with a USB C port for charging.

Underneath the light is a ¼ inch 20 thread for mounting to tripods or camera rigs easily as well.

On top is an OLED display that lets you know the battery level, blutooth connection and mode and adjustment levels of the light.

Manual Controls

A long press in of the control wheel will bring you to a main menu where you can select which mode you want the light to be in.

 

For example if you select HSI it will then give you options to change the levels of intensity, HUE, and saturation by using the control wheel and to change between the three you simply press the control wheel in once.

Press and hold the wheel once more to return to the main menu and next up is FX.

This allows you to select between 9 different special effects, including Fire, Cop car, pulsing, Party, Lightning, TV, Faulty Bulb, Fireworks, or Paparazzi.

 

BT makes it so you can reset the Bluetooth connection if your having trouble seeing it on your smartphone or need to un pair it from a group of lights to use with a different setup which is neat.

 

CCT is a white online light where you can change the colour temp from 3200k to 6500K press the button again to switch to the intensity level, I like how you can fine tune the intensity by 1% increments I know it’s not the case for other LED lights of this size and cost to be able to get such a fine adjustment which is a real benefit of the MC, you know sometimes you just want a very dimmly lit light in a background that isn’t too over bearing.

 

Conclusion

So to recap, wireless charging, wireless control, well designed app, super bright for the size, portable, and magnetic mounting, makes this one a very versatile light and well worth picking up if your a content creator 

 

That’s everything from me, if  guys are interested in picking one of these up there will be a link down below.

 

If you enjoyed this post make sure to leave a comment down below and consider checking out some of the other reviews!

 

Aputure MC

US (affiliate link) https://amzn.to/39Je2Bh

AU (affiliate link) https://amzn.to/3ayRxhG

DJI Ronin SC Camera Stabilizer Review! 2021

Hey guys! Will here, and today I’ll be reviewing the  Ronin SC a stabilization rig from DJI, I’ve been using the Ronin SC for a few months and so far it’s been a game  changer for making videos.

 

The ronin SC is very well suited for small mirrorless cameras but with some of the larger models and DSLRs you might run into troubles with balancing so it’s worth checking out compatibility before you buy.

 

All up the setup weighs just 1.2kg and has a payload of up to 2kg. The battery life is very decent lasting up to 11 hours if the gimbal is balanced correctly, 

 

theres also the option of connecting a battery pack if you do run low whilst your shooting so if you have a couple of those spare battery life isn’t really a problem you’ll run into.

 

It’s come in 2 price points,  (US) $279 for the basic kit and (US) $329 for the pro version which comes with a follow focus system.

 

What is it?

 

The Ronin-SC is a 3-axis stabilizer for mirrorless cameras like the Sony A6600 which is what I’m using to shoot this video on. It gives your filming a more professional look without having to spend thousands on a professional setup.

 

Another term used for these is a gimbal, Gimbals have a number of practical uses ranging from film to aerospace applications.

 

Space shuttle orbiters used gimbals to vector the thrust from their main engines during launch for example so instead of the 

 

How does it work?

 

By making micro adjustments to the Tilt, Roll, and Pan axis to keep the Camera stable and remove any unwanted movement in what your filming.

 

 

Basic Operations

Turn on. Press and hold power button on gimbal. Beeps.

 

Lock camera orientation. Press and hold trigger. Light blinks green.

 

Recenter. Double tap trigger. 

 

Self portrait mode. Triple tap trigger.

 

Switch user profiles. Press M Button. 1 Pan tilt Follow, slow, medium. 2 Pan follow slow, medium. 3 Pan tilt follow, slow, low.

 

Auto tune. Press trigger and M button simultaneously 6 seconds.

 

Fix drifting. App – Status – System Calibration.

 

Joystick calibration. Tap trigger 4 times hold on last. Lights blink. Rotate Joystick. If blinks green calibration success, blinks red failed, repeat

 

Sport Mode. Press and hold M button. Light turns yellow. Release M button to exit. Double tap trigger while holding M button to lock sport mode.

 

Flashlight mode. Press and hold trigger, tilt Ronin horizontally.

 

Underslung mode. Press and hold trigger, tilt Ronin upside down. Or double tap power button, tilt Ronin upside down. Rotate gimbal roll axis to ensure camera upright. Double tap power button to engage motors.

 

What cameras does it work with? Heavy setups vs Light setups

Before picking up one of these it’s worth making sure that your setup and camera is going to work, with that being said I’ve left some links down below if you want to confirm that with your own setups.

DJI Ronin SC camera compatibility list: https://www.dji.com/au/support/compat…

Focus Control

 

The motion lapse feature is a great way to level up your time lapses here’s a couple I took to give you an idea of how it works, you basically setup to different way points within the app, how many photos you want taken and how often and it will go through and do it’s thing, slowly panning between the two way points to give you a really unique looking time lapse.

 

The follow focus is super easy to use once you get it mounted to the Ronin SC which is the hardest part a simple double press on the control wheel button will tune the follow focus system so it can find it’s parameters to work properly, if you don’t do this the motor that turns the focus ring hardly moves around, so important that you do this step.

 

Cons

A slight downside here is using the sony edge app and your smartphone for live monitoring.

 

I experienced a delay between the live monitoring on the smartphone and what was shown on the camera’s display which makes it unusable.

 I’m thinking it’s an issue with the sony smart edge app and the smartphone rather than with the Ronin SC though.

 

So that’s just a heads up if you’re planning to use your android phone for live monitoring with a Sony specific setup on the Ronin SC I would instead opt for a different live monitoring setup instead.

 

Pros

So an 11 hour battery life

360 degree roll feature

follow focus

lightweight

lockable arms for easy balancing

and super smooth footage

make this an ideal investment for anyone looking to improve the way they make movies.

 

Conclusion

I can easily recommend this setup for anyone looking for a stabiliser rig that can be taken with you for a shoot and not be just another piece of heavy gear to lug around.

 

I strap this one onto the side of my camera bag for convenience but due to its size you could easily store it inside as well.

 

Well that’s all from me there will be a link to the Ronin SC down below if you want to check it out.

US (PAID LINK) DJI Ronin SC$279 : https://amzn.to/3pTRFyb

(PAID LINK) DJI Ronin SC Pro Kit $349: https://amzn.to/3pTRFyb

prices at time of video AU

(PAID LINK)DJI Ronin SC $405:

(PAID LINK) DJI Ronin SC Pro Kit $594: https://amzn.to/3ooJM3t

prices at time of video