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