Polaroid BrightSaber Professional LED Lighting Wand – Review

Polaroid BrightSaber Professional LED Lighting Wand
Manufacturer: Polaroid
Internet: $169.99

Do you wield your camera with the precision of a Jedi? Are you able to balance light, shadow, color, and contrast with perfect composition and focus? If so, the Polaroid BrightSaber may be the next addition to your tool belt.

BrightSaber01

The BrightSaber is a portable photographic light source that packs almost 300 color corrected LED’s into a tube that is approximately 28” long. Powered by a rechargeable battery or household current. The lighting output can be adjusted to 10 levels. The unit has a rotating sleeve over the lamp area to change the color of the light from daylight (5600°K) to Tungsten (3200°K). This allows the photographer, or videographer, to work in different lighting conditions while maintaining natural looking light balance. The quality of light is pleasingly diffuse, and with a rounded glow. Suitable for still or video sessions for portrait or product work.

With the included remote.
With the included remote.
Showing the rotating colored sleeve that will change color temperature of the light output.
Showing the rotating colored sleeve that will change color temperature of the light output.

Accessories include a remote control to turn the unit on or off and adjust the light output level. As a bonus the remote will act as a shutter release for your Canon, Nikon, Pentax, or Konica-Minolta camera able to receive infrared commands. Polaroid deserves praise for including the remote shutter release as well as the mounting hole for a lanyard.  The battery charger includes US, UK and EU power adaptors. The travel sleeve will protect your BrightSaber in transit and camouflage it from prying eyes when you enter those alien bar scenes.

Kit includes travel case, remote and power adaptor.
Kit includes travel case, remote and power adaptor.

Just as in Star Wars the Polaroid Empire is not yet perfect. The BrightSaber can be attached to a light stand or a tripod using the standard 1/4”–20 threaded mount at the base of the unit. When I first read about this feature I was concerned that it would not be able to hold this long lamp in a horizontal position with out failure. However, when I received the BrightSaber I found that the threaded cap and the handle were constructed out of metal and that the unit was lighter than I feared. I am no longer overly concerned that the threads will break out of the handle. The base of the handle is rounded, perhaps to make the whole seem more like something out of a favorite science fiction movie. This does not provide enough surface-to-surface contact area between the lamp and the tripod. This still seems like a potential point of failure, that could have been eliminated with a flat spot on the bottom of the handle.

BrightSaber06

Less than ideal surface-to-surface contact.
Less than ideal surface-to-surface contact.

 

The User Manual states that the Polaroid BrightSaber with a fully charged battery will continue to shine for greater than one hour when set to maximum brightness. This is technically true. After an hour the lamp is still lit, but the question is “how much light?” My tests in a controlled environment showed that there was no change in light output after 15 minutes. At the 30 minute mark the light output dropped by .5 EV* or 1/2 stop. After 45 minutes the output was down by 2 EV when compared with a fully charged battery. To me, the useful life at full brightness is no more than a half hour. A vital addition to this kit will be a stand-alone charger and at least one additional battery. While not included, they are readily available online from third party vendors.

MyMac.com Review Rating: 7 out of 10

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About Bob Wood

I am a nearly life long photographer now doing commercial as well as fine art work. I have almost 20 years as a Mac User Group officer and enjoy the people and imparting help and knowledge to our members. There is nothing like seeing the light go on in the eyes of your, Mac or Photography students.

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