Aputure Amaran AL-528C and V-Mic Review

_DSC2589As photographers and videographers, the one thing we need more than anything else is light. Without light, there is no image. How we go about getting that light is usually the question. If you do video, you also have to deal with audio. Aputure has set out to solve both of these issues with the Amaran LED light and the V-Mic shotgun mic. Since we all know that you get what you pay for, can Aputure really pull through and create some usable products at low costs? We decided to put them to the test and see how they performed.

Amaran AL-528 Video Light

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The Amaran AL-528 LED light is a dimmable light system with a controllable color temperature. The Amaran is about the size of an iPad and can be used for both video and still photography. I have been using it for filming of a new show called The Firearms Show and have been using it for some still photography as well. The first time I set it up I couldn’t help but be impressed with the light output and the adjustable color temperature. I always find LED lights to be a little too cold when shooting people so, with the Amaran, I can add just the right about of warmth to bring the scene to life.

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Functions

  • Stepless color temperature control
  • Manual brightness control
  • Color temperature display
  • Digital brightness display
  • Charges batteries when powered by AC
  • Double power supply system
  • Battery power indicator

Properties

  • High color rendering LEDs (Ra>85)
  • Long lifespan and steady light
  • PWM technology for low power consumption
  • High efficiency, energy saving bulbs
  • Efficient heat dissipation

Design

  • Slim design (like an iPad)
  • Universal lamp bracket
  • White diffusing filter and orange warming filter (3200K)
  • Light for handheld use
  • Carrying case included

With a price of about $280 (Amazon Link), the Amaran AL-528C is an excellent add-on to your lighting kit. With a few of them, you could build a complete video interview kit for a very reasonable price.

Aputure V-Mic

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For videographers, a good audio source is crucial to video production. The V-Mic actually performs quite good for a mic that just barely edges over the $100 mark.  While there isn’t any gain control, the audio is pretty clear and crisp.

The Aputure V-Mic D1 is a directional condenser shotgun microphone featuring a super-cardioid polar pattern, line gradient acoustics, superior isolation, and easily filters out unwanted background noise, vibrations, and low frequencies in order to give you accurate voice input.

The microphone has a low battery indicator, and is equipped with a universal shoe mount, making it suitable for most DSLRs and camcorders.

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Features

  • Super-cardioid polar pattern
  • Low self-noise
  • Low-cut filter
  • Low power warning
  • Superior RF Immunity
  • Superior isolation from camera system
  • Cold shoe mount and 1/4″ mount
  • Wind screen and windshield

For our DSLR rig, we have only been using the V-Mic for it’s convenience and decent quality. The included wind sock works well in outdoor environments. While we have used more expensive mics with more features, the V-Mic is hard to beat from a value point-of-view. For only $119 (Amazon link) you can add a good quality mic to your DSLR which will be better than most any of the alternatives within the same price range.

for more information, visit Aputure’s website: http://www.aputure.com/en

KerryG

Kerry Garrison is a wedding, portrait, and product photographer living in southern California. With 10 years of experience shooting products and 3 years of experience in the wedding industry, Kerry brings a good deal of technical know-how and can explain topics in easy-to-understand terms. Kerry's work can be found at http://kerrygarrison.com and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/KerryGarrison

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