Lowel Ego LED light at a glance:

For many photographers, LED-based continuous lighting has now overtaken flash as the first choice for supplementary illumination. Not only can you see the effects in real time, but usually you can also adjust both the brightness and colour temperature to complement your subject. As with flash, while small battery-powered on-camera units are available, you’ll get nicer results from larger lights.

Lowel Ego LED review

The Lowel Ego LED takes the form of a large softbox. Image: Andy Westlake

Billed as “the first production light attractive enough to hide in plain sight”, the Lowel Ego LED is a bi-colour mains-powered unit that’s designed to be just at home as a desk lamp, as it is illuminating a still-life photo or a video call.

Lowell Ego LED key features:

  • Power: A small laptop-style mains block plugs into the back, via a proprietary connector with a push-button lock. The kit comes with UK, US and EU cables
  • Controls: The power switch is located on one side, while the brightness and colour controls are at the back
  • Adjustable feet: The four feet can be adjusted to accommodate uneven surfaces if necessary
  • Tripod mount: There’s a 3/8in socket in the base for fixing the light to a tripod or stand
Lowel Ego LED base

The base of the lamp has a 3/8in thread for fitting it to a tripod or light stand. Image credit: Andy Westlake

This is, in fact, a rather clever design. Its main housing is a softbox approximately 40cm square and 9cm deep front-to-back. This is constructed from two sheets of curved plastic, with a white reflector at the back and a translucent diffuser at the front.

The LED unit itself is housed in the base, pointing upwards into the softbox. This means that you get a good-sized diffuse light with a relatively small footprint. The unit tips the scales at 1.1kg, and as the weight is concentrated low down at the base, it’s surprisingly stable on a small table-top tripod or stand.

Controls are kept to a bare minimum. The power switch is placed on one side of the base unit, while two shiny silver knobs for brightness and colour temperature are hidden away at the back. This results in a clean design, but it does mean that you need to leave clear space on your desk to get at those dials.

Lowel Ego LED controls

The small silver knobs for brightness and colour temperature have no marked scales. Image credit: Andy Westlake

There’s no status display, so no way of knowing what values you’ve set. This might annoy those who like their lighting setups to be easily reproducible, but it’s clear Lowell is targeting a more casual audience.

What really matters, though, is the quality of light, and thanks to the size of the softbox, it’s flatteringly diffuse. You also get a decent level of brightness, without the light being dazzling to look at, which makes it a good option for video calls or vlogging.

Lowel Ego LED power supply unit

Power is supplied by a mains block, but there’s no battery option. Image credit: Andy Westlake

For photography, with the light set a couple of feet from my subject, I was able to use an exposure of 1/100sec and f/2 at ISO 200, so it’s decently bright for shooting portraits indoors. As for the colour temperature setting, though, I’d avoid using 6500K, as it’s unpleasantly blue. But dial it down a touch and you’ll get more attractive colours, especially skin tones.

Lowel Ego LED: Our Verdict

Overall, the Lowel Ego LED is a somewhat curious product. It’s good for video calls, doubles up nicely as a desk light, and can give decent results for photography. You just have to be prepared to live with its design foibles.

Testbench BLUE 3.5 stars

About Lowel

Lowel is an LED lighting specialist that’s part of the US-based Tiffen group. It also makes various LED location lighting products, mainly designed for high-end video work. Other well-known brands within the group include Tiffen filters, Stroboframe flash brackets, Steadicam stabilisers and Domke professional camera bags.

Lead image credit: Lowel

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