The Neewer 660 LED is a powerful light panel for low budget filmmaking.
Coming in at around £80 on Amazon, it is a bi-color LED panel with a high CRI rating of 96+, but should you buy it?
Let’s start of by looking at its features.
It has a colour temperature range of 3200-5600K ,which can be controlled by using the dials on the back panel of the light. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a screen on it to tell you what colour temperature it is, and you’ll need to balance it by eye, through either adding more white or yellow light.
If both dials are maxed out it will be at its highest output, using all 660 LEDs on the panel, and as you adjust the colour, it will slowly dim either the yellow or white LEDs on the panel.
To get full 5600K output, you’ll want to have the white dial turned all the way up, with the yellow dial turned all the way down. This will also result in the light outputting at half of its power. And the same goes with the yellow dial for 3200K.
This way of interacting with the colour temperature can be a bit of a pain, and due to the lack of screen to tell you what colour temperature you are at, I usually just throw it on max output, and set my cameras white balance to auto.
In the bag, you get 2x NP-F970 batteries, a charger and an AC adapter, giving you a wide range of power options.
Using the both of the batteries provided, you can expect to get around 1 hour and a half of run time out of the light, but it does start to dim after around 1 hour and 20 minutes. Both batteries can also be attached to the back of the light at the same time, with it automatically switching between the two when one runs out of power.
If you have AC access, then you can always plug this light into the mains power, not having to worry about batteries running out.
To choose which power option you want to use, you can use the switch on the back. When it is in the middle, it will draw no power, if it is to the left, the you will be using the mains, and to the right you’ll be using the batteries.
The power options on this light are great, and for the price, it is brilliant that you get two batteries, a charger and the mains cable.
The build quality of this light is pretty awesome. It has a full metal body design that feels durable. It has survived a good few knocks and scrapes when I have been shooting in extreme conditions.
The light comes with barn doors, which are typically an optional extra with most lights. You can screw these onto the front, giving you the option to shape the light, but this is not something I have used much due to this light acting as a key light, so I typically throw on a soft box. More on that later.
Around the back, the control panel is made of plastic, so I would be wary of damaging this part, but for me it has held up well.
The dials for the colour temperature feel a bit flimsy, and do not seem to match up to the markings for their intensity. This is more of a nuisance than anything, and does not affect the performance of the light.
On the front of the panel, you can remove a plastic diffuser, giving you the ability to have a harsher light source, but this will leave the LEDs bare, and vulnerable to damage. For me, I leave this on all of the time.
The panel is attached to a full metal U bracket, allowing you to tilt the light, but do bare in mind that if you have the barn doors, or a soft box on this, it will stop it from being tilted down, and you’ll probably want to put it on a boom or C-Stand for best results.
Despite the metal construction, this panel is lightweight, and easily transported.
Unfortunately this light does not come with a soft box included, but Neewer does provide one separately that can be purchased for around £20.
When my soft box arrived in the post, it had some staining across the front of it. After checking online, this seems to be a regular occurrence, and is probably a defect with the manufacturing process.
While this does not look aesthetically pleasing, it does not dramatically affect the lighting coming through it.
It’s a small and compact Lightbox, that while not amazing, does soften up the light source, making it a good option to use as a key light when on a low budget.
It can also be folded up to be transported more easily, and comes with a carry bag. It works kind of like a pop up tent.
To give you an idea of the output of the light, I have ran some tests of it against its smaller version, the Newer LED 208C, which I have previously reviewed here. I’ll link to it in the description.
Check out the video above
As you can see, it has a much bigger output when compared to the smaller light, which is expected.
Overall, I think this a great light for the price, especially if you are working on a low budget.
While I don’t have a light meter to check the accuracy of its CRI, I can say it doesn’t have any noticeable colour shifts towards green or magenta, and can easily be color corrected in post.
This would make a great first light for any filmmakers kit, but if you have more money to spend, I would recommend the Falconeyes Bi-Color LED. It has a greater output, better color accuracy, and more control over the color temperature, but does come at double the cost.
The main improvement I would suggest to Neewer is that they should release a version that is just Daylight balanced, giving you an overall higher output that could be adjusted to Tungsten using gels.
The Neewer 660 LED Panel has been a work horse, travelling with me to every shoot since I purchased it, and even though I plan on upgrading my light soon, this is something I will be using as a second light over the next few years.