Sony’s HVL-LEIR1 LED / IR battery powered light

By | March 24, 2015

Sony HVL-LEIR1

Panel Review – Transcript from Video

Today I’ll be reviewing Sony’s HVL-LEIR1 LED / IR battery powered light.

The Sony LEIR1 is a great accessory for your FDR-AX100 or any other Sony compatible camera device. For those of you doing night time infra-red shooting or need that additional light source for low light situations this is a product you simply cannot do without.

For me, most of my review videos are done in a room that lacks that brightness, so instead of purchasing studio lights I have purchased this in the hopes it will help light things up.

Let’s quickly see what’s in the box, and then take it out for a test drive.

sony hvl leir1 unboxing

Features

The HVL-LEIR1 LED / IR battery powered light requires 3V of DC power, which is supplied via 2x AA batteries and will last you a good 90 minutes of continuous usage. For best results, it is advisable to purchase decent rechargeable batteries with a 15 minute charging device. The accessory comes equipped with two operating modes, the first is a powered infra-red assist, and the second a dual bulb LED light.

sony hvl leir1 batteries

The great thing about these battery powered devices is they do not use up any of your camera or camcorders battery and additionally, do not have to be connected to your camera or camcorder to operate. This gives you the flexibility to place the light in targeted areas or use other equipment to support the light when the situation is needed.

The LEIR1 comes equipped with two operating modes, the first being a powered infra-red assist for night time shooting, and secondly, a dual bulb LED light to provide an additional light source. Both of these can be controlled by the dimmer on the opposite side of the light.

Connection

Fixing the LEIR1 to both my camera and camcorder was extremely easy to do. Simply slide the light in and screw the clam down. The fixing keeps the light extremely rigid and secure.

sony hvl leir1 connection

By default LED light provides a 5,500k colour temperature, but you can purchase different filters to achieve different effects. Sony quotes the maximum range for effective lighting on this model to be 20 meters, operating at a maximum luminosity of 1500 lx at 0.5m.

On to the Tests

In the first test, I am simply doing a standard recording without the light. The same as you saw at the beginning of this review. No external light is being used and the overall result could be significantly improved. I will now connect the HVL – LEIR1 to the camera’s hot shoe so we can compare results

sony hvl leir1 lights test

At first impression I thought little was done to improve the background lighting of my surroundings, however after reviewing the footage, it is clearly obvious the background has improved significantly. The subject i.e. myself, has really improved though. My face and body are now clearly and brightly lit proving this cheap camera light has done a really good job and definitely worth the investment.

My second test is focused around the IR night time shooting mode. What we are seeing here is Sony’s FDR AX100’s default night shot mode. It’s clearly obvious the night time shooting is only good for a couple of feet, and offers narrow line of sight.

IR Night Test

Simply turning the LEIR1 infra-red light on alone won’t make any difference. You need to have either the camera or camcorders night shot mode and the LEIR1’s infra-red light turned on to achieve this effect.

sony hvl leir1 ir test

As you can see, the HVL LEIR1 on alone won’t product any results. This limits device compatibility to those that have the night shot feature only.

Turning both the FDR-AX100’s night shot on and the HVL LEIR1’s night IR on though produces this result.

The difference is huge. The garden I am filming this in, is 10m deep by 18m wide. You’ll notice just how much wider the IR Beam’s line of site is now making night time shooting a lot more effective with this combination.

LED Night Test

Over to the LED. I’ll first do a shot at maximum ISO without any light assist.

sony hvl leir1 outside led test

And now using the battery powered LED assist.

We can see the quality instantly improves lighting the garden up. The ISO has reduced removing much of the grain effect which is especially great for camcorders or cameras with small sensors.

Let’s now take a look inside a dark room.

Depending on how brightly lit the room is, you can use the dimmer to either increase or decrease the intensity of the light to reach a more acceptable ISO level. This is true for both the IR and LED modes.

Over all I am extremely happy with this light. It has added a whole new range of options to filming in low light conditions. While I personally do not have any need for infra-red at the moment. The option is there should I need it. At a relatively low cost, this light should be one of the first accessories you purchase especially if it’s for a camcorder, like Sony’s FDR AX100.

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