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  • Stephen Knight

COB Video Light Review: SmallRig RC 60B

Updated: Apr 4

Until recently COB video lights were too large and heavy for portable use. A few COB lights were introduced in 2023 that weigh less than 700g, and have an internal battery, including the light being reviewed here, the SmallRig RC 60B.


Disclaimer

The SmallRig RC-60B was purchased with my own funds. These product links are affiliate links.


SmallRig RC-60B and reflector.
SmallRig RC-60B and reflector.

Design and Construction


The SmallRig RC 60B is a cube shaped, portable COB video light that can be used with internal or external batteries, or mains power via USB-C PD. It appears to be aimed at videographers and photographers who require high portability for "run and gun" or "on the fly" creating. It is also useful for content creators (such as YouTube and TikTok) who want a high quality, but affordable COB light for small studio or mobile setups. Continuous lighting is becoming more popular with portrait photographers instead of using flash/strobe units, as it is easier to visualise the light.


The RC 60B has 97+ CRI bi-colour output, which allows for a range of of correlated colour temperatures (CCTs) between 2700K warm white to 6500k cool white. There is no RGB colour output. At the time of writing there are no RGB COB video lights I would consider highly portable (<700g and internal battery), but I'm sure we will see some released in 2024.


The light unit itself weighs just 650g, and has dimensions of 115 x 85 x 85mm. The shell is made from V-O flame retardant PC-ABS plastic, and some metal in the base. There is a 1/4"-20 thread in the base for tripod mounting. The unit uses a propriery SmallRig S-mount for accessories, and thus doesn't use the Bowen or mini-Bowen mounts, the former being far larger than the light itself! It is available in two package option. The full kit (US$199) includes a carrying handle/mini-tripod, carry bag, power bank clamp, mini reflector (45-Degree), USB-C Charging Cable (3m), USB-C PD Charging Cable (20cm), light stand adapter, instructions, handle, and protective cover. There is also a cheaper (US$149) "lite edition" package option which comes with the mini reflector, USB-C Charging Cable (3m), and instructions - this is what I purchased, along with the GaN charger, mini-softbox, and silicone diffuser.


Optional accessories that can also be purchased seperately include the RA-D30 mini Parabolic Softbox (US$39), GaN 100W Fast Charger (US$46), and Silicone Diffuser (US$13). The RA-D30 mini softbox weighs just 290g, and thus combined with the light unit is just 1.04kg. That is only 2/3 of the weight of the the Neewer NL-288ARC 17" soft panel light (with batteries). The RA-D30 opens up to 29cm in diameter, and folds down small enough to be easy to transport at just 25cm x 9cm.


The light unit has a 3400mAh 14.4V (48.96Wh) internal battery. This is a huge bonus as many sub-100W COB video lights lack an internal battery. The Wh rating allows it to be carried on Australian and USA domestic flights. This allows for claimed 45min runtime on Full mode, and 75min runtime on Eco mode (60% power).


The maximum charging power via USB-C is 48W/3A and maximum input power of 100W. A powerful 100W PD charger is required if you want fast (90 minute) charging times for the internal battery, or continuous power from the mains. An external PD powerbank or V-mount battery can be used to provide additonal runtimes, but there is only USB-C input, and no D-Tap. There is also no V-lock connection on the chassis.


The unit contains a fan for cooling, which produced up to 26dB/1m, or 23dB/1m on Eco mode. This is essential for sustaining brightness, something that the vast majority of flashlights cannot do as they have to rapidly step down from the advertised brightness to avoid overheating.


There is no IPX rating, something that is a little bit dissapointing for a portable light that will get used outdoors. The flashlight shaped Inkee GC30 is an alternative option if you need weatherproofing, though I prefer the RC-60B's beam modifier options. The RC-60B's cube shape is also a little bit awkward if you are using it like a flashlight, making the carrying handle rather useful if it is not mounted to a tripod.


SmallRig RC 60B and RA-D30 packaging.
SmallRig RC 60B and RA-D30 packaging.

SmallRig RC 60B Lite Edition contents.
SmallRig RC 60B Lite Edition contents.

SmallRig RA-D30 mini softbox bag.
SmallRig RA-D30 mini softbox bag.

SmallRig RA-D30 mini softbox and accessories.
SmallRig RA-D30 mini softbox and accessories.

SmallRig RC-60B 1/4"-20 tripod thread.
SmallRig RC 60B 1/4"-20 tripod thread.

User Interface


The SmallRig RC 60B has a fantastic user interface that is easy to use, and is summarised below:

  • Colour 1.3" IPS display.

  • On/off button (on back) - this only boots the software, a turn of the Brightness/effects knob is required to turn the light output on. This is to avoid accidental activation.

  • ECO button (on back) - toggles to/from ECO (60% mode) after a long press.

  • Mode button (below display) - cycles between CCT and FX modes.

  • Brightness/effects adjustment knob - can be clicked for 33%/66%/100% changes to brightness, and toggle between brightness/FX control in FX mode.

  • CCT/Frequency adjustment knob - can be clicked for 3200K/4300K/5600K in CCT mode, and toggles between CTT and effects frequency in FX mode.

  • Modifier release latch on top of light.

  • Effects are Papparazi, Television, Faulty Bulb, Lightning, Breathing, Flickering, Party, Flame, Fireworks.

  • Brightness range is 1% to 100%.

  • CCT range is 2700K to 6500K.

  • Last mode memory.


Unlike some portable lights such as LED panel lights, there are no remote control options. Whilst this isn't much of an issue for me, I can see some photographers and videographers missing this functionality.


The light requires a turn of the brightness/effects knob to turn on after turning on the on/off switch. Whilst this is designed to prevent accidental activation, it means that the light cannot be easily used to provide short bursts of light for backlit still-houettes. I'll need to stick to flashlights for that functionality.



SmallRig RC 60B display and rotary knobs.
SmallRig RC 60B display and rotary knobs.


SmallRig RC 60B ECO, On/Off switches, and USB-C port.
SmallRig RC 60B ECO, On/Off switches, and USB-C port.


The red modifier release catch.
The red modifier release latch.



Beam, Output, and Runtime


Optics Overview


The SmallRig RC-60B uses a 20mm diameter, 60W bi-color COB LED, with variable CCT between 2700k and 6500k, claimed CRI 97+, TLCI 98+, and SSI average 89. I often use flashlights/torches and LED panel lights for portraits and backlit light painting/night photos, so I was interested to see how the RC-60B compared. It should be noted that LED panel lights and flashlights generally have limited beam shaping options other than diffusers. The RC-60B has quite a few beam shaping options including no reflector/open face with a 150 degree floody beam, reflector for a 45 degree beam with diffuse hotspot, reflector with silicone diffuser (dome), mini softbox without diffuser material, mini softbox with diffuser material, and mini softbox with grid.


No PWM was detected on at any brightness level, and it is assumed to be using a constant current LED driver.


SmallRig RC-60B 20mm COB LED emitter.
SmallRig RC 60B 20mm COB LED emitter.

Runtimes


Runtimes were tested as:

  • Full - 44 mins, step-down from 100% to 65% at 30 mins.

  • Eco - 75 mins. Testing matched specification.


For anything other than quick photoshoots, it is likely that I would have to use Eco mode for adequate runtime. Thankfully, Eco mode is bright enough for most situations where portable lighting is required - see next section. The display shows approximate battery time remaining, which is very useful.


Brightness (illuminance) and Beam Modifiers


Illuminance (lux/distance) is the best method for comparing the brightness of light sources for most photographic purposes. as it measures how bright an object, such as a portrait model is illuminated at a specified distance.


Brightness (illuminance) testing used an Opple Light Meter 3 Pro at 2m, and converted to 1m using the inverse square law unless otherwise noted. All tests were performed using the internal battery, unless otherwise mentioned. The comparison flashlights were used on a mode that would allow the highest sustained brightness at 10 minutes of continuous use to mimic "real world" use.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 2700K Full, Mains Power, No Reflector - 2940 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Full, Mains Power, No Reflector - 3268 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Full, No Reflector - 3272 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Eco, No Reflector - 2032 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Full, Reflector - 12440 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Eco, Reflector - 7896 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Full, Reflector with silicone diffuser - 1454 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Eco, Reflector with silicone diffuser - 903 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Full, Mini Softbox with diffuser - 1520 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Eco, Mini Softbox with diffuser - 968 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Full, Mini Softbox no diffuser - 5868 lux/1m.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Eco, Mini Softbox no diffuser - 3664 lux/1m.

  • Zhiyun M40 Panel 5600K 100% - 1756 lux/1m.

  • Zhiyun M40 Panel 5600K 50% - 1148 lux/1m.

  • Zhiyun M40 Panel 5600K 25% - 636 lux/1m.

  • Weeylite RB9 5600K 100% - 318 lux/1m (measured at 1m).

  • Olight Marauder Mini 5700K 6/7 mode @10mins - 13564 lux/1m.

  • FireflyLite NOV-Mu V2 4500K 5/7 mode @10mins - 490lux/1m*.

  • Lume Cube 2.0 5700K - 35 lux/1m (manufacturers spec - 140 lux/0.5m).

  • Inkee GC30 5600K 150% No Reflector - 1988 lux/1m (manufacturers spec).

  • Inkee GC30 5600K 150% Reflector - 8579 lux/1m (manufacturers spec).

  • Ulanzi LT028 6500K 100% Reflector - 3315 lux/1m (manufacturers spec - 13260 lux/0.5m).


The results showed the following:

  • Using mains power (via 100W GaN charger and USB-C) resulted in a similar brightness to using battery power. This is different to results tested by other reviewers. (I'm using v1.0.2 firmware).

  • Using no attachment (open face) resulted in illuminance 87% higher than the brightest pocket LED panel light (Zhiyun M40), 928% brighter than a typical pocket LED panel light (Weeyliter RB9), and 9248% more illuminance than a Lume Cube 2.0. It is 65% brighter than the Inkee GC30, one of only 3 COB lights with internal batteries <700g. The beam profile is very floody, with hard edge shadows.

  • Using the reflector increases illumance by a whopping 280%. The beam profile has a hard edge, but with a diffuse hotspot. It is useable to illuminate a model evenly (head to toe) from approximately 3m away. Shadows are slightly less harsh. The reflector can also be used to reflect light off another surface, for indirect lighting. I will use the reflector for backlit night photos.

  • Using the reflector with diffuser creates omni-directional light like a light bulb, and illuminance levels similar to using the mini softbox with diffuser (below). The CCT drops significantly.

  • Using the mini softbox with diffuser will halve the illumimance, compared to no attachment. It results in reasonably comparable illuminance (and illuminance per runtime) to the Zhiyun M40 (my benchmark light for acceptable brightness for portrait lighting, which I typically use on 25%-50% power), but with much softer light due to the larger surface area. This is the best option for more flattering portraits with soft even light output, even at close distances. It isn't as soft as full size softbox, but full size softboxes are not particularly portable. It is bright enough to be used as a key light at medium ISOs depending on shutter speed and distance. It outperforms most portable soft LED panel lights such as the Lume Cube Studio Panel, and also outperforms most LED ring lights. Care has to be taken to make sure there is no light leak around the velcro connection between the diffuser and soft box.

  • Using the softbox without the diffuser results in a hard edge beam, but with no hotspot, and 79% increase in illumimance compared to no attachment. Personally, I prefer using the reflector which already has a fairly diffuse hotspot.

  • I didn't test brightness/illuminance with the softbox with grid installed, due to unimpressive beam artifact up to 6m away from the light source.


These lighting options, allow for a lot of different beam shaping options for a portable light source. There are always going to be compromises when portability is required, but the SmallRig RC-60B and accessories deals with these compromises well. Despite using the proprietry S-mount, I think the RC-60B has a good range of beam modifiers. I would like to see SmallRig offer a flat diffuser as well as the dome diffuser (which in my opinion is better for portraits). There are also currently no accessories for using this light as a projector. A larger softbox option would also be welcome.


The RC-60B is the brightest COB video light in it's class (<700g, internal battery) - being noticeably brighter than the Inkee GC30, and three times brighter than the Ulanzi LT028.



On location with the SmallRig RC 60B and mini softbox.
On location with the SmallRig RC 60B and mini softbox.

Mini softbox (no diffuser). 5600K,Full. f/2.8, 1/80sec, ISO1600. Model: @tay.tay.x_
Mini softbox (no diffuser). 5600K,Full. f/2.8, 1/80sec, ISO1600. Model: @tay.tay.x_

Surface area of mini softbox diffuser vs pocket LED panel light.
Surface area of mini softbox diffuser vs pocket LED panel light.


Beam profiles - L to R - open face/no attachment, reflector, reflector with silisone dome diffuser.



Beam profiles - L to R - mini softbox with diffuser, mini softbox without diffuser.



Brightness (lumens)


Lumens are commonly used to measure brightness for flashlights/torches, and measures the total luminous flux from the emitter. It is constant irrespective of the beam modifier, so isn't the most useful brightness measurement for photography and videography lights.


To see how lumens compare to a "best in class" medium sized flashlight/torch, plus a flashlight and cube light marketed as "photography lights", I took measurements via ceiling bounce method, with the reflector for more accurate comparison.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600k Full, Reflector - 4147lm.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600k Eco, Reflector - 2586lm.

  • Olight Marauder Mini 5700k 6/7 mode @10mins - 2700lm.

  • FireflyLite NOV-Mu V2 5/7 mode @10mins - 980lm.

  • LumeCube 2.0 - 400lm (manufacturers spec).

These results were interesting, as the Olight Marauder Mini was my flashlight of choice for backlit outdoor night photos. Whilst the maximum lumen output is higher than the RC-60B, for a real world photoshoot situation where the light will be on continuously for 10-20 minutes, the RC 60B outperformed the Marauder Mini on Full mode, and similar performance on Eco mode. It should also be noted that the RC 60B is high CRI and bi-color, and the Marauder Mini is 70 CRI and fixed CCT. Apart from situations where I need the ruggedness and weatherproofing of the Marauder Mini, I am likely to be using the RC 60B for backlighting from now on. Testing against the smaller 21700 format FireflyLite NOV-Mu V2 "photography light" and Lume Cube 2.0, showed the RC 60B to be the clear winner in terms of sustained lumens after 10 minutes. With the newer generation of portable COB video lights with internal batteries such as the RC 60B and Inkee GC30, I think the days of using flashlights for "on the fly" portrait and video lighting are numbered.


CCT, CRI, and Tint


CCT, Colour Rendering Index (CRI) Ra, and Tint were measured using an Opple Light Meter 3 Pro at 1m:

  • SmallRig RC 60B 2700K Full, No Reflector - CCT 2744K, CRI 97.6 Ra, Tint +0.0040 DUV.

  • Small Rig RC 60B 4000K Full, No Reflector - CCT 3852K, CRI 98.7 Ra, Tint -0.0038 DUV.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Full, No Reflector - CCT 5247K, CRI 100 Ra, Tint -0.0014 DUV.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 2700K Eco, No Reflector - CCT 2731K, CRI 97.9 Ra, Tint +0.0037 DUV.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 4000K Eco, No Reflector - CCT 3833K, CRI 98.8 Ra, Tint -0.0041 DUV.

  • SmallRig RC 60B 5600K Eco, No Reflector - CCT 5280K, CRI 100 Ra, Tint -0.0019 DUV.


As expected, the CRI is very impressive, and far better than the majority of flashlights that are only 70CRI. DUV is above the black body line at 2700k (very slight green tint), but on or below the black body line above 3000k (neutral, or slight magenta tint). As there are no RGB LEDs, the light is unable to have green to magenta tint adjustment. My testing equipment is unable to test individual R channels, but other reviews show very good colour accuracy for the price. CCT was fairly accurate, though I measured lower CCT results at 5600K.


Conclusion


Positives:

  • Good value for money.

  • Best in class brightness performance.

  • Compatible S-mount beam modifiers for most portable use cases.

  • User interface is easy to use.

  • Bright enough to be used as a key light with mini soft box on Eco mode.

  • Very high CRI and colour accuracy.

  • Good CTT range.

  • Internal battery, mains (via 100W USB-C PD), or external battery options.

  • Good runtime/battery capacity remaining indicator.

  • Easy to tripod mount.

  • Can fit into a lens compartment in a camera bag.


Negatives:

  • No IP rating - not weatherproof.

  • Brightness step-down on Full mode at 30 mins.

  • No V-lock battery attachment, and no D-Tap connection.

  • Awkward cube shape requires carrying handle to be used like a flashlight.

  • Some users may want Bowens or mini-Bowens compatibility.

  • No remote control options.

  • No green to magenta tint adjustment.


The SmallRig RC 60B is an excellent option for videographers and photographers who require high portability for "run and gun" or "on the fly" creating, or small home studio setups. I'm sure I will be using the RC 60B regularly for night and urbex portraits. Brightness (both illuminance and lumens) and beam shaping options are excellent for most use cases that require portability. It won't compete with much larger and heavier studio lighting, but that isn't the purpose of this light. Portability requires compromises, and I think SmallRig have done a good job of balancing these. Now, please bring on a RGB version!




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