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  • Stephen Knight

LED Panel Light Review: Colbor PL8B

Updated: Jun 30

Colbor is a video light manufacturer based in China. They produce a wide range of products including the new Wonder range and popular CL60 range of COB video lights. This review is of one of Colbor's pocket LED panel light offerings - the bi-color PL8B.


Disclaimer


I won the Colbor PL8B in a competition on Colbor's Instagram page. This review has no affiliate links.



Colbor PL8B LED Panel Light
Colbor PL8B LED Panel Light

Design and Construction


The Colbor PL8B is a pocket LED panel light made of ABS plastic, with dimensions of 125mm x 75 mm x 1.7mm, and weight of 187g. There are two lights in the PL8 range, the RGBWW PL8R, and the PL8B (reviewed) which is bi-colour - i.e. it has adjustable correlated colour temperature (CCT) between warm white 2500K, and very cool white 9000K. The light's output is 8A, but power is not necessarily proportional to brightness. The light has a cold shoe mount (female) on the top edge, and 1/4"-20 tripod threads on two sides for portrait or landscape orientation. There is no IPX rating, so I assume this light is not weatherproof (the Aputure MC Pro is the only IPX rated pocket LED panel light I'm aware of). At the time of writing, retail prices are between US$40-$53.


The PL8B arrived in a branded box, with the light itself, a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, ball head with cold shoe mount, soft case, instructions, diffuser, and magnetic plate (with adhesive back). That is quite a good range of accessories, but there is no honeycomb grid for controlling the beam angle.





The light is USB-C rechargeable (5V/2A), with a 5000mAh internal battery pack that is claimed to last for 125 minutes, and this was tested to be fairly accurate. The light also has a USB-A output, and can be used as a powerbank.


Colbor PL8B Packaging
Colbor PL8B Packaging

Colbor LP8B Accessories
Colbor LP8B Accessories

Colbor PL8B Rear
Colbor PL8B Rear

Colbor PL8B USB and tripod sockets
Colbor PL8B USB and tripod sockets

User Interface


The Colbor PL8B's user interface is very basic and easy to use. The light has an on/off switch, which needs to be held for approximately 3 seconds for on (plus another 2 seconds for boot up), and 1 second hold for off. I would prefer a shorter press for on, and faster boot up time. There are two jog dials (FN and DIM) and an OLED display (with slow refresh rate). The FN jog dial adjusts CCT. A click of the on/off switch will enter special effects mode (10 effects). The effect can be cycled by a click down on the jog wheel. Moving the jog wheel will adjust effect frequency/speed. The second DIM jog dial is just for brightness adjustment (1% to 100%). As there are no RGB LEDs, there is no green to magenta tint adjustment.


The PL8B also has app control. This is using the Colbor Studio app, I tested the Android version. To pair, you need to hold down the FN jog dial until the wireless icon starts to animate at the same time as adding a new fixture. Once in the app, you can move between CCT, Effects, and Gel modes. You have to click the play icon to start any effects. As this is a bi-color light, gels are limited to CTO and CTB gels, and I found them quite inaccurate compared to the Lee and Rosco gel simulation settings on the MC Pro.


The effects modes are Fire, CCT Chase, Pulsing, TV, Explosion, Faulty Bulb, Welding, Strobe, Lightning, and SOS. These effects are fairly decent, and have adjustable frequency/speed.


Colbor PL8B jog wheels
Colbor PL8B jog wheels

Colbor Studio app screenshots


Beam and Output


The Colbor PL8B has 60 LEDs placed behind a diffuser panel. Half of these LEDs are warm white 2500K, and half are very cool white 9000K.


Illuminance (lux/distance) is the best method for testing the brightness of LED panel lights, at it represents how bright it can illuminate an object (such as a photography model) at a specified distance. I have compared the Colbor PL8B to some other photography lights that I have tested, all at 100% output.

  • Colbor PL8B 2500K - 192 lux/1m.

  • Colbor PL8B 9000K - 178 lux/1m.

  • Colbor PL8B 5600K - 187 lux/1m.

  • Colbor PL8B 5600K Diffuser - 151 lux/1m.

  • Aputure MC Pro 5600K - 535 lux/1m.

  • Aputure MC Pro 5600K Flat Diffuser - 295 lux/1m.

  • Weeylite RB9/Viltrox Retro 12X 5600K - 319 lux/1m.

  • Zhiyun M20C 4300K (manufacturer specs) - 539 lux/1m.

  • Zhiyun M40 5600K (bi-colour only) - 1756 lux/1m.

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

  • FireflyLite NOV-MU v2.0 4500K (max sustained brightness @10mins) - 490 lux/1m.

  • Lume Cube 2.0 5700K (fixed CCT, manufacturer specs 140 lux/0.5m) - 35 lux/1m.

  • Lume Cube Panel Pro 2 (unspecified CCT, manufacturers specs 835lux/0.5m) - 209 lux/1m.


With 187 lux/1m at 5600K, the Colbor PL8B falls behind many other pocket LED panel lights in terms of illuminance. For example the Aputure MC Pro and Zhiyun M20C produce more than 500 lux/1m, the Zhiyun M40 is a crazy 1756 lux/1m, and the "budget" Viltrox Retro 12X is 319 lux/1m. The PL8B is however significantly cheaper than any of these options. The brightness is not enough for use as a photography key light, where I would consider 300 lux/1m as being the minimum for full length portraits. It can be used as a fill or accent light, for example to add to some extra light when using webcams.


The PL8B is however much brighter than the Lume Cube 2.0, a light that I only recommend if you need the mounting options, or waterproofing. It is also pretty close in brightness to the considerably pricier Lume Cube Panel Pro 2. The PL8B is brighter than many first generation LED panel lights such as the Aputure MC (not Pro) and M9.


I also tested the CCT, colour rendering index (CRI), and tint (DUV).

  • 2500K - CCT 2646K, CRI 98.6 Ra, Tint +0.0003 DUV.

  • 4000K - CCT 3639K, CRI 98.8 Ra, Tint -0.0090 DUV.

  • 5600K - CCT 5034K, CRI 100 Ra, Tint DUV, -0.0093 DUV.

  • 9000K - CCT 8504K, CRI 100 Ra, Tint DUV, -0.0028 DUV.


The Colbor PL8B has very high CRI at >98 Ra which is fantastic. I am unable to test individual R channels. The Colbor PL8B has an impressively wide CCT range for a bi-color light, The downside of that is that when mixing the output from the 2500K and 9000K LEDs, the tint will be well below the black body line. This results in a magenta tint at most CCTs, that cannot be adjusted due to lack of RGB LEDs. Bi-color lights with a smaller CCT range such as the Zhiyun M40, are much better at maintaining a more neutral tint.


There was no Pulse Width Modulation detected - yay!


Colbor PL8B Beam Profile
Colbor PL8B Beam Profile

Conclusion


Positives:

  • Very wide range of CCTs for a bi-color light.

  • Budget price.

  • Very good range of accessories.

  • Lightweight.

  • Can be app controlled via Bluetooth.

  • Decent effects modes.

  • Powerbank functionality.


Negatives:

  • Not the brightest pocket LED panel light.

  • Strong magenta tint at most CCTs.

  • No green/magenta tint adjustment.

  • No IPX rating.


The Colbor PL8B is a relatively cheap, lightweight, pocket LED panel light with a wide range of CCTs and high CRI. Whilst brightness is insufficient for use as a photography key light, it is useful as a fill/accent or webcam light.




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