Minima & Yongnuo review by Sylvie Bolioli
As a freelance camera operator I film a lot of interviews for corporate market research. The jobs are usually in and out quickly, no time for a proper lighting set up. So using practical lighting alone doesn’t always achieve good results. I was therefore looking for a no fuss on-camera light with some basic features: dimmable, easy filter swop, low power consumption. Because I am also a filmmaker, I recently had to film outdoors at night for my documentary ‘LAW & DISORDER: the Insanity Defense’ and I found the shoulder-strapped battery type coming with the traditional on-camera lights horrendously heavy. So if I were to choose a new light that I could use in similar circumstances, weight would definitely be a key factor.
Below pictured is Ianiro Minima with dimmer dial on top.
I tried the Minima Portable LED light from Ianiro and the Yongnuo YN-160 LED light.
Brightness is similar in both lights and both are dimmable.
The Minima has different coloured LEDs and you can change the colour temperature in a flick. You have the choice of 6 different temperatures ranging from 2800k-6500k. This feature would be great in a situation where you have to start outdoors and finish indoors, filming a wedding for example. But I found that both these LED lights do not perform very well in daylight as they’re just not powerful enough. On the YN-160 light you can easily slide a filter in at the front. It comes with diffusion, orange, blue and purple filters. It also has barn doors, which the Minima doesn’t have.
Both lights take six AA batteries which last about 1.5 hour; not great. The Minima offers the alternative of a DC power supply however. But if you plan to use it outdoors, you better have a stack of AAs to hand. The YN-160 allows you to fix a Sony F970 Lithium battery at the back instead of the standard AA batteries giving you autonomy of up to 15 hours. With the YN-160 the lithium battery is not included however and it doesn’t have the DC power supply alternative like the Minima.
As for build quality, both are made out of cheap plastic, but everything is going that way these days :(
Below pictured is Yongnuo YN-160 with it's barn doors.
Approximate street prices
Ianiro Minima: £170
Yongnuo YN-160: £50
Sony F970 Lithium battery: £100
All in all, neither of those LED lights will help you if you need a powerful fill light in broad daylight, but they will add a nice texture when filming straight forward indoor interviews in practical lighting conditions. Either will also give you enough light to film up to 14 feet at night. Choosing one over the other will depend on how you intend to use it. Being able to have a 15 hours autonomy outdoors for me was more important than being able to plug it into the mains. It also happened that I already had a Sony F970 Lithium battery, as it is the same type that my second camera uses. So I chose the Yongnuo YN-160 in the end.
Ed. Note: If you have more money to spend and you want a high-end on-camera LEDlight that has plenty of ‘kick’ in the brightness department, with barn door, a colour temperature filter and soft filter all built in with ultra rugged build quality, take a look at the Dedolight Ledzilla, but it does cost around £400; but boy is it worth it.
Company: Ianiro & Yongnuo
Product: On-camera LED lights
Model: Ianiro Minima & Yongnuo YN-160
Reviewed by: Sylvie Bollioli
Review Date: 22-04-2011