LOW-COST KIT REVIEW: NEEWER 2-Pack 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Light – REVIEW

In quick summary… if you don’t already have these lights, go and buy them now. They do have some weak points, but you just can’t argue with that price. 

They are far from the most powerful lights available, or the most reliable, or the best for battery life… but at less than $50 for TWO (less than £40 in the UK) how can you possibly go wrong??

Scroll down to the bottom for a video we shot using ONLY two of these lights.

NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Light
LOW COST KIT REVEIW: NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Light – REVIEW

Even if you only use the lights twice, you’ve got two sessions with good LED lights for about a quarter of the cost of hiring them, and you still have the option of using them again!

So… to business… here’s what good about these Neewer LED lights:

  1. Power output is okay. Sure, it is not the best in the universe, but it is far, far from the worst. As long as you keep these CN-160 lights close to your subject you’ll find you are getting ample light, more than enough to make a difference to your photos or video. See bottom of this review for a video we shot only using two of these Neewer LED camera lights!
  2. They’re cheap! Maybe I should say that again, just in case you missed it… They’re cheap! But they are not just cheap, they’re soooooo cheap! It is literally insane. For the same price as ONE Litepanels Astra 6X, you could have almost 70 x Neewer CN-160s. CRAZY.
  3. You can power them with AA batteries, or Sony NPF batteries (pretty much an industry standard, and cheap as chips for a battery and charger, see other reviews for more on those), or with an adapter they will take Panasonic CGR-D batteries too.
  4. They come with a hot-shoe mount as standard, meaning easy attachment to the top of your camera, if that’s how you want to use them, or with an adapter onto a light stand.
  5. They are daylight colour (5600K) and come supplied with a tungsten (3200K) filter, and a diffuser, that just slot in front of the LEDs.
  6. They’re dimmable. There’s a small wheel on the side of the unit allowing you to gradually adjust the power up or down.
REVIEW: NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Light
REVIEW: NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Light

And here is what’s bad about them…

  1. Not great battery life. They do drain when off, when using AA batts they do dim as the AA batteries come to the end of their life. Work really well on Sony NPF batteries though.
  2. Not the brightest lights available. But also not the worst.
  3. They feel cheap. they’re plasticky and a bit bulky for the power output.

On Amazon they currently have a score of about 3.5 stars, but what’s really telling is reading the reviews themselves.

I always read reviews carefully, but I also always, always read between the lines.

Take a look at what the reviewer is saying and ask yourself why they’re saying that, what preconceptions they had when they bought the product, and perhaps what unreasonable expectations they were carrying when I tested the product and wrote the review.

Poor Battery Life

Almost all the bad reviews for this product refer to battery life. They’re not really complaining about the battery life itself, more that the batteries drain even when the unit is not in use. And they’re dead right. The batteries do drain when the unit is off.

But here’s the thing… here at BudgetProPhoto our ethos, our mantra, is that if you pay bottom dollar for your equipment, you have to be prepared to make concessions. If you’re not prepared to make concessions, then you will be unhappy with your equipment. It is that simple.

So here is our summary of this product, including those all-important concessions:

These lights, for the price, are incredible! More than incredible. They are insane!

Take the rough with the smooth!

Sure, they drain batteries even when off. So, in exchange for saving hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars if you’re buying several lights, you’re going to have to remember… wait for it… to take the batteries out when you’re not using them.

I am so sorry to have to deliver this devastating news. I realise of course, just how much of a blow this will be…

Seriously guys, get a grip! Take the batteries out! Use the cheapest lights in the business, and be happy with the fact that, for literally the tiniest amount of extra effort, you are getting top quality lights, almost for free. The moment you stop expecting $800 functionality for $40, you will suddenly become the happiest people in the business!

Let us know your thoughts on this review, whether or not you agree with our assessment, and anything else you want to say by clicking the comments at the bottom of the article.

Our advice is go get these lights now!

Here’s a video we shot using only these NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Video Lights

3 thoughts on “NEEWER 2-Pack 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Light – REVIEW

  1. Hi there,

    I was wondering if you had any issues keeping these lights switched on? I bought two and both stay on for around 20 seconds each, then turn off suddenly and one of the test lights flashes. I have swapped the batteries, I have charged them overnight and nothing has worked – they always do it. Did you have a similar experience? And if so, how did you resolve it?
    Many thanks in advance,

    1. Hey Elliott,

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m sorry to say I’ve never had the issue you’re describing. I most often use a Neewer NP-F550 battery in these lights and it runs beyond any time I’ve ever had them on – 1.5 hours +.

      I’ve also used with AA batteries, and they drain fast, but I was still getting 1 hour + with these lights straight out of the box.

      What batteries are you putting in there?

      I’ve done a quick search, but I can’t find any reference to what you’re describing. I’ll keep looking. Sounds unusualy, definitely.

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