The Godox UL60 is a daylight-balanced 60w LED light in their UL series. While it has shares the features of the UL150, it is in a similar class to the SL-60W and improves upon its biggest drawback. Let's go over the details of the UL60, do some softbox tests, compare it to the SL-60W and I'll let you know what I think about this light at the end.
Godox directly reached out to me and asked if I'd like to review their new UL60 and a 70cm softbox, and after enjoying their SL-60W and SZ150R I said I'd be interested in reviewing their UL60. Another camera shop, PerGear, also reached out to me and asked if I wanted to review their C-Stand and 120cm softbox. These worked out perfectly and at the end of the video, we'll compare the differences between the 70cm and 120cm Godox modifiers with the UL60. If you're interested in my method and ethics of reviewing products, check out the link below.
The UL60 is part of Godox's line of silent LED video lights. These lights are designed to be used in sound recording environments, like interviews, streaming, or talking heads like these YouTube videos. Fan noises can often ruin your clean audio and this is a common culprit of that hum on audio when those fans are too close to the microphone. If you're working in a small space it becomes even more difficult to move your mic away from your lights, this is where silent video lights can be really helpful.
When it comes to price, the UL60 retails for $299 USD. The more powerful Godox UL150 retails for $439. Another Godox RGB light that can silence its fan under certain conditions is the SZ150R, which is $559. For more info on that light, check out my SZ150R video. An older light that I used for a few years is the Godox SL60W that costs $135. I still use it from time to time and I liked the first one so much, I bought a second. I'll be comparing these lights in more detail later in the video, so stick around for that.
The updated design of the UL series of lights has a fanless cooling design that is 100% silent while you're using it, even at full power. The light color can't be changed, it's set to 5600 kelvin which makes this a daylight-balanced light, and it's able to be dimmed from zero to 100 in 1% increments.
This light is advertised to have a CRI of 96, TLCI of 97 and output 31,000 lumens at 1 meter. I don't have any tools that are capable of testing or confirming this, but generally speaking any CRI or TLCI rating over a 90 is considered excellent. I haven't had any issues mixing these lights together with other lights.
The design of the UL series is both functional and I think a giant improvement coming from their SL series of lights. The aluminum housing with mesh grates at the top makes for a more modern-looking light while also making it more durable and removing the need for a fan. This updated design is what makes it possible to remove the fan from the light and get that silent operation. The top and bottom of the light have holes that open up the light and allow air to travel from the light to keep it cool. Since this light is so open though, I wouldn't recommend using this in dirty or dusty environment. Sometimes the locations we film in are dusty warehouses or garages and due to the design of this light, that could allow dirt and dust to get into your light. Something to be aware of.
Speaking of the fanless, open design, overheating was something I was concerned about. I haven't been able to test overheating with this light in really hot weather yet but I've had this at 100% power in my office for a few hours, and I've never had this light overheat or shut down on me. The hottest temperatures we've had this year were in the low 80's so far. I haven't used this when we have really hot days in the 90's yet, but the design of the UL60 seems to do pretty well with heat dispersion. I'll do some more tests as the Ohio weather picks up towards summer and update the pinned comment if I can get this light to overheat.
The yoke of the light and the large knob on the side allows you to easily adjust the pitch of the light. The front has a Bowens mount, so you can use all of your Bowens mount modifiers with this. I tested this tiny UL60 with a giant 4 foot round softbox, and the yoke was able to hold the softbox up with no problem. Adjusting a softbox of that size was tough, but that's not a fault of the light. I'll go over this more later in the softbox comparison, but thought I'd mention that the yoke is strong on this small light.
The UL60 light itself does not have any controls on it. It has a separate control box from the light, that you control all of the settings from.
From the control box, you can adjust the brightness of the light as well as select from 8 built-in presets and is DMX compatible.
You can power the control box from wall power or with a V-mount battery, and the box has a chain on the top to hang it off of your light stand. The power cables on the UL60 are thicker gauged and more premium-feeling cables than their previous SL lights. Both cables from the light to the control box and the control box to the wall power are long enough to use without an extension cord in one room most of the time. The addition of the velcro cable ties is a nice touch for keeping the cable management tidy.
Overall, I like the control box design better than the previous designs since you don't have to drop the light to turn it on, off, or adjust your settings. Dropping lights is annoying if you're leaving it up for a while, and don't want to change your lighting. I've enjoyed setting this light up and not needing to touch it. In this video, I was testing this against the SL60w and that was not the case. I was dropping that light down every time I wanted to adjust it.
Another thing that would have been nice to have would have been a case, the UL60 does not have a soft-sided case like the other higher-end lights have, I understand this is probably to keep the costs down but I'd always love if they would include a case. This makes things easier to store and move from location to location without risking damage. The box it comes in is paper and styrofoam, so you won't be able to use that as a reliable long-term storage solution.
The UL60 does not come with a remote, but it is capable of being used with the Godox light app. I love using apps to control my lights and having the ability to pair multiple lights to control them at once has made my lighting life much easier as a solo creator or on a small team. App-controlled lights are a relatively new concept, and I love that more companies are taking advantage of this. I like the ease of use and reliability of using the Godox Light app, all of the lights pair automatically after you set them up and don't lag between inputs.
The UL60 does not come with a remote in the box, but if you're not a fan of app controls you can pick up the remote for $10.
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Something I was curious about was how does a 70cm softbox vs a 120 cm softbox affect the light coming from this 60 watt light? For my U.S. friends, 70 centimeters is a little over 2 feet, while 120 centimeters is almost 4 feet. So the difference is pretty big here. I used both of these softboxes together in a recent video I made and I was happy with the results.
The 120-centimeter softbox fills up huge amounts of space with light, almost lifting the entire room level if you're not using a grid in a smaller room. It's a little overkill for small shoots, but I wanted to get the product bright and didn't have any overhead lights on at all - so the giant softbox was able to light me and throw some light into my entire kitchen. Even with the light being at 60% and being double diffused, the UL60 was able to throw off enough light for my shot. I went in thinking the softbox would need much more light. One thing to note here, I wasn't using the grid. If I was, I would need to crank the light even higher, but I had a little more headroom in the light still.
I used the 70-centimeter softbox with a grid and used my SZ150R on 15% to fill in some of the shadows that the UL60 created. Since the larger softbox was so close there weren't many shadows to fill in, but the softbox and grid did allow me to direct enough light to fill in the shadows that were there. The Godox softboxes don't come with grids, I had to buy those separately with my own.
As far as support, the laofas C-Stand did come in really handy for the 120cm softbox. I wasn't sure if the UL60 was able to hold a 4-foot softbox on it since it's so small, but it held it up great. I even left this up in my kitchen for a few days after the shoot to see if it would sag and was happy to see it held up. For the 120cm softbox, a c-stand or really heavy-duty light stand is the only way I'd use this since it's so front-heavy. Especially if you're outside, that thing is a wind sail. The 70cm softbox could probably get away with using a less-beefy stand, but I like using stands and sandbags for longer shoots to be safe. C-stands are one of those things that you'll have forever and this stand is an affordable one in the scheme of things, at about a hundred dollars on Amazon. It's lighter-weight than a higher-end Matthews stand, but it also costs less than half of what those stands cost. They also have stainless steel light stands for about $42. If you're thinking about using a larger light setup, make sure you have some beefy stands to go along with them.
The one shoot with the Vitamix was great, but I was also curious how these compared to each other in more controlled settings. To do some tests with these softboxes, I set up the C-Stand in one spot in my living room and put these modifiers on the UL60 while my lovely fiancé was reading a magazine.
Starting off, we have the 70-centimeter softbox with the grid attached. The grid allows us to keep less spill from hitting the background and direct the light onto our subject. The size of this softbox is great for one subject or small to medium-sized products. The grid does not come with this softbox, so that's one thing to keep in mind. You'll have to purchase that separately.
In the next test, we have the 70-centimeter softbox with no grid and as we increase the light we can tell that our light is spilling onto the background a lot more here. The overall light is more intense as well, so if you're trying to get the most output from your lights make sure to use them without a grid for maximum light.
The next test is the 120-centimeter softbox without a grid. This softbox is throwing light everywhere. The entire scene is getting light thrown all over, and were not able to control the light as much without flagging the light or using a grid. However, since this softbox is larger, the light is softer, and less intense overall since the light is covering more area and wrapping around the Ashley more here. There are fewer shadows and the overall level of the scene is higher.
Looking at the 70-centimeter softbox with and without the grid, we can see a little easier exactly how much more light is being thrown around without the grid. The grid is doing a great job at directing soft light towards the subject, but the light is much dimmer than the regular softbox. Both of these are double diffused so the light is nice and soft, but the no grid has more light that wraps around the subject and has fewer shadows.
Comparing the 70 to the 120 centimeter softbox, we can see how much more light the 120 is spreading around. This light was in the exact same place, but 70 is directing more light onto a smaller area of the subject, even without the grid. If you have one subject, the 70 might be easier to work with. If you have multiple subjects, using a 70 would be difficult to use and the 120 would be great for lighting a 2 or 3 people more evenly. The 120 is also doing a better job at eliminating the shadow behind Ashley on the couch. One softbox isn't better than the other, it just depends on what you'll be using them for. For what it's worth though, my fiance loved the 4-foot softbox since it wrapped more light around her and didn't have as many shadows. I personally love the shadows and a darker, more contrasted look - so this can come down to personal preference and what the shoot calls for.
Moving on to comparing the UL60 to the SL60W. This isn't exactly a fair fight, as the UL60 costs $300 and the SL60 costs $135. You can get two SL60w's for a little less than the price of one UL60w, but the newer features of the UL60 can make it worth the increased price.
Going over the differences of these lights in terms of light output, this comparison is interesting since the SL60W can't output anything under 10%, the UL60 is nice since you can adjust the light from 0 to one hundred in increments of one throughout the entire range.
Putting these lights side by side, the SL60W looks slightly warmer, but I've used the SL60W for years and this could be the result of it shifting colors over time. I think the UL60 looks better here, but we're comparing the light quality to a well-used light vs a relatively new light. For the light output, these lights were about a meter away from the wall and are similar, again the UL60 pulling slightly ahead but in real-world applications, I don't think you'd be able to tell a difference in light output unless they were side by side. This could be another sign of the SL60W's age.
The UL60 is more expensive but has zero fan noise, made of aluminum, can be used with the Godox light app, has longer more premium cables, effects, and uses a control box so you don't have to drop the light to adjust your settings. It also has the ability to be used with a V-Mount battery. The UL60 does not come with a physical remote, however, but one can be purchased for $10.
The SL60W is less expensive, has an audible fan noise if it's too close to your microphone, can not be used with any apps, has cheaper and shorter cables, no effects, and you have to drop the light down to adjust your light settings on the back of the light. It can not be used with a v-mount battery. It does come with a remote included though and it a great affordable light as long as you know its limitations. I've used one for years and knowing its limitations, and was able to get good results, but sometimes my audio required some nose reduction in Audition to remove the fan noises if the microphone was too close.
It seems like all of the drawbacks of the SL line have been fixed with the newer UL line of lights. The only thing that the SL line beats the UL line is in.. is price. The SL line is less expensive, but you're getting cheaper parts with fewer features as well.
I love that the UL60 is built to last with more durable materials and has made improvements in the right places. I think these UL series of lights are worth the higher price just based on materials, app, and lack of fan noise. If you're thinking about the UL60, but concerned about only 60 watts of output, check out the UL150 that has the same features, but an additional 90 watts of power for $140 more.
That being said, if you only have $135, don't mind the plastic housing, and have a large enough space to get your microphone away from your light, the SL-60W will be a better bang for your buck light, and you can spend some money on a stand, modifiers, and sandbags that you'll also need while having a larger light this.
If you're thinking about getting 2 SL60w's instead of one UL60, just keep in mind that the fan noise of one light might be workable, but the fan noise of two lights is almost impossible to work with in a small to medium-sized space. You'll have to be very mindful of your mic placement when using two lights with audible fan noises.
I'm a designer from Cleveland, Ohio and love to shoot photos & videos. I made my first website in 2004 to show friends photos & videos (before YouTube/Flickr/Instagram were things) and have been shooting and designing ever since! I have a deep passion for making and helping others create.
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