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Is The Elgato Key Light Worth It?

No studio is complete without great lighting, and when it comes to online content, a single key light can make all the difference. YouTubers, game streamers, and Instagram stars use key lights to ensure they always look their best on camera. Elgato, a well-known maker of high-quality gaming peripherals, released its own key lights. But is the Elgato Key Light worth the price?

The Elgato Key Light is worth every penny because it increases the quality of content immediately. The key light built sturdy, it offers color control, and it’s bright enough to light up even the darkest rooms. Plus, these lights are super easy to set up and use, making them easily portable.

Lighting is one of the most important elements of filmmaking, which is why photographers and videographers invest so much time and money into getting the perfect lighting setup. With the rise in live streaming and vlogging, the importance of key lights is at an all-time high, and so is the competition to find the best one. Let’s find out what makes the Elgato Key Light stand out and if it’s worth the price.

Do You Need a Key Light?

Elgato Key Light (lit up) and Web Cam attached to desk

If you’re serious about your online content, the answer is a resounding yes. A key light can make a world of difference in the quality of your content.

Without a key light, your footage will look flat and grainy, and you’ll often find yourself underexposed. With a good key light, on the other hand, you’ll be able to add depth, dimension, and shadows that give your content a more polished and professional look. 

Key lights are also great for filling in any gaps in your lighting setup, which is essential for streamers and YouTubers who often have to film in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

Not to mention, the immediate improvement in lighting will make you look and feel more confident on camera.

So if you’re serious about up-leveling your online content, a key light is an investment you won’t regret.

Key Light vs. Ring Light

Key lights and ring lights are two highly sought-after lighting options for content creators, but there are certain important differences between the two.

Key lights are typically square or rectangular and placed at the sides or behind the camera. As a result, their light is more directional, which can be great for accentuating certain features or producing strong shadows.

However, this also means they’re difficult to position, and you may need more than one key light to get the desired effect. Key lights are also expensive, and if you want special features like low heat output and adjustable color temperature, you’ll be looking at an even higher price tag.

Ring lights, on the other hand, are circular in shape and placed directly in front of the subject. This provides uniform soft lighting perfect for close-up shots.

They’re also easier to position since they can be mounted directly on the camera. However, ring lights are usually less powerful than key lights, making them less ideal for low-light conditions.

Additionally, ring lights produce a reflection in the eyes that some content creators may not want.

Is the Elgato Key Light Worth It?

Elgato Key Light and Web Cam attached to desk

What sets the Elgato Key Light apart from other key lights is that it’s made with streamers in mind. It has a sleek, minimalist design that doesn’t take up too much space, and it can be easily mounted on a desk or monitor.

The light itself is very bright and comes with built-in diffusing panels, so you don’t need massive light boxes.

But the most impressive thing about the Elgato Key Light is its low heat output. This is a game-changer for content creators who often have to film for long periods. Many other key lights are lacking in this area and often get uncomfortably hot within minutes.

But with the Elgato Light, heat isn’t an issue, making it a safer and more pleasant lighting option for long filming sessions.

Several other features, like a wide color temperature range, easy app controls, and an adjustable mount, make the Elgato Key Light one of the best key lights on the market.

Though the price tag is on the higher end, it definitely pays off in terms of quality, and design, and, most importantly, it won’t leave you sweating bullets after a long day of filming.

Elgato Key Light vs. Key Light Air

Elgato has two key lights on the market, the classic Key Light (on Amazon) and the newer Key Light Air (also on Amazon). Here we have a few key differences between the two:

Brightness: The Elgato Key Light panel has 160 LEDs that produce a brightness of up to 2,800 lumens. The Key Light Air has 80 LEDs, maxing out at 1,400 lumens.

Color Temperature: Both lights have adjustable color temperatures between 3,200K and 6,500K.

Portability: The Key Light is slightly larger and heavier than the Key Light Air, making it less ideal for travel. Both come with stands and mounting options, but the Key Light also comes with a desk clamp option.

Price: The Key Light is the more expensive option, though prices vary depending on where you buy, and the difference may not be too huge.

Controls: Both lights have no physical controls and must be controlled via the Elgato Control Center app. You get various customization options like color temperature, brightness, and lighting effects.

Chroma Performance: A big selling point for the Elgato Key Lights is the amazing chroma keying. Both lights have great chroma performance, but the Key Light has an edge with higher brightness and more even light distribution.

Ultimately, the decision between the two comes down to your needs and budget. Both Elgato lights are great options and perform well. The most significant difference is definitely brightness; the Key Light beats the Key Light Air by quite a bit.

If you shoot in low light or need to light a large area, the classic Key Light is the better option. If you’re looking for a more portable light that’s still bright enough for most situations, then the Key Light Air is a great choice.

Other Key Light Options

If you’re not set on getting an Elgato Key Light, there are several other great options available. The Lume Cube Edge LED (on Amazon) is one of the most popular alternatives, and it’s nearly half the price of the Elgato Key Light.

It also has an adjustable color temperature, bright LEDs, and 360-degree rotation. Lume is a well-known brand in the content creation space, so you can trust its quality.

Another solid option is the Neewer Super Slim LED (on Amazon). It doesn’t quite match up to the Elgato Key Lights in terms of brightness, but it’s a battery-run option, which makes it more portable.

The Neewer LED also has adjustable color temperature and brightness, and it can be mounted on a tripod or placed on a flat surface.

If you’re looking for something in between the two, the VILTROX 116T (on Amazon) light is a superb option. It has a soft diffuser surface, is super lightweight, and the battery life is impressive. VILTROX also offers multiple Mounting Options and brightness adjustments.