Aputure AL-M9 Review
Over the past few years, the growth and evolution of LED video lights has been staggering, becoming more colour accurate, smaller and cheaper than ever before. There's a lot of value for money when it comes to LED video lights, but there's not a lot of brands on the market offering anywhere close to the value for money as Aputure who have absolutely changed the game with lights such as the 120D, 300D and Tri-8. But for a filmmaker who's limited on space and money, those lights might not be for you. But Aputure's tiny and affordable AL-MX might be.
The AL-MX is one of Aputure's smallest and most affordable lights, around the size of a credit card and not much thicker than a chocolate bar. But don't let the size fool you, the AL-MX definitely packs a punch. Offering an extended bi-colour range from 2800-6500k gives you a wider range of colour temperature over most other lights which only offer the usual 3200-5600k. The AL-MX is also INSANELY bright for it's small size when at full brightness, but even if full brightness isn't enough for you, the AL-MX is loaded with a "boost" mode which kicks up the brightness by an extra 60%. One of my favourite features of this light is the internal battery, meaning there's no need to be carrying around more batteries than you need.
I have 4 of these lights that are constantly in my camera bag and I can't express the amount of times they have saved me on set. I usually use them as rim lights or I gel them up to add some colour contrast in the background. But I'm seriously not kidding when I say these are bright enough for a 3 point lighting setup. Obviously it's not ideal but when there's no other option, these can seriously save your ass. I literally lit an entire scene just using 4 of these and it blew my mind. But where the Aputure AL-M9 really shines through is with it's CRI rating, most LED lights at this price rating are riddled with a horrible green or magenta colour cast because of their low CRI rating. But Aputure take a lot of pride in making high CRI lighting accessible at a low price, and the AL-MX is no exception. The light has a 95+ CRI rating, which gives the light a beautiful colour rendition which you're not going to find in any other light at this low of a price.
Whether you're a beginner filmmaker, a full time professional, a student or a YouTuber, at only $156 the Aputure AL-M9 is a brilliant addition to any filmmaker's lighting kit. It takes up barely any room at all in your camera bag, it's extremely affordable and packs a lot of quality. If you don't have on of these lights already you seriously need to if you want to start upping you cinematography game!