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Tips & Tricks

DIY: Build An ‘Insanely Bright’ LED Light Panel For $70

By Hanssie on September 11th 2014

The new Fuji offerings were announced yesterday and now I’ve gotta save my pennies so I can buy the entire new Fuji lineup. (Unless Santa comes through this year. Which in that case, I’d like one of each please: the X100T, the Graphite X-T1 and the 50-140mm Lens). With that being the case, I’m on the lookout for even more photography hacks to save me some money, so I can put more pennies in my piggy bank.

[REWIND: PHOTOGRAPHY HACK: USE A CALCULATOR AS AN INTERVALOMETER TO MAKE TIMELAPSE VIDEOS]

LED-Light-panel-DIY-4

LED light panels are very handy to have around, especially if you do studio work or work with video. I had a chance to look at some high quality ones at a trade show earlier this year and the light output from them was impressive. I have an inexpensive mini video light panel that I use at wedding receptions, but these light panels were larger, brighter and much, much more pricey. Completely out of my budget. They can set you back hundreds to thousands of dollars, but in the following video, DIY Perks shows you how to make your own $600ish LED light panel for around $70.

The 900 bulbs produces an equivalent of 1000w, you can dim the light when you don’t need 1000 watts and it has a voltage-based dimming system which almost eradicates flickering in the lights that cause strobing lines in video. The panel also is able to be powered by a variety of power sources.

Materials Needed

LED-Light-Panel-DIY-1

  • 3x 5m ‘natural white’ 5050 LED strips:
  • step-down voltage regulator
  • a sheet of 6mm MDF
  • a sheet of 18mm MDF
  • a camera shoe extension
  • 2x aluminium tubes or wooden dowels
  • a 22k potentiometer and knob
  • a switch
  • magnet wire
  • 6.8k resistor
  • a set of TX connectors
  • small & medium wood screws
  • a sheet of plexiglass
  • 12 awg wire
  • a small fan
  • and…some tools.

This DIY has a bit more of a difficulty level involved than some of our previous DIY posts with the soldering iron and other tools involved in the process, but nothing someone who has a Home Depot nearby can’t handle. And when all else fails, call Dad.

Seriously though, this tutorial does a very through job of describing step-by-step how to build the panel. It’s a 14 minute long video, and with a little time and effort, you’ll have a nice and bright LED light panel and a few extra bucks left in your wallet.

You can see more DIY stuff on the DIY Perks YouTube channel here.

[Via DIY Photography]

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com and www.fittedmagazine.com. Follow her on Instagram. Email her at:
[email protected]

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jason Pasqua

    I built these and use them constantly for my daughter’s headshots. I love them! The only downside is they are a bit cumbersome but he recently added a new video with a flexible (roll-up) version.

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  2. Jason Pasqua

    Awesome project but I feel like I need to see the assembly of all of the electrical connections in real time. I would gladly watch a 30 minute video to be sure of how to do this step by step….I’m scared!

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  3. Michael Moe

    i will build this LED light in a smaller way to use it for night timelapse sequences.

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  4. Barry Cunningham

    Anxious to try building something like this with UV LEDs as a UV light source for exposing cyanotypes, Van Dyke browns, etc.

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  5. Mike Preter

    Love this idea!

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  6. Mark Iuzzolino

    This is a great idea. I have three Impact Octacool-9 Fluorescent Lights but are way too big. These might be easier to lug around and do just as good.

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  7. John Cavan

    I may have to make a real effort to avoid addiction to his video channel on YouTube…

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  8. Isaak Kwok

    Cool DIY project. Will definitely have to try this out.

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  9. Leroy Walker

    This is really nice…but way beyond my DIY skills!!

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    • Peter McWade

      Take your time, you can do it. Have the plans in front of you and know the plans well. You can do it. Give it a shot.

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  10. Jeff Willard

    Note that the “1000 Watts” is from a much larger area than say, a bulb… so it won’t be as bright as you might expect… but still, I intend to build several!

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  11. Peter McWade

    Yeah! Baby, Time to start building. Saw this article yesterday. Just awesome. Not only this but you can make smaller or larger to suite your needs. Also once built you can play with adjustments and mark your box so you know what is like 10% or greater to have quicker control of your light levels.

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  12. Chuck Eggen

    This guy has some serious IDY Skill.

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  13. Albert Evangelista

    that is very COOL, but I’m no electrician. I got really lost during that part of the video… :(

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  14. Brandon Dewey

    Awesome, thanks for sharing!

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  15. Chuck Eggen

    Now this is cool. Already assembling this in my mind.

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