New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash Preorder

Gear & Apps

Lowel GL-1 In Depth Review | Our Favorite Portable Lighting Solution

By Pye Jirsa on May 30th 2014

The Lowel GL-1

We’ve reviewed the Lowel GL-1 before, but now that we’ve spent a year with it we wanted to revisit and give a more in depth review of our favorite portable lighting solution.

Lowel GL-1 In Depth Review and Sample Images

Lowel GL-1 Specifications

  • High powered focusing LED light source
  • Dimming Range 5-100%
  • Focusing Range 5:1
  • 90 CRI for high quality color output
  • 3000K color output
  • 1/4” and 3/8” stand mounting options
  • 82MM threaded front element allows you to add a Tiffen 80B to covert to Daylight balance output
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Dim via trigger with feel or by dial for a fixed exposure
  • Battery life of approximately 1 hour on a full charge
  • Power consumption 25W

Performance: 5 out of 5 stars

The quality of light that comes out of this light is absolutely fantastic. In front of the LED there’s a Fresnel lens which creates a well controlled and well dispersed light. The versatility of the zoom and output makes this light a candidate for almost every troubled lighting situation. We weren’t sure what to expect when we first got the GL-1, but we can confidently say it’s exceeded our expectations and it now comes with us on every shoot.

gl-1 fresnal lens

Features: 5 out of 5 stars

We gave features 5 out of 5 stars because we have a lot of control over the light. Unlike most portable LED lights the GL-1 gives us zoom functionality (spot to flood) which allows us to light a variety of different scenes. We also have 2 ways to control the output, via the trigger on the light or with the dial on the back. The battery life on the light is also fantastic and I’ve never been on a shoot where I had the battery run out on me.

gl-1 zoom function

Design: 2 out of 5 stars

First of all the trigger and dial on the back are plastic and yellow. This may be a personal aesthetic opinion but I feel like the GL-1 looks more like a construction tool rather than a professional light for photographers. The size and shape of the GL-1 is functional, but it is also an issue because I need to have a dedicated Onebag to carry the light. We have been notified by Lowell that all the areas we’ve mentioned have been noted and they are working on fixing those issues.

SLR Lounge  [] 19682

Quality: 2 out of 5 stars

Quality is also an issue with the GL-1, which Lowell is also addressing. The battery compartment door comes loose, which is why I have a piece of blue masking tape holding it together. But for those who have battery compartment issues, Lowell does a great job in replacing those for you. We also had one of the screws inside the light get loose and fall out, which didn’t effect the light quality but it was disconcerting hearing a rattling noise inside the expensive light.

Value: 4 out of 5 stars

Overall the GL-1 is a great value, and the only reason why it didn’t get 5 out of 5 stars is because of the quality issues we mentioned. The reason we didn’t give it 1 out of 5 stars is because Lowel stands behind their product. Anytime we had any problems with the GL-1 (and we use 6 in our studio) Lowel will address the problem and fix them quickly. Lowel standing behind the GL-1 means that this will be a long lasting product, and that also means it’s a great value.

SLR Lounge  [] 19683

Overall: 3.6 out of 5 stars

The GL-1 is not without it’s problems, but because of the images we’re able to create with this Light, it’s still well worth investing in. Overall the Lowel GL-1 is a great product because of it’s portability and versatility, be sure to check out some of the images that we were able to get using the GL-1 in the video above.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Gurmit Saini

    Hi Pye,
    I recently seen this product physically at SWPP Convention London and was interesting. I just wanted to know your opinion as you have been using this for a while now I suppose on whether it is worth approx £499 and the outcome of the light is great and consistent. Thought I am a part-time photographer, but I always believe good lighting gear are good investment. Also are they planning the update of this soon. Any advice will be helpful.

    | |
  2. Greg Faulkner

    It looks like a cordless drill but a light

    | |
  3. Jack Long

    3000K…why? There are 5000K led’s available. Oh and loose a stop+ with an 80B? This is just a big flashlight. The specs don’t even give any hint of output in ev, lux, whatever.

    | |
  4. Ben

    I don’t wanna hate on this too much as I think this is a pretty cool product but just a thought.

    Next time someone does a video like this, and I’m referring to the unboxing video, perhaps get someone to give it a test run prior to filming the unboxing. She just made herself look dumb. I’m sure she isn’t but when you’re not even sure what specific parts are let alone how to actually use the product it makes it pretty hard to watch.

    | |