An easy way to improve the quality of any type of video you’re making is to improve the lighting. While you can definitely go whole hog with a substantial professional lighting kit, sometimes simple and compact is better. Joby, makers of a wide variety of camera, vlogging and audio gear have a small lighting solution called Joby Beamo. I had a chance to test out and review this small cube shaped LED light to see how it improves my videos, what it’s like to use, and I’ll tell you if I can recommend it for you.
What is Joby Beamo?
Joby Beamo is a super compact, battery powered, rechargeable LED light. While it’s primarily designed for use with photography and videography, you can also use it for things like zoom video calls, or even moveable task lighting.
Designed to be compact, portable
The Joby Beamo measures in at just 4.7 x 5.1 x 5.1 centimeters. Five centimeters is about the length of the short side of a business card. You could likely hold 3 Beamos in your hand without too much effort. Weight-wise, it’s about 130 grams, about the same as four AA batteries or two pieces of silverware. The beauty of this is that the Beamo won’t to too heavy for your stand or mount, making it a really versatile light.
The Beamo is designed to be mounted on Joby’s Gorillapod without any worries, and it also comes with a tripod mount and two cold shoe mounts. You can use the extra cold shoe mount to attach a second Beamo to the first. Since the Beamo doesn’t weigh much, you can connect them on the mount to pretty much any stand or phone holder.
For a tiny lamp, the Joby Beamo kicks out an impressive 1500 Lumens at 5100K, which in a nutshell means it’s bright, and uses a warmer light. In my opinion this is plenty of brightness for most non-professional photography projects.
The Beamo has 5 levels of brightness and is able to project from up to about 15 feet away, and using the app, you can control the brightness level to create the exact shot you need.
The app actually gives you a lot of fine tuning control and lets you really dial in the light you need. The app is easy to use and intuitive and has the added benefit of giving you remote control over the light too.
Joby Beamo also has strobe and a flash setting, and those 4 preset brightness levels. Joby includes a diffuser to soften the light giving you a huge range of possibilities for creating different lighting setups in any situation—even up close.
Battery & Charging
It’s pretty impressive that a lamp so tiny can output so much light, but that’s only good if it doesn’t lose power in minutes.
You’ll be able to use the Beamo at maximum power and brightness for about 40 minutes and up to 100 minutes at 50% brightness. When it’s time to recharge, use the included USB-A to USB-C adapter.
Time to a full recharge is about 140 minutes. Impressively, it’s also capable of Qi wireless charging too.
Design: it’s sturdy and waterproof
The cube design of the Beamo means you can knock it around a bit without worrying about breaking it. The light is fully encased in the aluminum housing, and the Beamo seems made for outdoor adventures and rugged conditions. It’s also waterproof to 30 meters, so you can even take your Beamo on your next snorkeling shoot.
Link multiple Beamos
One of the really neat features of this light is that you can use one, or connect multiple Beamo lights together, since they snap together and can be controlled as a group using the JOby app. Joby’s app can handle four Beamos at once, or by setting one Beamo as your key light, using another as a fill light, and a third as a backlight, you’ve created a full lighting rack. You can also save the settings in the app as a Scene, meaning you don’t have to reinvent the wheel the next time you’re ready to shoot. As I only had the one Beamo, I did not have the chance to test this out.
Using Joby Beamo
I ended up using the Beamo a lot more than I thought I would. I attached it to the GorillaPod and set it on my desk to act as a handy and bright filler light during some zoom conference calls. I also used it extensively, again on the GorillaPod too late during photo and video shoots. I also tried it as a key light in some of my videos, and found it was pretty versatile. In close-up situations, you definitely wan to add the diffuser, which does a lot to spread and mute the intensity of the light and soften the overall look. Watch my video to see how the light performs on people and still lifes.
Overall review: Joby Beamo
Overall, I’ve gotta say the Joby Beamo is a great idea, well executed. It ticks all the boxes of being a compact but powerful light that’s easy-to-transport simple to use and you can build on it too. Downsides? While the 40 minute run time has been enough for me, some might want a little extra juice, and the 2 and a half hour charging time is a touch on the long side.
Even so, I can absolutely recommend this light for your photo and video projects.
Joby Beamo sells for about $69US/$99CAD and you can get it from Amazon or Joby’s website if you’re in Canada.