Video LED matches ambient light levels, has built-in condenser mic

Yongnuo are to release an LED video light with automatic brightness adjustment and a built-in condenser microphone.

Yongnuo YN160II with handle

Yongnuo are to release an LED video light with automatic brightness adjustment and a built-in condenser microphone. Wait, what?

If you make films with your DSLR camera, you’ll often need an external microphone — the in-camera ones are usually not much use except for close-quarters reference audio. But when there’s a shotgun mic sitting in your hotshoe, how do you also use on-camera lighting without resorting to unwieldy brackets and video rigs? That’s where the built-in condenser mic of the Yongnuo YN160II comes in. A two-in-one device, you can light up your subject while recording audio simultaneously.

Yongnuo YN160II on a video DSLR

Now, if you are moving from the world of flash lighting, you might be used to TTL metering in your speedlights adjusting the brightness automatically to match the conditions. Continuous lights, by contrast, are generally manual-control only. But the Yongnuo YN160II has a “built-in photometric system” that will automatically adjust the light output to match the ambient levels. This works both on- and off-camera, saving you the trouble of adjusting settings by hand. When the natural light is strong enough, the LED will even turn off completely to save batteries.

Yongnuo YN160II with handle

As well as the two nifty new features, the YN160II inherits the characteristics of the original YN160, including a 160 LED array, barndoors, AA or lithium batteries, colour filters and a handle mount. An infrared remote control will let you adjust settings of the light and doubles up as a Canon, Nikon, Sony or Pentax camera remote.

Yongnuo YN160II

According to the manufacturer, the built-in microphone comes with a “bi-way amplifier and noise reduction circuit” to offer “crystal clear and stereo recording”. To connect it with your camera’s audio input, just use the included stereo 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable.

From the specifications, it’s difficult to tell how useful the microphone or automatic brightness adjustment will be in practical applications. Once the first user reviews appear, it’ll become apparent whether the Yongnuo YN160II is a brilliant bit of kit or a bit too ambitious.

Pricing and availability have not yet been announced. Upon release, the YN160II will be on sale at the official Yongnuo store.

David Selby
Based in Paris, France, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a quantitative analyst.
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