Lume Cube Lighting Kits give drone pilots the chance to pilot a spotlight in the sky. We took the Mavic Pro Lighting Kit for a spin to see what all the fuss is about.
Lume Cube market their product as the world’s most versatile light. And they may have a point. These lights can be used with smartphones, GoPros and DSLRs. They can be mounted, sat down or simply handheld. They can be set to varying degrees of brightness or just strobe at whatever speed you feel like. And you can control all of those features through an app.
They can also be attached to your drone, which is where we come in. We’ve been testing out the Lume Cube lights and the company’s mounts for the Mavic Pro. Both are needed if you want to try your hand at flying a spotlight in the sky.
What is a Lume Cube?
So let’s start with the obvious question: What is a Lume Cube? Simply, it’s a portable light.
But it’s no ordinary light. This light is encased inside a rugged, mountable cube and can be connected to your smartphone. It’s also waterproof. So what’s the benefit of all that? Well, if you’re a GoPro user, a keen outdoor photographer or even a drone pilot, using a Lume Cube gives you more control over the light conditions in your shots.
You can illuminate a scene for night photography or light up a dimly lit area with the touch of a button. You can sync the flash to go just before you hit record or take a photograph. You can also get really creative with light when it’s in the palm of your hand, particularly when you mount a Lume Cube or two onto a drone.
Which is where Lume Cube’s Mavic Mounts come in. Not only does the Lume Cube Lighting Kit for the Mavic Pro help illuminate your drone in dark conditions. It also gives you a new tool to help you explore your aerial creativity.
The Lighting Kit comes with two mounts and two Lume Cubes, one for each side of the drone.
Each Cube has 10 manual brightness settings that change in increments of 150 lumens. The brightest setting maxes out at 1500 lumens. We don’t know much about lumens, but we do know that the highest setting on these cubes is ridiculously bright. If you’re shooting at night for whatever reason, they are more than powerful enough to illuminate natural features like trees or rocks.
The Lume Cubes clip onto the wings of the Mavic Pro with a lightweight mount. And it has to be. Because each Cube weighs 3.5 ounces. Despite our reservations, the Mavic Pro didn’t have any problem lifting them off the ground and flying comfortably.
The biggest issue we faced was attaching the mount in the dark in cold weather. It’s fair to say that the plastic mounts aren’t as rugged as the Cubes themselves. Impatient hands and low visibility actually led to us breaking the mounts before take-off while trying to clip them on, but we were still able to attach them and take the Lume Cubes for a spin.
The extra weight took a few minutes off the battery life as you might expect, and the Mavic certainly wasn’t as nimble as it would be without them, but those are minor compared to the benefits of flying your very own spotlight.
Each Lume Cube can be charged up with a standard USB cable. The battery life sits can last for more than 2 hours, depending on how bright your settings are.
The Cubes and the free Lume Cube application are compatible with both Apple and Android. Through the app, you can control flash, duration and brightness of multiple cubes all at the same time.
Lume Cube Price and Compatibility
Now, you’re probably wondering two things at this point. First, how much is one of these Lighting Kits going to set you back? And second, what drones are Lume Cube Lighting Kits compatible with?
The Lighting Kits cost $179. These include two Cubes, the mounts for your drone and all the cables you need to keep them charged.
In terms of compatibility, the Lume Cube team has done its best to make sure there are kits available for all of the most popular drones on the market. That means you can buy dedicated Lighting Kits for the Mavic Pro, the Phantom range, the Inspire range and even for the now-defunct GoPro Karma, Autel’s X-Star and the Yuneec Typhoon H.
Looking for a lighting rig for your Mavic Air or Spark? We wouldn’t count on this happening anytime soon. Those tiny drones probably aren’t going to be strong or stable enough to carry two of these Cubes.
Lume Cubes offer a great way to add some creativity and versatility to your photography. At $179 a Lighting Kit isn’t cheap, but in reality, these lights are going to last you years and can be used in so many different scenarios. If you do decide to upgrade your drone, new mounts alone are only a small fraction of that price.
Rather than using Lume Cubes to light your drone’s way, we recommend getting behind a DSLR and using your drone to guide a spotlight into place over an interesting scene.
The posts below from the Lume Cube community are good examples of that. We did try to recreate a couple, but we’re going to need some more practice before they are worthy of publication…