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Sokani X21 small on camera light - much better alternative to Aputure M9
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  • 24 Replies sorted by
  • Stay tuned for first opinion and measurements.

  • Having a built-in tripod mount is already an improvement! :)

  • Specs

    Package Includes:

    • 1 x LED Light
    • 1 x Universal cold shoe mount
    • 1 x USB charging cable
    • 1 x Soft light diffuser
    • 1 x 3200K Diffuser
    • 1 x Carrying case
    • 12 x Color Gel
    • 1 x Product Manual
  • So, fast preliminary testing

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    • 199 LUX at 1 meter
    • CRI - 95.85
    • TLCI - 97.6
    • Color temperature - 5474

    The Sokani X21 LED Video Light is a nicely built rechargeable light than is not expensive at $50. It is machined out of metal unlike a lot of other inexpensive lights which are made out of plastic or composites. It is light weight at 100 grams and comes with 2 magnetic filters. One is a diffuser filter and the other is a 3200k diffuser filter for the 21 daylight LED’s. It also comes with 12 color gels for sandwiching in-between the magnetic filters and the unit, a universal cold shoe mount, a USB charging cable and nice carrying case.

    After charging, you turn on the light with the left side power switch by pressing in for 2 seconds. The OLED display on the back comes on and it displays the battery usage and brightness percentage. Hit the power button again on the LED’s come on. There are 2 buttons on the top to vary the brightness of the LED’s. Looking at the back, the left button is for lowering the brightness and the right one for increasing the brightness. Simple. There is a 1/4 inch thread for mounting on the cold shoe mount.

    This light feel very durable and the magnets are a nice touch for mounting filters. Also it is very small because of built-in rechargeable batteries. A really nice little video light.

    Alan's opinion

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  • I just got the couple that I ordered.

    Like the M9 and the little GVBGear, they are really bright! One bummer is that the included color gels aren't cut to a size that will fit in the carry pouch (the ones included with the other lights are). Not a big deal - I own scissors, but it would be a nice touch to have the filters fit better in the case.

    Otherwise, I haven't had much of a chance to play - but I'm excited! I think they're the brightest of the bunch so far - at least, they hurt my eyes more than the other two. :)

  • One bummer is that the included color gels aren't cut to a size that will fit in the carry pouch (the ones included with the other lights are). Not a big deal - I own scissors, but it would be a nice touch to have the filters fit better in the case.

    Yep, you can see it on photos above. I'll tell manufacturer.

  • Does this light maintain its brightness as the battery depletes? I have an M9 and it loses about 10 lux every minute making it difficult to use for more than a couple of minutes at a time as your exposure will be off by the end of the take.

  • @Energy80s

    We'll add this to the tests list, thanks.

  • Tried this with M9, here it is at 0.35m -

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    Will do with Sokani soon.

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  • And here is Sokani X21 - proper good behavior

    note that initial small intensity drop is not due to controller, but due to leds heating up

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  • Very good. Now that puts it ahead of the Aputure one.

  • Is that lux rating from 0.35m as well? Very nice results in consistency

  • @Sph1nxster

    By idea, any led controller must be designed in such way.

  • Didn't know about the brightness dropoff over time. Does the GVBPL12 experience this? The Sokani is rated at only 50 mins which is shorter than both the GVB and Aputure, but I really do like that it comes with the color gels.

  • @CommonSimpleFilms

    Have no idea, can send us one if you like to make test :-)

    Well, having light that goes down so fast like Aputure is not good. As I said, I believe it was made intentionally to have longer life. As all good led controllers always keep up brightness until input is in defined margins.

  • Spectrum and CRI

    Sokani X21 (Daylight), Measurement using CV600, Russian Lab processing

    We cover spectrum, color temperature, and all modern color quality standards, including latest 2016 and 2017 years ones.

    Never select light based on just CRI number.

    Focus on TM30 and CIE 224 and look for color distortion and Rf values.

    Sokani X21 is good light with light quality suitable for videos.

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    Color temperature

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    CRI color quality

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    CQS color quality

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    TLCI 2012

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    TM30 color quality

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    TM30 details

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    All TM30 color samples Rf values

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    CIE 224 2017

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    Support us to see more info like this - https://www.patreon.com/personal_view

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  • nice light, especially the part about it keeping it's brightness level. How many increments are there for the brightness buttons?

  • @mee - 99 or 100, I suppose. The screen on the back shows the current power as a percentage (though I haven't tried going lower than 50% so it might not go all the way to 0 - and I wouldn't be surprised if the lights showed some flicker at lower percentages).

  • @eatstoomuchjam That's good news. Sounds like plenty of fine tuning ability for most situations where you may need something this size.

  • Sokani PWM at around 50%

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    PWM Frequency is 10Khz

    Sokani PWM at 100% (battery at not at full fresh charge)

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    You can see that controller drives leds at maximum always.

    See above that controller CAN keep output level properly.

    Sokani PWM at around 10%

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  • Sokani X21 inside

    Really nice construction with alu case, nice quality board, battery is 4.07WH and could be larger.

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    Board with leds

    Vent holes are quite small.

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    Battery - not bad, but could be slightly larger capacity

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    Main board

    Very nice soldering and overall quality and design.

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  • Thermal photos

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    Hottest part is board inside and OLED screen

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  • One thing to note about the Sokani that has hit me while using it. It doesn't draw enough power (Appears to draw ~750mA max with several different chargers and cables) from the USB connection to maintain it's power level while it is on. If you leave it plugged into USB and just turn it on it will eventually run dead even while plugged in. I was using it for a multi-hour timelapse where I just needed a little video light and it went dead a ways in. There's also a minimum power level where it is plugged in and on but the light cannot be turned on. Once it charges some the light can be turned back on. However if you turn it on when it is already low on power, it will not run for very long before it turns off again. I've used the Aputure M9 a few times since for this and it will run continuously on USB power.

  • @Firworks

    If you leave it plugged into USB and just turn it on it will eventually run dead even while plugged in.

    Useful input, will need to add to such light tests list. They really need to slightly change controller board behavior. One of reasons can be that it requires more power for leds compared to M9.