Tiny but Powerful: The Lume Cube and Benro Tripod

By Kevin Felts

What do you get when you combine a selfie stick with a small LED light? The answer is an extremely light, compact, and easy-to-use lighting solution!

First and foremost is the Lume Cube LED light. For its diminutive size, this is the brightest LED I’ve ever seen. Magically, up to 1500 lumens of 6000K light has been stuffed into a 1.5 inch square package that will run for a full 2 hours when fully charged via a USB port. It’s waterproof to 100 feet, dimmable, and has the option to use it as an optical sensor as a slave flash. Download the Lume Cube app, and multiple lights can be fully controlled from a phone or pad. At $79.99 each or two for $149.99, this LED is affordable, compact, and brighter than any light this tiny has any right to be!

Aimed directly at the GoPro, the Lume Cube was designed to provide a lighting solution for action cameras as well as Apple and Android devices. There’s also a two-light kit with a mounting bar designed specifically for the GoPro that sells for $179.99. There are a number of mounts and brackets offered as accessories. Even the packaging reflects the “GoPro” stacked cube look. While action video may be their intended target market, these little lights shine brilliantly as a welcome addition to any photographer’s kit.

Combine a Lume Cube with a new mini-tripod/selfie stick from Benro and the result is an extremely compact, versatile on-the-go lighting solution with endless possibilities. Aptly named the “Smart Mini Tripod and Selfie Stick,” the tripod itself extends to almost 36 inches. The Lume Cube screws directly to the Benro’s small ball head with a 1/4 -20 thread mount. A GoPro-specific mount as well as an adjustable cell phone clamp are included.

While a 36-inch light stand is admittedly short, setting it on a raised surface such as a desk or hand held, the height is perfect. When collapsed, the stand is only seven inches tall. Personally, I doubt that I’ll ever use it as a selfie stick, but if I did, it also comes with the added bonus of removable Bluetooth trigger nesting in one of the tripod legs.

The small but amazing combination of a Lume Cube attached to the Benro Mini Tripod worked great for me on a recent shoot. I had exactly 2 hours to capture a retail showroom in available light. Besides the environment shots, the client needed close-ups of products, people browsing, and warehouse activity. There was no budget for an assistant so I was working alone. While fill flash helped brighten things up a bit, the Lume Cube mounted on the Benro stand helped me add an extra professional touch to my images without any muss or fuss. It went from a “maybe I’ll use it” combo to a “will always have it with me” combo in no time at all.

The only issue I ran into was color temperature. At 6000K, the Lume Cube casts a blue hue in all but the brightest of blue sky days. To correct it, I simply attached a small swatch of CTO (color temperature orange) gel to the front of the light with gaffer tape; problem solved!

As Lume Cube refines their product, I hope that they’ll develop a small gel holder for the light which would increase the cube’s ease of use and versatility, but that’s a minor complaint. Whether they do or don’t, Lume Cube and the tiny Benro tripod are permanent additions to my camera kit. I won’t be leaving home (for a shoot that is) without them!

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