Consumer Electronics, Gadgets & Accessories

Elgato Key Light Test: Big light for big lighting?

After the Elgato Key Light Mini recently passed through our test course, it is now the turn of its big brother. Instead of mobile use and built-in battery, we can expect higher brightness and a larger light area for studio use. What the LED light panel has up its sleeve, clarifies our Elgato Key Light test.

Specifications

Product Elgato Key Light
Dimensions (L x W) 350 mm x 250 mm
Weight 1,252 g Key Light
Maximum brightness 2,800 lumens; adjustable
Color temperature 2,900 – 7,000 Kelvin; adjustable
Maximum height 125 cm in combination with support rod
Operation Smartphone (Elgato Control Center app), PC/Mac (Elgato Control Center)
Connection WLAN (2.4 GHz, 802.11 b/g/n)
Price € 184.90 *

Elgato Key Light review: the scope of delivery

The Elgato Key Light comes in a comparatively huge box along with the manufacturer’s typical blue and white packaging. The reason for the size of the package is quickly discovered when looking inside, because it is due to the included mounting rod, called “Master Mount L”, which can be used to attach the light to the table.

All components of the scope of delivery are safely stored in a cardboard box. In addition to the aforementioned mounting rod, the manufacturer includes another cardboard box, which contains the power supply along with four different power adapters. The most important thing is in the center of the box, because that is where you position the LED light panel itself, which is delivered in a paper bag.  Elgato has completely dispensed with plastic here, which we like very much. The usual safety instructions, as well as a quick-art cable and a cable clip complete the scope of delivery.

Design and finish

While Elgato still relies on a rectangular light panel including rounded edges for its little brother, the Elgato Key Light presents itself a bit more rounded, but still relies on a rectangular shape. It measures 30 mm x 350 mm x 250 mm (depth x width x height) and weighs around 1.31 kilograms – without the mounting rod. Thus, it is about 3.5 times as wide and 2.5 times as high as the mini model and correspondingly much heavier.

The frame is once again made of high-quality aluminum, with the back featuring the classic Elgato pattern. This makes for a noble look. For ventilation or heat dissipation, there is an offset panel in the center of the back, which is equipped with vents all around.

At its bottom we find the on/off switch including three operating modes (from the left: on, off, reset), as well as the connection for the power supply next to it on the right. The front is mostly taken up by the LED light panel, which is surrounded by a black aluminum frame with a width of about 1.6 centimeters. On the top and bottom, as well as on the left and right of the frame, there is a 1/4-inch thread in the center, which can be used to screw the Key Light into the included Strange. However, the light panel can also be easily integrated into any existing tripods.

The included Master Mount L is made of sturdy metal and has a screw mechanism on the bottom to attach to the table or a surface. On the top are two rubberized screws that allow you to adjust the height between 55 cm and a maximum of 125 cm.

At the very top, there is also a ball head mount into which the Key Light is simply screwed. With the help of the underlying screw including the manufacturer’s logo, the light panel can thus be rotated, tilted and freely brought into the desired position.

Workmanship of the Elgato Key Light

Basically, the build quality is on a very good level in our Elgato Key Light test. However, the back of the light panel proves to be susceptible to fingerprints.

Otherwise, all components feel sturdy and of high quality. However, we are somewhat concerned that the LED panel itself yields a bit under pressure at the corners and emits a slightly alarming cracking noise. It is unclear whether this is a production defect in our test sample and whether this has an impact on the longevity.

We really like the included Master Mount L, where the manufacturer really put some thought into it. For example, both inner surfaces of the table mount have a rubberized surface (which is not completely cleanly finished either, though), while the solid metal mounts guarantee a secure hold.

Operating the Elgato Key Light

Elgato completely dispenses with on-device controls on the larger Key Light. While in the case of the Key Light Mini, for example, the brightness could be adjusted via a rotary control, the large studio light always has to resort to the Elgato Control Center app for PC, Mac, iOS and Android.

Elgato Key Light Operation
Towering up to 125 cm above the table if desired, the Key Light

The fact that the Mini is the latest model is also evident in terms of WLAN connectivity, because while there was a choice of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, the Elgato Key Light communicates exclusively in the 2.4 GHz band (Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n) and requires WPA or WPA2 encryption.

If all this is given, the light panel appears in the list of available networks in a fraction of a second and is ready for immediate use with just one click. In terms of functionality, the mobile app and Windows or Mac software do not differ from each other. In addition to the option to rename the device, it can be turned off in the program at the touch of a button.

Additionally, the color temperature can be freely fine-tuned between 2,900 Kelvin (cool white) and 7,000 Kelvin (warm white), while the brightness may be adjusted between 3 percent and 100 percent.

Elgato Key Light energy label

Luminosity and field test

The Elgato Key Light’s maximum brightness is 2,800 lumens, a whopping 2,000 lumens more than its little brother. In practice, this results in an impressive luminosity that is available around 10 seconds after the device is switched on.

Here, too, Elgato relies on a total of 160 high-quality OSRAM LEDs that offer several advantages. On the one hand, they are particularly durable and on the other hand, they rely on a diffuse reproduction of the light, which does not dazzle even at maximum luminosity and does not tend to flicker in video recordings.

While the minimum brightness of 3 percent provides a decent, pleasant illumination, even pitch-dark environments are excellently illuminated at a full 100 percent. However, a value of 50 percent is completely sufficient at an estimated distance of up to three meters – the difference to the full luminosity of 100 percent is hardly noticeable. Only with increasing distance of the light do values beyond the 50 percent mark become interesting.

The operation with the help of the smartphone app proves to be especially practical, as it allows the lighting to be conveniently adjusted during a running shot and directly implements our inputs without delay.

The heat development is also in the very good range, although Elgato warns on the back of the light as well as in the manual that the Key Light could get hot in continuous operation. However, this is rather to be understood as a necessary safety note, because even after an hour, the LED light panel only gets lukewarm.

Summary of the Elgato Key Light

If you are looking for a large and bright studio light for stationary use, the Elgato Key Light will serve you very well. The setup is child’s play and done within a few seconds. The simple operation using the mobile app or the software also proves to be practical.

The high-quality and long-lasting OSRAM LEDs realize an impressive brightness that is more than sufficient even at a value of only 50 percent. For larger setups in the area of streaming, several key lights can also be combined with each other and controlled centrally via the software.

On the other hand, points are deducted for the relatively high price, for which additional features such as colored RGB lighting have to be waived. However, those who don’t need that will get a lot with the Key Light from Elgato.

Elgato Key Light

Design and workmanship
Brightness and lighting
Usability
App and features
Value for money

90/100

Enormously bright light panel with high-quality LEDs and intuitive operation, but limited range of functions.

Elgato Key Light price comparison


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Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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