This summer, I have been playing around with two GoPro lights–the Light & Motion Sidekick and the Knog Qudos. Both purpose built for use with a GoPro or other action camera, these little lights make nighttime and underwater photography a realistic option. Much like using a flash as filler, the lights can also be used to improve your daytime photos in certain situations. Here is how the two stack up against each other.
First to hit the market, the Knog Qudos ($119) uses three high-powered CREE LEDs to illuminate your night action. The GoPro light offers 6 different settings across three modes:
Action Sports–wide angle beam: High 400 lumens, Low 225 lumens
Target Spot–narrow angle light: High 175 lumens, Low 100 lumens
Action Sports Ambience–ultra wide angle: High 270 lumens, Low 70 lumens
An extremely easy to read panel with colored indicator lights sits on the back of the Qudos, letting you know which setting you are on as well as the current battery level. The GoPro light is waterproof up to 40 meters, so you can use it for underwater photos when snorkeling or shallow water diving.
The Li-Po battery is USB rechargeable–much like the GoPro itself, you need to remove it from the waterproof housing to charge. The battery will last anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours depending on setting.
The Qudos can be used with almost any action camera and comes with a cold shoe + tripod mount adapter so you can use it with your SLR camera as well.
Light & Motion Sidekick Duo
Flood (90 degree beam angle): High 600 lumens, Medium 300 lumens, Low 150 lumens
Spot (30 degree beam angle): High 400 lumens, Medium, Low
Flood + Spot
The rechargeable Li-ion battery lasts from 1-4 hours depending on setting and charges via a direct external port. A small colored LED at the top of the light lets you know the current state of the battery.
Built by a company that knows their dive lights, the Sidekick Duo is factory sealed, meaning no external housing is required to waterproof the GoPro light down to 60 meters.
My only beef with the Light & Motion Sidekick Duo is in the mounting. Knog supplies you with a separate mount that connects both your GoPro and the Qudos to any standard GoPro compatible mount. Light & Motion on the other hand, gives you an extended thumb screw that slides through your regular GoPro mount and out the other side in order to screw into the side of the Sidekick. This requires you to remove the nut on your existing GoPro mount–something that is a huge pain and not even possible with some mounts such as the GoPro 3-Way mount. I would love to see Light & Motion think through the mounting strategy a bit more.
You can browse through the gallery below to see the different lighting effects of each setting on each camera.