Godox ES45 Review

With the launch of Shutter Sleuth, I needed to improve the lighting in my home studio. I had done a lot with speedlights and umbrellas but I knew the type of tests I wanted to run needed consistent, steady lighting rather than relying on flash. I also had limited space, power, and budget. Shutter Sleuth will include video production, where a speedlight is obviously not helpful… So I went shopping.

I’ve looked at LED panels before, but was either underwhelmed by the power or overwhelmed by the price. I saw the Godox ES45 at my local camera supplier while looking for a similar product, and was pleasantly surprised by it. While marketed for e-sports and streaming, it checked all the boxes for my needs. I did a little more research to confirm what wasn’t obvious in-store, and went back and picked up a pair.

Specs and Features

The ES45 is a flat LED lighting panel that gives a steady, soft light without the need for modifiers. Unlinke many LED panels that have a grid of individual diodes, the ES45 panel has a diffused surface that is much like having a softbox in front of a constant light source.

The panels are about the size of a laptop computer, which makes them easy to move around in the studio and get very close to subjects, but are also convenient to throw in a computer bag to take to a client or to set up temporarily in another room for a video shoot.

The ES45 is a bi-color fixture, ranging from 2400K to 6300K, with the most even blend and highest brightness at 5600K. Each comes with a detachable controller. When attached to the panel, 2 dials control brightness and color temperature. A mode channel select lets you assign the grouping and channel that the fixture responds to. When the controller is detached, a single controller can be used to control multiple fixtures in different groups.

ES45demo--7135

6500k @ 100%

ES45demo--7133

2800k / 6500k @ 100%

ES45demo--7134

2800k @ 100%

ES45demo--7132

5600k @ 100%

The panels are usable at their lowest setting, and very capable for product photography and video at their brightest. For highly-detailed products where I want massive depth of field I do have to go to a very long shutter speed, but for most work in the f/8 range, they are very bright.

ES45demo--7132a

5600k @ 100%

ES45demo--7139

5600k @ 10%

ES45demo--7140

5600k @ 1%

ES45demo--7137

5600k @ 50%

ES45demo--7138

5600k @ 25%

ES45demo--7136

5600k @ 75%

Images of the test subject were all f/8 at 1/8 second and ISO 100 on a Canon T3i with an EF-S 60mm macro lens. Test images are from RAW with a common white balance in Lightroom, and no other changes to exposure. Fixtures were approximately 2 feet from the subject on either side.

What’s great:

  • Even, flicker-free light with a wide temperature range
  • Power supply included
  • Detachable controller can control multiple units
  • Value for the price
  • Convenient form factor for travel
  • Included desk-clamp, telescoping stand
  • More than enough light for indoor video for short and medium distances

What’s lacking?

  • When used as a constant light for photography, you will need longer exposure times or higher ISO.
  • The controller uses a rechargable internal battery but the panels themselves are not battery-powered.
  • The size limits the working distance from your subject.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a steady light for vlogging, streaming, or product photography, you can’t go wrong with the Godox ES45 LED panels. If you are need to light a larger space or need to shoow with low ISO and faster shutter other fixtures will be better suited. It hits its advertised goals for its target uses very well, with some useful cross-application to still photography. It is a great light for the price, and brings a lot of lighting versatility to a small studio setting.

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