Review: Knog's Qudos Action camera light for GoPro Hero
We've seen a plethora of accessories for the GoPro Hero actioncam cropping up over the past few years, including everything from stabilizers to drones to helmet-mounted poles. Surprisingly, though, except for scuba-specific models, there's been almost nothing in the way of lights. Australian bike gadget manufacturer Knog recently set out to fill that void, by releasing its Qudos Action light earlier this month. I recently had a chance to get my hands on the thing, and liked what it had to offer.
One of the first things you'll notice about the Qudos is that it has a satisfyingly solid aluminum body. It also comes packaged in a snazzy tin box, with its various bits packed in foam cut-outs within the container – it would make for a good "unboxing" video, if I were into doing those.
The light sits up against the lens-side of camera on an included GoPro-friendly mount, and can be set to one of three modes by pressing on its single control button – those modes are Action Sports (wide-angle beam, all three XB-D CREE LEDs on), Target Spot (a more focused beam, just using the bottom LED), and Ambient (the widest beam, using the top two LEDs). Users can also switch between high and low output settings within each mode.
Light intensity ranges from 400 lumens for Action Sports set at high to 70 lumens for Ambient at low, with the color temperature at a daylight-ish 5,000 K. Battery life runs from a claimed four hours at Ambient/low, to about 42 minutes at Action Sports/high. Given that the latter setting is likely the one that most people will use most of the time, this means that you have to be selective about what shots you use the light for – you shouldn't plan to just leave it on continuously.
The 1,000-mAh lithium-polymer battery is charged via USB, and can be swapped out for an optional extra just by popping open the light's sealed rear door. Charging takes five to six hours from empty.
One thing that I was pleased to discover about the Qudos is that it's waterproof to a depth of 40 meters (131 ft). This makes it much more useful than it would be otherwise, as you can take it scuba diving.
Given that I live nowhere near the ocean, though, I first tried the light out on a night-time mountain bike ride. The footage actually wasn't great, because even with the Qudos putting out 400 lumens, the camera simply wasn't able to able to pick up anything that was more than a few meters in front of me – the result was mostly just shots with my handlebars in the bottom, heading into a black void. Knog does feature some mountain biking footage in its Qudos promo video, although the riders in the shots appear to have additional lights that they're using to help illuminate the trail.
If you're just getting shots of people and other subjects that are near you, though, the light works quite well. After my bike ride, I took the Qudos on a more sedate walk in the ravine near my house. As you can see in the following short video, it allowed a GoPro Hero 3 White edition to see up to the tops of trees, although the down-the-trail shots were still pretty dark and Blair Witch-esque.
The Qudos Action weighs 150 grams (5.3 oz), is available in black or silver, and does also work with non-GoPro cameras if a conversion mount is used. It's available now, for US$119.
Product page: Qudos Action