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Whether you’re embarking on a journey as a video podcaster, live streamer, or YouTube content creator, good lighting is an important part of your setup. No matter your budget, you’ll need at least one piece of lighting equipment.
That’s where the Elgato Key Light Mini comes in. This portable device is bright enough to give your video content a professional look, but well within most creators’ budgets. In this Elgato Key Light Mini Review, we explore this compact lighting solution.
What is the Elgato Key Light Mini?
The Elgato Key Light Mini is a compact LED lighting solution designed for content creators, streamers, video podcasters, and video producers. Produced by Elgato, a company known for its products catering to content creators, this smaller version of the original Key Light is ideal for situations with limited space.
The Key Light Mini is an adjustable lighting tool, allowing users to achieve the perfect lighting conditions for their video recording, live streaming, or content creation needs. It’s easy to mount, offers wireless control options, and offers features to adjust the light without disrupting your recording or streaming session.
Elgato Key Light Mini Design
- Mounting: ¼” thread mount for tripods or camera mounts, magnetic rear
- Weight: Approximately 300g (0.66 pounds)
- Dimensions: Varies depending on setup
- Accessories: Mounting equipment not included
The Elgato Key Light Mini boasts a durable and sleek construction. It features a compact, all-metal design with a sturdy build, ensuring long-lasting use. The light panel is protected by a diffusion layer for soft and even lighting.
The Elgato Key Light Mini features straightforward onboard controls, including a USB-C port for charging the battery. It includes a power button for on/off functionality, a brightness adjustment dial for controlling light intensity, and a color temperature adjustment dial to switch between warm and cool lighting. These intuitive controls allow users to customize their lighting easily.
Simply hold down the wheel to switch between these two modes, and the Key Light Mini will flash once or twice to indicate its current mode. Additionally, there’s a reset button to restore the Key Light Mini to factory settings.
At the back, there are LEDs that display the current battery level, along with a small blue LED that signals whether the Key Light Mini is connected to Wi-Fi or not.
This key light offers versatile mounting options. It can be attached to a desk using its included multi-mount clamp, which fits most tabletops. Alternatively, it can be mounted on a standard 1/4-inch thread tripod for flexible positioning.
While it is primarily designed for mounting on an arm or similar device, its rear is magnetic. Elgato suggests this feature is handy for illuminating stovetops during cooking streams, as the Key Light Mini can magnetically attach to a stove hood. (Exercise caution when placing the light near hot foods or steam to avoid potential safety hazards.)
That said, this key light does not include mounting equipment, so additional costs should be factored in if you choose to purchase this light.
Setup and Performance
- Brightness: Up to 800 lumens
- Color Temperature Range: 2900K to 7000K
- Power Source: Built-in rechargeable battery (4,000mAh) or AC power
- Battery Life: Approximately 4 hours at 50% brightness
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi for wireless control
- Control Options: Onboard controls, Elgato Control Center mobile or desktop app
- Compatibility: Elgato Stream Deck
In addition to the onboard controls, the key light can be controlled wirelessly through Elgato’s Control Center mobile or desktop app. Some users reported encountering difficulties getting it to connect to Wi-Fi networks, despite performing a full factory reset.
If successfully connected to your network, the Elgato app allows easy control of brightness and temperature settings. There’s also a “Studio Mode” that lets you run the light solely on AC power, bypassing the battery. Compatibility with Elgato’s Stream Deck makes it convenient to toggle the light on/off and adjust settings using that method.
In terms of lighting performance, the Key Light Mini is surprisingly potent, emitting 800 lumens of brightness within a temperature range of 2900 – 7000K. This level of brightness may be excessive for close-up use, so we recommend keeping it at around 35-40% brightness for video podcasting, YouTube recording, and Twitch streaming.
While one Key Light Mini may suffice for streaming, ideally, two would provide more even lighting. However, this might not align with a budget-conscious approach.
Battery and Power
The 4,000mAh battery offers about 4 hours of lighting at 50% brightness, and the light’s lightweight design at 300g makes it easy to transport for photoshoots or filming. It can also be run on AC power.
Who is the Elgato Key Light Mini For?
The Elgato Key Light Mini is best suited for:
- Content Creators: Streamers, YouTubers, and podcasters who want to enhance the lighting quality of their videos and live broadcasts.
- Photographers: Those in need of portable and adjustable lighting for photoshoots, both in-studio and on-location.
- Filmmakers: Independent filmmakers and videographers who require a compact lighting solution for their video projects.
- Gaming Streamers: Gamers who livestream their gameplay and face-cam footage, as it integrates well with gaming setups and Elgato Stream Decks.
- Vloggers: Vloggers who create video content in various settings and need an easily transportable lighting solution.
- Individuals on a Budget: People looking for an affordable entry-level lighting solution that offers flexibility and control.
- Streaming Enthusiasts: Hobbyist streamers who want to improve their streaming quality without investing in high-end equipment.
- Casual Photographers: Amateur photographers who want to enhance their photography with adjustable lighting.
- Students and Beginners: Those new to content creation or photography, as it offers a cost-effective way to enhance their work.
Price and Availability
As of October 2023, the Elgato Key Light Mini is available on Amazon US and Elgato’s website for $99. Keep in mind that prices can change based on the retailer, any promotions or discounts, and the region you’re purchasing it.
The Elgato Key Light Mini is a popular light, so it’s typically available at various online and offline retailers that specialize in electronics and tech accessories, including Amazon and Elgato’s official website.
How to Use the Elgato Key Light Mini
Using the Elgato Key Light Mini is straightforward and user-friendly. Begin by securing the light in your desired location. You can attach it to your desk using a mount or clamp, or you can place it on a standard 1/4-inch thread tripod for flexibility.
Once the Key Light Mini is securely positioned, connect it to a power source using the included AC power adapter. Ensure the power source is compatible with the light’s voltage requirements.
Next, power on the Key Light Mini using the dedicated power button on the unit. You’ll notice the light panel illuminating with default settings. To customize the lighting, use the brightness adjustment dial to increase or decrease the light intensity to your preference.
Additionally, you can adjust the color temperature by turning the corresponding dial to achieve warmer or cooler lighting tones. Experiment with these settings until you achieve the desired lighting for your workspace or content creation needs.
When you’re finished, simply power off the unit using the same power button. It’s a versatile and user-friendly lighting solution for content creators and professionals.
Elgato Key Light Mini Review Verdict
First, let’s talk about what we like about the Elgato Key Light Mini:
- Its small size and lightweight design make it easy to transport.
- Adjustable brightness and temperature helps you achieve the right lighting conditions.
- Can be controlled wirelessly via the Elgato Control Center mobile or desktop app.
- Works well with the Elgato Stream Deck for integration into streaming setups.
- Features a ¼” thread mount for tripods or camera mounts and a magnetic rear.
- Can run on its built-in rechargeable battery or be powered by AC.
- Ideal for streamers, video podcasters, YouTubers, photographers, and filmmakers looking to improve their lighting setup.
It’s not perfect, however. Here are some things we don’t like:
- May be considered relatively expensive for those on a tight budget.
- Does not come with mounting equipment, which adds to the overall cost.
- Some users may encounter difficulties connecting to Wi-Fi networks.
- Using just one Key Light Mini may not provide perfectly even lighting.
- The built-in battery has a limited runtime, especially at higher brightness levels.
- While suitable for many content creators, it may not meet the demands of high-end professional production environments.