Zumy portable video light – installable softbox for picture-perfect video calls

Video calling is here to stay and looking your best on camera is essential to shooting your best self. Video quality can come down to your webcam or camera, but good lighting is critical. Working in dim light will reduce image quality but there are simple and effective ways to control your environment with simple lights like the Zumy Portable Video Light.

“We really feel this is the best video meeting lamp we’ve ever built,” says founder Mike Drees. “I lost my job due to the pandemic, and wanted to find a way to help others adjust to the new post-pandemic reality. I felt that video meetings lacked communication and human connection. I realized that good lighting can really help connect others during these times.”

design

Zumy with everything that comes in the box. Photo: Noel Campion.

Zumy is a simple but effective way to improve the lighting on your face. It has a soft foldable back with a small button to turn on the light. It comes with a micro USB cable that connects to the Zumy for power. The other end of this cable can be connected to your laptop via a USB-A port or a USB-C if you’re using the USB-A to USB-C adapter that came in the box. It has a built-in USB-A port on the other end that can be used as a pass-through so you don’t have to sacrifice a port on your laptop

Zumy is fully adjustable using a ball mount.  Photo: Noel Campion.
Zumy is fully adjustable using a ball mount. Photo: Noel Campion.

The Zumy lamp does not have an internal battery, so it always needs to be powered by a USB cable. Although the option to use it independently would be nice, the extra weight and cost of including the battery wouldn’t make it attractive.

Zumy creates a soft light.  Photo: Noel Campion.
Zumy creates a soft light. Photo: Noel Campion.

The clamp mechanism has padding on the inside so it doesn’t damage your screen but when I used it on my MacBook, which has small bezels, it held up my screen a bit. Also, when using it on my computer screen, I found it to be a bit small. However, you can get a stand that can be attached to the back of the monitor using the adhesive pads pre-installed on the stand. This clip can facilitate and provide a permanent solution when used on your desktop but you can still easily remove the light for use elsewhere.

The small gray button on the back of the Zumy not only turns the lights on, but also toggles between the four different brightness settings.

Features

Zumy has four brightness settings ranging from 150 to 600 lux.  Photo: Noel Campion.
Zumy has four brightness settings ranging from 150 to 600 lux. Photo: Noel Campion.

The foldable light can be stored relatively flat and pops up quickly to create a small but sturdy softbox. It has a warm color temperature of 3500K and the four light brightness settings range from 150 to 600lux. The light is nice, bright even at arm’s length and creates a nice soft light – harsh shadows are not very good looking.

I wanted the option of mounting the Zumy to a tabletop tripod – it would be enough to screw a simple tripod onto the light somewhere.

“We have found that other lighting solutions, such as ring lights, are either not portable, expensive or designed for professional photographers, and thus are complex to use,” said Zumy product designer Tarek Abed. “Zumy is designed for everyone, an easy way to boost lighting for work calls, interviews, education, and remote healthcare, where making the connection is key.”

Rule

Zumy is a simple lighting solution that works right out of the box. It is small and compact and ideal for those who need a portable flashlight that they can take with them anywhere. I’ve used two of them to great effect by using one as a side light on my face.

Zumy Portable Video Light €44 from amazon.co.uk