Shoulderpod L2 test: a very practical mini video torch

Estimated read time 6 min read

Shoulderpod L2 test: a very practical mini video torch

Its manufacturing quality is so great, its finish so neat that this Shoulderpod L2 video torch seems to be made of anodized metal. In doubt, we asked the manufacturer the question: it is ABS, a polymer plastic used for its rigidity, its resistance to shocks and corrosion.

Taken in hand, handled in the field, this torch is therefore far from TOC. On the contrary, it is solid. To tell the truth, the Shoulderpod L2 is intended for videographers, multimedia reporters who have not hesitated for years to replace their large cameras with lighter APN video functions or simply high-end smartphones. And many videographers and “backpack journalists” from various media, including those of the BBC, have adopted the products of ShoulderPod, a specialist recognized by the profession for its accessories and kits designed for smartphone shooting.

Their first G1 grip for smartphones, launched more than nine years ago, has become a benchmark for simplicity and efficiency that the competition has tried to copy. So what is this Shoulderpod L2 torch worth?

Proximity light

To carry it, this torch will not take up much space in the pocket. It has a height of 9 cm. Its light block, attached to a fork that lets it tilt forward and backward, has a square base with rounded edges of 6.5 cm x 6.5 cm and a thickness of 2.2 cm. The whole thing weighs only 104 g on the scale. The control interface is ultra simple: two wheels, one on either side of the power button. The right wheel adjusts the intensity of the light (between 80 and 800 lumens, according to the manufacturer), the left one takes care of the color temperature. This varies from the cold tone (6500° K) to the warm tone (2500 °).

These lights are produced by interposed rows of white LEDs (a total of 33 units) and amber LEDs (also 33). The handling is easy, the result of the adjustment of the desired shade is verified in direct view on the illuminated subject or on the screen of the device that captures the images (smartphone or camera).

The light panel consists of 33 white LEDs and 33 amber LEDs. Ph. Moctar KANE/Zdnet France.

The Shoulderpod L2 not only has a stronger intensity than that of the lamp of a smartphone (for example the iPhone 15 Pro Max) but, above all, it is distinguished by a relatively homogeneous coverage over a fairly large area. Using a light meter, we measured a drop of 1 IL (a diaphragm) between the center located 50 cm from the torch and another point of a circle with a radius of about 30 cm.

The test of the Shoulderpod L2 in the field

The Shoulderpod L2 should rather be preferred to illuminate a subject (a person in an interview) relatively close. Even if it correctly illuminates a wall measuring 3 m by 2.5 m. Again, much better than a smartphone.

Another positive point, the intensity of the lighting varies almost no during the discharge of the battery, as verified with the light meter. It is interesting for long or repetitive shooting sessions.

Captures of a video sequence showing the head of a statue filmed from
at night and under different conditions: available light, then in the
Shoulderpod L2 torch light at its maximum intensity and at the
two ends of the color temperature scale, with
intermediate values of intensity and tones by leaving the smartphone
automatically choose your exposure. Captures Moctar KANE/Zdnet

We did this field experiment by filming at night the head of a statue in the foreground, with a Ferris wheel in the background, and under four different light conditions.

  • The first capture (top left) corresponds to the automatic exposure of the iPhone without any light input. The smartphone does a good job overall but the sky is slightly washed out, overexposed.
  • For the following two images, the exposure was locked before turning on the Shoulderpod L2 torch set to its maximum intensity, in order to visualize the (deliberately excessive) contribution of light. In the second image, the color temperature is cold, at the maximum. It’s the opposite in the third.
  • And finally, for the fourth image, the intensity of the torch was lowered, the warm tone favored and the iPhone was able to choose its own exposure.

The result is overall good and unlike the first image, the sky is no longer faded, it is darker, closer to reality. It is the gain in light on the statue’s head that allowed it to choose a shorter exposure time or a smaller ISO sensitivity.

Extension with an autonomous battery

By the way, the autonomy announced by the manufacturer, keeping the intensity at the maximum level, is 2 hours. After several measurements, we timed 1:39. What remains, for video shooting, is still comfortable on the ground.

And to continue using the torch beyond this duration, know that it is possible, by plugging it into a charger or an autonomous battery. The USB-C socket is also well located, on the left side.

Four LEDs on the back give an idea of the remaining charge. Towards the end of the discharge, the last indicator flashes and warns of a near interruption.

The Shoulderpod L2 integrates at its base a combo 1/4″-20 adapter and hot shoe-flash

Owners of tripods, large or small, pole and camera, will appreciate this: the Shoulderpod L2 integrates at its base a combo 1/4″-20 adapter and hot shoe-flash (or accessory holder). It is therefore possible to attach this torch above a CAMERA, on a tripod or on a typical rail for photo or video accessories.
Apart from shooting in the field, why not use this Shoulderpod L2 torch also in static situations.

For example, mounted on a tabletop tripod, it can improve its image on a video appointment by adding a warmer light, or illuminate objects to be photographed in a mini-studio, in the form of still life, …

Thanks to its adapters for 1/4”-20 screws and flash shoe, the Shoulderpod L2 torch can be associated or attached to various devices and supports. AP Photo/Moctar KANE/Zdnet USA.

The Shoulderpod L2 is a great success. And at € 40, the quality / price ratio is excellent. It is additional light available in the field and in the studio, convenient to dose in quantity and color temperature, thanks to simple and effective ergonomics. When is a version and an app to save its pre-settings?

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