Review rating: ***
List of sponsored/free gear: None
Did I get paid for this review? No

This is the complete review of the NanGuang CN-ST288Cx2 bicolor flexible LED panels (2×1 mats).

Exclusive Bonus: Download my free swipe file on how to shoot night scenes well (PDF file optimized for mobiles and tablets).

Goals

Here are the important questions I wanted answered:

  • Do the NanGuang CN-ST288Cx2 bicolor flexible LED panels sacrifice quality for its low price?
  • Is the CRI rating of 95 real?
  • Is the light output of the fixture high enough?
  • Is the dimming really stepless, and will there be a shift in color?
  • Can it be used for high frame rate (HFR) video?

Let’s get started.

Important: Prices, specifications and my observations and analysis can be totally wrong or incorrect. Please refer to the manufacturer’s website for correct information. You are responsible for your own actions. Results seen here might only apply to me personally and may not reflect your experiences.

NanGuang CN-ST288Cx2 bicolor flexible LED panel review

Watch my entire review:

Notes and specifications from the review

Here’s a quick list of specifications of the NanGuang CN-ST288Cx2 bicolor flexible LED panels:

Specifications (both mats)
Power draw 57.6 Watts
Size 20″x10″ each
CRI Rating 95
Rated Color Temperature 3200-5600K
Dimming Range 5-100% stepless
LED Rated Lifespan 50,000 hours
Lumens 3,414
Wireless Control No
AC 100-240V
DC 15-24V, 4-pin XLR
Weight per mat 140g
Weight of mats and one frame with adapters 1.5 kg
Weight of control unit Approx. 420g

What you get with the kit:

  • 2x 2×1 LED mats, bicolor
  • 1x 4×1 frame set (frame, backing, diffusion, 90 degree adapter)
  • 1x 2×2 frame set (frame, backing, diffusion, 90 degree adapter)
  • Light stand
  • Control unit for dimming and color with V-mount adapter
  • AC Adapter and V-mount adapter
  • Sony battery adapter (dual)

I’ve been told by NanGuang that the price is about $650 excluding shipping and taxes, and you might want to contact Karen directly at sales@nglbg.com.

Eventually, you might decide to use only one of the two frames, and I figure for most people it’ll be the 2×2. The entire kit stripped down is lightweight and can be transported anywhere. Even if you don’t want the frame, you could easily mount the lights to a foam board or some other frame or wall using Gaffers tape.

The light hardly gets hot, just mildly warm, even after hours of use – on both the front and the back. Impressive!

Light output

All measurements were taken at 6 feet, and are in lux.

Here are the measure light output results:

Values in lux 5600K 3200K 4000K
100% 1,000 900 1,000
1% 40 37 16

At the lowest dimming level the output is about 5% of the total. The dimming is seemingly stepless.

Color reproduction

All white balance measurements were taken with a DSC Labs OneShot Chart and a Sony a7S II.

Does the light change colors when dimmed? Not really:

Theoretical 5600K 3200K 4000K
Actual Reading (WB) at 100% 5300K 3100 M1 4100
Dim to 50% 5200K 3100 M1 4100
Dim to 1% 5200K 3100 M1 4100

Excellent color reproduction! Here are the results of the green color cast test:

 

No issues with color casts at all!

High frame rate mode

I tested the light at 25p, 50p and 100p, and didn’t find any issues. I believe it will be fine up to 120 frames per second, and maybe more!

Comparison with other brands

I compared the 288C with three other brands (2×1 flexible bicolor LEDs):

  • Westcott Flex (AmazonB&H)
  • Aladdin BiFlex2, and the (B&H)
  • Socanland FL-80 Airlight (B&H)

Here’s the detailed comparison chart I made:

Notes:

  • Westcott 2×1 kit is available for $1,500 approximately (AmazonB&H)
  • The 288C draws a total of 57.6 Watts.
  • All mats are weatherproof, but the control panels aren’t.

Takeaways:

Only the Socanland FL-80 comes close to the 288C in terms of light output and price, with a few key differences:

  1. The 288C has two mats, so you can use them separately (E.g.). If one fails the other can still light.
  2. The FL-80 delivers more power per 2×1 mat, if that’s what you’re looking for.
  3. The 288C comes with two frames – 4×1 and 2×2, while the FL-80 is just a 2×1 light.
  4. The larger size of the frame makes the 288C easily the softer light but with the same output. To make the FL-80 softer, you’ll need to add a softbox/diffusion and that will reduce light output.
  5. The 288C draws only 57.6 Watts, that’s only 70% of the FL-80.
  6. The FL-80 is foldable in half.

The Westcott and Aladdin lights draw more power and are way more expensive for hardly any major advantages. The BiFlex2 does have DMX, though.

Bottom line

The NanGuang CN-ST288Cx2 bicolor flexible LED kit is cheap ($650), and is rated to run for 50,000 hours. If you’re shooting 4 hours a day for 300 days a year, that’s 40 years.

For its price and features, it is unbeatable. The only major downside I see to it are the plastic construction, which includes the adapters and the tightening knobs. The light stand is a joke. It’s definitely not made for rentals.

Here are some ways NanGuang can improve the ST288Cx2:

  1. Find a way to attach frames to make larger panels (without collapsing, of course)
  2. Better diffusion cloth with various levels of diffusion.
  3. Lockable control panel to the light stand adapter.
  4. Honeycomb or grid for the frames that can attach easily to the frames.
  5. Softbox attachment for the 2×2 frame.
  6. Waterproof control panel.

To purchase the lights you canc ontact Karen directly at sales@nglbg.com or the manufacturer directly at Alibaba. I have no ties with them and I am in no way responsible for anything. You buy at your own risk.

I hope you have found my review beneficial.

Exclusive Bonus: Download my free swipe file on how to shoot night scenes well (PDF file optimized for mobiles and tablets).

2 replies on “NanGuang CN-ST288Cx2 Bicolor Flexible LED 2×1 Panel Review”

  1. Nice review as always. These panels are quite useful for photography as well, but I know it’s asking a lot to show every possible use and your focus is on video. Thanks for posting!

    1. Thank you! Actually NanGuang promotes this light for small product photography, so you can use the panels independently.

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