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Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman
Bright enough for most applications
Easy to assemble
Small footprint in tight spaces
Difficult to fit everything in the carrying bag
Quality control issues with fabric and stitching
The LimoStudio AGG814 Softbox Lighting Kit is an affordable entry-level lighting kit that’s popular with YouTube content creators. It’s easy to set up, provides plenty of light, and is very portable.
The LimoStudio AGG814 Softbox Lighting Kit is an inexpensive, entry-level lighting kit that’s best suited for beginners. With two adjustable stands and two 85W compact fluorescent bulbs, this kit can provide sufficient light for many applications. Whether you’re taking portraits at home, shooting products for your online store, or lighting your latest YouTube video, the LimoStudio AGG814 can get the job done.
LimoStudio is a common name in the cheap lighting market and you’ll notice this kit isn’t necessarily built to last. But with a little care, it can be a good investment if you’re just getting started. Let’s take a look at the build quality, design, performance, and price to see why.
All the softbox kits we’ve seen at this price point are designed very similarly. The differences are always in the quality of materials used—and most kits in this range are on the lower end of the spectrum.
The two stands are adjustable from 53 inches to 100 inches, with three stage legs and a standard mounting stud. They are made of lightweight aluminum and aren’t very stable once they’re extended higher than 70 inches.
The softboxes are attached to the bulb socket heads and locked open with a circular piece that is snapped into place around the bulb socket. The kit includes two 85W 6500k compact fluorescent daylight bulbs, which are the larger 11 x 4-inch size. Each softbox has an external diffuser cover.
Whether you’re taking portraits at home, shooting products for your online store, or lighting your latest YouTube video, the LimoStudio AGG814 can get the job done.
The bulb socket heads are hardwired with an inline power switch and can be easily adjusted by loosening a single knob. The heads don’t mount well on the stands and are slightly tilted, with or without removing the rubber cap from the mount. The fabric material feels cheap, with loose threads, small sections of missing stitching and edges that weren’t aligned well.
Most of the kit packs into an equally cheap-feeling nylon bag (except for the two bulbs, which need to be carried separately). The bag has a large LimoStudio logo, two fabric handles, and a zipper. The stands, softboxes and diffuser covers fit easily inside. The bulbs are meant to be packed in the styrofoam and boxes they came in.
Although the design and build aren’t the worst we’ve seen, this is a kit that isn’t going to last very long if you are moving it around a lot. What it does do well, though, is what it’s meant for: lighting your photos and videos.
The setup process for the LimoStudio AGG814 Lighting Kit is a breeze—you can easily set up and break down these stands in minutes.
Simply attach the bulb socket heads (with pre-attached softboxes) to the stands. Open the softboxes and snap the internal ring around the socket to lock them open. Then screw in the bulbs and attach the diffuser covers to the four velcro points along the edges.
Adjust the stands to the height you want and use the knobs on the bulb socket heads to angle your lightboxes. After plugging in the hardwired power cord, you can turn the lights on with the in-line power switch.
We would rate this kit as highly portable if it weren’t for the bulbs. The kit only weighs 10.4 pounds and has very few pieces, making it easy to transport and set up. Unfortunately, not everything fits into the provided bags and there isn’t a secondary bag to hold the two bulbs. To move this kit, you are essentially moving three things.
A secondhand duffle bag could solve this problem if you can find a suitable one for cheap. But we still found this to be a huge flaw for a system that performs pretty well for such an inexpensive price. We loved how few pieces there are and could have seen ourselves bringing this kit on the road once in a while.
The LimoStudio AGG814 Lighting Kit performs well with its two 85W 6500k compact fluorescent bulbs. The two softboxes and diffuser covers do a great job of evenly spreading the light, removing shadows and eliminating glare. We found they worked great for portraits, product photos, and online video.
The lighting kit doesn’t get overly hot because the two softboxes have a total output of only 700W. Compared to regular incandescent light bulbs, these are very energy efficient. They still emit heat but can be used indoors for extended periods of time without making the room too hot.
If you’re just using it at home and not planning on moving it around much, this kit will do exactly what you need it to do.
Although the kit says there are two levels of light control available, we didn’t see that option. The in-line power switch is simply on/off and there were no other apparent adjustments on the equipment or in the provided documentation. We thought the light level was great as-is and wouldn’t find ourselves in many circumstances when we would want to turn them down.
All adjustments are easily made on the stands and socket head. Make sure not to over-tighten the knobs, as one of ours came partially stripped right out of the box.
When extending the stands you’ll find they aren’t very stable the higher they get. We’ve found this to be a common problem on all entry-level and mid-level lighting kits.
The LimoStudio 700W Softbox Lighting Kit is $74.74 (MSRP) and other kits of the same quality can easily be found for less. LimoStudio is known to be cheap and entry-level, and this kit will be similar if not identical to a lot of other budget-priced kits. (We speculate that a lot of these are made by the same manufacturer and rebranded based on how similar many of them are.)
The LimoStudio AGG814 Lighting Kit can certainly be found for less if you shop around though. We would consider it a good beginner’s kit to buy if you can find it in the $50 to $60 price range.
The ESDDI 20” x 28” Softbox Lighting Kit is nearly identical to the LimoStudio AGG814 but uses 5500k compact fluorescent bulbs instead of 6500k color temperature bulbs.
The ESDDI’s stands are adjustable from 28 to 80 inches, but because all these lighting kits become unstable when extended past 70 inches, that isn’t really a factor when comparing it to the LimoStudio kit.
The ESDDI kit is in the same price range as the LimoStudio kit and can also often be found in the $50 to $60 price range. It has a 180-day warranty, which is double LimoStudio’s 90-day warranty. But the ESDDI’s main advantage is its larger carrying bag, which can hold the CFLs in their protective packaging along with all the other hardware.
Either kit would be a good buy, so we suggest you shop around and find which one currently has the lowest price.
A decent beginner kit, but the poor build quality and too-small bag retract from its value.
The LimoStudio AGG814 Softbox Lighting Kit isn’t anything special, but it’s a decent buy for beginners or those on a tight budget. If you’re just using it at home and not planning on moving it around much, this kit will do exactly what you need it to do.