The Colbor CL100 is a budget-friendly COB light that is priced at 200 USD. The LED light has bi-color that has color temperature of 2700K to 6500K.
Besides being able to produce bi-color light he CL100 also features seven effect modes.
The modes can be adjusted. The frequency can be changed by pressing the “rate” button on the remote control. The white balance can also be customized to all available Kelvin values.
This way the any effect could be set to a colder or warmer temperature if needed.
The brightness changes in 5-digit steps. The light starts becoming visible at 10% even though the lowest displayed number is 5%.
It’s important to mention that the CL100 increases and decreases the brightness in visible steps and not continuously.
That means it’s not possible to smoothly fade in or fade out the light. The change in steps is also noticeable when using the effect modes. It’s most noticeable in the “bonfire” or “breathing” effect that should have smoother transitions between the increase or decrease in brightness. Other modes like “faulty bulb”, “flashing” or lightning” are not affected by this since they benefit from the changes in steps.
Control panel and settings
The control panel at the back of the light has four buttons and a knob in the middle.
The “mode”/”turbo” button can be used to access all effect modes but also to use the maximum brightness of 120W. Once the button is long pressed the fan will power up and the light will increase. The 120W mode is only available for 60 seconds at once. After that the light will turn off completely. I can’t think of too many uses for this mode since it’s limited to 1 minute but maybe it can be of help in some shooting conditions.
The regular maximum brightness of 100W on the other hand can be used without any time limits.
The big knob in the middle can be turned to the left side to decrease and to the right to increase the brightness. When pressing it down once and then turning it sideways the color temperature can be changed in 50-digit steps from 2700K to 6500K. The transition between the white balance values is very smooth compared to when changing the brightness. This way the manual change of Kelvin could also be used as an effect.
When using multiple CL100 lights they can be set up by grouping them simply by pressing the “group” button.
Depending on the temperature of the filming location it can make sense to change the fan mode from “smart” to “quiet” but it limits the brightness to a maximum of 80%. But overall I found the fan to be rather quiet so most of the time I set it to smart which means it automatically adapts to the temperature.
The control screen on the back is clearly readable and easy to understand but not very bright. In bright surroundings it can sometimes take a second to make out the settings that are being displayed.
The housing is made from plastic which isn’t immediately noticeable from a distance but visible when taking a closer look. The built quality is simple and doesn’t seem very robust but overall okay considering that this is a budget friendly light.
Color temperature accuracy
For our test we used two Colbor CL100 lights and got very similar results when comparing the color temperature. The lights were tested at 3200K and 5600K but were both evenly off.
Is this a big deal? It depends on whether you are combining multiple lights from different brands or not. Then the difference in color temperature could be visible. And since it’s a bi-color light you could still adjust the temperature.
Included in the kit is also a remote control to change the settings which I prefer because I am not always next to the light during a video shoot. The remote is easy to understand because all buttons are well-named. “CCT” stands for color temperature and “EFF” for effect. An advantage of the remote is that it’s possible to switch between effect mode and color temperature immediately which is not possible when using the control panel on the light itself.
Colbor also offers a mobile app to control all settings which is probably the fastest and easiest way to change the color temperature, brightness or the effects.
The CL100 is powered with an AC adapter and is plugged into the light via a 3-pin connector. There’s also a V-lock battery plate available to be able to use the light remotely. Although most V-mount batteries almost cost as much as the light itself.
There are plenty of LED lights available on the market and it’s not easy to choose the right one. While the built quality and color temperature accuracy aren’t perfect the CL100 is still a solid choice if you are looking for an affordable COB LED light that offers bi-color and effect modes.
Written by filmmaker Moritz Janisch on November 19, 2021