By David Hayward
Several companies have launched small action video lights in the past few years, and Knog have made an entry with the Qudos, based around three Cree LEDs and available in Silver or Black.
It comes in a tin box with an absolute panoply of GoPro compatible mounts, for which the light itself has a pair of GoProngs projecting from the cast metal body. At the back is a transparent plastic battery door with an o-ring seal, and several indicator LEDs beneath showing what mode the light is in. A red LED also gives a five minute warning that the battery is about to go flat.
Among the mounts are a splitter mount that lets you run a light and action camera next to each other on a single GoPro compatible mount, and also a cold shoe/screw mount, so you can use it the light on your DSLR or tripod.
The build quality is good, with the body all metal, and the front mostly consisting of a chunky glass lens. The sealing on the battery door lasted through all kinds of weather during testing, and according to Knog is rated to be submersed up to 40 metres.
It has three lighting modes, with a bright and dim setting for each. Despite one being labelled “spot”, they all cast a very wide arc, as they’re designed to work with the 150º – 180º shooting angles of action cams. Depending on settings used, battery life ranges from 42 minutes to 4.3 hours.
The battery has a little pull tab, a micro-USB port for charging from any computer or phone charger, and one side sloped so you can’t insert it the wrong way round. An LED switches from red to green when charging is complete.
The Qudos is a well designed, solid product, but unfortunately I’d say not ideal for mountain biking. Firstly, the way it cycles through all six settings is a confusing alternation between bright and dim, and the output and angles between the three bright modes and the three dim modes just aren’t discernable without looking at the LED display on the back. This quickly gets frustrating when it’s mounted on your head.
Secondly, the five minute battery low warning is not visible when you have it any place that’s good to mount a camera for cycling, and there’s no other warning. The light just winks off. You might well be able to use it for extreme sports, but I definitely wouldn’t depend on it.
Third, the throw is far more suited to short range shooting than the kind of long range shots that fast moving bikes and trails work with (tellingly, this also isn’t the kind of imagery Knog put in their marketing materials for the Qudos). The beam angle is also so wide that unless you get some kind of layback mount for a camera such as a Garmin or Shimano, it only works with GoPro-style cameras. The concave lens on our CM-1000 projected into the light, resulting in a third of the frame filled with glare.
Trying to use this light alone at night, I couldn’t really see trail hazards until they were within a couple of bike lengths. Using it in combination with a more powerful light on the handlebars, the camera naturally exposed for the hotspot in the centre of the frame, and the flood from the Qudos didn’t really do much to offset that.
Overall: The Knog Qudos is a solidly built and mostly well designed product, though the mode cycle could be improved and it doesn’t seem designed for shooting mountain biking. It seems to be for camera operators, not riders, but if you want to film your mates in a skate park or other close range situations, it might work well for you.
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 3 months|