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GoPro's $50 Light Mod is available and does more than light up your video

The company's other two Mod kits for the Hero 8 Black are shipping soon, too.

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Joshua Goldman/CNET

When GoPro released the Hero 8 Black in October it also announced new Media, Display and Light Mods to give you better audio, a front-facing screen and more light when you need it. You'll be able to preorder the Media and Display Mods for $80 each in January and February, respectively, but you can get the $50 Light Mod right now and you don't even need the latest GoPro to put it to good use. 

Unlike the other two mods that are specifically designed for the Hero 8 Black, the Light Mod is just a bright, little LED light. So it can be used with any GoPro, your phone or any other camera and it's useful beyond improving your shots. At about the size of a fun-size Snickers, it's small and light enough to keep in a bag or pocket, and it's waterproof down to 10 meters (33 feet).

A foot on the bottom lets you slot it into any cold or hot shoe, so while it's made to be used on the upcoming Media Mod, you can use it on any number of accessories. It worked perfectly with GoPole's Triad Grip mount, for example, which has cold shoes for adding a light and an external mic when shooting with a GoPro or phone. 

To bump up the versatility, GoPro includes a tiny cold shoe with mounting fingers on it. That means you can essentially use the light with any GoPro mount -- anything from hand grips to helmet mounts to the new magnetic swivel clip is fair game. In fact, I used the swivel clip attached to my laptop's display to improve the lighting for a webcam video chat, which worked great, but you could just as easily use it anywhere you need more light. There's also a strobe mode you can use to signal someone or for visibility.

A button on top turns the light on starting at a dim 20 lumens, but subsequent presses bring it up to 60 or 125 lumens and there's an Overdrive setting that boosts it to 200 lumens (200 lux) for 30 seconds. Don't expect a long-distance blast of light, though: It's designed to hit these brightness levels at 1 meter (3.3 feet), making it perfect for arm-length vlogging. 

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The Light Mod's foot and cold-shoe mount make it more versatile for GoPro users than competitors. 

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The LEDs have a 5000K color temperature so light looks slightly blue-white. GoPro includes a white silicone light diffuser to soften the light. The device's built-in battery charges via USB-C (the port is behind a tiny door on the side) and will last for up to 6 hours at the lowest light setting or up to an hour at its brightest. That's not a lot of time, but it's not unexpected given its size.

The small size is the Light Mod's edge on competing lights, though. For instance, the Lume Cube Air pumps out up to 400 lux constantly for up to 45 minutes. Plus, it has built-in Bluetooth letting you wirelessly control one or several of them with a phone app. If you're looking for a bright light with a longer battery life and more control, the Lume Cube Air is the better option. And it's waterproof, too. 

The Light Mod is significantly smaller than the Air, though, which is saying something because the Air isn't big at all. And when you add in the Light Mod's cold-shoe foot and mount, you've got an LED light that's possibly more versatile for the average GoPro user. At the very least it's a good start to what could be a perfect single-lens camera vlogging kit when all the GoPro Mods are finally available.