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Sokani X21 LED Light ► Explored & Compared to the Aputure AL-M9

Photo Moment - August 03, 2018

There's another tiny LED light in town, from Sokani. I'm gonna compare it to the Aputure AL-M9 tiny LED and see how they stack up to each other. Let's have a look!

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Great comparisons between these two - thank you. One thing you didn't mention or maybe didn't test was the shadows cast by the Aputure light. Because of the arrangement of the leds you actually get several shadows. You can test this by standing up to wall holding the light. This may or may not be a dealbreaker for some.
Fair point, but both lights would do that without diffusion as they both have a spaced-out array of LED lights.
Was just about to invest in the sokani, and then the battery life limitations, followed by the battery failure issues, became clear...many thanks.
Glad to help
Amazing comparison thank you!!!!
Watched nearly a year later - still very helpful. Buying for a GoPro backup vlogging setup and love all your points. I do however, power the GoPro with an external battery, and have another slot open for the light, so the battery life isn't a deal breaker for me. Thanks for the great video!
This POS sokani light broke on me after just a few uses.
Ouch. Return it!
It’s way past the 30 day amazon window but I only recently started to use it. Lesson learned. Stick with Aputure.
I think you can still return if it broke. At minimum reach out to Sokani.
Thank you so much for such a thorough review! - you covered all the points the manufacturers never mention but that are as important (or even more) if you want to not go crazy using the products in the long run. Well done!
Thank you 🙏
I’ve had sokani my light and after 18 uses the buttons to adjust brightness fell inside but I could turn light on and off so it didn’t bother to send it back. 5 uses later power button broke and fell inside.
Also battery after about two weeks of use only works for about 15 minutes on high before it dies. Super sad because I was loving the light for the first week
I got it from amazon
PhotoJoseph they wouldn’t let me return it because it was outside of the return period also I contacted the manufacturer and they haven’t replied
Sadly it’s super cheap in my opinion
They have a pretty liberal return policy. Depends on how old it is though.
PhotoJoseph thanks for the response still no answer from them.
Excellent review !!!! thank you very much !!!
I have the Sokani light. The only downside (and it's an annoying one) is that after fully charged, it will loose all it's power in about 3 days of non-use. Just sitting in your bag. I do not know if it's a defective copy of the light that I got or all of them are like that. I ordered it from abroad and it was a pain to return it, so I still have it. It's something no-one will tell you in a review like that, but there you go.
I was going to offer to test this for you as I’d put mine on the charger the other day… but it no longer works at all!! I won’t charge, won’t come on, nuttin’. I’ve just emailed my contact who sent me this one six months ago for review to see what they have to say. Grrrr
You forgot to mention the quarter 20 that is the hot shoe of the Sokani and the hotshoe mount itself. Aputure has that flimsy little plastic piece that’s on the aperture that is it definitely fiddly ~my moneys on the Sokani X21
This is why I went with the Sokani X21, too. Also, I'm brand new to videography, so having a unit come with a ball mount (and gels) are a great addition to what little gear I own. 45 minutes of battery is more than enough for use.
Sir sokani x21 delivery to India plz guide and site ditails plz
Do you get amazon in India?
Thanks! I was going to buy the Sokani until I saw this video. Decided to get the Aputure instead. I did use your link, least I could do for steering me in the right direction.
Nice, and thanks!
PhotoJoseph You’re welcome!
Well, I saw the Aputure starting to dim from 8pm (maybe before as well)... Also this comparison give no real idea on who provide the more light. The Sokani might offer a wider beam angle, which mean that in the center it might be the same as the M9, but it would light a larger surface than the M9. Aputure M9 have very little level of control of the brigtness. And it actually occur a few time that it was just too bright ! The Sokani allow control from 1% to 100% which is interesting. Also knowing the % is great ! Especially if you work with other people, you can tell someone else you are at 50%, so he know he got room up and down to adjust... No guessing like with the M9. You got the battery meter that will help understand how the light is going and if it need an external power source. BTW, you are NOT supposed to attach the Gel BEHIND the white plastic diffuser with the M9 ! That is why there is small tab in the Gel that come with the M9. This suck because it freaking annoying to setup correctly ! Now the Sokani have a plastic cover that actually protect the LED... So I'm guessing it would be OK to attach the gel behind the magnetic plastic. I'm trying to get 2 of those Sokani X21 to test out.
Thanks for that - very refreshing, few only take the time to really test. Cheers, Christian
You're welcome!
I was about to order sokani Light but after your comparation I'm going for aputure :)
Battery and The fact that Both gives same amount of Light convinced me. Thanks!
Sweet! Glad to help. Hope you're able to use my links 😁
Useful comparison. Thank you fellow Joseph!
one of the best comparison i ever saw in you tube , i like your way keep going you have another subscriber
Awesome, thanks!!
Very helpful, thank you. I’m looking to trick out my camera rig with some gift cards I got for Christmas, and I had the Sokami in my cart, but I’m gonna change my mind.
Glad I could help!
I saw the Aputure dimming ever since the Sokani turned off.. It just started dimming faster during the last 6 mins.. Just look at its light in the Sokani...

Still, the Aputure performs better..
Awesome!!!.. Now all I have to do is replace the Sokani with the Aputure in my Amazon cart....
Are the LEDs on the Aputure open? They look like the bigger one has it's LEDs behind a screen and the smaller one doesn't, but cannot see it clearly from the video
What a detailed comparison that made me make up my mind which to buy ! Thanks
Comiray masterrace 😂
Awesome comparison. Getting the Aperture M9 😉
What is a CTU, Sir?
CTU? Do you mean CRI?
@PhotoJoseph the tugstene gel, I think you called CTU... Maybe not. Regards
Ahh, CTO. Color Temperature Orange. It’s a common color gel to warm up the color of light. It is typically available in ¼ CTO, ½ CTO and full CTO (that’s the strength, or intensity, of the filter).
Just found your channel, great review! I bought the Aputure AL-MX last week, it's the successor of the M9...I wonder if you will get it for a review soon? The MX is great, has a heatsink but it does weigh a lot more than it's older brother!
Excellent video, thank you for that.. was umming and arring and will be the aputure for me...
sokani is the better light for me. its all metal and has a decent display. its a fine little light for "everytime with me" outdoor use. when i look to the m9, i can get knockoffs meanwhile for half of the money.
good review
Micro led lights
I like the built of the x21, battery is not my concern for my needs, I'm not going to use it for a full 44 min. so I got the x21 for my win.
How long to re-charge?
Great review!
How about the manfrotto luminuse?
;) love the detailed breakdown comparison of the two lights
A bit heavier and a tad more expensive, but a great portable light: ( It's brighter than M9, but lasts 1h on the max brightness.

I have both - that light and Aputure M9. Have to compare them, perhaps.
What do people use these little lights for? I picked up the M9 cheap second hand but have found it rather limiting. I am surprised you didnt touch on how diffusion was effected by the Sokani being larger.
I put my mx in the car dash with rolux diffusion and +green and voila. I’ve even used it as a cell phone to key an actress’ face. I love these little guys. Gonna pick up a few m9s as well.
smaller, less weight and space in backpack.
im not sure, i did not own it yet, but i believe this would be great for food photography, especially when you are at a dimmed light restaurant and you want to shoot your plate
That’s a great use of it. You may want to bring those gels though… have some colors to try to match the restaurant ambient light.
I used the aputure light for black & white film photography. ✌
Lovely comparison. You took into consideration all aspects of a portable light system.
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