LEDs are becoming more and more popular amongst photographers, as the LED lighting technology has come a long way in the last few years. A lot of photographers have also started to dabble in video also which LED lights are ideal for. Some of these photographers are on the lookout for an all-in-one solution, which will enable them to shoot at the same settings as they are used to with their studio strobe, but with a continuous light which they can also use for video. The question is, is this at all possible?
Whether or not the current technology will allow for a continuous LED light to be as bright as a studio strobe, it wouldn’t be a good idea in most situations as it would be a health and safety hazard to your subject and to yourself. Some studio strobes are capable of outputting enough light to overpower the ambient light outdoors on a cloudless sunny day. Using a continuous light capable of doing the same, would be like asking your subject to look directly into the Sun, which is never a good idea, as it could cause permanent damage to their eyesight. Because the light from a flash is only on for a tiny fraction of a second, it is less likely cause permanent damage to their eyesight.
Whilst LED lights can be used for still photography as well as video with great results, they cannot completely replace strobes (not at the time of writing anyway) as LED lights and studio Strobes are designed for different purposes. LED lights are great when used relatively close to your subject. They are ideal for shooting portraits with a shallow depth of field. You can even use continuous LED lights for still-life photography at small apertures, so long as your camera is on a tripod.
However, if you would like to shoot at f/16 at shutter speed of 1/200 of a second at ISO100, or if you want to light your subject from a greater distance, then a studio strobe would be a better option for you.
Overall, whilst you would still achieve a high-quality of light from a continuous LED Light, they are not technologically capable of replacing a Strobe light, as the Strobe lighting would still offer a better finished product.