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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

1000W or 100W LED Fresnel Mini Review • UPDATED

LED fresnel light

I'm under a simply insane workload right now. This is simply because I'll be gone next week for NAB and things just have to be done and clients are also wanting their stuff this week.... funny how that works out.

So NAB predictions : Tons of new cameras. The Baby Alexa 2K / 1080 has been announced. Expect more

LED : I think the real news will be this is the year tungsten lighting is dead. Long over due. Pictured above is a LED Fresnel I just got a few days ago. It works :) Mini review below. That said Mole Richardson is going to be showing large LED fresnels at NAB. I'm sure they'll be stupid expensive. 

Nila however is going to be showing a "value priced"  1X1 LED that I may look at. 

The problem with current LED fixtures is mainly price ( gouging ) out there. There are cheap import HMI's, lots of used ones and also import LED's that the big name ones just aren't quite making me buy any. Its nice not to be gear poor !

LED Fresnel Mini Review

It works !

Its pretty bright, but its not a 1K... well maybe a 1K with CTB = 300 to 450w output. Still its 5600K, and if you wanted a small 400W HMI this might give it a run for the money. 

UPDATE   Output on this light is about the same as a 250W. Another words its crap and WAY over rated. I did metered test against my desisti 1K with 500W bulb and it was well under a stop less light. Bottom line, they are GROSSLY over rating the output... and its green. 

Build Quality : hmmmm. Its like an arri 650 in size. The top where you would change the bulb is thinner aluminum than an Arri, but you won't bust your fingers to open the top because it does have some bend in it. The front and back are sand castings that seem a bit crude but beefy. The barndoors are really pretty good. However... and you knew I was getting to this part... Since this is a 650 housing they didn't change anything for the LED. The problem is the LED has a huge heat sink on the back of it that really limits the amount of focus range available... as in its like 1/3 that of the regular tungsten light of the same style. That said since you mainly tend to use the wide end of the light this isn't the end of the world.

Something else weird, the focus control works backwards for some reason as compared to an Arri :( annoying. Another problem with the focus is that it has a bind point. It feels like a metal burr or mis alignment. I ran the focus back and forth a number of times but its still there. I plan to try a dab of grease which is NOT on the focus drive.

Am I done yet ? no.... The light body has a circut board in the botton of it. Ok fine, my HMI's have components in them too. The problem is its a bare board. Normally you would pot or epoxy dunk coat a board like this so its sealed from the elements. Then there is the power cable. Its maybe 2M / 6ft long with what looks like a mini power brick in the middle with power switch and fuse. This is totally dopey. I plan to mount the power box onto the back of the light and then put a proper 20ft or so cable onto it.

What else will I complain about ? well there is no knob / button for a rope to lasso the cable to the light, or even a hole for an S hook. 

Anything else ? well the light does come with a 3200K converter lens that attaches with 3 super magnets. Its ok, its an interesting idea. For basic work it might be ok, but I would not trust it in a studio on a grid.... go get some CTO and C47's please !

The stirrup seems otherwise decent. There is a plastic 5/8 fitting for attaching to a light stand. given that Arri has done this for quite some time on these small lights we'll see how well this one holds up and if I wind up replacing it.

Check out this DOH! moment... the power cord is upside down ! plug this into any normal U.S. outlet and the power cord comes out the top.... DUH ! well it does look right, doesn't it ?


Light Quality : This fixture uses a condenser lens. Its clear. It works and seems pretty even. My guess is the clear lens probably adds to the light output as opposed to a more traditional fresnel. The focus works, but the travel range is short. Whats different with this lens is that when you cut the barndoors down to a thin strip of light you might see either a venetian blind effect or some CA effects. Might be cool for some uses, might not for most others. On this YMMV !

As for color, its hard to say. Just a quick judgement by eye seemed to indicate this light was a bit green :( However it would not be the end of the world to put some 1/4 or 1/2 minus green right into the light itself. I need to do some real tests and figure it out.

Since this light does use electronic power supply it will power up on anything from 95-220V which is great if you travel. However it also means you can't dim it with a dimmer. A few pieces of black window screen though will work fine a scrim since heat isn't an issue... you do have a few peices in your gel kit, right ? I have for many years now for use on flo, LED and low power tungsten.


Should You Buy One ? : Let me tell you in a month or two once I have it working on jobs. If it proves not to be too green, and I can mount the power box on with minimum fuss it might be a maybe. Right now its a very 1.0 product that needs refinement like a longer housing for better focus.

Ok, now to pack for NAB !


I've been at NAB for a few days checking out several of the new LED fresnel fixtures. I think they are ALL being VERY generous about what their actual light output value is. The Mole Richardson stuff looks really good, solid CRI, but still a bit pricey. This light just doesn't seem to have good CRI and seems to have a green cast. It may be good for doing BG fx light, but I don't think its for normal use. I think I'm going to need to find some minus green to install full time into this light to get something even. That will cut the output a bit. Its no where near a 1K. I'm at the point of saying this is a don't buy unless all the limitations are something you can work around based very limited budget. In general I'm saying this light is a do not buy. Rare for me to say this but I think this product just has too many issues.


Just don't buy this one, its crap. Its rare for me to totally say a product is junk, but this one is. I'm sure the 2X-3X higher priced lights may be better, but not without an easy return policy would I consider getting one.