Buyers Guide: New lighting products
LEDs and softpanels took the spotlight at NAB 2016. David Fox give us the rundown on the best of lighting tech so far this year
Although there were a few traditional tungsten and HMI lights at NAB, almost all of the new lights were LEDs - one exception being a particularly powerful Plasma light.
One of the most interesting introductions was a Kickstarter project (now more than fully funded) from Videolights. The Softpanels LED lights have a built-in colour meter in each light, which allows them to match themselves to the colour temperature of the room (and the Kelvin output of the light, from 2700-6500K, is promised to be accurately matched to the reading on the control panel thanks to the active colour monitoring and management system). They also have a Skin Tone Enhance button, to give slightly warmer, more flattering skin tones.
Kickstarted: Videolights’s smart new Softpanels LED lights
The lights cost from $1,195 to $4,295 and offer 100-1 per cent flicker-free dimming. They come in three sizes – 3x4ft (90x120cm), 2x3ft (60x90cm), and 1x2ft (30x60cm), with 130mm depth. The 600W 3x4 unit can plug into a household power outlet, while the 300W 2x3 and 100W 1x2 can both be run off camera batteries. They come with a honeycomb grid, gel frame, and soft case, and can be mounted vertically or horizontally.
Indeed, soft panel lights were the big theme at the show.
Photon Beard’s new Highlight LED range of remote phosphor studio soft lights come in 3200K and 5600K, using a semi-tubular polycarbonate phosphor panels that take about 30 seconds to replace. Future phosphors are likely, such as green for green screen work, and 4000K. The four lights range from 90W to 360W, have DMX and local dimming, and silent, passive cooling.
They are designed to directly replace Photon Beard’s popular studio fluorescent Highlight range, using the same range of accessories, but require slightly less power (90W compared to 110W for fluorescent), while being slightly brighter. The lights come with a five-year warranty for both quantity and quality of light, and the TLCI should be about 97 as it uses the same technology as its Photon Beam 80 LED.
Kino Flo’s new Select and Diva-Lite LED lights are colour tuneable (2700-6500K), and users can also add full green or full magenta to match even poor lighting in an office. If you add a bias, it will follow the curve through any Kelvin adjustment. They can dim to 2 per cent, with wireless DMX I/O (using Lumen Radio), have four user memories and can run off a battery. The Diva-Lite LED (expected August) has built-on ballast, while the DMX Select 30 and 20 LED allow users to easily take off the ballast to reduce weight.
Rosco previewed its new Silk 110 soft light LED luminaire, which offers precise colour quality and powerful output in an efficient, ergonomic form factor. It is tuneable from 2800-6500K, with a TLCI rating of 97 at 3200K. The portable (4.2kg) fixture operates under mains power as well as Anton/Bauer or V-lock batteries, and outputs 1700 lux at 1m at 5600K, with DMX and local control.
Zylight’s new Pro-Panel variable colour temperature (2700-6500K) LED soft light also made its debut in Las Vegas. It is available in 1x2 and 2x2 configurations, and is fully dimmable with a wide, 110º beam angle. The rear panel includes colour and dimming control knobs, plus two custom preset buttons.
Soft and gentle
The new Litepanels Astra Soft is the same as the full power Astra, but with a softer look - with no need to fit a soft box. The flicker-free 110W bi-colour 1x1 unit goes from 2700K (TLCI 99) to 6000K (TLCI 96). It is a little deeper than the Astra to take the diffuser away from the LEDs - to eliminate the risk of multiple shadows. It is 0-100 per cent dimmable, weighs 3.6kg, and takes Gold mount or V-mount batteries and any Astra accessories.
High flier: Litepanels’ bi-colour Astra Soft
DMG Lumière’s new 85W Mini Switch LED light has a TLCI of 90-94, and comes in 5600K, 3200K or bicolour versions. It weighs 1.8kg, and compliments DMG Lumière’s existing 3kg soft light, the SL1 Smart Light.
DMG Lumière’s lightweight new 85W Mini Switch LED lights
Cineo Lighting’s new HSX, colour-tuneable (2700-6000K) LED soft source, is a compact, 25,000-lumen LED fixture that is claimed will remain consistent throughout the life of the fixture with no colour shift or need for calibration. There is also no colour shift over the full dimming range. The 400W light weighs 11.3kg and costs $3,995.
Cineo Lighting’s HSX compact colour-tuneable 25,000-lumen fixture
Lowel has extended its range of Prime LED studio lights with three new Studio LED BiColor Prime models. The units retain the Prime’s wide 50º-beam angle, and are fully DMX addressable, dimmable and controllable, with a variety of accessories.
They are: the 85W PRM-200-BI; the 135W PRM-400-BI; and the 210W PRM-800-BI, all of which are tuneable between 2900-6300K and support 90-240v at 50/60Hz. They come with softbox, rigging accessories and light control.
The Exalux Rock (from $1,600) is a new square LED light that is tuneable (2700-6500K), water-resistant (IP54), and includes a V-lock bracket. It offers long battery life on tiny BP-U batteries (up to one hour, 20 minutes on the 50Whr fixture), outputting 1700lux at 1m, 98 TLCI at any colour temperature. Both DMX 512 and Bluetooth 4.0 control are supported. It is compatible with the Exalux X.Lite wireless control app for Android.
The bright new Ikan Rayden LED light panels come in either bi-colour or daylight versions and have more than 600 LEDs in the 1/2x1 and 1100+ LED’s in the 1x1, with 45º lenses. They come in either pro battery or DMX512 versions, with barn doors.
Also new is the Ikan’s Lyra LED Soft Light, in daylight or bi-colour versions, in 1/2x1 and 1x1 models, with a 110º beam. Both Anton/Bauer and V-mount battery plates are included.
Arri has expanded the capabilities of its SkyPanel lights with free firmware. This adds: emulation of Rosco and Lee gel libraries; a Low End Mode for more accurate colour at very low light levels; Tungsten Mode, to mimic the dimming curve and strike on-and-off effect of traditional tungsten lamps; DMX fan control; four Dimming Curves, for greater control; both Remote Device Management and Art-Net implementation; the ability to save error logs to USB; and save/load presets or settings via USB.
Chimera Lighting also introduced Tech Lightbanks for Arri’s SkyPanels, with one for the S30 and two versions for the S60.
The new Rotolight Anova Pro LED studio/location light weighs 10 per cent less than the previous version, has a new Flash Sync Trigger input, redesigned electronics and 25 percent more LEDs, making it up to 43 per cent brighter than the V2 Anova, with the ability to flash at up to 300 per cent brightness (see image top).
It includes CineSFX (for customizable lighting effects), Flash Sync, True Aperture Dimming (which calculates and displays the correct aperture for your subject at a given distance), and Designer Fade (custom fades up and down), and costs from £999, shipping in June. WiFi operation will use an optional Anova Air module (available Q4).
Zylight launched the new F8-300 LED Fresnel at NAB and has just started shipping its more portable F8-200. The new LED lights are more powerful versions of its F8 collapsible light.
The passively cooled 300W F8-300 is claimed to be brighter than a 575W HMI Fresnel or a 2kW tungsten fixture, and comes in 3200K or 5600K versions, with adjustable beam spread (16-70º) for spot and flood. It can be controlled via DMX or via the built-in ZyLink wireless link.
Also new is the $129 ZyLink Bridge, a lightweight, wireless fob, which allows users to control multiple Zylights from an iPhone or iPad via a free app. It includes four effects (crossfade, strobe, police, and flame) and presets to save lighting assignments.
A light touch: ZyLink Bridge controls multiple Zylights via a free iOS app
Kinotechnik’s new Practilite 602 is claimed to be the world’s smallest bi-colour (3000-6000K), variable beam smart LED light that is smartphone-controlled (iOS and Android) to adjust brightness and colour temperature. This allows multiple lights to be set up and controlled very quickly without having to leave the camera.
The $967 Fresnel lens design can work on V-mount batteries, and up to six fixtures can be controlled via Bluetooth at a 10m range.
Also new is the daylight Litepanels Sola 6C LED Fresnel, which offers better colour and is brighter than the original Sola 6 (comparable to a traditional 200W HMI). The 104W 6in Fresnel lens promises an even light source that can be focused and controlled, and dimming from 100 per cent to 0 with no noticeable colour shift or flicker at any frame rate or shutter angle. It has focus control from 67° to 15° beam via on-fixture dial or DMX and a TLCI of 95.
Fresnel refresh: The brighter new Litepanels Sola 6C LED
Lowel had two new Fresnel models - one with a 5.5in/13.75cm lens at 146W, the other with a DMX motorized 7in/17.5cm lens at 185W. Both are available in daylight (5600K) or tungsten (3200K) versions, with 12-50º adjustable beam angles, and include 8-way barn doors.
Primed and ready: Lowel’s new Studio LED BiColor Prime panels
Dedolight’s new 90W DLed 7 (tungsten, daylight or bi-colour 2700-6500K) is twice as bright as the previous DLed 4, which uses the same housing - a very quiet active cooling system enables the use of higher wattage LED light sources. It will cost about £1,000 for the bi-colour unit, or about £700 for a single colour light.
It has 1-25 spot/flood and also offers dimming without colour shift. They offer a very wide angle for flood and are claimed to be flat from edge to edge (with no hot spots). A new wheelie case kit will cost about £3,500 for a three-light bi-colour version, including stands, barn doors, etc. There will also be battery versions of each light, and they work with any accessory that can be used with a traditional Dedolight.
For on-camera use, Manfrotto has a new range of LED lights powered by Litepanels, with four compact fixtures. They range from the 650-lux Spectra 2, a low-priced daylight unit, and two 900-lux lights – the daylight-only Micropro 2 can be used with AA or Sony L-series batteries, while the tuneable (3100 to 5600K) Croma 2 adds D-Tap and AC power. All are 0-100 per cent dimmable.
The new 1500-lux Lykos half-panel light is similar to Litepanels’ Astra family, and has the same output as the old Litepanels 1x1 in half the size (daylight or bi-colour).
Light & Motion has added to its three 100m waterproof Stella lights with a new 7000-lumen Stella Pro, claimed to be “the most compact, powerful, self-contained LED light in the industry.” It has an integrated rechargeable battery that allows it to run 90 minutes on high or up to 12 hours at a lower output. The lights should withstand a 1m drop onto concrete, and the 5000K LEDs have a TLCI of 90+.
Light & Motion’s waterproof Sidekick lights can go anywhere a GoPro can go
For drone use there is also the new 70W Stella 5000d Drone LED Light. The 5000-lumen light can be fully remote controlled from the drone controller including on/off, dimming, and a power-saving strobe mode for photography. It weighs 750g, is 88mm tall, with a native 120° beam and a TLCI of 93. It operates from a drone or camera battery with 12-25.2 volt input.
Light & Motion’s small new Sidekick lights are waterproof to 60m and can be used with a GoPro mount or a cold shoe. The $150 Sidekick Duo offers spot and flood, while the $130 Sidekick is flood only. They are ideal for GoPros or other small cameras, are very light (123g), and run for 60 minutes at full power (600 lumen) or 240 minutes at 150 lumen from the built-in battery.
Hive Lighting’s new 1000W Plasma bulb is five times brighter than the current 250W Plasma bulbs, producing the equivalent output of a 2.5kW HMI or 10kW Tungsten incandescent. It is claimed to be “the highest output light you can plug into a wall” and “the highest quality artificial daylight ever produced”. The single point source arc lamp promises 50,000 hours bulb life and colour adjustment between 4600K and 6500K. The Wasp 1000 Par and Bee 1000 Flood will be available in June.
Flash bulb: Hive Lighting’s 1000W Plasma is equivalent to a 2.5kW HMI
It also launched an affordable pocket colour meter, the Hive Antenna, which is operated by a single button and can be charged with a phone charger.