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Ow, My Eyes
on October 31, 2011
This thing is surprisingly bright. From a meter away, ISO 100, it gives a 2.8 split. The reason I give this a rating lower than 5 is because the color temp is off. It is too blue, slightly green. This is no surprise considering the price. It is also why one of the gels that comes with it is -green. But I feel that the gels that they give are too strong for cine work. The -green only needs to be a 1/4 maybe 1/2, not a full. Now skin tone is too red; a nice gesture at least. Another con of the unit is that it is obviously more bright in the center of the light and then there is an uneven vignette to the rest. This is not specific to this 160 unit, I also ordered a 126 led unit and have the same issue. You can easily fix this by reflecting the light or putting on some black foil, but built in barn doors would be a practical addition.
A rather peculiar thing is that to my eyes the 126 led light seems brighter. When doing a light check with my light meter, a nice sekonic digital one, it was reading half a stop brighter than the 160 light one. That's funny, more lights equal less power. I did a test right up on the light source and the f-stop at 100 iso was 16.3 for both of them. I assume for some reason the drop off is faster on the 160 unit. The 160 led unit does however have a greater spread, and considering the vignette this is an advantage because more area is flatly lit.
This might seem like a lot of complaints, but for the price this is expected and still worth purchasing. The Arri version of these lights, although it comes with mounts and chargers and external dimmers, costs 2,000 dollars because you don't need -green and the light is even. I can live with these.
I have already done an initial shoot with these lights out in broad daylight, and it really does fill the shadows well. If you are lacking a bounce board, this is good for a one man team. Another good use would be for a doc camera- but I would suggest picking up an umbrella mount or something stronger to diffuse it because as is the shadows are too harsh on the face.
If you do narrative work, I suggest getting a suction cup mount, like the Panavise 809, to mount on windows. This light could fake daylight or accentuate a shadowed window as long as you have the right gel on there.