I’ve owned these for about 2 years now, and they have been amazing to me. I’ve used a variety of light kits in the past and none of them was the right fit for my own personal kit. I was mainly using Arri fresnels or 1′ x 1′ LED panels (I won’t mention any companies here since the technology changed and they all make great panels nowaday). I used them for a long time as rentals but when I decided to switch to , what was on the market was, in my opinion, priced too much for the quality since they were all casting a green tint. Then came out these little panels at a reasonable price. Would this be the solution? And these would allow me to have a 3 light kit for under $1,000!
I’ve decided to switch to LED due to many factors:
#1 The power consumption, having halogen fresnels just drain so much power, and if you are not somewhere with proper power management, you scatter to find outlets so you don’t trip any breakers. For example, I’ve shot at the airport and their outlets only allow phone chargers, anything more won’t work. If I didn’t have the kit, I would have needed to get a generator, hire more crew members and get another permit.
#2 The form factor and weight, a 3 lights kits of 250w fresnel are really heavy and cumbersome to carry around. Plus, the lights are heavy themselves, so you really need sandbags to be safe, which takes even more space.
#3 The HEAT, halogen lights are soooo warm, indoors shoot are a pain with those, everyone gets sweaty and you have to take more breaks so your crew and talent can cool off!.
So let’s jump into it!
What’s in the box? Each panel come in their own carry bag, a power adapter, 2 batteries, 1 light stand mount with spigot, 1 remote controller, and literature.
One thing I like about these lights is that they come with 2 diffusers/filters so you can switch between 3,200 Kelvin and 5,500 Kelvin, so they work in any situation. The light panels are about 400w equivalent, Aputure also offers a bi-color model but have half the light output due to half the LED being one color. The panels have 672 LED and are about 9 ½” x 7 ½”. Aputure states the lights are CRI 95+, which mean the color rendering is natural. I can say first hand that compared to 1×1 panels I’ve used, they are more neutral and don’t have that green cast some LED panels have. In 2 years of using those, I’ve never had any flickering issue with those.
The use the Sony NPF batteries, which are great batteries, hold a charge for a long time, and can be found anywhere at a good price. Also, you can charge the batteries straight from them, that way, you can charge all your batteries at once and you can plug them on and off throughout your shoot and never worry you that they will die on you. Here I’ve tried to set-up a comparison to show how bright the panel is, I set up a reference point that everyone
Has for the longevity of the panels, as mentioned, I have been using them for 2 years without any major problems, and they have been battle tested. They never failed on me, they are still as good as they were on day one, nothing has broken off.
But there are some cons to those lights, the lights are made out of light plastic, which feels cheap to the touch. Also, the charging cable plug is a proprietary plug that if it would get ripped off its socket and break, you wouldn’t find any replacement for those.
There are also 2 bugs that have started over time, the first one is a row of 4 LEDs that stopped working on 1 of the 3 panels. It did it twice a few months ago, but now its back to normal, maybe it was an electrical component that overheated.
The other bug is 1 of the 3 panels had trouble charging some batteries, sometimes, again I haven’t had this issue for about 2 months now. It may be that one of the panels doesn’t like fully depleted batteries which at that time I had a few batteries that sat for a while.
Overall I am happy with these lights and I am sure they will hold for a long time.