Fresnel lens attachments for LED lights have become pretty popular over the last couple of years. Now, SmallRig’s entering the fray with their new RA-F150 Fresnel Lens (buy here). SmallRig claims it boosts light output by 13.2x, and would be extremely powerful, especially on the 450 Watts RC450 LED.
It boasts single-handed adjustment, making it easy to use on busy sets, with a triple cooling system to stop your lights from overheating. Naturally, it sports a Bowens mount, making it compatible with most lights on the market.
Patented “triple cooling system” design
One of the biggest problems when you stick anything on the end of an LED light, especially something as compact as a Fresnel lens, is heat. Excess heat can shorten the life of your lights over time or, if it gets too hot, instantly blow the LED chip.
SmallRig says they’ve implemented a new patented triple cooling system in the RA-F150. It features both passive and active cooling, including heatsinks for 360-degree thermal conductivity to draw heat away, “heat dissipation holes” (vents) that allow for air to easily pass in and out of the unit, along with a fan to drive the point home.
SmallRig hasn’t said how loud the built-in fan is, or if it can be turned off (or if it turns off automatically when not needed), only that it doesn’t require an additional power supply. I’m not entirely sure how this is supposed to work unless there’s some kind of solar panel inside there to charge up a battery or capacitor.
I suppose it could also be heat-activated, similar to wood burner fans that redirect air when placed on wood burners and stoves. The warm rising air forces the fan blades to spin, re-directing air into the living room instead of up the chimney. This could be working on a similar principle.
Whatever method it is, SmallRig describes it as “active cooling”, which means it’s being powered by something – although the latter option is arguably still passive.
One-handed operation and portability
It’s clear that the SmallRig RA-F150 Fresnel Lens is geared towards solo creators and those attempting to pack as lightweight as possible. It features one-handed operation with a single zoom knob on the side that brings the Fresnel lens forwards and backwards to focus its light.
This adjustment range from 10-40 degrees, SmallRig says, allows the Fresnel lens to focus an LED’s light output down to 13.2x its normal intensity. If you’re shooting with lower-powered lights and want to focus that light on a smaller area, it’s going to give you a lot of output for your money.
That being said, SmallRig says it’ll work fine on all Bowens mount LED lights up to an impressive 600W without any overheating issues whatsoever. So, you can use it with more powerful lights on larger sets, too.
It comes with its own carry case, letting you easily transport and protect your SmallRig RA-F150 Fresnel Lens. SmallRig says the bag is lightweight, shockproof and pressure-proof. I’m sure most people will find a way to slot this into larger gear bags, but it’s nice that it comes with its own.
As a Bowens mount modifier, it’s compatible with all SmallRig RC series LED lights, as well as Bowens mount LED lights from other manufacturers, including Godox, Aputure, Colbor, and a plethora of other companies.
It may even work with some Bowens mount flashes – for the photographers amongst us – but I wouldn’t bank on it. Most companies that manufacture Fresnel lenses designed for LEDs specifically tell you not to use them with flashes, as the flash tubes often stick out too far.
So, if you’re thinking about getting one of these for strobes, do your research first. You don’t want to risk damaging the Fresnel lens or your strobe if your flash tube is too large for the space inside the lens.
Price and Availability
The SmallRig RA-F150 Fresnel Lens is available to pre-order now for $119 from the SmallRig website. There’s no word yet on when it will begin shipping, although I don’t expect we’ll have too long to wait before it hits the usual retailers.