In the last year or so, I’ve experimented with and tested a huge range of LEDs lights. From the $15,000 Panalux film production monsters to the versatile Godox S-fit compatible heads to the incredible Rotolight panels. But this week I take a look at the other end of the pricing spectrum as I play with the very affordable PixaPro RGB tubes.
If you have been a photographer or videographer in the last 40 years or so, you probably hate fluorescents. Fluorescent tubes are such a crude way of lighting. They flicker, give our horrible (and unpredictable) color casts, and they can not be dimmed. Just horrible.
We previously reviewed the Nanlite Pavotube 30X as a replacement for some fluorescents, but what about those other fluorescent bulbs? Those thin, easy-to-break, really annoying, enlengthen tubes? The T8 type… For those, Nanlite came up with the Nanlite PavoTube T8-7X RGBWW LED Pixel Tube. And they are an interesting lighting solution indeed.
The market for photo and video LEDs is becoming quite commoditized. Having good CRI (95+), both RGB and white LEDs, or an app, is not enough to compete in the market anymore. This is why brands are turning to fight either on price, quality, and service or, most interestingly, on features and innovation. Enter the Sirui Dragon Light, a bendable, app-controlled RGBWW LED strip. While this is not the first bendable light (see KYU-6), it is the first big, high-output flexible light. And this is worth a look.
Sirui is well known for its tripod line and its anamorphic lenses, so it is interesting to see how their knowledge of other photography lines will translate into making an LED. And right off the bat, you can see it is not a tube, it is not a panel, it is not a COB, it is something else entirely.
Godox has expanded its tube line lineup again with the new 180cm long Godox TL180 bringing the family up to four lights including the foot-long TL30, the 60cm long TL60 introduced at the end of 2020 and the 120cm long TL120, released in February of this year. The new TL180, Godox says, offers unique advantages over its shorter siblings for lighting larger scenes, lighting effects options or for using as a key or fill light.
As with the rest of the Godox TL lineup, the Godox TL180 can be controlled via the onboard controls, the Godox Smartphone app, DMX or the 2.4Ghz Godox RC-R9 remote. It has Bluetooth range of 30m and 2.4Ghz wireless control with the RC-R9 remote up to 50 metres. White balance range has actually increased, going from 2700K up to 6500K (the other two go up to 5600K) with a CRI of 96 and TLCI of 98.
Aputure has announced its new Aputure MT Pro light – a compact 11.8″ RGBWW LED tube light designed for small-scale scenes and hiding in small places on set. The light comes in a kit along with a USB-C power cord, a 45° grid and a small mini tripod to which you can attach it inside a semi-hard zip-up case. As well as basic RGBWW operation, it features a bunch of built-in effects and can be remotely controlled from the Sidus Link smartphone app.
The diminutive footlong LED light contains 36 RGBWW “pixels” with 0-100% dimming with near-stepless increments and a colour temperature adjustable from 2000K up to 10,000K with green/magenta adjustments. Aputure says it can reproduce 90% of the colours in the Rec.2020 colour space, with CRI and TLCI of 95 and 98 respectively.
Lighting manufacturer Quasar Science has announced the availability of their newest Rainbow Series RGBX LED lights, the Rainbow 2 and the Double Rainbow. These tubular LED lights create what Quasar Science describes as “intense, realistic lighting with multiple individually controllable pixels” to deliver both high quality white light as well as well saturated colour that can fit into small spaces.
The Rainbow 2 comes in 2′, 4′ or 8′ lengths featuring 10, 24 or 48 pixels respectively. The Double Rainbow is, as the name suggests, a doubled-up Rainbow light with two rows of pixels in 2′ and 4′ lengths for either 20 or 48 individually addressable LEDs. Unless I’m missing something, though, it looks like they were first announced way back in December 2020 but are only just coming to market now – perhaps due to their acquisition by Vitec last year.
Godox has announced their newest RGB tube light, the Godox TL120. It joints the Godox TL60, announced at the end of 2020, as well as the diminutive Godox TL30 in the Godox tube light lineup. It offers largely the same specs as the Godox TL60, with a 2700-6500 colour temperature range and a CRI and TLCI of 96 and 98 respectively. It features RGB with HSI control and 40 built-in filter presets.
It also offers remote control from your smartphone over Bluetooth, WiFi, DMX or wireless DMX, 0-100% dimming and full RGB control, an integrated battery and a silent passive cooling system. In fact, the only major difference between the Godox TL120 and TL60 is its length, coming in at just under 4ft long or 1.17 metres.
Godox has launched their new TL60 LED light, and this time it’s not a new strobe style light that takes softboxes, but a tube light. It comes in several kits, depending on the configuration you need and features both an internal lithium-ion battery as well as external AC power options. It also comes with a multitude of control options including on-board, a dedicated remote, a smartphone app or DMX control.
It offers a CRI of 96 and TLCI of 98 to offer the most accurate colours when shooting video or photography, but it’s also RGB – if you hadn’t guessed from the photo above – offering RGB, HSI and Gel colour modes, along with white balance from 2700K-6500K and 13 different effects modes.
We’ve all seen Eric Pare’s DIY light tubes for light painting, but these ones from Adam Rahn at DroiMedia are a little bit different. These ones are designed for video. They’re to emulate lights like the Quasar Science and CAME-TV tubes. These DIY options are relatively inexpensive, easy to build and allow you to customise them to your own shooting needs.