LEDs again


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Has any one used the Dracast lights? Allegedly they have a CRI of 95. I'm considering the 1x1 bicolor flood model.

I've been looking for the Flolight 800 bicolor flood model, but they don't seem to make them any more.

I'm also considering the Coolights 1200 bicolor model.

Any reviews would be welcome.

Tv Shooter

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A buddy has Dracast and I've used it a couple times. Not bad. Another has Flolight panels…again not bad, both built fairly tough. The Cool Lights, I have 2 1x1 and they are built fairly shoddy. I've had to replace a few led sets in both and the dimmer in one has failed for the second time….it's on or off.

I ended up with an IKAN through a convoluted trade with someone, and while it's built pretty light (it's all plastic), it puts out a decent amount of light for $549.00 (list). It probably won't survive being dropped to much though.

The Zabo's are very well built and look great.

That said-the best are still Litepanels that I have actually seen and used.


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I picked up two used DraCast lights and am pretty impressed with them. One is a 1x1 and the other is half of a 1x1. Not sure what to call it. A 1/2 x 1?

First, built solid out of all metal. Dimmer is smooth and responsive.
An added feature is selectable banks. Both lights have 4 banks so you can really control the amount of light coming out of them. If dimming isn't enough you can drop a bank or two. The banks are spread through out the surface so every 4th vertical row of light is in a gang opposed to being all next to each other. Keeps the "surface area" the same if you turn on off.

Both have battery plates and can do AC power. They came with all the fixins, barn door, color correction panels, ect. The 1x1 white balanced at 5600K and the 1/2 x 1 was 5500K.

So, all in all I'm pretty happy with them.


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Thanks Brian! The Zabolights definitely look interesting!

Mainly I'm looking for a bicolor flood light that doesn't have a green or magenta spike, and provides a good color spectrum, but doesn't cost $2K a piece. I'm mainly going to use them in the field so they can't be too flimsy. Anton style battery power would be nice. I have seen several that are cheap, but don't quite cut all that mustard.

From my experience, I definitely don't recommend the "spot" light panels for interviews. They're quite harsh. I shoot them through some diffusion that I hang out in front of the light to get decent softness for a key for interviews. The diffusion panels that slide in to the lights aren't that great.

Has any one used the Philips panel lights? I'm concerned about having to use the "holographic" diffusion panels all the time.

Necktie Boy

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I picked up some of the smaller Flolights, 128, 256, for testing. I picked up the 128 at NAB at a very good price. All metal build. Use Sony or Pana little batteries. The light put out a good beam. Great Customer service.

As for all LED, they all have some green tint to them. Even the Litepanels do. They was a test, and you could see it. I believe the test link is posted on another LED thread.

I use my Flolights for run and gun. Quick setup. I still before prefer my Tungstens light over LED's.

As for the harshness, all LED are harsh. In my testing, a silk in front soften the light very well. The gel is okay, but distant is your friend.

What about the Socanland models? I know there was a thread about them? On the Battery For Broadcast site, they have a small on-camera LED Fresnel, the ENG30. BiColor and bright. I think the price is around $350 bucks. The other LED's have good prices.


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If I knew then what I know now when I was putting together my LED light kit, I would not waste money on bi-color models. I never use the tungsten setting on any of them. Daylight balanced is just so much easier to work with.

Also, I would get all spots and no floods. The floods just spray to much light around the room -- and the spots aren't all that spotted anyway.

My 2 cents.

If I knew then what I know now when I was putting together my LED light kit, I would not waste money on bi-color models. I never use the tungsten setting on any of them. Daylight balanced is just so much easier to work with.

Also, I would get all spots and no floods. The floods just spray to much light around the room -- and the spots aren't all that spotted anyway.

My 2 cents.
I've been shopping a led kit under pretty much the same criteria. I figure I would rather have the strongest light I can get in one color temp, instead of losing half or my less per sq/ft to a bi color model. The way I look at it any light loss from gelling for indoor shoots can be made up by the fact that I am not fighting the sun.


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Brian, I've used the Philips 1x1 and it's nice. Variable color temp, dimmable and priced in-between the low-end and LitePanels. I liked the light and it looked good, but like most LED's, you can't match them between different brands. It didn't match my LitePanels(I have a 1x1 and two Sola ENG's), so I passed.

My opinion on LED's is that you need to have all fixtures from the same manufacturer.

Ben C.

If you like the Zabolights you should check out Socanland LEDs. They are the same panels, Zabolight just rebrands them and charges over $500 more for the same light.

I agree they are great lights though. All-metal, high CRI, and incredibly bright. I own a few of the D-50CTD's ( the same model you wrote about, but socanland's name.) I bought them from their U.S. dealer Intellytech http://www.intellytechusa.com/collections/led-light-panels/products/socanland-d-50ctd-digital-bi-color-led-light-panel

I have been really happy with them for the last year.

check zabolights - i have 2 of these:

i believe they have the highest CRI of the Zabolights and a great output level. Nice kit.


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I just got some Dracast demos and I'm keeping them, good daylight panels with decent punch. I also have Socanland 1x1's in the bi-color version. Sometimes, I like mixing color temps, so I use them together a little bit, but for the most part, it's either bicolors or daylight. Been happy with the Dracasts so far. I still use HMI's quite regularly though. One thing I love about the LED's is battery power and no cords.


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I own a Flolight daylight spot, and a Litepanels daylight spot. A friend /client who owns a studio is also demoing a Dracast spot, and has several Socanland bicolor and daylight floods.

Personally I never liked the Socanland lights. They are just too green, and I think they are missing part of the color spectrum. I tried to use his for an indoor live shot a couple of weeks ago and just couldn't get the flesh tones to look right. I finally replaced them with a tungsten kit instead. It could have been the camera but... My friend uses his Socanland lights all the time for network shoots and insists they're fine. To each their own.

We immediately noticed the Flolight unit was bluer. When we white balanced, we got ~6000K. My friend thought it looked a bit green, which I usually notice, but I didn't see it (and this is a guy who likes his Socanland lights).The Dracast came in at 5700K. It looked kind of warm (definitely compared to the Flolight). The Litepanels unit came in at 5400K.

The Litepanels unit was definitely the weakest. The Flolight was much brighter, and the Dracast was a little brighter than that.

My friend thinks his Socanland lights are even brighter, but we didn't bother to test since I don't like them any way.

So the Dracast I guess won that round with better color accuracy and brightness. I still want to see a Zabolight before I make a decision. The advantage of the Flolight though is that it cost me $400 rather than $1000. Does any one have one in Boston?


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Follow up:

I've been auditioning a Zabolight Z1 Digital biclolor flood unit. I talked to Mr. Sabo who designed and builds the units on the phone for a long time. He said this one is brighter than their regular 1x1, and more color accurate.

I've been using it for a couple of weeks and it is rather bright. I think I've used it at full brightness only once so far. That was on a shoot I do quarterly with pretty much the same set up every time. This time it replaced a 650 Arri Fresnel in a Small Chimera that normally lights two people.

I took it to the same studio to compare with the Dracst daylight spot light. Even though the Z is a bicolor flood, it was just as bright as the Dracast daylight spot in daylight mode. The Z's white balance registered at 5100. The Dracast at 5400. We may have been using a different camera, and we were shooting through a teleprompter, so it wasn't ideal conditions.

I did like the quality of the light from the Dracast a bit better, but the light from spot was harsh even with the diffusion panel, which wasn't surprising. One could put a big sheet of opal on the barn doors and soften it up I guess, but you'd be cutting down the power of the light.

The color spectrum seems to be all there. It looks fine, even in preset.

The things I don't like about the Zabolight is that it uses the same frame and barn doors as the Socanland lights. The problem with the barn doors is that they are so big, you can't tilt the light down much. I've thought of removing the bottom door, and just keeping some black wrap in the case in case I need to flag that part off. Another option would be to send them back, and buy the Dracast barn doors which are smaller. They also slide in to the slot rather than screwing in to the side which is nice.

I also received focusing grid, like an egg crate for a Chimera, or the grille for a Diva. It works pretty well. They offer 15, 25, and 45 degree grids. I think I may have received the 25 rather than the 45 that I asked for. They also make a "barn door in a bag" which is a cloth and metal egg crate looking thing that looks like it might work well.

The price is a bit high for the Zabolight. $1500 for the light, more for accessories.

Like I said I liked the light from the Dracast a little better. It looked a little more natural to my eye. However, I've used the Zabolight on preset in both tungsten and daylight modes, and it looked good on camera. People didn't look weird. I don't feel 100% sold just yet, but reading this, I guess maybe I am.
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Yes, I like my Dracasts, they are pretty spot on and not so green. I have the Socanland bi-color but don't like them as much. For punch or live shots esp. outdoors, I have a couple of HMI's. I have a Kobold 200watt and a Chinese Arri copy, which I replaced the bulb, it's a 575. The ballast fan clicks a little so I hade a 20 foot cable built to keep it away from the talent and mics. Not so much of an issue outdoors/live shots but if indoors, it helps to keep the ballast farther away. This works pretty well for me and ENG shoots or small corporate. If I have anything bigger to do, like a mid-to large TV commercial or corporate I just hire a gaffer and a grip truck. I know a great gaffer around here who even built a Ford Transit into a small interview kit, with a couple of taco/light carts for c-stands, flag boxes and such.