LED fresnels are not cheap. This is a simple comparison of the specifications of nine LED fresnel lights.
By looking at the specifications side-by-side, it might make selecting the right kit easier. If you are new to lighting, please read How to put together a lighting kit for video first.
How LED lights are different
Let’s look at a chart comparing LED lights to other forms of lights (click to enlarge):
- Great lumens per watt (LPW) rating, which makes them very efficient.
- Controllable color temperature (but not on all models).
- Excellent lamp life.
- Newer models are fully dimmable.
I’m not a big fan of flat LED panels with low power, but I’m definitely looking seriously at LED fresnel lights, which purportedly deliver the same performance as tungsten fresnels.
Comparison of LED fresnel lights
The nine LED fresnel lights I’m comparing are:
- Arri L7-C
- Desisti Leonardo 90W
- DeSisti Leonardo 120W
- Litepanels Sola 6
- Litepanels Sola 12
- Zylight F8
- Mole-Richardson BabyLED
- Mole-Richardson JuniorLED
- Mole-Richardson Studio JuniorLED
As you can see, they are all in the 90-400 Watt range. Theoretically, a 100 W LED should give the equivalent performance of a 650 W tungsten fresnel. In practice, you cannot predict the output without looking at actual photometric data – both from the manufacturer and from your own tests.
Here’s the comparison chart (click to enlarge):
Pricing is not accurate, and is just a general indicator. Do your own research and contact the manufacturers for actual pricing.
Just because I’ve only included a specifications doesn’t mean you can compare them directly. The specs are correct as far as I know, and have been taken from the respective manufacturers’ data, websites, brochures, etc. But please don’t assume they are 100% accurate. Do your own research.
Don’t base any purchasing decision on specifications or the above table. You must actually use a light in your preferred situations first. Nothing replaces first-hand experience.
- ‘n/a’ means the information was not available.
- IP rating refers to dust and water protection. The first number refers to the dust/foreign object rating. The second refers to water protection. The average electric socket is designed for IP22. A rating of 0 means no protection. The higher the numbers the better. Total dust protection starts at 5 and heavy water protection (rains) starts at 3.
- *The Arri website gives the IP rating as IP20, while some third-party sites list it as IP54 and claim it is totally dust and waterproof. Please confirm this with Arri.
- In general, though, the light output of these LED fresnels make them great options for indoor use, but totally inadequate for regular outdoor use.
- Passive cooling keeps the fixture totally silent. The Arri comes in two models, Hybrid (both) and Active (Fan).
- The weight might not be totally accurate. Some manufacturers might consider weight to exclude certain items.
- All the fixtures in this list can be mounted on a Pole or a stand (called Manual).
- 50,000 lamp hours is 2,000 continuous days or 5 or more continuous years of operation!
- The photometry values of an Arri 650 W tungsten fresnel are 5,683 lux for spot (13°) and 1,162 lux for flood (54°). You can use this information to perform a preliminary check against the table. Which models match up?
- The Zylight F8 photometric data was obtained by averaging the two adjacent scores. I’m not sure how accurate it is.
- To get a 650 W tungsten fresnel equivalent, you’ll be spending upwards of $2,000 for one fixture.
- In general, the tungsten versions have greater light and better color rendition, though it is not true in an absolute sense.
Which one should you choose?
I don’t have an answer. You could look at the brand name. The Arri L7-C looks very promising:
- One fixture for all color temperatures.
- The lamp is upgradable in the future, so your unit is not a total waste.
Negatives? Poor IP rating and large weight. And it’s expensive. Also, don’t forget that if LED fresnels become smaller, then this fixture will become redundant.
The Mole-Richardsons also look great, and are not very expensive or heavy. However, you are stuck to one color temperature, and it isn’t fully dimmable manually.
If you’re looking for the following features:
- Smallest size and weight.
- Sufficient output in proportion to a Tweenie.
- Can be operated by AC and DC batteries.
- As weatherproof as a location tungsten fresnel (IP23 usually).
Then the Zylight F8 looks awfully good on paper (You can control more than one light with a wireless remote). But since it hasn’t been released yet, we don’t know how good it really is.
Here’s a quick video presentation of the light:
I’m not sure how it can be award-winning if it hasn’t been released to the public yet. Anybody want to clue me in on that?
I came close to pulling the trigger on a couple of L7-Cs, but it didn’t make sense financially. Before LED fresnels, everybody made a living with tungsten – tungsten still gives great color at an affordable price. Maybe it’s a good idea to hold on to your money for a year and see what the future brings.