|Review rating: ***|
|List of sponsored/free gear: Ted from Aputure sent me the Tri-8c for review
Did I get paid for this review? No
There are two versions of the Tri-8:
- Tri-8s: Daylight only (5500K)
- Tri-8c: Bicolor (B&H, Amazon), from 2300-6800K – this is what I’m reviewing
The price difference is minimal, and so is the light output. Both versions are rated equally as far as color accuracy is concerned so I see no reason to opt for the Tri-8s.
What are some unique features of the Tri-8?
- 25º beam angle. This puts it in spot light category, which is rare for a flat LED panel
- Extended color temperature range, from 2300K to 6800K, whereas most lights stay within 3200-5600K.
- No fans, silent cooling
- Super durable aluminum chassis with tough plastic LED shield. Designed for rugged outdoor use.
- 100,000 hours + life, built to last years.
- 95+ TLCI
Here are the important questions I wanted answered:
- Does the Aputure Tri-8c Bicolor LED panel sacrifice quality for its low price?
- Is the CRI rating of 95 real?
- Is the light output of the fixture high enough?
- Is it really tough and weather-sealed for rugged field use?
- Is the dimming really stepless, and will there be a shift in color?
- Can it be used for high frame rate (HFR) video? Any flickering?
- Does it cause multiple shadows, with or without the diffusion kit?
Let’s get started.
Important: Prices, specifications and my observations and analysis can be totally wrong or incorrect. Please refer to the manufacturer’s website for correct information. You are responsible for your own actions. Results seen here might only apply to me personally and may not reflect your experiences.
Aputure Tri-8c Bicolor LED panel review
Notes and specifications from the review
Here’s a quick list of important specifications of the Aputure Tri-8c Bicolor LED panel:
|Power draw||60 Watts|
|Rated Color Temperature||2300-6800K|
|Dimming Range||5-100% stepless|
|LED Rated Lifespan||100,000 hours +|
|Battery types||Sony NPF-970, Anton Bauer/V-mount|
|Weight w/ light and 2x supplied batteries||2.6 kg|
What you get with the kit:
- 1x LED panel, bicolor
- 1x bag
- 1x Umbrella and light stand adapter
- Control unit for dimming and color
- AC Adapter
- V-mount adapter or Anton Bauer adapter
- Remote control
- 2x batteries
- EZBox kit
- Diffusion and Minus green filters
- Hex keys and screws to replace battery mount
All measurements were taken at 6 feet, and are in lux. Here are the measured light output results:
The light loses 2 stops to 50% and another 1.3 stops to 10% (approximately). The dimming is seemingly step-less.
How hot does it get?
The light hardly gets hot from the front. However, it gets dangerously hot on the back when working in high power.
All white balance measurements were taken with a DSC Labs OneShot Chart and a Sony a7S II:
I’m not happy with the color temperature ratings of the light. Adding the green filter makes a noticeable difference to skin tone accuracy, so is highly recommended at all times.
High frame rate mode
I tested the light at various frame rates and shutter speeds, all the way up to 180 fps on the Panasonic GH5 and didn’t find any issues.
To know whether you need it or not, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you need it for a softbox or umbrella?
- Do you need it to light up a large area, even as fill?
- Does your light have to be lightweight?
- Do you need multiple mounting points?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, the Tri-8c isn’t for you.
Then who’s it for?
The Tri-8c works best as a:
- Hair or spotlight.
- If you are comfortable with bounce lighting (though it doesn’t have enough power for higher distances).
- You need a light that’s tough and still a panel, small enough to pack – with decent battery life.
- Bicolor to warmer and cooler than traditional cheap LED panels.
- An additional light if you are already invested in the Aputure range.
As a note to Aputure, here are some ways you can improve the Tri-8c in the next iteration:
- Put in an optional yoke and additional mounting points.
- Make the handle rotatable to the sides for better COG.
- Make the electronics weather-sealed. Keep the connections hidden. Why can’t the AC adapter and main ballast be all centered in the middle as one unit?
- Strengthen the 1/4″ mounting points.
- Get green-magenta correction or better yet, LEE/Rosco filters!
- Make a diffusion panel that can spread the beam wider, sort of like Arri does with the Skypanels.
- Double the light output!
I hope you have found my review beneficial. Let me know what you think!