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Litepanels Unveils a New Budget Line of 1x1 LED Panels Aimed at Independent Filmmakers

06.3.12 @ 12:28AM Tags : , ,

Just as Cine Gear Expo 2012 is opening, Litepanels is unveiling a brand new line in their successful and award-winning 1×1 LED panel series. While the 1×1 panels have been coming down in price since their arrival, they certainly are not a budget solution in the world of lighting in terms of output. With the new LS line, they hope to address that very issue, while still providing the same durability and virtually heat-free operation.

Litepanels has undoubtedly been paying attention to all of the new players in the lighting game, and in response they’ve removed the studio functions (DMX and remote control dimming) from their 1×1 series in order to make a more wallet-friendly version. Here’s a bit of info about the new lights from their press release:

Not only is the 1×1 LS compatible with all other 1×1 units, including use of the same accessories, gels and travel cases, but it retains many of the other trademark Litepanels characteristics such as low power draw (45 Watts) and Cool to the Touch™ heat-free operation. Light output by the 1×1 LS is flicker-free at any frame rate or shutter angle and dims from 100% to 0 without color shift. Available in daylight balanced flood (50° beam) or spot (30° beam), the 1×1 LS can be powered by an included AC adapter or by any Gold Mount or V-Mount professional battery so you can light anywhere and shoot everywhere.


At some point they may augment the new LS line with tungsten and bi-color versions, but for right now the two daylight-balanced panels will be the only two offered. The Litepanels 1×1 line is facing increasing competition from companies offering similar panels, and certainly they will see more competition in the coming years from new technologies, plasma being the most promising. There is no word on pricing yet, but if Litepanels wants to call this a budget line, these panels should be priced well under $1,000. The current going rate for the mono 1×1 panels is around $1,550, and with many more players in the market, this budget line will have to be priced accordingly to compete.

Just recently Litepanels was attempting to block the import of other LED film/video lighting fixtures into the United States from other countries. Hopefully they will continue moving in a productive manner and continue working to lower the cost of their current solutions, rather than eliminate other players from the game.

If you don’t already own any of the old 1×1 panels, what price would entice you to purchase one of the new LS panels?

[via Cinescopophilia & Creative COW]

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COMMENT POLICY

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  • I definitely appreciate their response to the needs of the budget productions. I’m just not sure how I feel about supporting them as a company after attempting to block the competition. What are your thoughts on the lawsuit?

    • I think they are a really unethical company and I would never buy from them. :/

    • What’s interesting is that I think I could probably find 10-20 products or more in every single household that are made by companies who have filed just as frivolous lawsuits throughout their history (though this isn’t technically a lawsuit). Granted the consequences are very different than most of those that I’m talking about, but companies like Google and Yahoo actually own patents on very basic internet functions, they just choose to not act on them until they feel it might benefit them as a company. I don’t have much of an opinion on the issue, but if you feel strongly about company policies, that’s a perfectly reasonable position to take. Not to defend them (because I don’t own any of their products), but there are plenty of other companies doing similar and just as destructive patent lawsuits.

    • Litepanels will never get my business with the fact that they try to block competitors. NEVER! I don’t care if these are $200 each, I WILL NOT BUY FROM BULLIES!

  • Artemis Jaen on 06.3.12 @ 3:22AM

    I just started experimentng with some DMX LED lights that are sold into the stage market — they are typically about 10 to 20% of the price that is being asked in the cinema world. So far I’m impressed — I picked up a bigish daylight balanced PAR64 which is roughly 500W tungsten equivalent and a few smaller full RGB heads (with a view to uskng them to throw a colour wash on a background through some diffusion, something I would otherwise use gels for but this gives way more precise control), and a small lighting controller board for about $500. Cranking the AF100 up to 1/2000 sec shows no visible flicker, so they seem totally usable. I will probably pick up a few more of the PAR64s eventually, and add a few bits and pieces like barn doors (easy enough because the cans have the standard PAR64 form factor).

    • interesting – could you share a link?

    • Any chance you can link the exact lights you purchased? That site is crazy to navigate.

      • The small heads were from this page: http://www.cheaplights.com/cart/page13.html (I got the 112-UPLHAMSTERx4).

        The larger PAR64 was on http://www.cheaplights.com/cart/page22.html, part number 114-LED64WHITE-L.

        The controller was on http://www.cheaplights.com/cart/page35.html, part number 134-ACROBAT-L.

        Their site is pretty terrible, but their service was fine — they shipped within a day of my order, and I certainly can’t complain about the price.

        One note, though — don’t buy RGB cans for normal lighting because they will be very difficult to get an exact white out of, and also their colours don’t have exactly the same convergence, so they are good at what they are good at, which is creating arbitrary colour washes, but don’t use them for primary sources. Also, I’ve noticed that RGB cans don’t give very good yellows — this is probably why you can also get RGBA cans with an extra amber channel. My thinking is basically that these small cans can go just about anywhere, and can be used to get colour separation between foregrounds and backgrounds. I’ve not shot anything real with them yet, but so far they look like they will do the job. The PAR64 is fine, however — it’s more of a looseish spot than a flood, but it’s pretty bright.

      • PS: You should be able to mount any of these to a 1/4-20 stud by picking up a knob with 1/4-20 thread — mcmaster.com has them, part number 7921K61, for $2.58 each.

        PPS: If any of you have not discovered McMaster-Carr, you should do so — it can save you a fortune in comparison with prices charged by suppliers to the film industry. They basically have a huge catalogue of mechanical parts and raw materials, as well as a vast range of tools and tooling.

  • “litepanels” did not invent LED lights — but are now claiming a patent on using those lights as lights. Nonsense. And, due to this nonsense — I will not buy any products from that company. Not now, not in the future, not if the new lights cost two dollars, and not if they dropped their lawsuit.

    I recommend to any budget producer to buy the cheap fixtures and stands from B&H (or anywhere) that accept “daylight balanced” (5600k) high CRI compact fluorescent bulbs. Most of them now come with diffusion screens — and that means better results than any “litepanels” product. Many of these have simpler dimming mechanisms, or you can dim by simply pulling the light back or setting proper exposure in your camera.

    The above option costs about 10% of “litepanels,” offers substantially more power, cool operation, and if you know what you’re doing — many dozens more creative options. None of these are overwhelmingly bulky for transport or use — and are low enough on power consumption that you’re not going to blow any fuses while at any location.

    And, if you must have a wireless field operation — buy a Coleman lantern and a fast prime lens. (Think I should claim a patent on this idea?)

    Anyway — “litepanels” patent claim to a specific use of an already existing product for the exclusive purpose of trying to monopolize a small market is childish and unprofessional — and I support and encourage all efforts leading to competition and innovation.

    • Artemis Jaen on 06.3.12 @ 12:48PM

      I have two Westcott Spiderlites with softboxes — they work very nicely. I originally bought them for doing still life/product photography with a Better Light scan back and a 4×5 view camera (150 megapixels of awesomeness, or 1000 megapixels in panorama mode). They work really well for video. I also have 3 cheaper ones, not as nice to use, but they work well enough.

  • Litepanels are ridiculously expensive for someone on budget productions. I’d welcome a low cost alternative, and would like to support American companies, but does anyone know if Litepanels produce their products in the US or outsources them anyways? If so, give me some cheaper chinese knockoffs and kill the overhead. It’s a difficult time to be a patriot and a low budget filmmaker, and I would welcome well made and affordable american equipment. Of course they are going to lose their market share if they don’t stay competitive with pricing, once people start figuring out there are alternatives that aren’t marketed so heavily, their business will slowly burn out.

  • Stu Mannion on 06.3.12 @ 7:39AM

    I bought some cheap Chinese copies off ebay and I’ve been very happy with them. Less than a third the price.

    • For those who advocate the cheaper models, check you Color Render Index and see how it compares, If you guys have a cheap option that does has a great CRI please let me know

      • lite panels are 90 if I remember correctly

      • Lliam Worthington on 06.3.12 @ 7:09PM

        +1. Been in contact with multiple suppliers in china. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet as yes it’s colour balance and flicker that’s the concern. Really wish I had some friends in chinese production companies.

        Even if colour cast is an issue still much cheaper to gel than pay the amount companies like litepanels are charging. $1550 is not a tempting price at all for this little Indie. I’ll risk China for less than half that. Exactly as Joe said, they need to be priced well under 1k to be appealing or most will continue to use other options.

        I would happily pay a couple hundred more than their chinese counterparts for some greater quality assurance.
        But more than double… And anyhow, so far my experience has been that Made in china no longer always means poor quality/you get what you pay for… There’s some great bang for buck stuff coming of China/Asia now.

      • Stu Mannion on 06.3.12 @ 8:30PM

        Well I don’t have a scientific way of testing that but the colour reproduction seems pretty good. I mix them with daylight all the time and they look good as long as I get the white balace right. I’m sure they’re not as accurate as the the expensive models and I do occasionally notice a slight cast I’ve got to grade out but it’s subtle.

  • Much the same with the light fixtures of KinoFlo: I was quoted €3500 for two Diva400 fixtures, but, after doing a test through rental, I decided to go with the much cheaper Cinelight D-Lite 400 (half price). Best thing is that they take original Kino tubes, which are 3x the price of Osram tubes… (€30 vs €10).

    Reading about a patent claim from Litepanels reinforces my feeling that it’s bad to deal with monopolists. Whenever a product prides itself on having “patented technology” to me it’s the same as well waiving a red flag that things are overpriced.

  • Although I welcome cheaper products from litepanels, I’m not sure if I want to support them. True several other companies try to abuse the patent system, but I guess this one just hits closer to home. I most likely will not buy a product from litepanels.

    Cheaper solutions are still out there and they have been beating litepanels in several areas. I think I’ll go with a Camtree 600 Led light set and pass on litepanels.

    Just the principle. However, I’m glad they’re bringing prices down.

  • FEH ! for me to consider the product, the same price other importers are charing. around $500. that said, I would not buy litepanels products. besides being over priced, their smaller lights are pretty flimsy and no better made then the cheap lites. at least of the cheap light breaks you’ll either fix it or replace it and not cry about it.

    their bogus patent suite is just BS. having actually read the patent, its about arranging light sources in a grid / frame. hmmm sounds like Fay lites from the 20′s and 30′s on up to the Brute series lites today. all they did was go from tungsten to LED and make it a lot smaller. no genius here. in fact I had the same idea back in the 80′s but of course there were no suitable LED’s at the time… and I’m will to go on the record about that.

    • Lliam Worthington on 06.3.12 @ 7:13PM

      I have heard this flimsy quality comment quite a bit. I find it weird to position yourself and charge as the flag ship brand and then lack teh nmber one thng most flagship brands have in common to justify their extra cost. Quality.

  • It’s interesting that they’re taking this route even after Zacuto’s plasma light announcement. Speaking of which, those should be just around the corner, right?

    • Joe Marine on 06.3.12 @ 5:10PM

      Yes, at NAB they were saying 6 weeks or so – which should be this month sometime. I would imagine without any major hiccups we’ll see them shipping this month or next.

  • Jordan Carr on 06.3.12 @ 5:40PM

    Couldn’t pay me to use their garbage. Sorry but they don’t produce a quality product. Kino Flo vastly superior.

  • I quitely agree with @Lliam Worthington. In fact, most led lights are made by China. Chinese government invests a lot mount money in LED technology. And many companies outside of China rebrand the item. I don’t know how well is the led technology before. As I know, now the chinese LED is worthy the money. Just like Lliam Worthington said, at least you get what you pay.

    There are also many cheap small led light in the market from China. Some in good qulity (just like hdv-z96 and 312 led video light receive many good reviews ) and also some in low qulity.You should distinguish the qualified manufacturers. If you need better panel light, there are also many good ones, just like 900 led,600 led,etc.

    Maybe we could pay more attention to the Chinese led lights. There are not only the cheap ones. Different pricing version fits different people. Just know that you get what you pay. More competition will lead more good products and cheap item to us. So I don’t like the blocking of Litepanels.

  • If the price was around €500 a unit I’d buy four of them.

  • While I agree that supporting unethical companies is in bad taste there are several companies that most of us buy from that have done or are engaged in similar ‘Bullying’ (and that is the perfect term) I will not implicate these well known giants in this post – they know who they are and I hope they hear they outrage.

    I own two of the “Chinese Knockoffs” and have worked with the Lite Panels equivalent. The construction of the LP brand is superior to the knockoffs even if they do come from the same country.

    I LOVE paying less for my gear and I take good care of my stuff. But when it gets rented by people who treat it like it’s a rental – there is peace of mind knowing that a more expensive item may have a longer life span out there.

    That said – EVERYTHING in our business is WAY OVERPRICED for what it cost to make. But they make it and we need/want it and are willing to pay. If companies like LP (and the unmentioned unwashed ) Can’t minimize their arrogance and greed enough to compete in a world market without “sending in ‘da Boyz) then they deserve to loose business and fail.

  • Guy McLoughlin on 06.7.12 @ 4:27PM

    Take a look at the links below, and then tell me which one you would buy…

    Litepanels 1 x 1 Mono LED Daylight Spot Light ( equiv to 300 Watts Tungsten ) : $1,550 at B&H Photo
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/708734-REG/Litepanels_LP1_MS_1_x_1_Mono.html

    Flolight MicroBeam 1024 High Powered Video Light ( equiv to 1000 Watts Tungsten ) : $800 at B&H Photo
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/846001-REG/Flolight_LED_1024_NDS_MicroBeam_1024_High_Powered.html

    NOTE: I noticed that Chimera now makes a 1×1 softbox for the Flolight 1×1 too

    • Erik Stenbakken on 06.7.12 @ 5:58PM

      Sweet link. Thanks. Not sure how I missed the Flolight in my searches. Looks like a winner!

  • I don’t get all the criticism about a company protecting their patent. As creative people we should support companies that choose to invest and innovate. Why should a company spend time and money to create something, when a competitive company can blatantly steal their design without having the R&D overhead. As a photographer and filmmaker, I have been involved in situations where people have stolen my ideas and used my work without licensing it, so I can appreciate where they are coming from. If they have a case, the courts will rule in their favor, if not then they will lose. But they should be allowed to enforce a patent that was issued to them. I have rented their gear and used some off the knock offs, and there is a difference.

  • I live in Hong Kong, and recently went looking for a Chinese equivalent copy of the 1 x 1 lite panel in the home of the Chinese knock off – Apliu street in Sham Shui Po.

    What I found was that the shop keepers had obviously been reading the B&H website, as the prices for the knock offs were the same as B&H’s prices, right down to the cent, and also that the materials used in the copies were very poor – paint flaking off the LED housing and the power cord entering the housing without any cord protection so the jagged metal edge of the drilled hole would make short work of the cable.

    Litepanels are undoubtable expensive, but if I’m installing lights into my client’s studio’s I wouldn’t risk a knock off copy, not worth the cost savings – stick to something that comes with a warranty is my advice.

  • Why not repackage those same lights as “Emergency Lighting” leaving the hot shoe mount off, but leaving it able to take an “adapter” that would also fit a hotshoe? There’s gotta be a workaround for this crap. Litepanels blows. I bought a small light when they first came out. well over 300 bucks, and not really worth it for the small coverage it provided.

  • Did they invent led lights? No. Did they come up with a unique design for a product in an industry that hadn’t used them before ? I think yes. It reminds me of pocket wizards, a Chinese company ripped them off and lap fought the fight and won. For a business that’s been a good profession often due to keeping image rights, it amazes me that photographers and film makers would have a problem with a company wanting to protect their ideas and products. I suspect some people complaining also buy those ebay remotes, and complain about pricing or “borrow” software. When the patent runs out all is fair, until then it should be protected. Shame on anyone who not only buys the crap imitations, but has the nerve to say Lite Panels is unethical.

  • I just tried some Light Panel alternatives. I was using the Socanland 1×1 LED panel. I think they market it as the 50 series. i got mine for about $800 and it is great. The light is bright and it is actually bi-color not mono color. Light Panels might be good, but I just think that for the money the Socanland light was definitely a better value.

    I found mine at http://www.intellytechusa.com

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