January 27, 2014

NFS Review: Strahlen ST-100 LED Lights

NFS Reviews

Last month, I had a chance to talk with Andy Waplinger, the founder of Strahlen, about his brand new LED lighting solution, the ST-100 series of lights. Since that time, I've had the opportunity to not only have some hands-on time with the prototype ST-100's, but to formally review them, and shoot with them on a personal project. Needless to say, the ST-100's and I became quite close during the few weeks that they were in my possession, and I have quite a few thoughts to share about these unique lights. So, let's get to it.

Background

In our interview last month, Andy talked about his reasoning behind founding Strahlen, and the philosophy of the lights themselves. Even though the LED lighting market is already fairly saturated at this point, when Andy went to find a new set of LED's for his freelance filmmaking business, the products he encountered seemed to fall into three different categories: they were either too expensive, poorly built, difficult to modify, or some combination thereof.

And thus, Strahlen was born, an LED lighting company by filmmakers, for filmmakers. Their goal is to combat the above problems by providing products focused on durability, flexibility, and value. The company's flagship line of products, the ST-100 series of lights, is now looking to make its way out into the world through the magic of crowdfunding.

Before we get started with the review, here are the basic specs of the ST-100:

Power Consumption:
Color Rendering Index:
Color Temperature:
Beam Angle:
Lifespan:
Built-in Mounts:
Addt. Mount:
Light Mount:
Dimming Range:
Noise Output:
Size:
Weight:
Power Input:
Warranty:
100W
90
Tungsten | Daylight | Bi-Color
110 degrees
50,000 hours
Bowens S-type | 3" Magnetic Attachment
Chimera 6.5"
Baby mount (5/8")
10-100%
18 dBa
16.5" x 7.5" x 5.5"
5.8lbs
90-305V AC, 47-63Hz
One year limited

First Impressions

For review, Andy graciously sent me the 3 individual models of the ST-100, the Tungsten (ST-100T), the Daylight (ST-100D), and Bi-Color (ST-100B). The two single-color lights were equipped with the Bowens mount for cheaper Bowens/third-party accessories, and the bi-color model was equipped with both a Bowens mount and a Chimera mount. Also included in the package of lighting goodies were various modifiers, from a basic softbox (octobox) and grid reflector, to the magnetically mounted dome diffuser and fresnel attachments.

Upon opening the case and pulling out the bi-color model, my first impression was something along the lines of, "Holy #$%! this thing is a beast!" The phrase "Built Like A Tank" is thrown around quite a bit in product reviews, but in the case of the Strahlen ST-100, it is literally the only fitting description of how these lights feel in your hands. They're crafted entirely out of aluminum, and there isn't a trace of plastic on the exterior of the lights. Just from holding one, you can immediately tell that these are not only built to last, but they're built to stand up to years of tough abuse.

I immediately fired up the three separate models and I freaked out momentarily as the tungsten model didn't strike immediately when I flicked the switch. The light came on at full blast after about a second or two. This brief delay was also present in the two other models. Initially I just wanted to see what kind of output they had, and I wasn't disappointed. At first glance, these lights all have an output that seems equivalent to or just slightly less than a 500 watt halogen open-face head. Also, the tungsten models have a slightly lesser output than their daylight counterparts. It's barely noticeable, however.

One thing to mention before we move on is that I was a bit thrown off at first by the color of the tungsten LED's, both on the single and bi-color models. It came off a bit warmer than I was expecting, and there was a slight reddish hue that seemed present in both of the tungsten lights. It could have been my eyes playing tricks on me or the color of the paint on my wall being slightly warmer than usual, but it left a little bit of doubt in my mind as to whether the tungsten models would play nicely with other tungsten lights. More on that later.

Setup

One of the first things that struck me about the ST-100 is that the mounting bracket (in order to mount the lights to a stand) is actually not permanently fastened to the light like it is with most lights. It comes as a separate L-shaped bracket that simply screws onto to the side of the light, and this mounting point acts as the pivot for tilting the light up and down. I'm actually quite fond of this design, because it makes packing the lights down into small cases much easier.

Once you fly the lights up on a stand, they feel and handle much like the medium-sized fresnels, open faces, and par cans that you would find on just about every film set. They're sturdy and well-balanced on a stand, even with large modifiers attached to the front of the light. Frankly, they act just as they should in regards to getting them set up. No surprises here.

Operation and Light-Modification

Strahlen BackThe ethos of the Strahlen lights is simplicity, both in form and function. As such, the controls on these lights are far simpler than some of the higher-end LED options out there, like the Arri L7 series, which features an absurd amount of color options. The only two controls on the single-color models are a basic on/off switch and a knob for dimming the lights, which takes the ST-100 from full power down to 10% with absolutely no color shift or flickering of any kind. The bi-color model only has one added switch that flips the light from daylight to tungsten mode instantaneously.

Even though the bi-color model switches seamlessly between the daylight and tungsten diodes, there is no way to have both on at the same time and mix them together at various levels in order to dial in exacting color temperatures. Many cheaper LED's are able to accomplish this feat (with varying results), as are many of the high-end LED solutions. But the ST-100B only has the two modes of operation, daylight and tungsten. If you want anything else, you'll have to gel the lights, which isn't a big deal.

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One of the most important aspects of lighting is modification. Therefore, the single best feature of these Strahlen lights, in my opinion, is how flexible they are in terms of modifiers. If you're heavily invested in Chimera equipment, or if you've got barn doors or off-brand softboxes for an Arri 650, then you'll feel right at home with the ST-100. Strahlen Chimera MountWithin 30 seconds of flying the light, we had it equipped with barn doors and a sheet of 1/2 diffusion, and it was ready to roll. Needless to say, it fit right into everything we already knew about lighting, because we didn't have to learn a new proprietary system. The Chimera mount is an optional add-on for these lights, but it's well worth the $75.

Because Chimera equipment is straight-up expensive, the ST-100 also comes equipped with a Bowens mount. Personally, I hadn't used the Bowens mount prior to reviewing these lights, but the accessories like the 60 degree grid reflector were quite simple to mount to the lights and they provided a great result. A little bit of research revealed that Bowens mount modifiers are far more affordable than their Chimera counterparts. If you're looking to modify on a budget, Bowens seems like the way to go, and the ST-100 supports those accessories right out of the box.

Then come the magnetic modifiers. The modifiers that I received with the kit were a 60 degree fixed fresnel lens and a dome diffuser, which turns the open faced ST-100 into a bare bulb source with a near 180 degree spread of soft-ish, even light. These modifiers attach to the lights, the single-color models anyway, simply and they do what is intended. However, attaching the magnetic modifiers to the bi-color model is a bit awkward as they're clearly not designed for a light with the two diodes right on top of one another. The modifiers do attach, and they work correctly, but it just feels awkward and a little unstable.

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Overall, the ST-100's are wildly versatile in terms of light modification, which is a sizable part of good lighting. By forgoing any kind of proprietary modification system and implementing two massively popular modifier mounts, the ST-100's are built to work with the modifiers that you already have and are comfortable using. And even if you're not invested in any modifiers, the fact that the there are multiple systems by which to modify these lights means that it'll be easy to find any type of modifier you need in just about any price range.

However, the lack of some kind of mode to blend together the daylight and tungsten diodes on the bi-color model prevents the ST-100 from being as versatile as some of its far more expensive brethren, like Arri, Nila, and Litepanels. With that said, tungsten and daylight balances will get you to where you need to go 95% of the time, and when you need to match the color of ambient light in some place, there are always gels for that exact reason.

All in all, the ST-100's are incredibly versatile, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a situation where a set of Strahlens wouldn't be a highly effective tool.

Noise and Heat

One of the problems that plagues many of the cheaper LED lighting solutions these days, especially some of the cheaper Asian-made products, is fan noise. Most of these lights use a combination of methods, an internal fan being the most common, in order to dissipate the heat from the high-powered LED's. As many of us have found out the hard way, fan noise can literally ruin the audio from a take, which makes lights that have noise issues practically unusable in any situation where audio is paramount.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 12.25.15 AMSo how do the Strahlen ST-100's compare to some of their noisier counterparts? To put it mildly, they blow away the competition in terms of fan noise. Even after an hour and a half of continuous run time, the bi-color model was as quiet as the moment that it was turned on. I literally had to put my ear an inch away from the light to even notice light hum of the fan. Frankly, the ST-100 was so quiet that I doubt that even the most tedious of sound mixers would notice it on a set.

Heat really isn't much of an issue for most modern LED sources, and the ST-100's are no exception. The aluminum body is always cool to the touch, and very little heat is emitted from the front of the lamp. However, the magnetic modifiers can get a little toasty when left on for awhile, but that's to be expected when they mount so close to such a powerful diode.

How They Look - Color Performance

When I took the ST-100's out for a spin, there were a few things that I wanted to test, the most important of which is how they would work in mixed lighting conditions. In the past, I've been really disappointed with how cheaper LED's dealt with mixed lighting, as they sometimes induce a slight color shift that can make nice lighting look sickly and uneven in terms of color.

Unfortunately, we only had a set of basic Arri tungsten fresnels at our disposal, so this review can't speak to how the Strahlen lights mix with daylight sources like HMIs and plasma. Our setup was a simple one, consisting of a basic three-light setup, with a key, fill, and a hair-light as per the overhead below.

This video was shot with a Canon 60D with the latest version of the Marvels picture profile. Lenses were a vintage Japanese 135mm f/2.8 for the closeups and a 14mm f/2.8 from Canon for the wide-angles. All shots with a tungsten key were balanced at 3200k and all shots with a daylight key were balanced at 5600k. These shots are all straight out of the camera with no color correction of any kind applied to the footage.

So here's the comparison video, which shows how the Strahlen ST-100's stack up against one of the most common and reliable tungsten sources available, the Arri fresnel.

Having used several different cheap LED options in mixed lighting conditions over the past few years with pretty questionable results, I'm sold on the ST-100's and their ability to play well with others. The mixed lighting scenarios with a tungsten key all looked very clean and balanced to my eye.

With that being said, the shots with a daylight key all come off with a slight yellowish tint, and much of the life is drained out of the model's skin tones. I did not have this problem when using the Strahlen ST-100's for a personal project the next day, when I used only the two daylight balanced models. Some possible reasons for the disparity in my results are operator error (a poorly done manual white balance), the fact that our shooting space was rife with natural daylight and tungsten practicals, or perhaps the colorimetry of the Marvels picture profile doesn't react well to those specific lighting conditions. Whatever the reason, something is definitely off with the daylight balanced shots in this test.

Overall, however, the Strahlen LED's performed admirably in mixed lighting scenarios with Arri fresnels, especially with a tungsten-balanced key light.

Pros and Cons

Like any piece of gear, the ST-100's have both pros and cons. They're listed below:

Pros

  • Build-quality: The ST-100 is built like a tank, and it will take whatever beating you throw at it. End of story.
  • Output: These lights have a relatively high output compared to many lower end LED's, and with cameras becoming more and more sensitive, a set of lights like the Strahlens could provide you all of the light that could possibly need for interior situations.
  • Versatility: The fact that you're not tied to any proprietary modification system means that you can keep money in your pocket by using the modifiers that you already own, or if you have to buy new modifiers, the Bowens and Chimera mounts will provide you with all of the flexibility you need to purchase the right modifiers in your price range. This is the most legit feature of these lights. They're built to work around you and the modification equipment that's already on the market.
  • Color Reproduction: Unlike many lower-end LED's, the ST-100's are right at home with other sources in mixed lighting scenarios. There's no nasty green-spike or color shifts, and the color feels entirely natural while producing very clean skin tones.

Cons

  • Price: At $1,000 and $1,400 ($200 less through the IndieGoGo campaign) for the single and bi-color models respectively, these are not necessarily budget friendly lights if you're strapped for cash or just starting out. They are aimed at professional users who would otherwise be forced to spend considerably more for products from the likes of Arri, Nila, or Litepanels. However, although the initial price of these lights is high, they do represent a tremendous value in that they'll likely last you for the rest of your working life. So it's really a matter of the initial price vs. the ultimate value. How you choose to look at that quandary should depend on your individual needs.
  • Weight and Size: Despite the fact that I love how the ST-100's are built, these lights are incredibly bulky and pretty heavy. Even with their decently high output, they are much bigger and heavier than I would prefer. However, Andy has told me that the finalized product will be 4 inches shorter and about 2 pounds lighter, which should make the ST-100's a bit more manageable.
  • No Color Blending on Bi-Color Model: A good portion of bi-color LED's have the ability to mix the two diodes at different levels in order to dial in temperatures between 3200 and 5600. Not the ST-100B, which is a shame, because it's really the only thing holding these lights from being the most wildly versatile lights in their price range.
  • No Battery Power: Many of the high-end LED fixtures can't be powered by battery, but that doesn't stop me from wishing it were so. With a relatively tame power-draw, it's not inconceivable that the ST-100's could run on batteries. I believe that's one of the major features that the Strahlen team is working on.
  • Magnetic Modifiers on the ST-100B: The magnetic modifiers (fresnel lens and dome diffuser) work like a champ on the single color models, but they don't quite fit properly on to the face of the bi-color model, because the two LED lighting elements are placed above one another. That's not to say that you can't attach these modifiers to the bi-color, because you certainly can, but it just doesn't feel quite right.

Final Thoughts

The Strahlen ST-100's are incredible lights, and they have just about everything that I look in an LED lighting solution, with the exception of fine color adjustments like you would find on some higher-end LED's like the Arri L7. With that said, the bi-color model, with its Bowens and Chimera mount, is one of the most versatile lights that I have ever used in terms of modification. Add to that the fact that its color rendition allows it to play very nicely with other lights, and it becomes clear that the ST-100's will fit into just about any lighting setup you can imagine.

The major setback for the ST-100's will certainly be the price. LED lighting is booming right now and various companies are competing heavily with the creation of new LED products. With some of the Asian manufacturers really stepping up their game and offering high quality lights at reasonable prices, the ST-100 is going to be a hard sell for many people with their base prices $1000 MSRP for single color and $1400 for the bi-color model.

However, where the Strahlen lights absolutely excel is in their versatility and their ruggedness. You would be hard-pressed to find any lighting solution this well-built and rugged for anywhere near the price of the ST-100. After spending three weeks with these lights, I'm convinced that they will survive a lifetime of use, even in the most abusive of conditions. So, the initial price of the ST-100 is a bit misleading considering that these lights offer a tremendous value over the course of the light's lifespan. If you're just looking for a set of cheap LED's to get by, the Strahlens most definitely aren't for you. But, if you're looking to invest in some lights that will be with you for many years to come, then the Strahlen ST-100's are certainly worth the consideration.

All in all, Strahlen delivers on their goal of providing a product with durability, flexibility, and value, and that's no small feat.

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Now it's your turn to tell us what you think of the Strahlen ST-100's. How do these lights compare the other LED lighting solutions that you've used? What additional features would you like to see in these lights? Let us know down in the comments!

Link: Strahlen: LED Lights With Unparalleled Versatility -- IndieGoGo

Your Comment

32 Comments

Hi Rob, I only got a chance to watch the video with no sound but wanted to ask if you could compare the light output of these led with a comparable tungsten fresnel or open face lamp (what is the comparable fixture to a naked LED lamp?)

I'd be interested to see the f/stop or foot candle reading between the two, I take it from this test you was looking at colour rendering? (Sorry I will watch again later and read the review)

January 27, 2014 at 10:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Hi Anthony,

Our foot-candle charts are available at http://strahlenlights.com/info and click on Just the Specs (orange button, top right). The ST-100 open-face is comparable to a 250-300W fresnel in flood, or a 500-600W open-face halogen. We also have the fixed fresnel attachment, which intensifies the light 2-2.5x.

I highly recommend that you compare foot-candle charts to multiple lights, but to quickly compare the ST-100 to something like a LitePanels 1x1 flood, the ST-100 is anywhere from 15% (tungsten) to 75% (daylight) brighter.

Thanks for your interest!

January 27, 2014 at 12:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Is it a proper directional cut fresnel attachment or just a clear lens? I ask because this is often missing in Chinese LED "fresnels" and you kind of get a source 4 light quality without the high degree of focus, it's actually a good thing in some instances but of course you have to get rid of the aberration from the edges of the lens attachment with a donut ring or the supplied diffuser.

Still waiting to see your lights with modifiers, snoots, lenses etc when's the next set of tests from DP's?

January 27, 2014 at 12:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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It's a proper directional cut fresnel that narrows down and boosts the output. It also has a smooth fall-off so you don't have to worry about some additional diffuser.

We'll have a second review from Fstoppers.com coming out (I believe) later this week. They spend some time also looking at the modifiers.

If you want any additional photos or videos of the lights and/or modifiers, email me at andy@strahlenlights.com. I'd be happy to get you anything you'd like. Thanks!

January 27, 2014 at 1:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Not keen on Fstoppers reviews to be honest, their BMCC review was a laughable late amateur mess. I really like the overall look of your lights, I'll wait until I see a few DP's get their hands on them and the various light modifiers ;)

Thanks - Anthony

January 28, 2014 at 1:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Well, when it comes out on Monday just take a look and see if there's anything that you find valuable. We also have a big announcement coming in the next week or two.

You could be one of those DPs! Now's a great time to join the Strahlen team! :)

January 30, 2014 at 12:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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open face put out more than fresnels.

this test is so borked as to be useless. using a flat camera profile throws out more info than anything else. it doesn't make you image more gradable, but less so because there is even less info to work with.

after having messed around, using the stock canon standard EOS profile with reduced contrast is the best setting as it MAXIMIZES whats recorded in those precious 8 bits of 4:2:0. thats the most gradable image you can make.
I can very much concur about the linked video where certain parts of the color spectrum are simply missing and trying to grade it back can be near impossible.

I also find that the 60D in particular, and canon dslr's in general make for very pasty skin tones. its like they have 2 or maybe 3 shades of gradation in color and thats it. all the more aggravated with a flat camera style tossing out more info.

so this "test" is basically useless... sorry. next time try using settings that record EVERYTHING the camera is giving you rather than compressing and tossing it out. a 60D is not a RED or ALEXA or even C500. shooting stills in RAW would of been better.

January 27, 2014 at 11:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Version 3.3 of the Marvels picture style is not a flat profile like Technicolor or Flaat, and it uses the standard color profile that ships with the cameras as its base. It actually leaves your colors alone, and works mostly with how the luminance is interpreted, so it results in a smoother highlight roll off and more detailed shadows.

And you're right, a 60D certainly doesn't compare to an Alexa or a C500. I'll make sure to budget for one of those cameras next time I need 3 minutes of test footage.

January 28, 2014 at 12:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4379

Rob I understand your slightly catty remark at the end there but the poster has a point, your loading a picture profile that stretches the dynamic range on a compressed camera for a test that needs the opposite, you actually have a fine enough tool for the job, a simple still life with varying colours could be filmed and shot as a raw photograph for colour rendering, the same again with your model for flesh tones. After that a crude draw chart on the wall to show beam spread and foot candle readings from a simple light meter would be perfect. The wide shot wasn't needed either.

Thanks for the post but by the words of the designer it's to early for a review anyway, I'm actually not a fan of reviews, like anything I want to make my own mind up and just want the facts, figures cost and an overview of its use. Without sounding rude to anyone who does reviews I believe you need a reputation in order for your opinion to matter, I.e. I could care less what the writers of no film school think of this light but the gaffer from Ameeican Hustle would be an opinion I would read into. Does that make sense or is it just plain rude? - Ant

January 28, 2014 at 2:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Definitely not rude in the slightest. I legitimately appreciate the criticism, and I will take all of this into consideration should I do any more reviews. Can't say that will be any time soon though, because this one stressed me out way more than it should have.

January 28, 2014 at 12:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4379

Hey Anthony,

My light meter has been crapping out on me for the past few months, so I can't guarantee that my results are very accurate (which is why I didn't include these numbers in the review), but I was getting anywhere between 150-200 foot candles at 5 feet and about 50-60 foot candles at 10 feet with the daylight models. The tungsten models have a slightly smaller output, and I was getting between 100-150 foot candles at 5 feet and 40-50 foot candles at 10 feet.

I didn't have my meter with me when I tested the ST-100's against the Arri fresnels, but according to Arri's awesome photometrics calculator, the 650+ fresnel set to flood puts out 433 foot candles at 5 feet and 108 foot candles at 10 feet. The 300+ fresnel set to flood is a bit more in the realm of the ST-100's. It puts out 181 foot candles at 5 feet and 45 foot candles at 10 feet.

Overall, I'd say that these LED's are comparable to a 300-400 watt fresnel, although there's certainly some give and take depending on whether you're using the daylight model or the tungsten model.

January 27, 2014 at 12:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4379

Ah that's a shame, I can read the charts but it would be great to see the results from a third party with a meter, I would want to see a scene lit with fresnels with mixed temps using gels and then then the scene recreated with the LED's, I can judge colour rendering from that even get an understanding of post workflow to correct the image, after that I'd want to see meter readings from compare able light sources and hear from the actress and DP for how it felt to be lit by the fresnels over the LED's and the ease of use or workflow changes the DP made to accommodate the lights.

I'd happily do this if I get a few loaner light's ;)

January 27, 2014 at 12:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Robert's readings are in line with what we tested. I tend to be a bit more conservative with our posted numbers because I don't intend to lie to the consumer and overstate our claims. Between our readings, it's pretty safe to say that the ST-100 is comparable to a 300W fresnel.

I'll see what I can do about lighting and recreating a scene. Perhaps we can work out something a bit easier that still gets you the results you want. Like I said before, email me at andy@strahlenlights.com. It'll be easier to coordinate things that way.

I'm sure Robert can comment on your other questions. :)

January 27, 2014 at 1:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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To understand the reasons for color shifts, mismatch when mixing LED and tungsten/daylight and it's interplay with the camera it's worth watching fxphd free preview of their Advanced Color Theory course with Charles Poynton where they talked quite alot about it, found here: http://www.fxphd.com/blog/free-preview-of-our-new-advanced-digital-colou...

It can also be worth watching the Chromatic Chaos and other videos from AMPAS Solid State Lighting Project for further discussion and examples that cover the same ground: http://www.oscars.org/science-technology/council/projects/ssl/

January 27, 2014 at 10:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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"the most tedious of sound mixers would notice it on a set"

I don't think it means what you think it means.

I don't think any sound mixer would appreciate being referred to as "tedious".

January 27, 2014 at 12:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Herb

Scrupulous would have been a better choice of words.

January 27, 2014 at 12:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Robert Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker's Process
4379

Or "anally retentive" ... I mean, thorough.

January 27, 2014 at 8:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

Especially the tedious ones...

January 28, 2014 at 11:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kraig

I think 'fastidious' was the word being thought of....! ;-)

February 1, 2014 at 7:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Geoff HC

My favorite part of the video is at 2:51 when the cameraman says, "no, turn to your head to your right" and she's all like, "Oh" and she's thinking, "Why did I let them talk me into this?"

January 27, 2014 at 1:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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dan

The Fiilex p360 is a 90w single source adjustable color temp led that is both ac/dc powered, adjustable output, accepts profoto modifiers or its own line of attachments including a magnetic fresnel lens and barndoors (which it comes with) has a minimum cri of 91 at any color temp (up to 95), weights 1.6lbs and costs $750. I have not used the strahlen leds, but from this review, it sounds as if the fiilex has already created exactly what the inventor of strahlen set out to make. With 90w vs 100w I am sure the strahlen puts out more light, but i cannot see anything else the strahlen is better at. Especially considering i can buy two adjustable color temp fiilex for $100 more than a single strahlen bicolor.

January 27, 2014 at 1:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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sam

Sam,

You have to look at foot-candle charts. Simply comparing power consumption doesn't come close to telling the whole story.

The ST-100 is ~100% (tungsten) and ~200% (daylight) brighter than the P360 but only consumes 10W more power (http://strahlenlights.com/info - Just the Specs). The ST-100 also has adjustable output, industry-standard modifiers, and comparable CRI.

As Robert had mentioned, we're working on cutting weight and size before going into production, as well as adding battery-power capability shortly down the road.

January 27, 2014 at 2:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I will explain why i mentioned 90w instead of the measure of intensity but first i must say I hope your product is a success and i am no expert but have done a fair amount of research. Obviously all competing mainstream technologies used in production (tungsten, flourescent, hmi,led, plasma) all have advantages and disadvantages that in my opinion fall into four very oversimplified categories: size, cost, output, versatility. (for example electricity savings and build quality or lack of would fall under cost).
The problem a consumer has is obviously weighing all of these categories out and making an informed choice based on their needs.

So what would be most helpful is if you could provide not only an intensity but also a measurement of the beam or spread of light because as you know a light source with focused beam will produce a higher measure of intensity at its focal point than the same light with a broader focus. Therefore i mentioned the wattage as the best way to compare with the data available because your specs dont include beam spread. Each lighting technology has basic theoretical output per watt. I know this is oversimplifying and doesn't translate into everyday use. Can I ask what would be a better way to compare output of different light sources based on ONLY specs provided by both your company and others ? Unfortunately the easy answer: Lightmeter is not available in specs :) I also have no doubt your product is brighter than the Fiilex. The reason i posted was to point out a light already on the market that other than intensity did everything you set out to do. Priolite, Profoto, Fotodiox , Westcott, Rps and several other chinese companies also make competing products to one degree or another but most if not all do not have integrated ballasts. Based on specs for my personal lighting needs i would put yours on top of the list for affordable leds if it was DC not AC. When you add DC in the future what form will that take?

January 27, 2014 at 5:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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sam

I appreciate you taking the time to explain your thoughts and that you've actually put a great deal of thought behind your ideas.

I'll work on creating a graphic for beam spread, but I can also tell you that the foot-candle numbers are at a ~110 degree spread and on-axis with the LED. The fresnel add-in focused the spread to ~60 degrees and boosts output by 2-2.5x.

Unfortunately at the end of the day the only real way to compare lights is through foot-candle/lux charts. Every bulb, housing, and modifier will affect the output of a light, so that's the only way to level the playing field. Every reputable manufacturer should have those available either on their websites on in PDFs, and if they don't then I wouldn't trust them.

We set very aggressive targets for the ST-100 because we saw what several of those manufacturers that you mentioned were doing and we didn't believe that any of them were good enough - whether it was output, color quality, durability, flexibility, or ease of use. We set out to create the most comprehensive LED light possible within that price range and target market.

The plan for DC input is to secure an Anton Bauer mount on the bottom of the unit, but otherwise make no changes in size or usability. This is something that we're still working on and have yet to settle on a final design, but the goal is to not have to change the dimensions of the ST-100 to make it happen.

January 27, 2014 at 5:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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With these specs and a future AB mount, it would put your light at the top for what i am looking for in a portable affordable light. I will bookmark your site for future updates. I have spent well over 50 hrs in the last 2 months researching specs, reviews, etc..I am looking for a portable moddifiable hardlight for photo and video (which is a compromise at best as there is not any one tool for every job) I bought 2 fiilex p360 so far (as you can tell from my unbiased post :) and easily beat my 1x1s and 8 other various led sources for my needs as they are a compact, light weight, shapeable single source hardlight. More output however would be great and the Strahlen looks like it fits the bill. Thanks for your gracious reply

January 27, 2014 at 6:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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sam

Well, that's great to know! Definitely keep an eye on our site - I'm sure you'll like what you see coming out over the next few months. The ST-100 really seems to offer you what you need. :)

Always feel free to contact me at andy@strahlenlights.com if you have any questions or comments. Thanks!

January 30, 2014 at 12:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Sam, foot candle readings at 10, 20 and 30ft (inverse square law) and a scene to show the CRI and quality of light is really what you want as a gaffer or DP, power consumption is also more than a cost factor, in fact I don't think anyone I know has ever worried about the electricity bill on a shoot, more to the point, power consumption is incredibly important to my lighting plan as it shows what I can use in one circuit. Maybe it's not a massive concern here over say a 1K HMI as we're talking about 100w, but knowing its comparable to a 300-500w tungsten fresnel (with attachment) with no loss in light for daylight balance for only 100w of consumption is pretty cool.

To round off the info, knowing how many amps are drawn would really arm me as a gaffer using these lights on a bigger production and would make this test a little more specific to a professional in the field.

January 28, 2014 at 2:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anthony, I'll work on getting those readings and examples setup. I'm happy to provide as much useful information as possible to potential customers. :)

The ST-100 draws just shy of 2A, so you could fit quite a few on a single circuit and still be safe.

January 30, 2014 at 12:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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At this price point I'd go look at the Area 48 Soft first… To be honest, I know it's a first model, but it's not versatile at all… it seems to compare more to an open face light than a fresnel.

Oh well… everyone is trying to make a buck of this hype. I just can't be bothered to go either this way or that way, when non of the manufacturers want to go all the way from the beginning.

Area 48 here I come….

January 27, 2014 at 3:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Torben

So let me see if I'm following this correctly - you don't think the ST-100 is versatile (despite it's three modifier mounts), and so you're looking at a light that costs more than 2x an ST-100, requires proprietary modifiers, can only be a soft light, can't be focused, only gridded, and has almost identical output?

And yes, it is compared more to an open face light... because it's an open face light. Which also happens to have an available fresnel attachment.

January 27, 2014 at 5:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Touché.

January 28, 2014 at 11:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kraig

For a DP to make a somewhat accurate output comparison between light sources, the lights need to be focused the same. (Or is this implied in your response regarding fc) As for a light sources CRI, it is another important factor to consider in the value of a light for imaging purposes, but I only mention the measure of light intensity for comparison between sources to clarify my post, not spectrum, as that is another conversation entirely.
Even high CRI in regards to LED lighting can be inaccurate. The color spectra of LED lighting primary colors does not match the expected color wavelength bandpasses of digital sensors. As a result, color rendition can be completely unpredictable in optical prints, transfers to digital media from film (DI's), and video camera recordings. Academy_of_Motion_Picture_Arts_and_Sciences . According to that, Lighting color by eye unless you know your cameras sensor well will most likely not be wysiwyg unless maybe through a calibrated 30 bit monitor but then lense choice will also be a factor in how colors are represented. What do you think? I think a measurment other than cri should be formed

I agree "power consumption" is more than just a factor of "cost" which is why I am most interested in led technology. ( High Lumens per watt for battery powered portability) i mentioned power consumption as a factor of cost with the owner of a studio with many light sources large and small in mind. If one can cut electricity costs by 2/3rds x's the course of a decade don't you think this should be a factor when making a fair comparison between light sources).

A= w/v for dc power

March 30, 2014 at 8:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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sam