Lighting has evolved so much in the last few years. However, many of the awesome innovations have been seen in compact lighting solutions. For massive output, HMI still remained king.

In this quest to change that, Aputure has unveiled the Electro Storm XT26, a beefy 2600W fixture that it hopes will change our reliance on HMIs. Packed with a nice set of features, will this point-source LED fixture revolutionize how we use potent lights?

Unleashing The Power

At the heart of the Electro Storm XT26 lies a 2600W high-output LED engine. Aputure claims this will approach industry-standard 12,000W tungsten Fresnels and 4,000W HMIs but with LEDs. This would make the fixture a true powerhouse, capable of illuminating large sets without the massive heat output.

With these lights on set, we can be safe in saying goodbye to traditional tungsten lights.

But what about HMIs? If the power output, color accuracy, and features set are anything to go by, Aputure is slowly ushering HMI out the door. More on that later.

Aputure Electro Storm XT26A massive light for massive output. XT26 3D renderCredit: Aputure

Dynamic White CCT and Tint Control

To maintain accurate color rendition, the Electro Storm XT26 features a powerful chipset that produces precise color throughout its CCT range from 2,700K to 6,500K. 

With SSI (Daylight) [74+] and SSI (Tungsten) [85+] scores, Aputure delivers impressive color accuracy for an LED fixture. 

Moreover, the latest-generation dynamic white chipset introduces green-magenta color correction with +/- .050dUV shift between 3,000K to 6,000K, which Aputure claims will allow creatives to better match their lighting sources. 

Versatility and Control

But all the power and color won’t do you any good if the light is clunky to use. That’s a big issue with HMIs. They can be big and hot. 

One of the standout features of the Electro Storm XT26 is its dual accessory mount system. Combining the universal Bowens Mount and the all-new electronic A-Mount compatibility, Aputure has created a fixture that adapts to any lighting setup. 

The electronic A-Mount not only enhances stability and durability but also allows for optimized color accuracy and motorized focus control. Furthermore, with the universal Bowens Mount, filmmakers will have access to a wide range of third-party modifiers and accessories.

Aputure Electro Storm XT26Electronic yokeCredit: Aputure

For connectivity, the Electro Storm XT26 comes equipped with Sidus Link app control, wireless DMX via the latest LumenRadio TimoTwo CRMX chipset, Art-net & sACN via etherCON, and 16-bit 5-Pin DMX512 In & Out. This is a nice touch if you’re not in the Aputure ecosystem and want other connectivity options.

Aputure also claims that the Electro Storm XT26 will have an IP65 rating, which means it can withstand dust and low-pressure water jets from any direction, making it a reliable tool even in harsh filming environments. Just don’t go dunking it in water just yet.

So, Will It Replace HMIs?

Will this replace HMIs? Maybe? While the Electro Storm XT26 is positioned as a powerful point-source LED fixture, it's worth exploring how it compares to the traditional HMI lights that have long been a staple in the film industry. 

The power output of the Electro Storm XT26 is impressive, but Aputure still has a way to go to meet the output of 6K, 12K, or even 18K HMI lights. However, the real benefit of switching to LED comes from the power consumption. So it’ll all depend on what your budget and set will allow. 

Both the Electro Storm XT26 and HMI lights are designed to produce accurate color rendition. However, the Electro Storm XT26 goes a step further with the dynamic white chipset that includes green-magenta color correction. This allows for greater control over the color temperature and tint, ensuring color accuracy throughout the CCT range.

ARRI M-Series HMIM-Series HMICredit: ARRI

Heat and portability will always be a winner for some sets and filmmakers. HMI lights are notorious for generating significant heat during operation, which can be a concern at best and dangerous at worst, especially in confined spaces.

The Electro Storm XT26 addresses this issue by using liquid-cooling technology, which should keep it humming throughout the day. I guess we have gaming PCs to thank for that one.

Aputure Electro Storm XT26The power supply. (vertical photo extended with Photoshop AI Generative Fill)Credit: Aputure

HMI lights also typically require bulky external ballasts to operate, adding to the overall size and weight of the lighting setup. In contrast, the Electro Storm XT26 is designed with a more compact form factor and integrated power supply, allowing for easier portability and quicker setup times. Additionally, the XT26 supports battery operation, providing greater flexibility for shooting in remote locations or situations where access to power sources is limited. I can already feel the generator manufacturers sweating. 

Finally, HMI lights rely on gas-filled bulbs that have a limited lifespan and require periodic replacement. In contrast, the Electro Storm XT26 utilizes LED technology known for its long lifespan and low maintenance requirements. LEDs also have a significantly longer operational life, reducing the need for frequent bulb changes and the associated downtime.

Having said all that, it’s important to note that HMI lights still have their strengths and are widely used in the film industry. They offer a long-established lighting solution with a proven track record, meaning Aputure still has a long way to go to win over favor. But it’s still an exciting alternative with its powerful output, robust feature set, versatility, and energy efficiency.

Is This Light For You?

With its 2600W power output, dynamic white CCT and tint control, versatile accessory mounts, professional connectivity options, and rugged construction, the Electro Storm XT26 is a force to be reckoned with. 

As we eagerly await its availability in Q4 2023, I’m excited about how this new tech will redefine sets around the world.

But what do you think? Let us know in the comments!