View Full Version : Cool Lights Tungsten fresnels... any opinions?

Iker Riera
December 30th, 2011, 07:52 AM
I'm putting together small kit right now, i've already decided on a couple of soft light sources from Cool Lights but would also like to get some hard light to have more options.

I was gonna get some Lowel lights for this purpose (something like a DP and some smaller Pros), but then found the Cool Lights Tungsten Fresnels at a very attractive price compared to the Lowel stuff (including accesories, barn doors, etc.) so i would like to know if anyone has any opinions on their built quality, control over the light, etc.?

How do these compare to the Arris or Lowel lights like the DP, Pro or Omni lights?

Any opinions or comments are welcome.

Charles Papert
December 30th, 2011, 06:54 PM
I'll let someone else chime in on the Cool Lights specifically, but the difference between fresnels and open face lights like the Lowels is a separate question. If you intend to play the units direct (i.e. background lighting), the fresnels deliver a more consistent beam pattern that cuts neater with barn doors than open face. However, if you are looking to bounce or push through a Chimera or diffusion, the open face will deliver more output than the same unit in fresnel.

Iker Riera
January 1st, 2012, 03:00 PM
yeah like i mentioned for a soft/difused light source i already decided on one of their fluorescent options. I'm looking more to have some hard lights that i can control more to be able to use in the background, for highlights, etc.

Paul R Johnson
January 1st, 2012, 03:34 PM
They look very similar to the other designs looking like, and based on the Arri range recently replaced.

I've got some, and I'm happy enough with them - but they are not as tough. The lead screws (on the 650W) versions are rather soft metal and jam up a bit. The 1000W version seems quite a lot better, and I do like the quality of the light - which is to my eye so similar to the real Arris, I'm happy. Build quality is poor. It's ok and serviceable - but after being thrown in the van a few times, the castings get loose from the aluminium pressings. You can tightened them up of course, but there's some play - which isn't there on the Arris.

If we're looking for cheap and useful - they're fine. . They're small, bright and do the job.

oh yes - bard doors are a bit rubbish. Soft metal - very easy to bend, and on the 1K, the fit to the front is a bit on the loose side. I don't regret buying them.

For us in the UK, one thing important - the electrical cabling is NOT up to UK standards. It's good enough rubber - but the cable into the lamp house is 2 core. No ground - which here in the UK means a straight fail on the electrical test. It is not double insulated and has a metal body. It's easily fixed for those that are ok with these things - just a new bit of cable and some internal bonding. Our higher voltage makes this pretty important.

Iker Riera
January 1st, 2012, 04:32 PM
thanks a lot, me and my usual crew take good care of our equipment, we don't usually bang them up too much.

Btw do you find they get hotter to handle than the Arris or do they overall perform about the same apart from the slightly lower built quality?

thanks again for the help :)

Paul R Johnson
January 1st, 2012, 04:57 PM
They do indeed run very hot, but so do the Arris - the thing to watch for in the future I think will be overheating of the lamp pins. The spring pressure when you stick a lamp in is not as firm - so I can imagine arcing and blackening in the future - but new lamp holders are pretty easy to source.

One of mine has a reflector that is starting to look a little like there is rust forming under the surface. I can't see how this can be unless the aluminium quality is a bit off, and it really is oxidising?

Iker Riera
January 1st, 2012, 05:55 PM
thanks a lot for the help, any other comments are welcome

Shaun Roemich
January 3rd, 2012, 02:19 AM
Regarding the Chinese Arri knockoffs, some interesting reading here:

FilmGearTorture (

The author has yet to identify himself but I can tell you he is a DVInfo alumnus...

Rob Katz
January 12th, 2012, 05:09 PM

filmgeartorture is a great site.

thanks for the link.


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