View Full Version : Anyone compared a Lowel Blender LED vs Sola 3 or Paglight 9965?
March 23rd, 2012, 01:58 PM
I found this interesting and thorough review of the Lowel Blender light and how it addresses the color temperature problem of LEDs:
Field Test: The Lowel Blender from Adorama Learning Center (http://www.adorama.com/alc/article/12866)
Anyone used a blender for on and off camera use?
Anyone compare it to geling down a Sola 3?
The Paglight 9965 looks interesting but not much written up about it.
March 23rd, 2012, 08:34 PM
I used the blender and found that the dimming function really is by adjusting the brightness of the color leds. If you have adjusted the color to be fine at 3750K and you wish to dim or brighten it WITHOUT affecting that setting you may have to do a white balance everytime you decide to change the brightness, as there is no dedicated dimmer. It has a nice feature in that it can be powered from 7.2 volt DC camcorder li-ion batteries as well as the 14.4V p-tap connector, whereas the sola needs at least 10 volts and the pag from 12 volts. The sola and pag don't work with the 7.2 volt. The pag seems bright at 850 lux at 2 metres which really makes it like a whopping 3400 lux at 1 meter, BUT, was that figure taken at the NARROW beam ? most likely, and put the amber warming gel on that and see the luxes drop. The sola's variable beam is nice BUT then again, as most led units are measured WITHOUT the amber on. If you are mostly shooting daylight, the sola on narrow is a good fill as well as the pag. Take them indoor for wide flood coverage and balance for 3200K and the brightness may be marginal depending on distance. I wish the sola had provision to use 7.2 volts as I had to lug around a 14.4 volt brick for powering. The blender should have had a separate color and dimmer control, so once the color temperature is set, the dimmer would work independently. That was the only reason I did not buy it. The only reason I did not go for the sola is the 10 volt minimum. The sola is fine for ENG with P-tap off the camera. I did not have the opportunity to try the pag.I think there is a need for a high output, high CRI 3200K-4000K-5500K selectable, wide beam unit that accepts a wide DC input range that can accept either a rear mounted battery or the p-tap cable as well as being extremely rugged and weather sealed. I am still waiting.
March 24th, 2012, 06:08 AM
Thank you Arthur. I didn't realize but the approach of two sets of LEDs changes the brightness as you bring one set up or down. Did you notice any effects from the multiple light sources of the Blender LED array vs the traditional single light source?
I see with the Blender that by definition, you only get half the total 76 footcandle output at 6 feet , 39fc at Tungsten and 37fc at Daylight. And there is no beam adjustment with it. According to Lowel, the Blender draws about 18w when both sets are on.
In contrast, the output of the Paglight at 22 degree beam, 6' and 11w draw is 78fc Daylight. Then the output drops as you get to Tungsten.
Similarly, Sola ENG at 10 degree beam, 6' and 30w draw is 161fc daylight and drops.
It's impossible to compare without full data but from just these numbers, the Sola has 2x the punch but is 3x the draw vs the Paglight. But assuming 83% transmission for 1/4 CTO and 73% for 1/2 CTO, the Blender develops a little more punch in the middle as the two sets of LEDs combine versus the Paglight which only gets dimmer. I don't have data for a 22 degree beam on the Sola but I plotted it out (attached) just to see relative to the others.
The Sola and the Blender seem about the same size but the Sola is significantly lighter. I can't find the dimensions of the Paglight but it seems smaller. If anyone has data or experience with these lights, I'm interested in hearing it.
March 24th, 2012, 07:59 AM
The 3 different units have unique features of their own. If one must decide on a light based soley on their fc rating, then let the brightest one win. Brightness comparison should be at same color temperature, same beam angle and same distance. Coming up with a true brightness comparison chart based on published specs is only a rough guideline and actual fc/lux/lumen figures are only obtained from a side to side test with a lightmeter and measurements taken also at center and edge of projected beam. Problem is that we are led to trust the photometric data given to us by the makers and often that data is overrated. Many do not know what lux and footcandles and lumens are but are used to F stops and asa with shutter speed terminology. An EV (equivalent number) at a standard distance may be all that is required as long as the color temperature is mentiond as well to keep all things equal. How about having all 3 units, each on a tripod, each projecting a same size surface area ( can be accomplished by moving closer or farther from the wall), each with the same color temperature and each set at full brightness AT THAT COLOR TEMPERATURE. Then take incident meter readings at a standard 400ASA and measure center, corner and edges as well as supplying a photo of the beam along with that data. Now that would, for example, look like this:
Model X measured at asa 400, color at 5500K ( or brightest color temp.) , no gels/filters
Beam angle at 3 feet is 50 degrees ( limit of 50% down from center)
Center reading F5.6 at 1/60 sec
Edge reading F4.5 at 1/60 sec
and of course a photo of beam supplied.
An EV chart calculator can be found here: Conversion Tables for LUX to EV and EV Exposure Tables for Infrared Photography. 999WED.com. (http://www.999-wed.com/pg/pg9-infrared-conversion-tables.htm)
this would easily enable one to find a relation between lux and f stop/shutter speed as well as the EV value of any given light brightness figure. Perhaps they should rate light brightness in an EV value rather than lux.
Choosing among the three units depends really on the intended use. If I had a camera with the p-tap connectivity, then all 3 units will as far as powering. Next decision would be if I really need the variable color and willing to fiddle with dimming function. If not, then the sola would be it if variable beam is mandatory or the Pag if it isn't. If I do not have the t-tap option, then I will have to purchase a dedicated battery ( 14/4V brick or Sony BPU series with appropriate sled/plate) or a 12 volt pack. The blender is the most versatile as far as powering and coloring goes, the sola is the brightest as far as daylight fill and the pag is the quick change (tungsten bulb/led) artist which will allow high CRI warm temperature rendition with the halogen filament. All three have their merits.
The blender as well as all multi emitter led units cast multiple shadows at close range but the shadows are muted/diffused/less visible as the subject to background distance increases. To many, that is not a big issue.
April 6th, 2012, 05:29 PM
I've continued to compare portable LED lights and normalized the data so each fixture is at roughly the same beam spread at 6'. I also added power draw on the line graph. Normalizing for the beam size at 6' brings the Sola down in brightness quite a bit. EDIT: See note below about Blender
The shape of the LitePanels Croma and Lowel Blender lines show how brightness increases between Tungsten and Day color temperatures so the shape of the plot goes up in the middle. Whereas the Zylight is an RGB light, it's brightness is flat across all temperatures and the Sola and LEDzilla drop down as you go from native daylight to tungsten.
I found one comparison that included the Zylight Z90 and was informative:
Sungun Shootout | Cinequip White Inc (http://www.cinequipwhite.com/news/sungun-shootout/)
UPDATE: I missread the Lowel Blender photometrics. It's beam at 6' is less than 4' in diameter so it's unfair to compare it with the others which have a wider beam at that distance.