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Old November 4th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #1
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Kino flo diva lite 400 vs ???

I have shot a few jobs with a rented kino flo diva lite 400 as my key. Seems like a nice light, works with my style of bright open daylite background interviews. Dimmable, enough output, daylight or tungsten, cool, etc.

My question - before I go buy one are there other / better options I should consider?

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Old November 4th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #2
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There's a huge range of very similar lights around. Any that use the 55W tubes can be changed to tungsten. Fluorescent HMI and LED Video Studio and Location Lighting - Cool Lights USA have quite a few and there's plenty of other manufacturers around. To the best of my knowledge Lupo in Italy are one of the few that do a dimmable version. Then again it's not that hard to swap the ballasts in the el cheapo Chinese units for the Osram dimmable ballasts.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #3
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The dimming feature has proven to be quite handy vs having to move the lite or unplug bulbs to vary the lights output - so I guess I will have to pass on the Cool Lites as it seems they no longer offer dimmers.

Wondering what other fixtures you guys would recommend that use 55w bulbs and are dimmable?

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Old November 4th, 2009, 09:19 PM   #4
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The comparable Cool Lights model is the CL-455PMD, which is dimming. CL-455PMD Cool Lights Portable Dimming 4 x 55 watt Softlight - Cool Lights USA Top of the page says they're in stock, bottom says they're expected in late December. If you're interested, your best bet would be to email Richard and ask. I am the proud owner of a few of his fixtures, and his stuff is great.

~~Dave
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Old November 4th, 2009, 10:13 PM   #5
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Thanks Dave.

We are out of stock on the dimming 4x55 portable at the moment, but we do have other dimmable models in studio version as well as portables.

Its clearly marked on the product pages which is dimmable and which isn't. Thus, Lupo is not the only model out there with dimmable--we've been doing that for almost 2 years now and will continue on with that line in the future as well as the lower priced non-dimmable, bank select type fluorescents.

Hope this helps.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 03:23 AM   #6
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I use this system:

Lighting for film, video, photography by Gyoury Evolved
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Old November 5th, 2009, 06:50 AM   #7
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Greg, the color temp can shift dramatic when dimming a biax flo tube.
So it is a feature that is of no use to me. What I have found though, is that there are a number of manufactures of Diva style lights using high quality ballasts, that are priced so much better than the Diva product. One of my favorite lighting instruments now is a 6 x 55w unit with bank select switches. You can run it as a 330w, 220w, or 110watt. I made a couple of removable egg crate grids to control the spill, and a silk or two if I need to shave a stop off the top.

Good Luck!
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Old November 5th, 2009, 07:32 AM   #8
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I'll second what David just mentioned. The Diva's tend to shift dramatically toward magenta as they dim, especially the 2900K tubes. As a key source the result is either the talent in magenta light or you colour correct for the foreground leaving your background to shift green. I have heard that there are new bulbs for the Diva to reduce this problem but as a rule I stay away from that fixture.

Additional drawbacks to the diva (IMHO) would be that the bulbs don't have a shatter resist sleeves like the double-ended tubes so they tend to break in transit, the case that the Diva's come in doesn't stack like an Anvil or Pelican case and is made of super slippery plastic.

In a similar size to the Diva400 you could get the traditional 2ft Kino Quad-bank or my preference would be the 4' Quad. Instead of dimming the fixture you just eliminate bulbs and there is also a high/low power (meant for 2'/4' bulbs) on the ballast.

If you stay with fixtures that use the traditional double-ended lamps you won't go wrong.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 08:39 AM   #9
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Ahh, so with dimming comes a color shift - something to avoid then.

I had looked at Cool Lites site and they appeared to be a nice product at a good price but saw the out of stock notice and moved on. I will circle back with them directly.

On the Kinos, I looked on their site for the "2ft Kino Quad-bank" which sounds like a good size with good features but I was unable to figure out which light Paul was recommending. Any help on that one?

thanks again
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Old November 5th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #10
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To some degree it's about working style...

I have 4-tube and 2-tube Cool Lights portable bank-switchable models, daylight tubes only.

Love them.

To swap to tungsten, I have pre-cut full CTO gels I can quickly clip on. Quicker than changing bulbs, and plenty of overall punch to compensate for the slight light loss (2/3 stop?) of going from daylight to tungsten.

To dim the 4-tube I simply cut off a bank, or use some pre-cut diffusion (which also further softens and spreads) or use the egg crate, which also cuts down on spill. Or I just back the light up a little. I have pre-cut ND gels in my kit also but seldom use them. You could also fly in a grip net. But for the documentary, industrial and low-budget commercials that are my bread n butter, the portable bank-switchables from Cool Lights have been terrific. Unlike the Diva's, which are plastic, the Cool Lights are polycarbonate, which makes them both lighter and sturdier. More than a clone, they are a genuinely innovative product that is great value for the money.

Oh, because I like to use (or sometimes am forced by circumstances to use) existing ambient window light for fill, I love daylight balanced lighting instruments.

Charles: the Gyoury system looks to be a great value for its versatility and modularity. How sturdy is it in production use? What about replacement bulbs? Can you use standard high CRI biax tubes and plug them into the "wand" pigtail, or do you have to replace the whole wand if you break a tube?

Last edited by Mark Schlicher; November 5th, 2009 at 12:18 PM.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 06:32 PM   #11
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Cool System Mark

Thanks
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Old November 6th, 2009, 07:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Schlicher View Post
To some degree it's about working style...
Charles: the Gyoury system looks to be a great value for its versatility and modularity. How sturdy is it in production use? What about replacement bulbs? Can you use standard high CRI biax tubes and plug them into the "wand" pigtail, or do you have to replace the whole wand if you break a tube?
Mark:

Versatility and modularity are indeed the hallmark of this system. I very rarely end up just using them in standard fashion (where they resemble a Diva 200); over the course of a given shoot I may pull the tubes out and hide them in the set or tape them to a wall, or mount them in the china ball setup (having a dimmable china ball is a great help). The wands are specific to Gyoury so you can't replace the bases--you have to replace the whole wand unfortunately (I've probably gone through maybe 6 in as many years, mostly from breakage). Being able to remote the ballast is another great innovation; you can hang the two-bulb assembly from a lightweight boom stand without any fuss as it is so light (and the ballast has integrated clips so it attaches right to the stand and becomes a counterweight, very clever).

Indeed, they suffer from the same mired shift when dimming as the Divas. I do have some 1/4 plus green pre-cut and in the case for this eventuality. However, the ability to dim a unit like this is often a huge time saver. I work plenty with standard Kinos where you can switch off globes or go to lower power etc., but nothing is as quick as being able to jump on dimmer pot and fine tune the exact amount of output. I call these my utility lights and like to have them built and standing by for a last minute touch of fill as needed because they are so quick and easy.

And all that said; I may be looking to sell them soon as I'd like to move into LED panels! I love the 1x1 Litepanel but it is not cheap by any means--and I'm fascinated by the large Zylight and the remote dimming and built-in color adjustment, super-cool.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 08:20 PM   #13
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Funny you should mention LEDs. Wondering if they might be right for me, on to a new thread :)

thanks
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Old November 17th, 2009, 11:13 PM   #14
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Just a quick note on my experience with the Cool Lites 4-bank dimmables... not sure if others have this problem but I found that the mounting hardware for these fixtures are not up to par at all. I could tell they were cheap out of the box, and my gut wasn't wrong. It's been a real hassle to keep the jaw from slipping on the lollipop mount; you have to crank down on that sucker until your hand is raw! And in several situations where the light was at a particular angle, the jaw just wouldn't hold it at all and the fixture would slip. Not good. I'm not sure if it's an issue with the plastic used on the lollipop, as it seems softer than the Kino version, or if it's an issue with the jaw mechanism. Luckily, I found that the mounting screw holes exactly fit the screw holes on the Diva lite mounting hardware, so I bought the hardware from Kino ($263 for two - ouch) and now am much much happier.

I did have an issue in traveling with the kit where the bulbs fell out and one broke, so now I secure them with wire ties before shipping. Some sturdier clips on the fixture to hold the bulbs tighter could help.

Finally, you aren't able to close down the doors with the eggcrate in place, the way you are able to on the Diva. And I have found that the doors are not quite as stiff as the Diva's and sometimes don't want to stay in place. Not a huge deal, but still.

So, overall, it took some extra money to get the lights working well. You do get what you pay for. I think I ended up saving about $700 after buying a hard case, stands, and new mounting fixtures. Was it worth it? Probably. But I'm thinking next time I'd go with the Kinos. My two cents...
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Old November 18th, 2009, 05:22 AM   #15
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I really like Westcott's five bulb Spiderlite.

Westcott | Spiderlite TD5 Medium One Light Kit (120VAC) | 4882
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