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Old December 8th, 2010, 02:37 AM   #1
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Cheap Fresnels

Hi,

So I was thinking of getting a cheap set of fresnels off ebay, not Arri brand. Wondering if anybody has any experience with them?

eBay.ie: 2x650W+300W Kit Fresnel Tungsten Light Lighting As ARRI (item 180593727481 end time 28-Dec-10 19:11:44 GMT)

Also, would I be better off getting 3x650w or 2x650w + 1x300w

Any opinions, first hand or otherwise, would be appreciated thanks!
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Old December 8th, 2010, 03:39 AM   #2
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They look like Chinese copies.

Re wattage, it really depends what you're using the lights for. You can easily reduce the light output, but you can't increase it. The smaller light is handy for putting a light in tighter locations or small subjects.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 06:32 AM   #3
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I've got some of the 650 and 1000W ones. They are ok optically - the actual castings are a little rougher that real Arris, but I can live with that. The internal lead screw on the 650W versions on one of mine jump out of the pin because the extrusions have been misaligned when drilled. Quality control issues. I can easily fix it - but never got round to it, just using delicate turning rather than grab and twist!

Electrically, there isn't a ground connection on the ones I have, which for UK use is an absolute no-no - and will fail the electrical test we give kit over here - but it's a simple job to replace the two core cable with 3 core and bond the ground to the chassis so it passes the test. This probably isn't critical of US use.

The barn door ring is a little soft, too, so can get bend if you jam it into a bag.

So in terms of light output and light quality, I'm very happy - if you can put up with the slightly poor build quality - they're ok. Although the same units are available from many suppliers, but they're all about the same when you add in carriage charges.

Last edited by Paul R Johnson; December 8th, 2010 at 12:32 PM.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 08:17 AM   #4
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Another option is to purchase used Arri or LTM Peppers from a place like ebay.
There are many wannabe film makers that spent a small fortune on gear, that are now selling it to try and make ends meet.
Many of us have put together a lighting kit over time by purchasing high quality used lighting instruments.

Good Luck!
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Old December 8th, 2010, 12:23 PM   #5
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I got three 650w of those for receptions, good lights for the money, way better that floods
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Old December 8th, 2010, 12:53 PM   #6
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So far I've only seen one ebay seller who properly grounds their chinese redheads for UK use, they dont do it with their fresnels for some reason. I would do it myself of course.

I've also looked into the used arri option but there's been none up there for a while now.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 07:53 PM   #7
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I endorse Stephen's comments on local electrical standards.

Furthur, be mindful,that most lighting appliances are doing a whilrwind world tour and inevitably suffer from a severe shaking at some point in the journey.

If you were buying from a local reseller, then pre-delivery checks and power compliance "should" have been looked after before any user plugs them into an outlet.

As a direct importer this is now your job. You should not be turning them loose until they have been checked by a qualified lighting electrician or yourself if qualified.

You or your electrician would be wise to check all lamphouse screws, electrical connections and their supports, in particular the earth path.

Pay attention to feedtrough sleeves around wiring to make sure the manufacturer has not been so frugal that a sleeve cut too short slips out of any sharp panel edges it is meant to protect travelling wiring from.

In these days of profit and pleasure before prudence, one wonders if this is done by commercial importers before the hand comes out across the table and claws its percentage across, which makes doing it yourself atrractive.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #8
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they look identical to some imagewest branded ones i have; probably the same root manufacturer. i also have a few open face lights with diffusers/light modifiers. they arent bad quality actually; not Mole-Richardsons, but they get the job done just as good, and if one gets mangled, its replaced rather frugally and easily.

i use them all the time, and ive never had a problem. i dont really think M-R's or ARRI's are worth the price anyways; its just a stand, bulb, and a socket; not neurosurgery or rocket science. They can be replaced 5x over before you hit ARRI pricepoints. Come to realize, i do recommend them. Ive used them indoors, outdoors, cold, hot, etc; no issues, and the stands mine came with are just fine.

Unless you have a complete idiot handling them, they are a great value.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 09:27 AM   #9
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In the previous post I was a bit reluctant to personally endorse the lights themselves as it might be seen that I was advertising or promoting. Over on Indieclub it was hinted I was pushing my own barrow so have been a little more careful of late.

I have had satisfactory results from chinese lights which were vended by Steven Fu who trades as steven studio.

So far the kit is :-

1.2K HMI.
2K Tungsten Fresnel.
650watt Tungsten Fresnel.

plus some C-stands and light stands which are not advertised on the site.


The truth of it is that for many of us, without these affordable sources such as the chinese vendors and people like Richard at Cool Lights, we might still be limited to inferior attempts at value-adding with mods on automotive spotlights, workshop lights with splitbottomed disposable pietrays and baking trays for barn-doors, swimming pool lights and home made LED hacks.

Only valid research can determine if the chinese clones of industry stalwarts like ARRI are harming the markets of the genuine originals or creating new markets of their own.


Lighting for the frame grab :-

Key. Steven Studio 1.2K HMI with orange gel.
Rim. Steven Studio 2 x 650watt tungsten fresnels with blue gels.
Greenscreen. 3 x genuine Ianiro reheads with green gels.

The dark patch on left was caused by tinted glass which has ambushed us but seems manageable on subsequent tests.
Attached Thumbnails
Cheap Fresnels-bail-me-grab-not-graded.jpg  

Last edited by Bob Hart; December 11th, 2010 at 09:37 AM. Reason: added jpg
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Old December 11th, 2010, 09:51 AM   #10
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It's very difficult to formulate an opinion. Personally, (and my own stock also came from Steven) I tend to subscribe to the opinion that there is a counterfeit and a 'homage' product. If the steven studio products were badged up and described as Arri - then I wouldn't have bought them - same as I wouldn't buy 'Adidas' trainers - but they are simply look alike products. Sure, they've copied the colour scheme and shapes, but there are differences too. As serviceable lights, I have no issues, and Arri have changed their own deign now anyway. I suppose legally speaking the colour and shape may well be too close for legal comfort if challenged. There are plenty of microphones that look like Shure SM58s that are NOT counterfeit, but have the same grill, the same colour and shape - they might sound different - but they serve a purpose. From working with students for years, they would all buy Les Paul shaped guitars, but when they could afford a real one - they'd buy it. If I could afford to buy lots of Arri, I probably would - but not yet. If people who don't know, see a blue and silver Fresnel, then they'd assume it was an Arri, and if they wanted one, or somebody asked them for a recommendation - they might go out and buy one, so the manufacturer might actually gain from 'homage' products? Maybe?
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Old December 21st, 2010, 09:53 AM   #11
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I agree with what everyone is saying here. I'm student myself, and I'm only buying what I can afford. When I'm out of college and working I have no doubt I will be buying a new set from a more reliable manufacturer.
I don't think they're damaging to the Arri, Lowel and Ianiro market because I wouldn't settle for less. Same reason I'm editing on a PC at the moment, when I can afford it, I'll buy a mac.

P.S. The lights arrived, very pleased with them. The barn doors are better built than I thought, the case is a good quality, hard, wheeled case and the lights fit snugly inside, even though one is a smaller 300w. The stands' legs are a bit wobbly but once they'e on the ground they're quite solid and a nice feature I haven't seen before even on Arri stands is a spring mechanism inside the 'trunk' of the stand so if it's retracted accidentally the force of the impact is almost completely absorbed and doesn't damage the light.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 10:57 AM   #12
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A nice little touch which may or may not be on your stands is several neoprene rings where the rim of the upper segment comes down to the next segment below. It helps protect against a bit if skin and flesh being caught if the extended stand is inadvertantly loosened whilst you have the web of your thumb in the firing line if the section drops.
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