Zylight Z-90 quirk on F-350 at DVinfo.net

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Old October 3rd, 2007, 10:30 PM   #1
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Zylight Z-90 quirk on F-350

If you get Zylight Z-90 for your F-350 (probably 330 too), don't plug it into the front socket that enables auto switching (so light goes on with record button).

I did this to enable the auto on function, and also for the tidier cabling situation it allowed. However, upon trying to operate the Z-90, all it would do is strobe with hot pink light. Not currently operating, or trying to call attention to, a house of ill repute, I have little use for a hot pink strobe light. So instead of moving to Amsterdam, I called the Zylight people and tried to figure the problem out.

Turns out that on my 350, this front plug doesn't deliver sufficient wattage to drive the Z-90. But I have an Anton Bauer adapter and it has a pretty much direct connection to the battery, and once plugged in there, the light had the wattage it needed and worked fine.

This light is amazing. As advertised, it does change from tungsten to daylight with the push of a button. In another mode you can set it to any color temperature between 2500K and 9000K. In the third mode, it smoothly transitions between every hue on the color wheel, and then lets you dial in how much saturation you want. Altogether amazing.

What's not to like? It is a much narrower light source than the more rectanguler Light Panel so the horizontal shadowing will be harsher. They made the casing 3 inches wide for some reason, but the actual light source is just 7 very powerful LEDs in a hexagonal cluster maybe 1.25 x 1.25 inches.

As for Zylight's claim that this is the brightest LED light available: not even close. It's not as bright as my Sony HVL-LBP which cost half as much. It's not that the Z-90 isn't putting out the light, it's just that the light goes everywhere from the ceiling to the floor and way out to the sides -- for better or worse, a much wider spread than the Sony light. Too bad Zylight didn't put an adjustable focus on it so you could spot it in much more when you wanted to. Then they'd have something, right now I can't recommend it in spite of all its bells and whistles... get a Light Panel. (CHANGED MY MIND, SEE LATER POST BELOW)

Probably the soft box I ordered for it would enlarge and softer the lightsource, but the Zylight people forgot to send mine so I'll have to wait a few days to find out how well it softens the output, but that may be the last thing this light needs.

Tip

Last edited by Tip McPartland; October 4th, 2007 at 01:13 AM.
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 11:22 PM   #2
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BTW Tip, the same caveat applies to using the AB UL Dimmer on the camera D-Tap. It won't work. Although the front socket is spec'd for 50 watts, it's the regulated 12V that the UL Dimmer, and I suspect your Z-90, don't like. I believe they want a higher source voltage. The D-Tap on your AB adapter plate (I have the same one), provides the full voltage output.

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Old October 4th, 2007, 12:54 AM   #3
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So it's voltage, not wattage per se...

Thanks Greg, that's interesting, although a little worrisome. I have to wonder if that means the light will go south with a halfway discharged battery, even from the AB mount D-Tap. Time will tell.

I want to amend my previous comments about the Z-90's brightness. It is actually somewhat brighter than the Sony light, and it's spread is much wider, so there's definitely more total illumination.

My realization that the Z-90 is brighter was most evident on the flip-out screen where there was a clearer difference than to the naked eye, at least my naked eye that is.

I've had some success shooting with the HVR-V1 and the "little" Sony light, and since the Z-90 is brighter, and the 350 is more sensitive, maybe this Zylight will work well enough for normal shooting.

And it does do amazing things with color temp and actual color. With the push of a button or two it will give you a dark, saturated pure blue, for isntance (or any other color), that is quite impressive, although I have no idea right now what I might use it for.

Well, I am shooting a band in a club next Wednesday, maybe I could focus on one of the players and hold the color wheel shift button down and watch the guy change from blue to red to green and round and round we go.

Tip
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Old October 4th, 2007, 07:57 AM   #4
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Just went on the Zylight website...

As far as the online video states, the Z90 can be run thru 12V or 7.2V and should not draw to much power...

Thats why I wonder why it cant be run thru the cams DC output ?

Did you contact Zylight and ask them?
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Old October 4th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=Tip McPartland;754073With the push of a button or two it will give you a dark, saturated pure blue, for isntance (or any other color), that is quite impressive, although I have no idea right now what I might use it for.[/QUOTE]

If you use the Zylight as a stand alone, it can add a splash of color to a background as an accent. Its versatility makes it useful as more than an on camera light.

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Old October 4th, 2007, 08:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uli Mors View Post
Just went on the Zylight website...

As far as the online video states, the Z90 can be run thru 12V or 7.2V and should not draw to much power...

Thats why I wonder why it cant be run thru the cams DC output ?
That raises an interesting point. I'm going to dig further. Thanks, Uli.

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Old October 4th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uli Mors View Post
Just went on the Zylight website...

As far as the online video states, the Z90 can be run thru 12V or 7.2V and should not draw to much power...

Thats why I wonder why it cant be run thru the cams DC output ?

Did you contact Zylight and ask them?
We have a couple of Zylight's Z50s, around the same current draw as the Z90. Tried to run them off the power tap on the DSR-PD250 but much the same problem, at full brightness they start to blink indicating the input voltage is too low. I did discuss this with the designer and best we could come up with was we'd overloaded the regulator in the camera that supplies the power tap. Both the Z50 and Z90 draw 30Watts at full brightness, so at 12V that's around 2.5 amps.

Running the light directly from the battery or a power tap directly from the battery is the way to go. IDX make V Lock batteries with built in power taps or alternatively they also do an adaptor plate that gives direct access to the battery via a power tap.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 09:36 AM   #8
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One thing to note. The F350's power tap is rated for 50 watts and I can connect the UL2 light directly and operate with no problem. But going through the UL dimmer does not work.

I was told it's a voltage issue, but one thing the UL Dimmer and the Zylight have in common is that the connector on the camera is not directly seeing a resistive load. With Zylight and UL Dimmer, you are powering electronics that in turn provide output to the light. If a switching type power supply is providing the power for the camera power tap, it won't provide output unless it sees a resistive load attached. On the other hand, the power tap on the AB adapter is just straight battery voltage with fuse protection.

-gb-
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Old October 4th, 2007, 09:51 AM   #9
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ok - I see...

The Z lights are a really good concept - I like the wireless remote as well!

Thanks for the input!

ULI
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