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Opinions on Aperture LED heads?

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I have one of those here.

 

Generally I think the Aputure stuff is good. The layout, being built like a Bowens style flash head, keeps things compact and compatible with a variety of accessories.

 

There are a few factors to be aware of. Many lights of this class come, in effect, in several parts. There's the mains power supply, the power controller with the two battery mounts, and the light head itself. Include cables, and that's five items, six with the mains lead. It's a lot of operations to set it up. It's not a big deal, really, but some lights build the power controller into the head. That reduces the parts count but makes the head heavier, and means you need either to be able to reach the head to adjust settings or use wireless control, which adds another layer of complexity. It's all choices.

 

The 300D takes two batteries and will drain them reasonably quickly. If you need to run this away from mains for long periods, you need a big, heavy, expensive battery system. The same would go for any 300w light, of course, but it's worth mentioning since people tend to assume that all LEDs are easy to power.

 

Of course it's still just a 300w light. People get funny ideas about LEDs, but even the best in the business only outperforms HMI by a bit in terms of lumens per watt. It's a respectably punchy little thing, but you aren't going to be keying day exteriors with it. That said, they are quite efficient, optically, being a simple open faced design. It's a bit of a blunt object, like a redhead or blonde, but it lets all the photons out. The Fresnel adaptors are quite good, albeit lossy, like they have to be.

 

The mains power supplies on the first ones were a bit noisy, being fan cooled. I'm not sure if they changed them. They should have. Ask, maybe.

 

In short they're fine. The only qualms I'd have is whether you want something with colour tuning, with both blue to yellow and green to magenta axes. That allows you to match more or less anything with great precision, but then you're into Fiilex or something, and a lot, lot more money. Aputure stuff is obviously not meant to be thrown on a truck and buried under a pile of c-stands every day, but with that in mind I've no great concern.

 

Phil

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I have the 300d and it's pretty useful. Ive used it for digital movie as well as 35mm still photography and it comes up pretty good. On the really sunny days it won't add anything to an external shot but its still powerful enough to punch through a window and light a room up convincingly.

 

As far as portable power goes, I didn't want to buy a bunch of huge v-mounts, (already dedicated to gold) so bought a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 secondhand which runs it for about 6 hours at 95%.

 

For some reason, there's a surge in its power consumption from 90% - 100% without a huge increase in brightness so if you want max battery life, run it at 95%

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I have two 120D daylight heads and so far, I love them. The design and construction are very nice for the cost and output is high and reasonably dimmable. I'm not crazy about the external power supply that you have to hang on the yoke or stand, but it is what it is.

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