amaran 150c and 300c Field Review – Affordable Color Hard Lights

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amaran, the more prosumer cousin of lighting brand Aputure, introduced their amaran 150c (150W) and 300c (300W) lights at NAB 2023 with a splash. For those who don’t need or use DMX, the 150c, and the 300c offer many impressive features at fantastic price points (only $569 for the 300c and $359 for the 150c). Let’s jump in.

Let’s start with a quick note about my general perspective: DMX connectivity is mandatory on the projects I work on, so perhaps I haven’t given the amaran line the attention it deserves over the years. What the amaran team does provide in the way of DMX is primarily USB-C to 5-Pin XLR for select fixtures (not the 150c/300c since there is no USB C).

Sidus Link (the Bluetooth-based app commonly used to control amaran and Aputure wirelessly) is also compatible with fixtures using wireless DMX and LumenRadio built-in. So, the dividing line between amaran (no-DMX) and Aputure (yes-DMX) is a bit grayer these days, and that’s fine by me. amaran products also tend to rely more on plastic components than metal in the case of Aputure.

Not everyone needs or cares about DMX connectivity, in which case they will be content with the manual controls on the 150c/300c or Bluetooth Sidus Link control. As the marketing materials note, the amaran series is specifically aimed at “content creators and Vloggers.” The price points (again, $569 for the 300c and $359 for the 150c) imply either of these fixtures would be a great first light set for creators of all stripes working primarily inside because of the overall output.

Here are a few banner features shared by both the amaran 150c and 300c:

  • 360° HSI Full Color Control
  • 2,500 to 7,500 CCT Range
  • +/- Green and Magenta Adjustment
  • Nine Effects Options Ranging from Fire to TV
  • Built-in Umbrella Holder
  • Stepless Dimming from 0-100%
amaran 150c and 300c
amaran 150c and 300c. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Initial impressions

The amaran team sent a 150c in gray and a 300c in the flashy white exterior configuration that I’m told is a limited edition offering. Cinema equipment is primarily matte black to avoid reflections and to avoid becoming part of the shot itself (here’s a great Buzzfeed list of some examples of in-shot equipment and crew). So the white exterior makes for a particularly flashy on-camera option for interviews or intentional “on-set” production-designed looks. The white paint sure looks snazzy, though and I’m not immune to cool-looking gadgets, which may be one of the reasons I write about cinema technology!

Both the amaran 300c and 150c ship in these cases
Both the 300c and 150c ship in these cases. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

One of my quibbles with past amaran launches was their Styrofoam cases. At this price point, you can’t expect excellent semi-rigid cases from the pricier Aputure line. Still, the Styrofoam cases were so tight with their internal dimensions that returning the light itself was tricky because there wasn’t a lot of flexibility – it fits only one way, and that was that. Now with the cases for the 150c and 300c, it’s easier to pack up. However, if you travel a lot with your lights, I would still suggest changing to a hard case for transport to prevent damage from hits. There are plenty of 3rd party case options on the market from brands like Pelican and HPRC.

The case design of the amaran 150c and 300c is much more forgiving
This case design is much more forgiving. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

The lamp heads have a curved design with stylish handles for panning, tilting, and carrying. Note that most of the electronics and controls are in the lamp head. This is fine if you are using the light close to the ground, but raise this fixture in the air, and you either need to lower the stand again to change settings or use Sidus Link over Bluetooth. The two rear “quick control knobs” serve as an easy way to navigate the settings — a single button press on either knob will either jump between different modes or to presets in the case of classic CCT mode. There’s a smoothness to the controls that is also satisfying, as you don’t feel like you’re jumping past the settings you’re trying to hit.

amaran 150c and 300c control panels
amaran 150c and 300c control panels. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

In general, the buttons and menu navigation are faster and easier than with the amaran 200d S, and I hope amaran continues using this button layout on future fixtures. The dedicated BT Reset button (present on other amaran or Aputure products) is also helpful if you’re handing these fixtures off to friends or colleagues for use, as it makes connecting to Sidus Link just that much faster. I also enjoy the exterior design of the lamp heads over previous amaran COB generations.


The 300c includes a 65-degree reflector, or you have a 90-degree beam angle if you remove the kit reflector and go with the “bare bulb.” That same included kit reflector on the 150c creates a 63-degree beam angle or an 83-degree beam angle if a reflector isn’t attached. Both fixtures use the ubiquitous Bowens S-Type mount, the advantage being that the mount opens up a wide range of available 1st and 3rd party accessories. Keep in mind that results may vary as accessory manufacturers have designed different accessories with various lights in mind — they won’t all be compatible despite using the Bowens S-Type.

amaran 150c
amaran 150c. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

amaran has created a few accessories designed for the 150c and 300c, specifically the Spotlight SE (with a 19-degree and a 36-degree lens available) and Light Dome Mini SE. We took a look at both of these accessories at NAB 2023, and that video is here.

Having trouble keeping track of what amaran or Aputure accessories will work with your lights? Me too! Thankfully there is a handy chart where you can check compatibility prior to using an accessory on your amaran or Aputure product.

Who are these lights for?

As I mentioned previously, amaran is heavily marketing the 150c and 300c and the amaran line itself towards Vloggers and content creators. The fast setup time, small size, ease of use, and quiet fan all suggest these would be perfect options for a home studio or even a streamer looking to add a pop of color to the background.

The amaran 300c in "limited edition" white
The amaran 300c in “limited edition” white. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

If you often stick to CCT mode in your interior work, you’ll likely be fine with the amaran COB 200x S with its $349 price tag. In a hypothetical streaming direct-to-computer situation with the Bowens softbox, I would choose 3200K for my key light color temp and use the amaran 150c/300c for the background intermingled with amaran SM5c strip LED lights. Add an Aputure B7c bulb in a stylish practical lamp and some fill light (maybe a hair light?), and you have a very solid-looking studio setup that is all Sidus Link connected for fun effects or triggered lighting transitions.

I can also envision a standing grid of several dozen amaran 150cs in the background of a shot running effects behind key talent in a game show or music video situation. True, the per-fixture cost makes this an expensive, but hopefully not bank-breaking proposition. That same per-fixture cost plus the reliance on the plastic makes this an unlikely rental inventory item, in my opinion – Aputure 600Cs feel more at home in that environment.

amaran 300c
amaran 300c. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments if you have another perfect use case for the 150c or 300c.

Other improvements

A few additional design improvements deserve an added mention here — for one, both fixtures feature an improved “silent” active cooling system that I’m happy to report is quieter than the past amaran products I’ve used.

The yoke of the amaran 150c and 300c is now metal and doesn't feel as breakable as prior generations
The yoke is now metal and doesn’t feel as breakable as prior generations. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon

The plastic yoke of past amaran products is gone in favor of a metal yoke (thank you!). The cable locking connectors are another improvement. The head cable and AC cable for the power supply are particularly robust here — especially over the locking barrel connector present in the amaran COB 60x. The power supply of the 150c/300c is held in place by a steel chain that feels like the same material common to most safety chains we use on set. Note that with the 150c/300c, you don’t get the popular $68 Aputure Lightning Clap for connecting the power supply to your stand.

The power supply is different for the amaran 150c and the 300c and they are not interchangeable. The power supply for the 300c is a little slimmer
The power supply is different for the 150c and the 300c and they are not interchangeable. The power supply for the 300c is a little slimmer. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

The release latch that holds the Bowens accessory in place also feels more rugged on both fixtures, and a simple slide move unlocks any connected Bowens accessory. I would call all these small but meaningful quality-of-life improvements for the amaran line as a whole.

Output & Kelvin handling in CCT Mode

I went ahead and tested the output using lux and color handling (using Kelvin) at a distance of three feet of both fixtures with my Sekonic C-700U Spectrometer. Here are my results for the amaran 300c, starting with a target of 5600K with the kit 65-degree reflector attached. I recorded a fantastic average CRI (R1-R8) of 97.6 for the 300c and 97.7 for the 150c throughout testing.

A result of 5716K is a solid result for the 5600K target and an excellent overall result when it comes to Kelvin accuracy. A lux reading (a measure of output also expressed above in foot candles) of 23200lx at 3ft with the reflector on is also very close to Aputure’s publicized numbers, too — which I appreciate.

Now for a target of 3200K:

A result of 3248K is closer to the target of 3200K when compared to the results at the daylight end of the Kelvin range. Just a minimal drop in output with this target.

Okay, now let’s take a look at the amaran 150c with a target of 5600K and the kit 63.4-degree Hyper Reflector attached:

A result of 5590K is absolutely fantastic for the 150c and more spot-on when compared to the 300c.

Now for a target of 3200K:

Also excellent marks for the 150c with a result of 3183K with a target of 3200K. Again, an output drop here when compared to the daylight end of the CCT range.

Now for a deeper look at the color rendering scores of the amaran 300c in particular. Overall, these are excellent results with the only exception being blue R12. I was hoping for an R12 measurement in the 80s or 90s and it does seem common for R12 blue to be a difficult area for many modern LED COB fixtures when I compare my other test scores over time between a variety of brands.

I asked the Aputure engineering team for comments on R12 Blue and the complexity around the blue light emitter in general and they came back with the following comment:

“At present, most light fixtures use a single blue light emitter to excite the LED phosphor. To significantly improve the R12 value in daylight color temperatures, a multi-blue light emitter is often used. You can see that the R12 of our dual-blue LED lights like the amaran 200x S and Electro Storm CS15 is 92+. You can see this discrepancy across the lighting industry in fixtures with High SSI color technologies vs those that do not. It relates to the blue spike that people often mention about LED’s spectral power distributions. A lot of lights that only use a single blue light emitter will result in similar R12 values in the 70s to low 80s, depending on the color science, combination of chips, and the LED chips used.”


The amaran line, with the 150c and 300c, is getting better and better. So much better that I wonder whether it might take a bit of the sheen away from comparable Aputure products. I’m ready for a few new hard light releases from Aputure that feature color to complement the excellent Light Storm 600C. I hope amaran engineers stick with this design for the buttons and the lamp head exterior and handles.

amaran 300c
amaran 300c. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

If you are primarily looking at cost saving and don’t need color in your shots, then you might be best served by previous Bi-Color amaran products like the amaran 200X S. On the other hand, the 150c and 300c are a more versatile pair of lights that will serve you well as your career progresses, particularly as physical color gels become increasingly scarce.

amaran 150c and 300c
amaran 150c and 300c. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Keep in mind that the 300c doesn’t quite have the punch necessary to compete outside on a sunny day, and it won’t take many impacts like its pricier Aputure cousins that rely on metal construction. Still, it will be excellent in an interior where ambient light can be controlled.

What do you think? Will you be adding the amaran 150c and 300c to your kit? Let us know in the comments below!


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