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Astera HydraPanel Explained – First Look

At Cine Gear Expo 2022, we visited the Astera booth to learn more about their recently-released HydraPanel. This compact 25W RGBMA LED fixture provides a decent output and a variable light beam that can be easily shaped via a series of interchangeable accessories. It is now available for pre-order for $400.

Astera is mainly known for their popular tube lights and the company has developed several other products with a peculiar design over the years, like their PixelBrick. Their latest addition is the HydraPanel, a 25W LED fixture that packs quite a few interesting features in its tiny metal body.

Although we already reported about this product in detail in a recent article, we took the chance to visit the company’s booth at Cine Gear Expo 2022. We talk to Thor Andre from Astera and asked him a few questions about this new release. Let’s take a closer look.

Image credit: CineD

Astera HydraPanel: overview

According to Thor, the new HydraPanel proves to be a very versatile fixture. Indeed, not only can this small LED panel serve as a traditional key or fill light, but it can also behave as an elegant practical to include in the shot.

In fact, its 6 mappable RGBMA (Red/Green/Blue/Mint/Amber) pixels allow to create different lighting effects, making the HydraPanel look good even as a prop in the background. Its pixels are powered by the same Titan LED engine that can be found in other Astera fixtures, thus making the color-matching process much easier for gaffers and DPs.

Image credit: CineD

One of the biggest selling points of the Astera HydraPanel is that it comes with six magnetic lighting modifiers to achieve either hard or soft light qualities. For example, the light’s native beam angle can be narrowed down using egg crates (40 and 60°), diffused, or even intensified. The naked LEDs can produce a pretty decent output of 516 lux at a distance of 1 meter and their color temperature is adjustable between 3,200 and 6,500K.

Image credit: CineD

Also, you can stack multiple HydraPanel units sideways to create a larger, softer light source. Then, by simply connecting to one of the fixtures via the AsteraApp for smartphones (iOS/Android), you will be able to control all the other lights in the array. Pretty smart design choice!

Key features

  • 25W RGBMA LED light
  • 6-pixel design
  • 3,200-6,500K
  • 96+ CRI and TLCI
  • 516 lux at 1 meter
  • 6 interchangeable lighting modifiers
  • Built-in battery (1h 45m of battery life at full power)
  • IP65 rated
  • Wired DMX, CRMX, Bluetooth, Wi-fi connectivity
  • 166x85x43.5mm / 6.53×3.34×1.71″
  • 604g/1.3lbs

Price and availability

The new Astera HydraPanel LED light (product code: FP6) is now available for pre-order on B&H for $400. According to Thor, the company will ship 5000 units to retailers worldwide on June 18th, so you should receive your LED panel fairly soon. The fixture comes with six modifiers, a 1/4″-20 baby pin, and a connector plate.

For more information, please visit Astera’s website here.

What do you think of the new Astera HydraPanel? Would you use this fixture as a practical light? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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