There are numerous choices to be made when it comes to proper lighting. Budget, space, available manpower, the list goes on. If you’re a solo shooter you’re likely giving the nod to flexible, lightweight, budget-friendly solutions. In that case, the new CAME-TV Boltzen Q-55S might be worth a close look. It is a focusable, bi-color 55W LED unit with numerous power options in one compact unit.
This new light is the direct successor of the Boltzen F55 series of LED lights but don’t worry, these will remain in the lineup as well. However, the new Boltzen Q-55S (S stands for Bi-Color in this case) sports a 10% increase in output and has WiFi built-in.
Boltzen Q-55S Frensel LED
This new LED has a Fresnel lens that provides a very uniform, almost hotspot-free light output. In addition, you can adjust the distance between lens and LED source, resulting in a focusable light beam.
On the back, you can find two rotary knobs. One is for adjusting the lights color temperature from 3200K to 5600K and the other is to adjust the light output. Speaking of which, the last light output will be saved in memory in case your light goes off, so when turned on again, it will return to the same light strength position. A WiFi radio is now built right into the unit, no more dongles needed here. With the wifi connection provided by the Boltzen Q-55S you can use your phone for remote controlling all features of it.
As an alternative, you can get the optional control module, which might be a good idea. Personally, I think having numerous apps for all kinds of devices on set might be convenient but also seems to be a bit counter-productive. Incoming call? Drained battery? I prefer having dedicated tools for dedicated applications over a jack-of-all-trades device. With the app (or the controller) you can trigger effects such as strobes (with adjustable frequencies) and access all parameters of the light.
Powering the light is simple and flexible. AC power is possible of course, but so is battery power: One (or two) Sony NP style batteries (two Sony NP-970 batteries will get you approx. 1.5 hours of runtime at maximum brightness), or a professional V-mount battery for which you also can get a dedicated mount for attaching it to the tripod. Gold Mount batteries with D-Tap output can be connected to the light too via a dedicated D-Tap cable.
Light (and LED light in particular) is not only about output but also about the quality of light. According to CAME-TV, the Boltzen Q-55S has a CRI score of 96+ and a TLCI of 97+. These numbers seem to be impressive but keep in mind that both, CRI and TLCI only use a limited number of reference color patches to determine the resulting number. The problem is that the spectrum of LED light tends to show rough spikes and gaps, so a limited number of patches can potentially “miss” some of these gaps or spikes.
The Boltzen Q-55S LED is a pretty compact unit, tipping the scale at only 1050g (2.3 lbs). It measures 21cm x 9cm (8.27″ x 3.5″), when counting in the yoke the length increases to 30,5cm (12″). Included with the light itself are a soft carrying case, barndoors, a power adapter, a D-Tap cable for attaching a battery, and a set of two diffusion filters.
Optionally you can get a so-called “snap kit” which contains several light modifiers such as a grid or diffusion modifier as well as a set of 24 color filters. Everything attaches magnetically to the light. Also, you can get an optional Bowens mount adapter for attaching a vast amount of readily available third-party accessories such as softboxes for example.
Pricing and Availability
If you’re in the market for a versatile, affordable, and lightweight LED light, this might be it. Of course, it’s always a good idea to test a given piece of gear before buying it and this is especially true for film-grade lighting gear. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible but since this light is affordable ($398 for one unit, including a soft case) maybe it’s worth a try anyway. You also can get a kit of two lights for $880 (a hard case and the remote controller is included) or even a set of three for $1,100 (hard case plus controller is also included). Just add stands and your modifiers of choice.
Links: CAME-TV Website
Do you already use/own Boltzen lights? Would you consider buying one of these new Q-55S lights? Share your experiences in the comments section below!