Evoke 900C Lighting Review – A New Flagship from Nanlux

Nanlux’s Evoke hard-light lineup of LED lighting fixtures now includes a Daylight, Tungsten, Bi-Color, and Color version. It’s the Nanlux Evoke 900C color version that we devoted some time to break down at NAB 2023, and now, again, we do it here. This level of coverage is for a good reason – high-wattage hard lights are still somewhat of a novelty. Still, it feels like this is where the cinema-focused lighting industry is headed after several years of rapid innovation on the soft panel color-capable light side. Time for a full review of the 940W RGBLAC Evoke 900C.

HMI’s, in all their daylight-only glory, are still the output kings on location. Hefty fixtures (in expense, power draw, and size) like ARRI’s M40 are still in play on mid to large-sized commercial and scripted sets. Hopefully, the Evoke 900C from Nanlux helps continue the steady march towards higher output color-capable LED hard lights with the goal of one day dethroning HMI fixtures. We’re not there yet, but the path forward is starting to become a little clearer. Fingers crossed.

Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Now to the fixture itself – the Nanlux Evoke 900C. There are a few competitors in this hard-light color-capable LED space, but the Evoke 900C sits alone in several categories of wattage and price, at least for now.

Competitors include the following:

  • ARRI Orbiter: 400W to 500W, wide CCT Range from 2000K – 20000K, on the pricier side from $6300 to over $10,000 depending on the kit, limited mostly to ARRI-Only accessories
  • Aputure LS 600C: 2300K – 10000K CCT, max power draw of 720W, affordable – $2,490.00, industry-friendly Bowens S-Type mount, huge range of 1st/3rd party accessories
  • Litepanels Gemini 1×1 Hard: 46-degree beam angle, 2700K – 10000K CCT range, affordable – $2,517.00
  • VelvetLight Kosmos: 400W, 2500K – 1000K CCT range, built-in fresnel (13-56-degree beam angle) mid-range pricing – $5,579.00
  • Prolycht Orion 675 FS: 675W, 1800K – 20000K CCT range, includes soft case w/30-degree and 55-degree reflector, Bowens S-Type mount, huge range of 1st/3rd party accessories, price: $3795.00

As you can see from the list, the Evoke 900C, with its 940W power draw and competitive $4,660 price tag for the travel kit, make it somewhat of a disruptive lighting product – at least until other brands can follow suit.

Initial impression

I received the Nanlux Evoke 900C in a semi-rigid wheeled soft case that Nanlux calls a trolley case. Previously, the Daylight and Bi-Color Evoke fixtures were available in large flight cases with or without room for a fresnel accessory. The trolley case is, by far, the most portable of the available Evoke case options, and it is my preferred one of the bunch since the Evoke 900C lamp head isn’t particularly fragile, to begin with. If you have a large grip truck or mid/large-sized rental business, you’ll prefer the flight case.

Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Nanlux has included the following with the Evoke 900C travel kit:

  • Lamp Head
  • Yoke
  • Power Supply (newly updated for the Evoke 900C)
  • 45-degree Reflector
  • USB Flash Drive for firmware updates
  • Remote
  • Quick Release adapter
  • DC Cable (24.6′)
  • AC Power Cable (19.6′)
Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Visually the lamp head doesn’t look much different than other Evoke lamp heads. The power supply, however, is dramatically different from both the Daylight and Bi-Color variants of the Evoke. In fact, the power supply design feels more streamlined and akin to the design of the Nanlite Forza 720B power supply. Nanlite is the more prosumer-focused little cousin of the Nanlux pro-oriented brand. You can read my review of the excellent Nanlite Forza 720B here. One of the main differences between Nanlite and Nanlux is that Nanlux introduces a wide range of DMX options in their features. More on that in a moment.

Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

As with the other versions of the Evoke, Nanlux confines users to a proprietary mount system on the 900C with their NL mount. That limits accessory options compared to Bowens S-type’s popularity within the lighting world. Thankfully 3rd party brands like DoPChoice and Chimera are gradually adding more support for the NL mount, and Nanlux themselves have introduced a whole host of accessories that, while perhaps not rugged enough to hold up in a high-volume rental environment over time, are absolutely fine for a dutiful owner/operator or small G&E operation.

Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Nanlux’s NL-mount accessories are also on the more affordable side in general, and that reduces any grumpiness on my part from being “forced” into a new accessory ecosystem. During prior Evoke shoots, I’ve often gravitated to their $390 Lantern and $442 Parabolic softbox, for example.


Let me know in the comments if you feel like Nanlux could expand their feature set when it comes to control options, but for me, this is a pretty darn complete list. Nanlux Evoke 900C users can expect the following when it comes to controlling the fixture:

  • Bluetooth (Nanlink App), 2.4GHz Wireless Control
  • Wireless Lumen Radio
  • Remote Controller
  • Art-Net/sACN Protocol Support
  • 5-Pin DMX Input

Gaffers and lighting techs will appreciate the many wired and wireless DMX options. Owner/ops looking to make quick tweaks on smaller shoots will appreciate the Nanlink app over Bluetooth.

Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

For manual control of the fixture, you’ll need to use the buttons and display on the rear of the lamp head. The one tricky part here is that if the lamp head is high up in the air on a stand, you’ll be limited to DMX or Bluetooth (see the available iOS or Android app here) options to change settings. For this reason, I usually prefer the controls to be on the power supply with a long head cable versus the lamp head, but this is a minor quibble on my part.

Over the years, Nanlux has released helpful firmware updates for the Evoke series and their other fixtures. Fortunately, gone are the days when it was a little tough to find a compatible USB stick for those updates. Now, Nanlux has included the correct lower-capacity type of USB stick (formatted in the necessary FAT32) in a small plastic bag with the kit — hang onto that!

Check here for future Evoke 900C firmware updates, and here are detailed instructions on how to update your Nanlite or Nanlux fixture.

Who is the Evoke 900C meant for?

With its $4,660 price tag, this may be a rental-only item for you or a single fixture purchase. For rental houses or G&E truck owners, the Evoke 900C or even a few Evoke 900Cs make a ton of sense as a “standard” item in your inventory. For this review, I used the Evoke 900C with various other fixtures like the popular ARRI Skypanel and a few 1×1 Gemini soft lights from Litepanels. And it fits well into the overall flow of the shoot. In short, the evoke 900C plays well with others.

Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

I have to say I enjoyed the ability to plug in a favorite digital gel in the Evoke 900C and the speed that comes with that. Auditioning different colors, effects, and looks is also obviously faster than swapping out physical gels. Physical diffusion, either in a frame or softbox/lantern, will always have a place, but not changing out CTB or CTO, etc., which undoubtedly saves time on location. The Evoke 900C also displays a base color temp and then the type of digital gel on the right in the menu – this feels intuitive to me because it mimics the action of placing a physical gel on a light with a dialed-in color temp.

Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

There’s also something to be said here about hard light versus soft on a creative level. For years I saw a trend towards more and more soft beauty and fashion lighting being mixed into different genres primarily because of the prevalence of soft LED color panels. The Evoke 900C, and other hard lights for that matter, challenge you to find a place for hard lighting in your work. Of course, it is easier to soften the quality of light coming out of a hard light versus creating hard light from a soft source. The point is not to be afraid of hard lighting in general.

Another favorite use case for the Evoke 900C was taking advantage of the wide 200-point range of +/- green and magenta adjustments available. After receiving the 900C for review, I almost immediately had to film an exterior outside a mall in San Diego, California. The ability to dial the 900C to match existing consumer green shifted lights was a huge time saver. With color-matched LED bulbs like the Nanlite Pavotube 10C, we would have had to change them out individually.

Mobile power

The Evoke 900C power supply can be bypassed entirely if you’re using a system like the Penta 1200. Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

The not insignificant 940W power draw of the Evoke 900C brings it into the block battery and high-capacity space. That is if you aren’t interested in a gas-powered generator solution. GENTREE, based out of South Korea, has an interesting DC power solution called the Penta 1200 that can power lights with up to a 1344W draw. Nanlux was showing off the Penta 1200 at NAB 2023, and it might be a solid solution for powering the Evoke 900C in the field

One of the other benefits of the Penta 1200 is that it uses the same head cable as the Evoke 900C, and thus you can power the fixture with just the Penta 1200 (subtracting the Nanlux power supply) since the brain of the Evoke is in the lamp head itself.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get access to this battery system for the review, but on paper, it looks like it has a possibility.

Output & Kelvin handling in CCT mode

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

I went ahead and tested the output using lux and color handling (using Kelvin) of the Nanlux 900C at a distance of three feet (0.91 meters) with my Sekonic C-700U Spectrometer. Here are my results with a target of 5600K with the kit 45-degree reflector attached, and the fixture updated to the latest V1.04.06 firmware.

A result of 5463K is very close to the 5600K target and a good overall result. Throughout all my testing at 100% output, I landed at a CRI average of 98 when looking at R1-R8 scores. 82500lx (a measure of overall output) also shows off how punchy the 900C can be in terms of output.

Now for a target of 3200K:

A result of 3232K is even a little closer to the target of 3200K. You do get a bit of an output bump (86200lx) when headed towards using the 900C, closer to the Tungsten side of the range.

I also did a deeper dive into color rendering with the Evoke 900C and I noticed that the R12 Blue performance suffers a bit (68.7) when dimming the light down to 5%. You can see those results below with output set to 5% at a 5600K target:

And, finally for comparison, here is the color rendering chart with a target of 5600K and output set to 100%:

You can see the hit to R12 accuracy when the fixture is dimmed to 5% – not a huge deal, but something that you’ll want to be aware of when using this fixture in general. R12 Blue is an area where many LED fixtures struggle to hit high marks.


For the moment, Nanlux’s Evoke 900C is certainly turning heads with its RGBACL color mixed with impressive output and more streamlined power supply design. It can’t compete yet with the output of the daylight-only Evoke 1200 or 1200B (B=Bi-Color), and that means those fixtures will still have a place on your sets along with the 900C. I can’t help but think other companies with names like ARRI, Aputure, and Prolycht will eventually have their answer to the Evoke 900C, but for now, Nanlux is leading the hard LED light pack, and their Evoke line keeps getting better and better.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

What do you think? Will you be adding the Evoke 900C to your kit? Let us know in the comments below!

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