We are really excited to be one of the first websites around the world to review the groundbreaking SZ150R COB LED light by Godox, which ushers in the age of affordable RGB single light source high power lights.
Background – the way to RGB
In our previous review of a Godox light – the ML60, we covered a bit of the interesting evolution of modern COB lights. The newly announced SZ150R which we are reviewing today represents another step of that evolution.
COBs started as mostly daylight fixtures with some gradually moving to narrow Bi-Color variants. With the SZ150R we finally have a wide color range Bi-Color light and practically the first 150W RGB COB LED in a relatively compact size and at an affordable price.
The lock knob for the yoke on the SZ150R – good attention to details
In the Box
The light comes in a really nice semi-hard carrying case. Inside you will find the light itself, but also a number of accessories, including a fairly compact reflector with a shiny internal finish, a power brick with a 4-pin XLR cable, and a Velcro power brick accessory with a v-mount strap (we actually prefer the micro clamp solution, but this will work as well).
You will also get a protective cap, a safety cable, a user manual, as well as a strap for the bag if you want to carry it on your shoulder (on some of the kits you will also get a special remote, we didn’t get one with our test unit so we can’t comment on its operation).
Build and design
The light is very well built. Godox certainly came a long way from the days of the semi-plastic SL60. The new SZ150R is mostly made of metal, especially the parts that are most important, like the yoke and the majority of the light’s body, aside from the back part and knobs.
The design is really straightforward and minimalistic. It has a really well-made Bowens mount release lever (sometimes these are really cheaply made). The zoom knob feels sturdy and it changes the light beam angle from 20 degrees all the way to 65 degrees. The power cord is a heavy-duty thick 4 -pin XLR cable (about 2m to the power brick and about 4m to the wall).
The back of the light features a nice color LCD, and while it isn’t a touch screen, controlling the different modes is easy. Using the two large pressable knobs and four-mode buttons (menu/FX/HIS/CCT) you can quickly navigate through the different options and easily change between Bi-Color and RGB modes.
A nice large color screen in the back
The SZ150R is a bi-color light that can go all the way from 2800K to 6500K (although the app currently states 8500K for some reason). It has green and magenta tint correction as well, which is a very useful addition, especially if you have a spectrometer like the Sekonic C-800 that we have been using (some reviewers mentioned that it makes very minimal correction and alerted Godox to this and they might fix that in a future firmware release).
Maybe the most outstanding feature of this light is the RGB. We have seen a lot of RGB options recently in some pocket lights, tube lights, and light panels, but a 150W RGB COB is something that we are testing here for the first time, and at the moment it is a rare beast (although we are sure this is going to change later on in 2021).
Unlike daylight COBs, where effects are not that useful, with the 13 different RGB effects this light has (RGB cycle, Flash, Laser, Lighting, Broken Bulb, TV, Candle, Fire, Fireworks, Police Car, Fire Truck, Ambulance, and SOS), you can actually create interesting-looking atmosphere shots.
The unit offers a USB connector for firmware updates, and two internal RJ45 DMX connections (hidden on the side of the light behind a plastic cover – special thanks to Curtis Judd for alerting us to this in his review of the light).
The light has an internal passive cooling system, as well as a slick-looking yellow fan, which is relatively quiet even at full power (although it is audible). You can turn the fan off, but then the light’s output is limited to 35%. It would be nice if there was a way to make the fan less audible and still have about 60-80% power, but again the fan isn’t that noisy.
One thing this light doesn’t have is the ability to be powered using batteries. As far as we can tell, this is an AC-only light, so keep this in mind (the light takes 36V DC power which is more than most double V-mount batteries can provide so maybe that is the reason).
The unit projects a 65-degree flood beam, with an option to zoom it to a 20-degree spotlight. Based on our tests, the difference here doesn’t feel that significant visually, but as we will see later, the actual output reading does show a clear difference.
Speaking of output difference, using the included shiny (internal) silver reflector will bring the output way up, but it also creates some strange shadows. If you want to avoid these – using a classic style (less shiny) reflector should reduce this issue, based on our experience.
Stays fairly cool during operation even at 100%
One final note, the LED on this Godox unit is covered by a diffused protective white dome. We initially thought that it was made of plastic, but it is actually glass, so be careful when you handle it (users can replace it if it breaks).
Godox Light App
Godox recently released the “Godox light” app, which works with the SZ150R via BT. We used our Samsung S6 tablet and it worked well. Please note that you need to connect to the light through the app and not via the device’s BT settings (something that took us a bit of time to realize).
We are not going to do a deep dive into this app on this review, but in general, you have six modes to control the light – RGBW, HSI, CCT, Gel filter, FX, and color picker. All seem to work well, aside from the gel filter mode (which at the time of writing this review doesn’t work and we reported that to Godox).
Another strange curiosity mentioned above is that the CCT mode allows you to change the color temperature from 2500K up to 8500K, while the light only goes from 2800K to 6500K, Godox will probably fix these things in an upcoming update.
Other than that, control is fairly straightforward and easy. It might not be as feature-rich as the Aputure Sidus Link app, but it is also simpler and for the type of shoots we do, it gives us everything we need to control the light.
The Godox Light app main screen – works well, needs a few small updates
We tested the light using our Sekonic C-800 spectrometer (full review soon) and we got the following results from 1m away with the Godox SZ150R:
- Color temperature: we tested three color temperatures – 2800K/5600K/6500K both in wide (65-degree beam) and spot (20-degree angle beam). We also tested the light with and without the included reflector.
- In all cases, the results for 2800K were up about 100K from the target (around 2700K-2800K);
- The results for the 5600K setting with the reflector were a little off at 5430K, but more on-point without it at 5744K.
- Results for the 6500K setting were at 6294K with the reflector or 6761K without it.
- Output in LUX: We saw a huge difference in intensity with vs. without the reflector, and also a visible difference between the spot vs. floodlight:
- No reflector, 20 degrees beam (spot) – 3440 Lux.
- No reflector, 65 degrees beam (wide) – 3260 Lux.
- Reflector, 20 degrees beam (spot) – 23,500 Lux.
- Reflector, 65 degrees beam (wide) – 13,400 Lux.
- No reflector, 20 degrees beam (spot) – 3770 Lux.
- Reflector, 20 degrees beam (spot) – 31,800 Lux.
- Reflector, 65 degrees beam (wide) – 19,000 Lux.
- No reflector, 20 degrees beam (spot) – 4040 Lux.
- Reflector, 20 degrees beam (spot) – 29,700 Lux.
- Reflector, 65 degrees beam (wide) – 18,000 Lux.
We also tested the CRI in different color temperature settings and got the following CRI results:
- CRI 2800K: 94.4 (68.2/ R9 and 86.6/ R12).
CRI result for 2800K with the reflector (20-degree beam)
- CRI 5600K: 95.8 (93.9/ R9 and 73.7/ R12).
CRI result for 5600K with the reflector (20-degree beam)
- CRI 6500K: 94.7 (88.8/ R9 and 70/ R12).
CRI result for 6500K with the reflector (20-degree beam)
We also took some other tests with the C-800:
- TLCI: 93 (2800K), 94 (5600K), 93 (6500K).
- TM-30-18 Rf: 93 (2800K), 90 (5600K), 90 (6500K).
- TM-30-18 Rg: 100 (2800K), 102 (5600K), 100 (6500K).
TM-30 Results with reflector (2800k)
- Spectral Similarity Index (SSI, CIE D55/daylight): 70 (5600K).
With the SZ150R we also looked at RGB output. Results without the reflector were low – 730lux (red), 923lux (green) and 312lux (blue). However, when using the included reflector, the output was much higher – 6730lux (red), 9090lux (green), and 2800lux (blue).
Using the SZ150R
The SZ150R instantly became one of our favorite lights in the studio. The ability to bring a lot of colorful light anywhere we need instantly, combined with how easy it is to control, opens up so many possibilities.
For product shots and videos, this light is a real game-changer. Yes, you might be able to do some of the things this light does with other 150W Bi-Color or even daylight COBs by using colored gels (and maybe even get more output), but after using the SZ150R you will never want to go back to working this way.
We have been using the light to add some color to all our recent product reviews on LensVid and it has been working exceptionally well, saving us a lot of time and headache when we simply want to add color to a shot.
Fairly quiet fan with a silent mode
We have to hand it to Godox, the SZ150R is a light we were always hoping to see when the first COBs started coming onto the market years ago. It is well made, fairly compact, relatively quiet, with good output, wide color temperature range, and on top of all of this, it has an RGB option at an affordable price.
Godox SZ150R – a relatively compact design
Talking to some people within the industry over the years, we were expecting to wait at least another year or two for all this to come together in a consumer product, but Godox was able to get ahead of most of the competition and do that without any major drawbacks.
The only real negative that we see with this light is the lack of battery power option that many other COBs have, including other Godox lights. It would also be nice to see a 300W version of this light for those looking for more output for their main light and even more color output.
The SZ150R sells for just under $560 (or $570 in a kit with a remote on Amazon), which we would not consider high for even a quality Bi-color COB with such output, build quality, and noise level. Add in the RGB functionality, and Godox’s pricing is unbeatable.
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