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Intellytech FL-80 Flexible LED Review


Today we are going to continue our professional LED review series here on LensVid. Earlier this year we tested the BB&S Pipeline Remote Phosphor LED 4 Bank, the Lishuai Edge 1380AVL LED and recently the interesting Ledgo LG-D600 LED Fresnel Light. The light that we shall be testing on this video is the Intellytech FL80 and it is the first flexible LED that we had a chance to test but it won’t be the last.

U.S. manufacturer Intellytech might not be as familiar as some of the others in its segment but it actually has quite an extensive lineup including Fresnel LED Lights of different sizes, LED panels, light sticks and the line that we shall be looking at today called AirLight which is a whole range of different sized flexible LEDs and accessories. The specific unit that we shall be reviewing today is called FL-80 and it is a bi-color 80 Watt unit measuring 10″x20″ (or 25cm by 50cm) which officially produces up to 4,000Lux at 3 feet or about 1 meter.

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the design and build quality of the FL-80.

Intellytech FL-80 – thin & flexible is the future of LED

Build quality

Before we go into the actual build quality of the FL-80 itself I want to say a few good things about the cases (yes, plural) that came with our test unit. The bigger one is a real beauty. It is well padded and has plenty of space for accessories of all types and you can use it for other gear that you have as well. The main case looks like a modified laptop case but is very well padded and is very well made – it is very small but for the most part it can hold everything you need and it is just so amazing that you can pack such a powerful pro light in such a small case.

The large case we got with our sample FL-80 – really nicely made

We got quite a few parts and accessories in our case and we are not 100% which of them actually ships with the light when you buy it from Intellytech but this review should give you a general look at all the things that you may use with your light.

Inside the bag – all you need with room to spare

The two main components besides the light itself are the power brick and the controller. We actually think that it could be nice if there was a way to combine these two components into a single unit for convenience but splitting them is quite common in the industry.

The power brick doesn’t come with a light stand mount but you can connect it to the V-mount adapter which has one and hang it on your light stand which is very useful.

The Controller is the more interesting part – it is made of metal and feels nice in your hand. It is a very simple unit – it has an on/off switch up/down buttons and F button to switch from changing the color temperature to the brightness and that is it in terms of control – simple and straightforward – knobs would have been nicer but we can live with these as well.

One thing which we would definitely change is the location of the power connectors on this unit. They are in the back and since the only way to hold it is with the small hanger on the top – which you can place somewhere on the light stand, it isn’t that convenient – we would have the power connectors come from the side and the unit itself connect to the stand with a similar mount to the one that comes with the v-mount.

Talking about power – this unit came with several of the smaller 4 pin XLR connectors just like the ones the Ledgo LG-D600. Just like in that case we will say that we truly prefer the larger more robust 3 pin XLR connectors and we wish Intellytech will consider using them instead in the future.

The panel itself is really cool – it is super flexible, has Velcro on the back and it comes with a diffuser that you can remove. It has a short 4 pin XLR female cable that you can extend and we got a pretty long extension cable that goes all the way to the controller.

The only real question about the panel (if we can even call it that) is how do you mount it to your light stand. There are a number of options that came with our light.

The first is an X type simple bracket which we really didn’t like and it was very hard to use. The second is a sort of ballhead type on with a short arm. The ballhead and arm are cool but the X bracket again is really annoying. What we did is use two pieces of metal that we happen to have with Velcro to hold the light (an actual frame would have been even better) and extend the arm even more with another piece with 1/4″ 20 threads at both ends and stuck a small ballhead at the end and secure it to the metal parts – it actually works pretty well although it is not exactly in the middle so you need to play with it a bit.

We have talked with Intellytech about this issue and they promised us that they are already hard at work on a much better solution which might even be ready by the time this video will be released.

Other accessories that we got with the light include a small compact softbox which connects using Velcro to the panel, we will look at its performance later and two straps – one for each case – which is really nice.

The FL-80 controller – simple, straightforward

Light quality and power

Like we did with the Lishuai Edge 1380AVL LED and the LEDGO D600 reviews that we published here not too long ago, we tested the FL-80 with our Sekonic C700 spectrometer (review coming later this year) looking at both power output and color quality.

We started by testing the FL-80 bare without any attachments at 100% from a distance of 1m or 3.2ft. When the light was set to 6500K (the coolest temp of this light) we got an actual reading of 6800K and a lux reading of 2050 Lux with a decent 94.1 CRI (or Ra). Do note that the R9 (or reds) was only 70.4 and the R12 (blues) reached 71.1.

CRI results at 6500K, 100% @1m distance

  • Color temperature – 6851K
  • Lux – 2050
  • CRI (RA) – 94.1

Interestingly when the light was set to 5600K we got 4867K on our C700 with a lux reading of 2340 and 92.6 CRI. To get actual 5600K you will need to set the light to 583 (or 5830K) which will give you a pretty close reading of 5560K with the C700.

CRI results at 5610K, 100% @1m distance

  • Color temperature – 4867K
  • Lux – 2340
  • CRI (RA) – 92.6

CRI results at 4500K, 100% @1m distance

  • Color temperature – 4138K
  • Lux – 2020
  • CRI (RA) – 92.8

CRI results at 2800K, 100% @1m distance

  • Color temperature – 2873K
  • Lux – 1960
  • CRI (RA) – 94.2

You can find some more readings in different settings above, but we did want to mention our test results with both the diffuser and the included softbox. When we set the light to 5830K (basically true 5600K) we got a Lux reading of 1480 with the diffuser from 1m and the temperature reading was also quite different – much warmer at about 4866K.

CRI results at 5830K, 100% @1m distance – with the diffuser

  • Color temperature – 4866K
  • Lux – 1480
  • CRI (RA) – 92.7

The softbox did a bit better giving us 1850 lux under the same conditions with a 5271K. In both cases, the CRI was around 93 but the R9 reading was around 70 or a bit less.

CRI results at 5830K, 100% @1m distance – with the softbox

  • Color temperature – 5271K
  • Lux – 1850
  • CRI (RA) – 93.1

Using the unit

We used the FL-80 on quite a few projects in the past several months since we got the unit.  We used it on several of our video shoots for our food channel Veggies as well as at least one commercial video production that we shot for a start-up company here in Israel.

For the production, we used the FL-80 as a fill light at about 90 degrees and it worked well, for our food videos we used it above the work area with a diffuser. The main problem with that setup is that the light was too hard without a significant amount of diffusing especially on some reflective surfaces and was not powerful enough when used with significant diffusing.

In action – the FL-80 aimed downwards for a food videography shoot

There is actually a solution to this in the form of the larger FL-160 light from Intellytech which is twice the size (and power) of the FL-80 and should be enough to serve as a main light in our view (it also incorporates a few other useful features such as a new bracket and a redesigned controller.

Conclusion

We truly feel that flexible is the way of the future of LEDs – they are so much easier to work with and so portable that for any application where you have a chance that you will need your light on location and out of the studio they are simply much more portable and simple to work with.

Intellytech’s FL-80 stood up pretty nicely in this review – it has a very good build quality with two great cases, it is simple to work with, compact, worked flawlessly and didn’t get too hot even after many hours of use.

Pack an entire pro light kit into a laptop stye handbag
There are a couple of things that Intellytech should improve – and from what we know – are working on. The first is a better mount for the light (the X-style mount as we mentioned is pretty annoying but you can pretty easily improvise something like we did). The second is the color accuracy. Although this light gets a pretty nice CRI as a whole (over 92 across the entire range) the R9 and R12 scores need some improvement (this is a weak point of many b-color lights and why we almost always prefer daylight only lights).

There is also the matter of the color temperature numbers – we only realized that getting 5600k required setting the unit to about 5830K since we have our Sekonic C700 – you can use this info if you are planning on getting this light but we didn’t check to see the difference across the entire range. Intellytech needs to make sure that the numbers they list are a bit closer to the actual reading from the light.

In terms of power – this can be a nice fill light and we indeed used it for this purpose a couple of times – as a main light – especially with a diffusion it tends to be a bit too weak for many tasks, and for that the new FL-160 might be a better option and we are hoping to test it when it becomes available.

As for pricing, the FL-80 sells for around $640 and the larger FL-160 should be around $1000 when it will reach the market in the near future.

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