Today we are continuing our series of reviews of pro level LEDs and we are going to look at a powerful light by Lishuai (or LS for short).
Founded almost 15 years ago Yuyao Lishuai Film & Technology Equipment has been making lights for quite some time now. More recently some of their edge lights have become pretty well known – these are a series of LEDs which are built in a way where the diodes are inside the sides of the panel and not emitting light directly and hence produce a softer light.
The light that we shall be looking at today is one of the largest and most powerful from this range which actually uses a somewhat different method of backlighting and is called Lishuai Edge 1380AVL.
The 1380AVL is very well built. Most of the light is made out of metal possibly apart from some of the protective pieces on the sides of the panel which hold the pretty well made barn doors – these are probably some sort of hard plastic (we would actually consider making them rubberized). Nothing feels loose or flimsy with this light and when working with the unit it feel extremely solid.
The 1380AVL has a large metal yoke. It functions well although the locking mechanism which is Rosette based is a bit hard to lock sometimes. It could have been great if the yoke would have the S-shape that some new ones adopted – this way you could tilt the light downwards even more.
Robust build quality – the Rosette based locks could be a bit better though
The beefy metal structure contributes to the total weight of the unit – close to 5kg or just under 11lbs. This isn’t as heavy as the BB&S Pipeline Remote Phosphor LED 4 Bank light that we recently reviewed here but it is still pretty hefty. In terms of size you are looking at 63 by 38 cm or 24 by 15 inches – still portable but definitely something you want to take with your car on location and not in your hand.
Talking about transporting this light – ours came with a carrying case (you might need to buy it separately). It does the job and is well padded although we recently came across much higher end lighting carrying bags which you will see in some of our upcoming lighting reviews, so the bar these days is very high in this respect.
Powering the light
The 1380AVL can be powered using a V-mount battery with the built in v-mount adapter which is fixed in the back of the light or using AC power which is how we used it (it comes with a power brick which we attached to the yoke). On the company website it is stated that you can power it using Sony NP-F style batteries but we are unsure if or how exactly you can do that.
Using the mains, the light worked for countless hours without getting too hot. If you are using it with a V-mount battery – note that it needs about 100w of power to run.
Built in V-mount
The 1380AVL is super simple to operate – it has an on-off switch and two dials – one for power and one for color temperature. Both of the dials turn in clicks – the power in 1% increments from 10% up to 100% and the temperature goes from 3200K and up to 5600K in 100 degree increments. There is no fan and no noise from the unit.
DMX in and out
The light also has DMX in and out and an XLR 15 volts DC type connector that connects to the power brick.
Simple and easy to use interface
In terms of power output – we have tested the light with our new and super handy Sekonic C700 spectrometer (full review is coming later this year) and we got a reading of about 1790 lux at 1m or 3 feet when the light was set to 5600k and 1570 lux at 3200k at the same distance – this is pretty respectable although significantly lower than the claimed 2458Lux/m which is pretty strange and we are currently checking this out with the manufacturer and update our article on LensVid.
Update: So we talked with the local importer of Lishuai and apparently there was something specific with our unit. We did another test with the unit at the importer and we got over 2500lx at 1m which is just over the claimed specs – very impressive indeed.
This is where the 1380AVL really shines – according to our measurements at 5600k we are looking at a CRI of 96.9 – and at 3200k it is 95.6 – definitely pro quality. The color setting was also pretty accurate with 5600k on the light measuring as 5700k and 3200k as 3225k (do note the the C700 measures extended CRI – i.e. R1-R15 – if you want to learn more about all of this watch this video).
C700 light measurement at 1m/3ft, the 1380AVL set to 5600K (RA = average CRI)
In the video you can also watch how the light changes color and intensity when we shot our color checker board. One thing to note – despite being considered a soft light – we did feel the need to add diffusion with either a fabric or a diffuser. Interestingly this didn’t only diffuse the light and reduce the power but also seemed to change the color of the light slightly by about 200 degrees Kelvin, which we didn’t know until we actually measured the light with the C700.
C700 light measurement at 1m/3ft, the 1380AVL set to 3200K
Detailed CRI breakdown @5600K
We have been working with the 1380AVL for well over a month now. We have used it for several commercial productions that we have been doing (mostly talking head type videos for different companies) and it performed admirably.
The only real concern we had with it was the size and weight of the unit and our need to carry a heavy duty light stand for it such as the Matthews low boy that we reviewed here recently. Together they create a powerful combo but also a very heavy one.
Despite being an edge light we still felt that the 1380AVL required to be softened a bit more for our shoots – we used a white fabric or a diffuser as we mentioned – it would be nice if Lishuai came up with dedicated accessories for this light such as softboxes and dedicated diffusion boards that fits on the light or the barn doors to soften the light just a bit more.
Pro level high quality light – 1380AVL
In terms of pricing we could find the 1380AVL sold under its own brand only in the U.K. (and here in Israel) where you are looking at around 500 pounds (the exact amount changes and also depends on VAT, but it is currently somewhere around $650). It is possible that this model is sold in the US under a different brand name (these things are quite common with some manufacturers). For this price it represents a very attractive and pretty powerful and robust option as long as you are not planning on carrying this light around too much.
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