Aputure LS 60d and Spotlight Mini Zoom Review Get creative with your lighting

Today we are taking a close look at two products from Aputure that can work together to create a powerful and versatile lighting system – the LS 60d and the Spotlight Mini Zoom which was designed specifically to work alongside it (and its bo-color version).

Aputure lights

In recent years Aputure earned a name for itself in the video and cinema world. The company recently released a couple of very powerful lights, but today we are reviewing a specialty product that can help create interesting lighting for product shots.

The Aputure Spotlight Mini Zoom with the Light Storm 60d

Aputure-spotlight-mini-zoom

in the box

The light and the projector are shipped in separate semi-hard carrying cases. The spotlight kit comes with a Bowens adapter, barn doors, a set of gobos, and iris. The light kit includes a power brick, d-tap cable, and a double L-type battery plate.

Build and Design

The light fixture is made of metal and is supported by a one-sided bracket with a v-mount holder for the power brick.

The weight of this setup would rotate the light, so we switched the light bracket with the projector bracket. Ideally, the v-mount holder should’ve been on both of the brackets.

The power cord between the power brick and the light has a twist safety connector. It takes a little getting used to since the end caps come loose if you are not careful.

The other end of the power brick features an interesting safety lock power cord that prevents it from unplugging.

Both the light and the projector come with a drop-in connector system with a safety latch on top. There’s an included Bowens mount adapter to use the light with standard modifiers.

Features

The Light Storm 60d is a daylight-only fixture. There is a library of effects included in the menu. The fan noise is very low unless you manually set it on high. There’s really no need to do that though because the light does not get very hot even after prolonged use.

There is an included battery plate in the kit that allows operating the light outside of a studio by connecting two L-type batteries. The unit only draws about 70W of power, so two batteries only give you about 1 hour of runtime.

Also included in the kit is a D-tap cable to use with a v-mount battery. Our 230Wh battery powered the light for about 2 hours.

There’s a knob on the back of the unit to control the beam angle. With the spotlight zoom in place, this effect is not noticeable.

To operate the light, Aputure offers the Sidus Link app.  We’ve used it before with our small LED. The design and functionality are great and give you access to all the light’s features.

spotlight Mini zoom

Aputure offers a set of different gobos to shape the light. To install a gobo, just drop it into the adapter and place it in the slot at the top of the spotlight mini zoom.

This design is pretty straightforward, but we would like to have some mechanism to rotate the gobo projection.

There is also an adjustable iris included in the kit and can replace the gobo holder. This accessory can give you lots of interesting effects by shaping the light.

Another light shaping tool is a set of metal flags. These come inserted in the modifier bay of the attachment. These handy modifiers help make interesting shapes, like lines, rectangles, and even custom shapes very easily.

Shape your light with built-in cutters

spotlight mini-zoom cutters

Having the flags integrated into the fixture is a good idea, but the positioning is a little too close to the gobo holder.

The gobos and accessories that come with the spotlight mini zoom and LS 60d

Aputure-LS-60d-spotlight-mini-zoom-gobos-and-accesories

Control

There are two controllers on the spotlight zoom to adjust the size and to focus.  For reference, the biggest size of the projected light at 4.5 meters is around 2.8 meters.

The zoom control is a large tube on the front of the unit that you move in and out. It’s a two-handed operation that we feel should’ve had some kind of a twist adjustment mechanism for easier handling.

In general, we feel that the controls on this unit should offer a lot more precision, since a lot of the use cases for this unit involve small subjects, like product shots.

The bracket for example has a rosette with teeth that don’t allow precision control.

Aputure LS 60d back

Performance

We tested the LS60d for intensity and light quality with our Sekonic C-800. Here are the results with and without the spotlight zoom :

LS60d output @1m distance

Aputure LS 60 bare

  • 5880K.
  • 8600Lux.
  • CRI – 96.9 (R9 – 96.8; R12 – 76.2).
  • TLCI – 97, SSId – 72.
  • TM-30 RF – 92; TM-30 Rg – 102.

LS 60d with Spotlight Mini Zoom wide-angle

  • 5400K.
  • 8340Lux.
  • CRI – 96.9 (R9 – 95.8; R12 – 77.2).
  • TLCI – 97, SSId – 73.
  • TM-30 RF – 92; TM-30 Rg – 101.

LS 60d with Spotlight Mini Zoom narrow-angle

  • 5527K.
  • 28300Lux.
  • CRI – 96.8 (R9 – 94.9; R12 – 76.5).
  • TLCI – 97, SSId – 72.
  • TM-30 RF – 92; TM-30 Rg – 101.

Some demonstrations

There is definitely more sharpness in the middle than on the edges. There is also some color aberration on the edges and straight lines appear curved when you zoom in. This is nitpicking, of course, because in most cases you wouldn’t really focus on the projection anyway.

Conclusion

In all, the combination of the Aputure LS 60d with the Spotlight Mini Zoom makes for a very useful solution with a fairly powerful output that provides plenty of creative lighting solutions. Precision control is a bit of an issue, but you should be able to work around it.

The LS 60d with the Spotlight Mini Zoom 

The LS 60d with the Spotlight Mini Zoom 

Pricing

When it comes to pricing here is what you can find online at the moment:

  • Aputure LS 60d (daylight) – $370.
  • Aputure LS 60x (bi-color) – $420.
  • Aputure Spotlight Mini Zoom – $530.

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Art Podolski is a photographer and video editor with an interest in marketing, technology and all things cinema. After shooting wedding photography for 5 years, he transitioned into creating video content for online projects and collaborating with various production companies.

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