You are here

Litepanels Sola ENG Flight Kit Lights Review

Litepanels-Sola-ENG-Flight-kit

From the single, on-camera lighting scenario to full on, three-point interview lighting, mobile video professionals will find everything they need in the Litepanels Sola ENG Flight Kit.

What could possibly be better than a Litepanels Sola ENG LED Fresnel light? Why, three of them of course! And that's exactly what Litepanels has packed into their new flight kit - along with a few other very nice necessities.

Flying High

Designed for the video professional on the go, the flight kit includes everything you need in a Pelican 1510 case, suitably sized for stowing away in the overhead bin on your next commercial flight. Add wheels, a retractable handle and you have 30 pounds as a very useful traveling companion indeed.

Weighing less than a pound and measuring just four inches across, each Sola ENG fresnel light is well suited for travel. A two-leaf barn door is included with each light as well. Simply snap its wire frame into the groove around the front of the lens to install it. A set of three gels also comes with each light, consisting of one diffusion gel, one 1/4 correction color-temperature orange (CTO) gel and one full correction CTO gel.

Lights mount directly on the camera or on the included light stands. Each light comes with its own ball head shoe mount, which can be used for on-camera mounting. A locking lever releases the ball, then locks the light securely in place at the desired angle. Opposite the lever, a slot in the mount allows the light to point straight up, or down, for a great number of positioning options. Three six-foot Manfrotto Nano light stands are included in the kit. Each is topped with a 3/8-inch thread and a 3/8-inch to 1/4-inch adapter with protective plastic cap. Three TV to Motion Picture (TVMP) adapters are also included. They slip over the top of the light stand and lock into place to provide an accessory shoe-like mounting surface for quick setup and take down of the lights.

Sola ENG Flight Kit in a Pelican 1510 case

Each light is powered by a detachable two-pin D-tap DC power cable plugged directly into your camera's 10-20VDC output terminal, or into any number of portable power sources such as those by Anton Bauer. If neither option is available, you can use the included AC power adapters.

One final item of interest is the collapsible soft box and diffusion panel. When opened, the soft box slips over any one of the lights (with the barn doors off) and rests in the groove behind the lens. As these lights produce a negligible amount of heat, setting fire to the soft box is not an issue. The diffusion panel simply attaches at the front with the built-in hook-and-loop fastening strips.

Power Up

Each Sola ENG light is daylight balanced, as well as both dimmable and focusable. At the rear of the body is the dimmer dial, a large, rotary dial with rubberized grips. Rotate the dial to the right to turn the light on. You'll hear a click and the faint sound of the cooling fan starting up. A green LED will appear, indicating that the power is on. Slowly rotate the dial to the right and the light intensity will gradually increase from zero to 100 percent with no noticeable color shift.

Ahead of the dimmer dial is the focus dial. Rotate the focus dial to the right to narrow the beam to as little as 15 degrees and rotate it to the left to broaden the beam to as much as 50 degrees. According to Litepanels' photometrics data, the Sola ENG illuminates 161.2 foot-candles (1735 lux) at six feet and 40.3 foot-candles (434 lux) at 12 feet in a 10-degree spot. Broadening the beam to 50 degrees (flood) reduces output to 34.2 foot-candles (368 lux) at six feet and 8.6 foot-candles (92 lux) at 12 feet.

Outcomes

Sola ENG fixture rear

The compact nature of this kit might lull one into thinking that its output may be lacking, but nothing could be further from the truth. In different lighting situations, we consistently found that the output was more than sufficient. Three independently dimmable and focusable lights, each with output equivalent to that of a 100W HMI, equate to a great deal of lighting versatility. Add barn doors, a soft box, diffusion and correction gels, as well as swivel mount positioning and your creative options are near endless. Being daylight balanced, these lights are great for outdoor use as well, with enough power to provide some nice fill lighting, even in the sunshine.

For the traveler, the low-heat awesomeness of LED lighting will be greatly appreciated. After several hours of continuous use, the lights were cool to the touch, able to be packed up and carried away immediately, without the usual cooling off time necessary with conventional lights.

Controlling light with the Litepanels Sola ENG kit is exceptional, and accounts for virtually all that you'd look for on a shoot. The scale of the lights in this case is what makes the kit outstanding, with multiple mounting options, stands, barndoors, diffusers and you'll still have space for another carry-on.

Tech Specs
Sola ENG Fixtures
Size: 4"x4"x5" (102mmx102mmx127mm)
Weight: 10oz. (.28kg)
Fresnel lens: 3" (10.2cm)
Power: 30W equivalent to 100W HMI
Power requirements: 10-20VDC (traditional ENG batteries) via included 2-pin D-Tap power cable or included AC power adapter

Flight Kit Includes:
(3) Sola ENG Fixtures
(3) Sola ENG Gel Kits (Set of 3)
(3) Ball Head Shoe Mounts
(3) Ball Head Shoe Mount Conversion Kits
(3) TVMP Adapters
(3) Sola ENG Barndoors
(3) Sola ENG AC/DC Desktop Power Supplies & 6' Cords
(3) 2-pin D-Tap Cables
(3) Manfrotto Nano Stands
(1) Pelican 1510 Case with Custom Foam
(1) Soft Box and Diffusion

Strengths

  • Complete studio lighting in a compact case
  • High output
  • Low power consumption, low heat
  • Dimmable
  • Focusable

Weaknesses

  • Fan noise may be picked up by a microphone in close proximity
  • Lightweight stands - be very careful to weight properly

Summary

From the single, on-camera lighting scenario to full on, three-point interview lighting, mobile video professionals will find everything they need in the Litepanels Sola ENG Flight Kit.

Litepanels, Inc.
www.litepanels.com
$2,995

Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

Tags:  December 2012
Mark
Holder
Tue, 10/09/2012 - 8:14am