The many advantages of LED lighting over other lighting methods are well-known: long life, highly efficient, durable, low power requirements and low heat production, just to name a few. Now, Westcott has added to the list by making a flexible light that can be formed into shapes, laid flat, folded and placed into tight spaces for some very compact and creative lighting options.
We received the Flex 1-Panel Daylight Kit with one 10-inch Flex Daylight panel, a dimmer module with a 16-foot dimmer extension cable, power supply and cord. It also contained an X-Bracket mount with a ¼ stop cloth diffusion panel.
The Flex panel measures 10-inches square and weighs a mere 7 ounces. Its flexible surface contains 256 LEDs and is framed with a ¼-inch bendable border. Its small size and flexible design make it easy to conceal almost anywhere. For even more mounting options, the X-Bracket mount features both a very strong clamp style mount and a regular receiver mount to fit a standard light stand. The bracket’s spring steel arms slip into pockets at each corner of the panel’s rear surface for quick and easy mounting. Adjustable metal tabs on the back of the bracket secure the diffusion panel when it is affixed to the front.
A single cable permanently attached to the rear of the panel provides power to the LED array. Connect the power supply to the dimmer module and the module to the back of the panel. For even greater separation between the dimmer and the panel, use the 16-foot extension cable. Screw on connectors at both the panel and the dimmer ensure a secure connection. Both the panel and the extension cable are water-resistant – useful when working in damp conditions. The dimmer dial lets you drop the light intensity very smoothly from 100 percent down to five percent, at which point the light switches off.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that this little LED is fully capable of casting an impressive amount of light on a wall 40 feet away.
The quality of light from the Flex is outstanding, delivering 1900 lux at one meter with a Color Render Index (CRI) value of 95 — the highest possible CRI is 100 — at a color temperature of 5600 degrees Kelvin. The CRI is used to indicate the ability of a light source to accurately reveal colors when compared to an ideal light source. A high CRI equates to highly accurate color reproduction, as opposed to, say, those very-low-CRI sodium parking lot lights which tend to distort colors and make everything look rather unappealing.
The applications for this light are virtually endless. Mounted in its bracket it can be used at full power as a standard key light as it’s got plenty of punch when dialed all the way up. We turned out all the lights, switched on the Flex and dialed ‘er up. We were pleasantly surprised to find that this little LED is fully capable of casting an impressive amount of light on a wall 40 feet away. Thanks to the dimmer you can also dial it down for use as a fill light and don’t forget the diffusion panel for a softer light source. The bracket allows it to be stand mounted or clamped to just about anything, plus the jaws are rubber lined to prevent scratches on delicate surfaces.
Furthermore, the Flex can be formed into a “C” shape to cast light in a 180 degree arc to one side of an area while casting no light to the rear. It can even be formed into a cylinder to light an entire area with a full 360 degrees of soft, dimmable light. Attach it to the underside of a table or desk or inside a drawer to fill the space with light. Fold it in half to cast light to the front and rear but not above or below. Attach it to an automobile’s headliner or door panel to easily light the car’s interior. You’ll need to use an inverter attached to the car battery if you aren’t near a suitable power source as the Flex does not accommodate battery power. Need to light a body in the trunk? The flat profile of the Flex panel makes it easy to hide in confined spaces. Toss several of these on the floor, get a PA on each dimmer and shoot your very own “Billy Jean” video! Truly, you are only limited by your imagination as to the myriad ways these panels can be used.
The one feature we would love to see added to the Flex is battery power. Providing the Flex panel with a battery power option would definitely deliver the knockout punch by making it fully mobile. Hopefully, we will see this in a future iteration. Kudos to Westcott for adding to the list of LED awesomeness!
If you’re looking for creative lighting options or just a way to cram lots of variable intensity light output into tight spaces then make sure you check out the Westcott Flex Daylight Panel.
Flex Daylight Panel: $700
Lamp Type: 10” x 10” LED Array
Color Temperature: 5600K
Color Render Index: 95
Flicker Free: Yes
Dimmable Range: 5% – 100%
Lux: 1900 lx @ 1M
Beam Angle: 140 degrees
Dust/Water Resistance: IP64
Power Draw: 55
- Truly “flexible” lighting
- Daylight balanced with 95 CRI
- Lightweight and water resistant
- Dimmable to 5%
- No battery power option [UPDATE: A battery option for the Flex was announced in April, 2015.]
Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.
Westcott Flex X-bracket [/caption]