FotodioX Flapjack Studio & C-218AS

Editor's Choice Award

Lights are a big investment. They’re also paramount to your product looking polished and professional. That’s why choosing the right light is key to your success. The FotodioX flapjack line of LED edge lights is an affordable option for those looking to up their game. The two options we cover in this review are the C-218AS, a small, portable bi colored dimmable LED, and the C-700RSV Bicolor Studio, a larger circular version of the same light. Both have the option to run off of Sony NP-F style batteries, and in the case of the Flapjack Studio, a V-Mount battery.

Both lights are very thin; at their thinnest point they’re only a half-inch thick. Made of molded plastic, their design is unique because the LEDs are arranged around the edge of the light and then diffused by layers of diffusion material.

Made of molded plastic, their design is unique because the LEDs are arranged around the edge of the light and then diffused by layers of diffusion material.

Both lights considered here are bicolor, meaning color temperature can be adjusted from 3200K to 5600K. Because of the nature of LEDs, this is achieved by having different LEDs for each color temperature and mixing them for smooth transition through the color range.

The C-218AS comes with a cold shoe mount, battery, AC adapter, battery, battery charger and case. The Bicolor Studio comes equally equipped, minus the cold shoe mount and with two larger batteries rather than one.

Testing

For most of our tests, we focused on the Flapjack Studio. Because of its larger size and intensity, it lends itself to more applications. Plus, we had a few lights of similar form and function to use as a baseline for our testing. Those lights are the Celeb 200 from Kino Flo and the Astra 1×1 Soft by Litepanels. It’s important to note that the Kino Flo and Litepanels are $2,530 and $1,800 respectively, whereas the Flapjack Bicolor Studio is just $550. 

Color Quality

For our first test, we used one light at a time to light a subject from four feet away at 45 degrees from the subject. Using the same stand and matching intensity, we shot with each light using the same camera and exposure to keep consistency. For this first application, we used each light at 3200K to see their color quality.

Using a waveform scope we compared all three setups side-by-side. To our amazement, they did not perform as we expected. We evaluated the color reproduction using a waveform monitor in this order: Litepanels, FotodioX and then the Kino Flo. The Litepanels had a slight red shift, the FotodioX a blue shift and the Kino Flo a red shift.

We then changed to 5600K and repeated the same test. Although the performance order didn’t change, the information we gathered did. The Litepanels light now had a slight blue shift, the FotodioX a slight blue and green shift and the Kino Flo a larger blue shift. We then confirmed our findings by shooting a gray scale and color charts.

Light Intensity

If you’re scratching your head as to why a $550 light is keeping up with lights 3 to 6 times more expensive when is comes to color reproduction, there is another factor to consider: light intensity. Comparing the brightest setting on the Kino Flo to the FotodioX, it’s apparent that the volume of light from the Kino Flo is far greater.

To test the light intensity, we used direct sun as a key light and rotated in our three test lights as a fill. The Kino Flo was by far the brightest, with the Litepanels coming in just behind it and the FotodioX last. In fact, the Flapjack would be a poor choice for this application. Going one step further, we shot with diffused sunlight as the fill and tested each light as the key. All three lights did an acceptable job, but the Kino Flo was far better than the FotodioX with the Litepanels doing a fine job.

C-218AS Tests

This review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about the performance of the C-218AS. Testing was a bit different for this light as we wanted to know what it was capable of by itself. When mounted to the cold shoe of the camera about four feet away from the subject, the light was able to provide sufficient light, but the fall off was quick and wouldn’t be a good choice for lighting a scene. When mounted to a stand four feet and 45 degrees away from the subject, the opposite side of the face from the light was very dark. Lastly, we put the two lights together, using the Flapjack Studio as our key light and the C-218AS as the fill. This was a nice set up and did a fine job. However the background was very dark as the intensity of both lights is relatively low.

Results and Recommendations

It’s easy to find a low price LED, but typically you get what you pay for. In this case, the lower price comes with shortcomings in light intensity. The color is very good for the money, but getting enough light in situations with lots of natural light would require owning multiple lights to keep up with their more costly competition.

Not everyone has the need for LED lighting, so if you’re on a budget, there are many different and more affordable options than LED. However, LED’s typically have a much longer life than other types of lights, so if you have a long view, then the added cost could be marginalized over time.

Would we recommend these lights? Yes. If your budget can’t accommodate the higher-priced LEDs and you need a good looking light, the Flapjack Bicolor Studio will fit your needs. If you have a bigger budget, don’t think you’re saving money buying something more affordable. In the long run, the low intensity may leave you wanting more.   

FotodioX

www.fotodioxpro.com

PRICE:
C-218AS – $230
C-700 RSV (Studio) – $550

TECH SPECS:

Flapjack Studio – C-700RSV
Color Balance:

Tungsten ~ 3200k (±200)
Daylight ~ 5600k (±300)
Luminous Emittance:
3200k – 780lx
5600k – 865lx
Dimmable Range: 10-100% Dimmer Dial
Housing Dimension: 17.75 inch diameter (45 cm) by ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick
Illumination Panel Dimension: 16.34 inch diameter (41.5 cm)
Mounting Option: Mounting Yoke for 5/8” Light Stand Stud
Power Supply: 110-240v Power Supply Cable
Battery Option: Included 2x NP-F960 Style Battery (7.4v – 6600 mAh – 48.84 Wh)
Optional V-Mount Battery (Sold Separately)
Warranty: 24 Months

C-218AS
Color Balance:

Tungsten ~3200k (±200)
Daylight ~5500k (±200)
Luminous Emittance:
3200k – 165lx
5600k – 180lx
Dimmable Range: 0-100% Dimmer Dial
Housing Dimension: 4 x 11.1 inch (10.2 x 28.3 cm) by ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick
Illumination Panel Dimension: 3 x 10 inch (7.6 x 25.5 cm)
Mounting Option: 2x 1/4”-20 Female Threads (Horizontal or Verticle Mounting Option)
Power Supply: 110-240v Power Supply Cable
Battery Option: Included 1x NP-F740 Style Battery (7.4v – 4400 mAh – 32.56 Wh)
Warranty: 24 Months

Chris Monlux — the man, the myth, the legend, but really he is the Multimedia Editor at Videomaker.

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