At NAB 2017 Litepanels exhibited two familiar lights, with one huge difference: at least 50 percent more power. The Litepanels Sola 4+ and 6+ are more powerful than their predecessors the Sola 4 and Sola 6. Yet, this wouldn’t be worth mentioning if it wasn’t for two other important factors. The first is that they are the same size as the past models and the second is that they are the same price. Somehow Litepanels was able to squeeze more light into the same form factor and didn’t increase the price — that’s amazing. Most companies would increase the price, even if it was just by a little. Litepanels instead passed the value and performance on to the user.
The Sola 4+ is a daylight-balance 4 inch LED Fresnel and costs $1,110 dollars. It has a beam control of 15 to 71 degrees. It’s bright — stated to be over twice as bright as the Sola 4. It includes 4-way barndoors, dimming from 0 to 100 percent and offers 50,000 plus hours of LED life. Lastly it includes a 120-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz power supply and has heat-free output from its internal ballast.
The Sola 6+ is a daylight-balanced 6 inch LED Fresnel and costs $2,000 dollars. It has a beam control of 16 to 67 degrees. It’s supposedly over 50 percent brighter than the Sola 6. It includes 8-way barndoors and also dims from 0 to 100 percent. It also offers the same LED lifespan, heat-free output and includes its 120-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz Power Supply.
Testing both the 4+ and the 6+ at the same time gave a good contrast for how much more power the 6+ has and how well the two work with each other. Our first use of both lights was illuminating the background of our studio for some A-roll. Fresnel’s are the most versatile light. They are hard light that can be focused as a spot or a flood light, and can also be diffused for softer light. We pushed the light through two diffusers to create a large light source with soft light.
Both lights have a TLCI rating of 95. The rest of our lights in our studio are also daylight temperature, so they fit in well. These can be dimmed from 0 to 100 percent and if not completely defocused and within 15 feet of the subject, they perform quite well. The same is true of the 4+ but with half the power.
We then changed how we used the lights for a shoot. We used them as a key and back light for shooting flowers in our studio. The goal was to have all of the negative space remain black and to illuminate just the flowers. Using the Sola 4+ in spot, we positioned it as our key. This allowed us to not have too much spill. Positioning the Sola 6+ behind the flowers, the light gave a nice highlight to the flowers for added depth. When adjusting the lights, the dimmer was very helpful. We didn’t need to back the lights off to change their intensity; not only does that give you more control but it’s quicker to get to the desired look.
The barn doors that the Sola 4+ and 6+ come with are different between models. The 4+ has 4-way doors, but the 6+’s barndoors are 8-way. At first, they were a bit disappointing because they continued to sag with gravity, but this was easily resolved by tightening the screws that hold them to their hinge. They then held their place and were easy to position.
Fresnel LED’s are becoming more prevalent in the marketplace. Let’s take a look at a couple of options that are similar in price, offer DMX control and have daylight color temperature.
The Dracast LED5000 Daylight LED Fresnel Plus with DMX Control is $1,970 dollars. It has a CRI of 95, and an adjustable beam angle of 15-60 degrees. They also dim from 0 to 100%, have DMX control and include barn doors.
The Acebil Ianiro Z200D Daylight Fresnel LED costs $1,880 dollars. With a 6 inch Fresnel lens and a focusable 11-82 degree beam angle they offer a CRI of 95 plus, are fully dimmable and have DMX control.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Both the Sola 6+ and 4+ are solid lights. They are very bright and offer all of the functionality you need. They do have a quick fall off when compared to an HMI and they needed some tightening to get best control of the barn doors. Having the ability to dim these Fresnel lights as well as focus them make them a versatile tool. Both the 6+ and 4+ are a good value for the money.
Sola 6+: $2,000
Sola 4+: $1,110
- Brighter than past versions
- Same price as past versions
- Not Bi-Color
The Sola 6+ and 4+ are dimmable LED fresnel lights. They are quite powerful, but fall off much quicker than an HMI. They offer a good value for the money.
- Indie and Enthusiast filmmakers
- Commercial and Corporate filmmakers
Beam angle (degrees): 15 – 71
Max. power draw (Watts): 53
Optics: 4” / 10.16cm dia Fresnel Lens
Weight: 1.63 kg
Colour temperature: Daylight
Beam angle (degrees): 16 – 67
Max. power draw (Watts): 104
Optics: 6” / 15.24cm dia Fresnel Lens
Weight: 4.13 kg
Colour temperature: Daylight
Chris Monlux has a beard for two reasons. One – he doesn’t like to shave. Two – it hides his face. He is also Videomaker’s Multimedia Editor.