CAME- TV was kind enough to send us their new entry-level Boltzen LED 30W and 55W daylight lights. They are small, affordable, lightweight, focusable fresnel lights that have a single light source (Chip On Board). As a documentary shooter, I had great interest in these lights, mostly because of their versatility, affordability and multiple power options. It was also interesting for me to compare them to the much more expensive Kinotehnik Practilite 602 which I reviewed earlier last year and became my go-to light. Curious to learn more about the CAME-TV Boltzen? Please read on.
Here are some key points of both the CAME-TV Boltzen 30W and Boltzen LED 55W versions:
- Both lights are identical in size and features. The stronger 55Watt light has a red rubber ring and an internal silent fan. Both lights come in a small carry case.
- You can get the Boltzen in either daylight or tungsten versions.
- The housing is made mostly from plastic but all of the accessories are made out of metal.
- The back display shows the battery level and dimming percentage. As those are NOT sold as a bi-colour units, the colour temperature display info is not really relevant.
- You can focus the light beam by pulling or pushing the front barrel. Rotation of the front element is possible for easy barn door flag placement.
- The daylight unit comes with an additional tungsten plastic filter and 2 types of diffusers. Mind you, these are a bit flimsy to install.
- The plastic focus lens is removable if you need a harsher light.
- The barn doors screw on tight and are very secure.
- The Bowens mount for soft box and other compatible accessories is available separately. If you intend to use a softbox like the Westcott Beauty Dish 24″ I used, you will need the CAME-TV Bowens Adapter ring that, according to the manufacturer, also comes with a rosette kit for extra stability.
- Both lights will run on multiple power options. Sony NP batteries, AC adapter or with the supplied 4-pin mini-XLR to D tap cable for V-mount battery.
- The “ON/OFF” button is separate from the dimming knob. Although that might look strange at the beginning, it actually makes A LOT of sense since in times of running out of battery power, you will come back instantly to the same output power without having to guess where you were.
- No WiFi adapter, Bluetooth connectivity or control App is currently available, although there is a WiFi connection at the back.
- Not all Sony batteries will work if you increase the output over 50% on the 55Watt version.
- Buttons are placed on top making it difficult to control the light when mounted on a high light stand.
- Edges created by the barn doors are soft.
- When fully assembled together with NP-F battery and the supplied Yoke, the light will NOT fit into CAME TV’s supplied case. Although this looks like a small detail, be prepared to spend a couple of minutes in each assembly/disassembly session.
We also tested the CAME-TV Boltzen LED lights in our test lab with the Asensetek Lighting Passport. This smart spectrometer allows us to measure several key aspects about the light quality coming from these LED fixtures. From now on, we will be testing all our LED lights with this tool to give you a better idea how the light quality compares.
What we see is that the CRI holds up according to the manufacturer specifications with a value of 96 and 97. You can see the exact values for each color in the chart above. This means that the lights have a very accurate light spectrum according to today’s standards, and will look very close to actual sunlight on camera, which is especially valuable when recording skin tones and white surfaces.
When looking at the TLCI value, which is a newer way to rate color, these lights rate at 97.7 and 98, so their overall color quality is outstanding. On the wave chart we can see the spark in the blue wavelengths, where the deception of LED becomes visible. Luckily this has little to no effect on your picture.
One thing we found was that the 2 CAME-TV Boltzen 30W units we tested had a measured color temperature of about 5400 K, whereas it was advertised with 5600 K. This seems a bit off. In practice, we would have hardly noticed this difference if we hadn’t had the spectrometer at hand.
At less than $300, these lights are good value for money and a can serve well as a versatile traveling light kit. CAME-TV have been smart enough to market these in a single, twin or triple packages, so everyone can find what they are looking for. The lights are accurate and flicker free.
Personally, I would choose the weaker 30W version as it is fan-less and also draws less power. Furthermore during my test, I found it lasts much longer than the 55W with the same NP-F battery. Mind you that the CAME-TV Boltzen 30W has a slightly different colour temperature than advertised, while the 55W version is more accurate.
What other small, affordable, lightweight Fresnel LED lights are you using? Let us know on the comment section below.