by Tim Fok | 23rd February 2016
Litepanels has announced the latest panel in the Astra family. The Astra 1X1 Bi-Color Soft takes the portable, high intensity, mixed-temperature goodness of the original panel and adds a diffusion face to allow a much softer light cast. The Litepanels Astra is fast becoming an industry standard when considering a 1X1 panel. It provides an accurate high intensity bi-color light that can be both battery and AC powered. It’s just got better with inclusion of a diffused new face creating a fantastic soft portable key light solution. I’ve owned and used the original Litepanel 1X1 Bi-Color for close to a year now, it’s become my number 1 go-to key light due to its no fuss AC/batt powering options, high power output and fantastic color accuracy that is well maintained throughout the zoom and kelvin temperature range. When I’m using the Astra 1X1 as a key light, 90% of the time it’s through a 1 or 2 stop silk flag. The remaining 10% of the time it’s used on its own as I don’t have the time/space/free hands to carry a silk modifier. The new Astra 1X1 Bi-Color Soft gives you soft-light results right out of the bag; there is now less of a requirement to take a flag kit with you to soften you key light. Of course, a silk flag setup gives you much more control over the quality of the light. You can alter the distance of the flag to subject and light source to get different results; a flag is generally bigger in surface area than a 1X1 panel also so at face value the flag setup will be softer. However having a soft face built in is a fantastic solution for where you require a quick and/or compact setup, one that leaves you no time or space to add additional modifiers. Of course heavy diffusion comes with reduced light output. I’ll update this article with information on whether the Astra 1X1 Bi-Color Soft has an increase in power compared to the original Astra to compensate for the extra diffusion. Either way, you can take comfort in the fact that the Astra is four times the power of the original Litepanels 1X1. EDIT: I caught up with Litepanels today at BVE and the Astra Bi-Color Soft is the same power as the original. When powered via AC it really packs a punch. It does a great job on batteries too (power output on batteries less than AC); make sure you’re equipped with high draw V-locks (look for 110W+ max discharge figures) to ensure the light doesn’t cut out at high brightness. The Astra 1X1 Bi-Color Soft will make a great key light for corporate talking heads as well as news & events filmmakers and even documentary and narrative. Anywhere that requires soft, accurate light with the ability to alter brightness and temperature, the Litepanels Astra B-Colour Soft would be a good consideration.Read more
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