Review: Came-TV Boltzen 55w LED Fresnel

I take a look at Came-TVs latest LED, the 552 Boltzen single-source Fresnel.

Not product is perfect, but at this price point any gripe I have with the Boltzen is merely incidental. The fact of the matter is it is so cheap that you will be willing to put up with some of the less than ideal ergonomic faults.

But in truth that is where most of the faults lie because the performance of the light is really exemplary given the size and portability of the unit. I can't really find a fault with the color replication, the spot and flood modes, and did I mention the utter and ridiculous portability(?)--you can literally chuck the light in your pocket, and Bob's your Uncle, you have a hard light with a set of barn doors running off a NPF battery, begging, just begging, to be placed in awkward positions where your traditional LED panel does not dare go.But it's also really ideal for the travelling videographer--just chuck it into a backpack and you have a 3 point lighting system without much hassle. If you are shooting at night, there is more than enough light to power your subject, but competing with daylight reduces the effectiveness to a hair light/background light.I have even used it indoors as a key passing through some tracing paper to give my subject a nice soft look.There is an optional bowens mount adapter which you can purchase as an additional accessory; it allows you to mount bowens photography equipment, like a softbox, on the front of the lens. Unfortunately, the yoke that comes with the light is not able to handle the weight of pretty much any soft box. I have a small 60cm x 60cm soft box and the light cannot hold straight with the weight pressing down on the front.This is not solely the fault of the yoke as I have found that the body warps under the pressure as well. It is made of plastic and I have already had durability issues with it, which is unfortunate.The screws that hold the yoke to the body of the light are really flimsy and I know if I try to tighten them anymore they will break, so I have refrained from doing so, instead I've place my soft box against a chair or used another light stand to hold the weight up.For me though if you are using this light you want portability, and I don't think a soft box is a portable option. It would probably be easier carrying around some roadrags in your kit than using a big softbox, so I don't think this will bother too many people, although the bowens adapter is being sold as an accessory, so I'd expect it to work.The other issue for me was the inbuilt fan which is not present in the 30w model.I live in Australia and it is currently summer here. Recently, it was as hot as 36 degrees Celsius, and immediately I could tell the fan was having a whole heck of a lot of trouble cooling the unit. It was having so much trouble that I could hear the fan operating from a distance of one metre, a big no, no for any production. I'll chalk this up to the extreme conditions, or maybe I got a faulty unit, but I am a bit worried as to what this will mean in the future for the reliability and dependability of the light.The only other significant issue I have had with the light is the barn doors, which do not provide a distinct enough cut in the light when they are placed as flags over the light.There is too much spill over the sides of the barn doors, although I can't help but think it is related to the LED source because a tungsten performs so much better. It is a single source LED, but I still think it hold the remnants of the past within it (LED panel, I'm looking at you).Overall, however, it is a good, solid light which I would recommend purchasing if not solely for the portability and flexibility it offers at a very reasonable price. I will be hoping to get another shortly, so long as my current light can prove to me it can stay around long enough.  

Alex Kuraica 12/01/2017 07:00:00

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