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Aputure LS 600C Pro Review – Once You Add Color It’s Hard To Go Back


Aputure LS 600C Pro Review - Once You Add Color It's Hard To Go Back

Color comes to the Light Storm line from Aputure with the 600C Pro. If you’ve used the LS 600X or LS 600D, this light will feel familiar, but now you have the added flexibility of full tunable RGB color, hundreds of selectable gel presets, and a wide selectable kelvin range from 2300K-10,000K – just to name a few features. I took the LS 600C Pro for a spin over several shoots and here’s my review.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

We all want the same thing: 15 affordable color-capable lights that are easily powered and have a fantastic output to rival the sun when needed. We simply aren’t there yet, but I think we’re close – when you compare a similar daylight-only fixture to a color-tunable fixture you get a significant output bump on average in that head-to-head matchup from the daylight-only fixture.

So, where does that leave you? Do you go for the daylight version, bi-color version, or is color the only way to go at this point with the LS 600-watt draw line of lights? The answer is: it depends. In situations where output is the primary consideration, you’re still going to want to go with a daylight-only fixture and gel that fixture the old-fashioned way. For nighttime shoots or studio shoots or shoots where you’re able to tent, ND, or black out windows where needed, then you’ll find the LS 600C Pro has plenty of output and flexibility for your needs (when shooting normal frame rates/shutter speeds).

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

So, where does that leave us? In situations where output is the primary consideration you’re still going to want to go with a daylight-only fixture and gel that fixture the old fashioned way. For nighttime shoots or studio shoots or shoots where you’re able to tent, ND or black-out windows where needed then you’ll find that the LS 600C Pro has plenty of output and flexibility for your needs (when shooting normal frame rates/shutter speeds).

One of the reasons I’m especially excited about hard light color sources is simply because hard light can be softened and it is, of course, difficult to harden a soft light. This gives you more flexibility with the LS 600C Pro versus the Nova 600C 2×1 panel unless you’re working in the beauty and fashion space where soft light is king. Of course, the Nova 600C 2×1 also has multiple light engine zones that might be beneficial in a variety of circumstances.

With a list price of $2,490.00, the LS 600C Pro has a number of standout features:

  • XY Color Control
  • 300 digital gels
  • The ability to adjust frequency when shooting slow mo up-to 200fps
  • Different selectable fan speeds in noise sensitive situations
  • HSI Color
  • CCT Mode – 2300K to 10,000K
  • Built-in wireless DMX
  • 5-Pin XLR Connector
  • Weather Resistant
  • Bowens S-Type Mount

First Impressions

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

From afar, the Aputure LS 600C Pro looks identical to the LS 600X Pro. An excellent slip-free yoke dominates the sides and large vents keep the lamp head cool. Up close, you’ll note the Aputure LS 600C Pro yoke has a colorful rainbow fringed ‘C’ denoting color.

Aputure has done a bunch of work refining later generations of their fixtures and the UI on the controller/ballast, in particular, is now colorful and easier to navigate than is the pixelated text-only 1980’s menu systems of other brands.

Of course, you still have the lightning clamp for connecting the controller/ballast to a Combo stand or C-Stand, and the 7.5-meter head cable is easily long enough for most applications where you have to fly the lamp head high off the ground or over hard-to-reach places. You can also place the controller/ballast on its “back” where it rests neatly on two metal protective bars so that it isn’t directly sitting on the ground in mud or light moisture.

You could mount the LS 600C Pro on a C-Stand, but I’d personally feel more comfortable having this lamp head on a beefier combo stand – especially if you’re mounting the controller/ballast on the stand.

Multiple fan speeds like Smart, High, Medium, and Silent give you control over the fan noise in situations where the LS 600C Pro is close to a mic.

Aputure LS 600C Pro controller/ballast. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Navigating to different colors or your favorite gel number in the menu is easy, but Sidus Link (through Bluetooth) is a hair faster when it comes to navigating through the settings. Sidus Link keeps improving and there’s also now a Sidus Audio app aimed at Deity audio users (a partner company with Aputure). For DMX users, you have built-in Lumen Radio and a 5-Pin XLR Connector.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

An etherCON connector would work with ART-NET or sACN. Between Bluetooth and wired or wireless DMX options, you have a wide variety of control options and that’s one of the reasons the LS 600C has the word “Pro” in its name.

The Aputure Fresnel F10 accessory does work on the LS 600C Pro, but without the output gains as the F10 wasn’t designed especially for the light. You do get a spot and flood effect that equates to a range of roughly 25-75 degrees, however. All the LS 1200 Pro reflectors also work on the LS 600C Pro too and you can buy them as a separate SKU HERE for $179.00. Beyond that, you’ll have to check all your Bowens S-Type accessories for compatibility as results may vary with how many 1st and 3rd party accessories are on the market these days.

Power

With a power draw of 720W, the Aputure LS 600C Pro can be powered by 48V V-Mount or Gold Mount or, of course, AC power. For me, I’m using primarily generators for exteriors shoots or large block batteries, so an on-board battery isn’t a use case I’m drawn to because of the expense of high capacity batteries. You could absolutely power the LS 600C Pro by block battery using the 3-pin XLR input on the controller/ballast.

It is worth noting that my 14.4V 15A camera focused batteries only allow the Aputure LS 600C Pro to run at half output, so that’s something to keep in mind.

I do appreciate that Aputure continues to support both V-Mount and Gold Mount battery systems natively – not the case with all lighting manufacturers.

Output & Kelvin Handling in CCT Mode

The Bowens S-Type mount, present on the LS 600C Pro, has tons of 3rd and 1st party accessory options available for it. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Despite having access to a wide variety of colors with the LS 600C Pro, it’s likely you’ll probably still spend a lot of time using this fixture in CCT mode in common kelvin settings like 5600K and 3200K. If the LS 600C Pro can’t handle naturalistic colors, then the fixture would be relegated to a specialty item for me – one that comes into play only for “party color” moments on a given project. Only a color meter will tell the story.

To that end, I grabbed a few measurements on my Sekonic C-700U Spectrometer (now updated with the C-800U) to see how accurately the LS 600C Pro handles color temp measured in kelvin and output (lx) from a distance of 3 ft. Here are my readings with a target of 5600K and output set to 100%. This test was completed with the kit Hyper Reflector attached that is 62-degrees with the different shape of the LS 600C Pro COB.

A result of 5582K is excellent. I went back and looked at my review of the LS 600x Pro (keep in mind it uses a different 55-degree hyper reflector from the one tested here) and it had a [lx] number of 62200 at the same distance and with the same reflector. The LS 600C Pro has a [lx] number of 38200 according to the chart. This reflects the tradeoff of adopting a color fixture over bi-color or daylight.

I would note that the LS 600C Pro is more accurate when targeting a given kelvin number versus the LS 600X Pro. With this same test, the LS 600X was off by a few hundred kelvin in my previous testing.

And here’s a test with a target of 3200K.

Again, a very close kelvin result at 3163K. It is worth noting that the output is lowest around 32K for the LS 600C Pro. For the LS 600X – we saw a [lx] number of 46500 with a target at 3200K at this same distance.

Here’s a look with a target of 4700K:

Pay particular attention to how the Pay particular attention to how the output drops throughout the kelvin range over the course of the three tests. This will give you an indication of where to set your kelvin if you’re looking for pure output as the primary goal for your given lighting setup. If you’re focusing on kelvin accuracy in these three tests, you’ll find the LS 600C Pro is pretty darn accurate at 56K, 32K, and 47K.

So no, this isn’t a specialty light, and its kelvin accuracy is excellent if you don’t mind the fixture being not quite as punchy as its daylight or bi-color cousins.

Final Thoughts

In situations where I have control over ambient light, the LS 600C Pro would be one of my go-to lights – it’s just that flexible. A huge variety of gel presets and a wide kelvin range also make this a great first light into a location. You can audition a variety of options quickly over Sidus or Wireless DMX and then add other less flexible lights to the scene based on results.

One of the things I look at is how often does a light leave the truck or how often is it taken out of storageit’s a simple indicator of how versatile a lighting tool really is. This is especially true since I’m primarily a DP and not a Gaffer. I pay attention to the types of lights my Gaffers reach for to complete a shot. The LS 600C Pro received a ton of use over the several weeks of testing time I allotted for this review – it was that popular as a key light. And therefore, probably an excellent item for rental houses.

We aren’t quite at the point where a color-capable light with a similar power draw is as punchy as a Bi-Color or Daylight version and that will be the real moment we cross the horizon into the one-light-for-all-situations territory, but until then, my advice remains the same: keep a variety of lighting options in your kit and you’ll never be surprised.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD





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