Aputure TRI-8 review: 888 LEDs packed into a solid fixture

The new Aputure TRI-8 is small, sturd, bright light with some really nice features. Aputure wanted to update the popular Amaron HR672 to make it more durable and user friendly. Let’s take a closer look at those upgrades and the new features of the TRI-8.

The body

The 11.5 inch Aputure TRI-8 is built like a tank, from the strong front plexi cover to the all-metal body. This thing is built for field use! The light keeps cool without a fan. The back is one big heatsink and stays pretty cool to the touch. The light weighs 2kg or 4.4 pounds.

Powering

Aputure TRI-8 side

The TRI-8 has a few powering options. It ships with the AC power brick attached to the back. This is nice because it keeps it off the floor. It also comes with two Sony L-type batteries that lock into place – a nice upgrade from the HR672.

The included batteries give you a pretty long run time – approximately two hours depending on how bright you set the output. If you want to light for longer the TRI-8 comes with a V-mount plate that replaces the AC brick on the back. Just unscrew the AC brick holder and screw the adapter in.

Aputure TRI-8 LCD power

On the back you can see just how much run time you have left. I like this feature a lot. When the TRI-8 is using AC power and the batteries are connected the TRI-8 recharges the batteries while you are using the light.

Controls

Aputure TRI-8 controls

The on/off switch and a dimmer to control output are on the back of the light. The dial has a long turn ratio to precisely adjust brightness. Like all Aputure lights the TRI-8 uses the same wireless remote control and can be mixed with other Aputure models.

Select the bank you want on the TRI-8 and control it with the remote. It’s that easy. The light has to be powered on manually first before you can turn it on and off with the remote. You can control up to four fixtures like this.

Mounting

Aputure TRI-8 handles

A new feature is these handles. I like these a lot for handholding the light. It’s not a very light fixture and in a run and gun style it’s not easy to hold but if you do have a spare pair of hands these grips make it easy – and they can also be used as a kickstand.

Aputure TRI-8 mount

The TRI-8 doesn’t have a traditional mount that you see on most lights. It’s kind of reversed. You screw in the supplied post and then it goes into a mount that has a locking tilt. The mount also has an option to add an umbrella. This configuration does make the TRI-8 more compact but setting it up takes a little longer.

Color

I tested the CRI and spectral distribution with a Sekonic C700.

TRI-8.56K_01_5605K_ColorRendering

The Color Rendition Index readings are solid, averaging out to 97. The important skin tone readings are also very good.

  • R9 – 93.4
  • R13 – 96.5
  • R15 – 93.9

TRI-8.56K_01_5605K_SpectralDistribution

Spectral distribution is also very good.

Brightness

So just how bright is the TRI-8? I measured it with a Sekonic meter and got the following readings.

  • At three feet (or one meter) I got 9540 lux or 886 foot candles

It’s pretty bright for a compact fixture and it’s punchy with the 25° beam angle. I’ve used it on several occasions as a fill outside. Inch it close and it works great.

Do you see what I see?

If you are OCD then the pattern of the LED’s might drive you crazy but their is a method to this madness! Having the LED diodes less uniform will help decrease micro shadows that are inherent with these type of arrays making the light more pleasing. Aputure also seems to like to have a little fun too. See that “A” in the middle?

Output comparison

Here is how the TRI-8 matched up with its big brother the Light Storm LS1s. Both fixtures have a 25˚ beam angle.

  • The larger 1536 Led Aputure Light Storm LS1s puts out 4122.58 LUX or 383 Foot Candles at seven feet.
  • TRI-8 at seven feet puts out 1668.41 LUX or 155 Foot Candles.

Included accessories

Aputure TRI-8 Kit

The TRI-8 comes with an EZ Box softbox. It attaches with four short poles and then you add the diffusion to the ends – it’s always better to have the diffusion at least a few inches from the front. Ideally deeper but the EZ Box keeps it compact. This creates a softer broader light but also decreases the output. If you want a quick way to diffuse use the included sheet of diffusion.

As I mentioned you get two large Sony L-type batteries, an AC adapter and a V-mount adapter, a mounting kit and wireless remote. All in a nice shoulder bag to carry it in. The TRI-8 is very nice light and a great companion to the Light Storm LS1s or COB 120d. It’s durable and bright with handy powering options. The included batteries give you a nice run time as well. All packed in an included case that you will actually use.

I have the daylight version but it also comes in a bi-color model. All in all a very nice update to the HR 672.

Aputure TRI-8: final thoughts, price and availability

The Aputure TRI-8 is a well thought out, durable and punchy light that even works great for a fill outside in the shade. It’s small, and the handles makes it perfect for those time when you want to go Hollywood in a run and gun situation. Having the ability to add a big V-mount battery is nice, but you get about two hours on the included lightweight LP batteries.

The TRI-8s (spot) retails for $488 US while the Bi-Color model is a little more at $498 US. They’re both shipping now.

 

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