The CAME-TV Boltzen 100w Fresnel Focusable LED Daylight fixture is a 5600k light that features an adjustable Fresnel lens. Earlier in the year I reviewed the companies 30w and 50w Boltzen fixtures and was impressed with the performance given their relatively low cost. So is the Boltzen 100w just as good?
Mid-sized LED Fresnel fixtures are starting to become more prevalent in the market. Typically, Fresnel LED fixtures have either been small and compact or large like a Rayzr7, Lupo or Arri, just to name a few. The CAME-TV Boltzen 100w Fresnel has been designed to fill that gap where you need something more powerful than a small fixture, but you don’t want to have to carry around a large light.
A mid-sized LED Fresnel is well suited for use by traveling shooters and one man operators who want a light that has a fairly wide beam spread for lighting up larger areas, but also the versatility to have something that can be spotted up. Weighing in at 2.3kg (5.07lb) with the yolk attached and physical dimensions of 24cm x12cm x12.5cm (without the yolk) it won’t take up a lot of space in your bag.
Quite a few LED lights on the market, including the CAME-TV Boltzen 100w Fresnel, are using COB technology. COB stands for “Chip On Board” where multiple LED chips are packaged together as one lighting module. The advantages of COB LEDs being multi-chip packaged is that the light emitting area of a COB LED can contain many times more light sources in the same area that standard LEDs could occupy. This results in a greatly increased lumen output per square inch.
The light feels fairly solid in the hand and the overall build quality is reasonably good. The yolk frame locks off nice and tightly and the housing feels solid enough. The buttons and dials on the back of the light are nice for a light at this price point.
My only complaints when it comes to the build quality is the barn door/filter hinge. The spring looks to be very cheaply made and it wobbles around. I have my doubts over how this would stand up over a prolonged period of time.
When the light is in its full spot position, the light protrudes out of the housing and is not fully sealed. You can see straight into the light. While this may be more of a cosmetic complaint, it does tend to give you an insight into the overall build quality of the fixture.
The light uses an acrylic Fresnel lens and not a proper glass fresnel lens like you with find in say a Kinotehnik Practilite or Dedo DLed. Usually, an acrylic Fresnel lens will have a harsher fall off and be subject to colour fringing on the edges when compared to using a proper glass Fresnel lens.
The benefit of CAME-TV using an acrylic Fresnel lens is that you can physically remove it from the fixture. This allows the beam spread to be increased and gives the light an added touch of versatility.
The Boltzen doesn’t operate in exactly the same way as a traditional Fresnel light, but the results are the same. With most Fresnel lights the reflector/lamp tray moves forwards and backward away or towards the lens. As the lamp (with its reflector) is moved towards the lens, the beam becomes wider, and as it moves away from the lens, the beam becomes narrower. With the Boltzen however, the LED element stays still and the lens is moved forwards or backward. This is intended to accomplish the same idea in a slightly different way. Overall the spot and flood functions still work well.
Controls and features
The light has a very basic LED display on the back which shows you the brightness level and the colour temperature, which is slightly odd given it can’t be changed. There is an on/off button and a dimmer knob to adjust the brightness. The light can be dimmed in 1% increments from 100% all the way to 1%.
The light also has a WiFi module slot and a 4 pin XLR DC 12V power inlet. This power connector is 100x better than the one CAME-TV use on their Boltzen 30w and 55w versions.
The built-in fan is very quiet and I had trouble hearing it even with my ear right up close to it. It’s a good thing there is a fan though as the fixture does get very hot in a short period of time. So much so that there is a warning on the light that states: Note- High Temperature.
The CAME-TV has all its controls on board, but this does make it harder to make adjustments to the light once it is up high on a light stand. The other alternative is you can buy an optional WiFi module that allows you to control the light remotely using an iOS app.
Power and Powering Options
The CAME-TV Boltzen 100w will run off any 110V-240V mains source, or you can use the included 4-pin XLR to D-tap cable to power the light off a camera battery. Remember this light draws 100w so you will need a battery that can provide at least that amount of power. CAME-TV sells an optional V-lock battery and V-Lock battery plate.
Output and kelvin colour temperature
I tested the output of the light with a Sekonic C-700 at a distance of 1 meter (3.28ft) in a controlled environment. Above you can see that when the light was set in its full flood position it outputted 4330lx. As far as replicating a 5600k source it recorded a kelvin colour temperature of 5765k. This tells me that the light is fairly accurate at replicating a 5600k source. The output is also pretty good for a light this size.
Above you can see the output and kelvin colour temperature when I set the light in its full spot position. It recorded 11600lx at a distance of 1 meter (3.28ft). As far as replicating a 5600k source it recorded a kelvin colour temperature of 6113k. In the full spot position the kelvin colour temperature is noticably colder than when it is used in its fully flooded position. The output in the full spot position was good for a light this size.
The CAME-TV Boltzen 100w Fresnel is only a daylight (5600k) fixture, but it does come with a CTO filter so you can alter the lights kelvin colour temperature to better replicate a tungsten source. Above you can see that the light recorded an output of 2460lx, which was around 40% lower than the light outputted without the CTO filter when used in the full flood position. With the CTO filter it recorded a kelvin colour temperature of 3782k. While this figure is a little high for replicating a 3200k source, it’s still a reasonably good figure for a CTO filter.
Above you can see that the light recorded an output of 7250lx with the CTO filter when set in its full spot position. This was around 40% lower than the light outputted without the CTO filter when used in the full spot position. With the CTO filter, it recorded a kelvin colour temperature of 3886k. While this figure is a little high for replicating a 3200k source, it’s still a reasonably good figure for a CTO filter.
With the CAME-TV Boltzen 100w Fresnel being a dedicated 5600k source it should be reasonably good at replicating accurate colours. I tested the light with a Sekonic C-700 at a distance of 1m (3.28ft) in a controlled environment to see how the light performed.
Above you can see that when the light was set in its full flood position it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 96.3 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 94.55. For replicating skin tones accurately it recorded 89.5 for R9 (red), 96.8 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones) and 93.2 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). These figures were pretty good.
Above you can see that when the light was set in its full spot position it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 96.0 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 94.29. For replicating skin tones accurately it recorded 89.8 for R9 (red), 96.8 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones) and 92.9 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). These figures were pretty good and the light was almost identical when it came to colour rendering accuracy regardless of whether it was used in the spot or flood position. This should be the case.
Above you can see that when the light was set in its full flood position using the CTO filter it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 94.8 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 92.84. For replicating skin tones accurately it recorded 85.6 for R9 (red), 97.0 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones) and 97.0 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). These figures were good for a 5600k source using a plastic CTO filter. This shows me that you could easily use this light with a CTO filter to create a fairly accurate tungsten source.
Above you can see that when the light was set in its full spot position using the CTO filter it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 94.5 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 92.41. For replicating skin tones accurately it recorded 84.7 for R9 (red), 96.7 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones) and 96.7 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). These figures were good for a 5600k source using a plastic CTO filter.
So how does the light actually perform?
It’s important to remember that these lights by their very design are hard light sources and they will produce strong shadows. They are not designed to be used as a soft key light even though you can add diffusion or attach a softbox. Most shooters would use fresnel style lights like this to light up backgrounds, or when they need to specifically direct and control a light by spotting it up on a small item or area. There are of course other areas where a mid-sized LED Fresnel like this can also be used to good effect, such as using the light as an indirect source by bouncing it off a wall or ceiling etc.
The Boltzen 30w and 55w fresnel lights suffer from quite a harsh fall off and colour fringes on the edge of the beam. So is the 100w any better or does it exhibit the same traits? I’m pleased to say that there is a lot less colour fringing (there is still some). The harsh fall off (particularly in the spot position) is fairly similar to that of the Boltzen 30w and 55w versions.
Direct competition comes in the form of lights such as the Ledgo LG-D1200 120W LED Fresnel Studio Light (£766.00 (exc VAT)) and the Aputure LS C120d ($714 USD).
It has to be said that the CAME-TV offers very good value for money. The Boltzen 100w Fresnel Daylight LED retails for $498US. For that you get the 100w Fresnel fixture, a soft carry bag, a 1.8m D-tap cable, a power supply, and a filter set that includes soft, milky-white and CTO filters. The included bag is very cheaply made and unfortunately, it only fits the light in once you remove the mounting yoke. This is an oversight as nobody will want to take their light apart just to put it into the bag.
Optional extras include a Bowens accessory mount adapter ($28US) that allows you to mount a wide array of cheaper photographic softboxes and other light modifiers. There is also a V-mount battery plate option with light stand clamp ($58US) and a V-Mount Li-Ion Battery 130Wh (F130W) $198US. The Boltzen WiFi Controller (BZ-WIFI) is $58US.
The CAME-TV Boltzen 100w Fresnel Focusable LED Daylight offers a lot of value for money and the colour rendering performance is pretty good. The output is nice for a light of this size and the included CTO filter lets you use the light as a tungsten source with fairly accurate colour rendering, albeit with some loss of output. Yes, it has a harsh fall off and some colour fringing, but that is expected when using an acrylic Fresnel lens.
The light doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, but it certainly gets the job done. For shooters looking for an affordable mid-sized LED Fresnel, the CAME-TV Bolzen 100w is pretty hard to beat given most of its competition costs considerably more.