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Review: Aputure Daylight LS 60d and Bi-Color LS 60x Lights

Light Storm 60 with barn door

While high output lights are my preference for their versatility, having a smaller form factor Fresnel with good output plus a battery option is a light most of us would like to have in our kit. The Aputure LS 60 line fits into that smaller and punchy category and yes it has Fresnel-type aspherical optics, including barn doors and more. Let’s dive in, shall we?

LS 60d/x specifications

  • LS 60x bicolor range 2700-6500k
  • LS 60d 5500k
  • 15°~45° Adjustable Spot/Flood Beam Angle
  • Aspherical Optics
  • IP54 Weatherproof (Dust and Water Resistant)
  • Use One NP-F Battery for Half Power; Two for Full Power
  • 0-100% Adjustable Brightness
  • Compatible with Bowens Mount Adapter and “Spotlight Mini Zoom” Projection Lens
  • Includes Barn Doors for Shaping Light
  • Includes Dual Sony NP-F Battery Plate
  • Supports Sidus Link Mobile App Control
  • 8 Built-in Lighting FX: Paparazzi, Fireworks, Lightning, Faulty Bulb, TV, Pulsing, Strobe, Explosion
  • 360° Tilting Yoke
  • V-Mount Receiver Built Into Yoke for Attaching AC Adapter, Dual NP-F Battery Plate, or V Mount Battery for Compact Operation
  • Includes 6m long power cable
  • Ultra-quiet 18dB cooling fan design
  • Aircraft-grade Aluminum Build Quality
  • Concealed Antenna for Durability
  • Power Output: 60w
  • Working temperature: -10~45°C
  • Power Specifications: AC 100~240V, 50/60Hz

Overview

What’s Included in 60d and 60x Kits

  • LS 60 Lamp Head
  • LS 60 8-Leaf Barndoors
  • Power Supply
  • AC IEC Power Cable1
  • Dual Sony NP-F Battery Plate Adapter for LS 60
  • D-Tap Power Cable (4-Pin)
  • Bowens Mount to LS 60 Adapter
  • Carrying Case

The kit includes a semisoft case that fits all the included accessories. The dividers are padded hook & loop fastener. This is nice as you can rearrange it if you have other things you want to include. Keep in mind. It doesn’t have a lot of extra room.

Light Storm 60 tight

The LS 60 Series has a different look to it. It’s more of a tube shape. The yoke has enough clearance so the light can face straight up. In the down position, it also has an excellent range. The yoke is firm with no flex.

Light Storm 60 2 scew yolk

The light post mount on the yoke uses two screws to prevent twisting. Overall it has an excellent build to it.

Light Storm 60 locking knob

The light has a single locking knob. It uses rosette style teeth to lock in place. This is great for heavy front modifiers as it won’t slip. One slight downside is the fixture has to set in the rosette stages, so if you want it at a specific tilt position, it might not be possible. This isn’t a deal-breaker, just something I noticed, and in practice, it probably won’t be an issue. I like that it locks so tightly.

LS 60d Specifications

The LS 60 light isn’t lightweight as it comes in at almost 4 lbs.; however, that should be expected due to its aluminum body build. There isn’t a lot of plastic for the critical parts.

IP54 Weatherproof

The fixture is IP54 Weatherproof, so it can handle some moisture but isn’t waterproof.

5 = Protected against quantity of dust that could interfere with the normal operation of the product but not fully dust-tight. Complete protection against solid objects.

4 = Protection assured against water splashing from any angle.

Keeping it Cool

The fixture is well ventilated and uses a small and very quiet fan to keep it cool. The fan does turn on when powered up, but it is not an issue. The all-metal housing helps dissipate heat, and it looks like the inside isn’t cramped with electronics giving the light more room for airflow.

Controls

All the controls for the LS 60 are on the back of the light. Dials are used on the back for changing brightness, accessing the menu, and changing the beam from spot to flood.

Light Storm 60 controls

To access the menu, a simple push of the menu brings up options. You then use the same Menu button to navigate the settings. Once you find a setting to change, push the button in again to access the submenu. The OK button is now used to make changes. It’s very straight forward.

Like many new Aputure lights, the LS 60 can be controlled with the Sidus link. The LS 60 has eight built-in lighting FX: Paparazzi, Fireworks, Lightning, Faulty Bulb, TV, Pulsing, Strobe, and Explosion. One thing missing is no small wireless controller is included like so many Aputure lights have.

Mounting Accessories

The front of the LS 60 is a little different as it has the more common barn door mounts instead of a Bowens Mount, but have no fear as it includes a Bowens Mount adapter that slides in. What would an Aputure light be without a Bowens Mount!

Aspherical Optics Design & Barn Doors

Light Storm 60 lens

To get an idea of the aspherical optics spread, I set up the 60d 1-meter from the lens’s front to the background and cranked it to 100.

The spread looks good. It’s bright in the center and tapers off to the edges. Smaller diameter fixtures with a COB must be harder to design due to how punchy they are. Since the LS 60 doesn’t use a reflector, the aspherical optics are doing the heavy lifting.

As for how it cuts, it also looks pretty good. The barn doors are somewhat compact, so they don’t close as much as needed to get a clean rectangle; however, they don’t bleed when they are in more of a square setting.

One feature I would have liked to have is a gel holder similar to what the Arri 650 has. Maybe it’s something Aputure could offer later as adding some color to the background would be nice with the control of a fresnel and barn doors.

Light Storm 60 acesory holder

The barn doors need to be in the first or forward slot so they can be used correctly. They are excellent. Nice heavy thick doors that feel like they will last and not bend easily. To assist in shaping the light, two of the doors have retractable sections when closed, you can get nice and tight. My only concern over time they could get loose, but the build looks pretty darn good, so this might not be the case.

Color and Output 60d

As I mentioned, the aspherical optic is a dome shape that changes the spread of the beam. This prevents the center from having a hotspot.
From 1-meter to the center of the beam, the LS 60d is 9350 LUX and fades to the edges.

The LS 60d CRI is very good. It’s great to see that most lights I have reviewed have excellent color rendition these days. I got an extended CRI of 95.34.
As for white balance accuracy, I got a reading of 5594K. It was only off by 94K.

Color and Output 60x Bi-Color

Set to 3200k

With the LS 60x set to 3200k, I got an extended CRI of 95.51 CRI.
At 3200K, I got a white balance reading of 3101K. The white balance was off by 99K.

Output 6470 LUX.

Set to 5500k

The output of the LS 60x at 5500k is less than the 60d. This isn’t a surprise as bi-color fixtures have to blend two colors to get the Kelvin temperature.
I set the LS 60x at 5500k to see if it would match the daylight 60d. The output at 5500k is 7050 LUX. This is 2300 LUX less than the 60d.
If you need the most output possible, the LS 60d might be the better choice. Personally, I would go for the more flexible LS 60x. Using CC gels will eat up output, so might as well use the fixtures bi-color option. It is somewhat a wash.

Like a lot of lights these days, the color is very good. With the LS 60x set to 5500k, I got an extended CRI of 95.72.
At 5500K, I got a reading of 5390K. The white balance was off by 110K.

Powering the LS 60 Series

One standout feature the 60 watt LS 60 has is an innovative powering option.

On the yoke side is a small V-Mount adapter that holds either an AC power brick or an included Dual Sony-NP-F Battery Plate or V-Mount battery with D-tap input. The kit includes the D-Tap cable. On the back LCD screen is a power left estimate that changes depending on the light’s output. With a fresh 155 watt 14.8v battery, you get approximately two hours on full power.

Light Storm 60 cable

On the back of the fixture is a cable with a twist locking connector. This is used to attach all the powering options on the LS 60.

A nice option is you can use one NP-F battery, and the LS 60 will work at half power.

While I prefer to have the power bricks built into the fixture, not doing so keeps the light more compact, however, having stuff attached to the side takes away the compactness of the LS 60.
The AC cable is fairly long and has a locking system to prevent the cable from accidentally being pulled out of the power brick.

Included Bowens Mount Adapter

The kit includes a Bowens adapter and barn doors. Both slid into the front accessory holder and held in place with a spring-loaded clip that you pull up and twist to the side. This is pretty much the old school barn door holders on all hot lights. The mount is solid, and when you add the Bowens mount in the back position, there is no light leak. The fixture easily holds the Light Dome Mini and new Light Dome SE but I think the Light Dome II is a little big for such a small fixture.

More Accessories Coming

Screen Shot 2021 01 21 at 3 01 06 PM
LS 60 Softbox

The LS 60 has a few new modifiers coming soon. You can already use various Bowens Mount softboxes, but Aputure is also releasing a dedicated LS 60 model that is a small square design to fit perfectly into the LS 60 Barn Doors Mount. This sounds interesting and I like the idea of a small softbox as opposed to the beauty dish type similar to the Light Dome Mini II.  

Another new accessory is the Spotlight Mini Zoom that is designed just for the LS 60. It’s much more compact. I can’t wait for that, as projecting patterns adds a nice touch to a background. Pricing hasn’t been set yet for the Spotlight Mini

Pros LS 60

  • Higher output due to dedicated color temperature
  • Includes Bowens Mount adapter and solid barn doors
  • Build quality is excellent
  • Sidus Link controllable
  • Fresnel gives traditional lighting advantages over open face COB
  • Good battery and AC powering options

Cons LS 60

  • Power brick or battery must be attached to the yolk. No wat to keep the head smaller
  • Ratcheting lockdown on the yolk doesn’t allow for exact placement
  • It doesn’t cut as well as a traditional hot light fresnel
  • No included wireless remote

Pros LS 60x

  • Bi-color options are great when you need to shoot in mixed lighting conditions
  • Mix and matching with different Kelvin fixtures
  • Matches the 60d at 5500k

Cons LS 60x

  • Bi-Color lowers the overall output
  • Cost a little more than the 60d
  • No included wireless remote

Other Options

Final Thoughts

LS dod and 60x in use
Shooting a reporter stand-up for my wife with 60d and 60x

I like these new LS 60d/x lights. The built-in aspherical optics are nice for quick setups as opposed to a lens you add to the front. While it’s not as good as an old-school Arri 650 type, it’s pretty darn good. Tungsten fixtures have the advantage of the mirror that helps spread the light out to cover the lens with light.
The included barn doors are well built, and the Bowens adapter will come in handy for softboxes.

At 60 watts, it’s not a powerhouse, but it’s perfect for hair and backlighting or adding an accent light to a scene. Small and punchy is a good thing to have in your kit. Back in the day, I would run and gun with a couple of Arri 650’s in a small Chimera softbox and Arri 150’s. They got the job done. Modern cameras outperform those ENG cameras I used in low light sensitivity, so super bright lights are not as necessary as it was and these LS 60 fixtures perform. They will work great in a softbox, and Aputure will have a new smaller square style softbox just for the LS 60 light.

The build quality is excellent, and the option to easily add a battery is the icing on the cake. The LS 60d is $369 US, and 60x is $419 US.  
The shipping date for the US market starts today and EU next week on the 28th of January.

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