ARRI announced its Fresnel lens for the Orbiter just prior to Cinegear 2022. The Fresnel has a large zoom range of 15-65° and it joined a large array of available Orbiter optics.
You can see our first look at the Orbiter Fresnel from Cinegear 2022 above.
If you want to know a lot more about the Orbiter itself, you can see my very extensive review here.
- Attaches to Any Orbiter Color Version
- Large Motorized Zoom Range of 15-65°
- Delivers True Fresnel Output
- Precise Light Spot, Soft Single Shadow
- Local or Remote Zoom Control
- LED Display for Status of Zoom Angle
- Compact and Lightweight
- Effortless and Secure QLM Mounting
- Allows Optional Barndoors
- Accepts Additional Physical Gels
The Orbiter Fresnel Lens can create a precise light spot with a soft single shadow, and it delivers a true Fresnel output with a real Gaussian field of light. ARRI states that the output of Orbiter with Fresnel lens is comparable to the ARRI L-Series L10 and True Blue ST2/3 with 2000 W Tungsten bulb.
The build quality of ARRI products is always very good. ARRI lighting fixtures are extremely popular in rental houses across the globe, and some of the primary reasons for that are long-term reliability and durability.
The Orbiter Fresnel is made out of some type of composite material, and this is probably due to the fact that they needed to keep the weight down.
The material the Orbiter Fresnel’s outer casing is made out of is not particularly pretty or aesthetically pleasing. While it is certainly robust and strong it does scratch up and mark easily.
The Fresnel attaches securely to the front of the Orbiter without any issues.
The spot/zoom Fresnel adjustment dial on the side is reasonably tactile and easy to use.
Size & weight
Good Fresnels require a large aperture and a wide zoom range. Despite its large aperture, the Orbiter Fresnel lens housing is reasonably compact (approx. 340 mm x 380 mm x 370 mm / 13.4 in x 15 in x 14.6 in) and it weighs 4.5 kg / 9.5 lb. You do need to factor in the weight of the Orbiter which is an additional 11.7 kg / 25.79 lb (15 kg / 33.06 lb with yoke frame).
I was actually surprised at how light the Orbiter Fresnel actually is considering its size. In saying that, by the time you attach it to an Orbiter, you end up with a very heavy set-up, especially for a light with this power draw.
The total weight of the Orbiter and yoke frame with the Fresnel attached is a whopping 19.5kg / 42.99 lb.
Apart from the weight, the other caveat when using the Orbiter is that it does physically take up a lot of space in a bag or case and all of the extra additional optical attachments need to go in additional cases. This does mean that the footprint for everything you require is quite large. You need to carefully consider and factor this in before you purchase an Orbiter and/or accessories.
Size of the Fresnel
The lens diameter of the Orbiter Fresnel is 285 mm (11.2″) which is the same as that of the ARRI True Blue ST2/3 and T5.
Fresnel spot & zoom range
Good Fresnels also tend to have a good operating range from flood to spot. The ARRI Orbiter Fresnel has a range of 15° to 65°.
How does this range compare to some other detachable Fresnels that are available:
|ARRI Orbiter Fresnel Lens (15-65°)||15° to 65°|
|Prolycht Orion 300 FS 2x Fresnel Lens Kit||15° to 30°|
|Prolycht Orion 675 FS Fresnel Lens||15° to 50°|
|Aputure Fresnel 2X Attachment||12° to 40°|
|Aputure F10 Fresnel Attachment for LS 600d||15° to 45°|
|Nanlite Fresnel Lens for Forza 300 and 500||10° to 45°|
|Godox FLS8 Fresnel Lens||Not Listed|
|CAME-TV Adjustable Fresnel Lens Adapter |
with Bowens Mount
|12° to 40°|
What is interesting is that the large zoom range of 15 to 65° is fully motorized and can be precisely positioned while being controlled locally via Orbiter’s Control Panel or remotely by DMX/RDM or IP based (ArtNet or sACN). As far as I am aware, I don’t know of any other fresnels like this that are motorized.
On the back of the Fresnel, you will see the electronic connection pins on the QLM mount.
These line up with the ones on the Orbitor and this is what allows for communication and power. I will talk more about the QLM mount further down in this review.
This is the type of innovation I like to see when it comes to lighting. Coming up with useful products and different ways of controlling and adjusting them instead of just copying what someone else has done.
The Fresnel also has a LED display that tells you the exact beam angle that has been set.
While this is handy indoors, outdoors it can be more difficult to see depending on the ambient lighting conditions. ARRI does give you the ability to set the brightness through the menu in the Orbiter Control
As the Fresnel is equipped with a display, status LED, and a high-resolution encoder, it is able to offer information that is easily accessible. The display backlight can be adjusted, and status information and zoom angle are available via the metadata for maintenance and postproduction needs.
If you want to use the Orbitor’s control panel to adjust the Fresnel, you need to long push on the CCT button to bring up the Zoom/Focus page.
Once that page has been brought up, you will see the exact position of the Fresnel.
You then use the control dial to make adjustments. Unlike the display on the Fresnel, the Orbiter’s control panel will show you more finite adjustment detail.
In fact, if you go to the maximum flood and spot settings it actually shows you that the exact range is 15.2° to 65.4°.
The physical size of the Fresnel doesn’t change when you make adjustments. Everything moves internally so it doesn’t extend and become bigger like most other removable Fresnels.
The other nice aspect of the design of the Orbiter and the Fresnel is that the operating range when it is mounted on the yoke frame is very good.
Good things come to those who wait
When the Orbiter was first announced it didn’t look like any lighting fixture we had seen before. Not only did it feature a very unique design, but it also featured a lot of unique innovations. In a lot of ways, the Orbiter could be considered the Swiss (German) Army Knife of lighting. Since that time, we have seen quite a few lighting companies take inspiration from the Orbiter and incorporate similar features and functionality into some of their lights. This is very obvious and clear to see.
At the heart of the Obiter is ARRI’s Spectra six-color wide gamut light engine, as well as the Lighting Operating System (LiOS) with employs powerful software features. There is an integrated color sensor for matching ambient light, a weatherproof housing, and a removable, intuitive control panel. There is also a full suite of connectors and sensors, an internal power supply, wireless DMX, and battery input. The Orbiter is a marriage of both software and hardware.
The Orbiter produces white or colored light with adjustable color temperature and adjustable green-magenta point. According to ARRI, the light spectrum has been optimized for excellent color reproduction and perfect interaction with digital cameras.
According to ARRI, the concept behind the Orbiter was to utilize state-of-the-art technology and combine it with a versatile design to make it an optimal lamp head that will not only work well today but also well into the future.
At the time the Orbiter was announced there were a lot of unknowns as to what accessories and updates would be coming down the line. As we have seen over the past few years, the fixture has received quite a few firmware updates and ARRI has also introduced countless new optical accessories, including the Fresnel.
The idea behind the changeable optics is so that Orbiter can transform into a variety of different lights without sacrificing beam, output, or color quality. The Quick Lighting Mount (QLM) used on Orbiter allows for optics with vastly different properties to be attached to the fixture.
The high-output, directional beam of the open face optic can be used for throwing light long distances. The high precision of the projection optics means that Obiter can create a perfect circle of light that can be shaped with cutters, focus, and gobos. The dome optic provides omnidirectional, soft light, which is nice for lighting up large spaces. The universal QLM adapter creates a direct mounting point for Orbiter-specific Chimera and DoPchoice products.
Gone are the days where a light was just a light. If you look at the classic ARRI 650, it is a pretty basic feature, however, a lot of today’s modern lights are now a seamless blend of hardware and software. This is especially true with the Orbiter. It is a marriage of both software and hardware. This is something we are going to be seeing a lot more of going forward. The key to longevity is to make a product that can be updated over time. Lighting technology is improving at a rapid rate and nobody wants to buy a fixture that will be obsolete in a few years.
The way ARRI designed the Orbiter is quite smart. As it relies so much on software, the fixture can be continually enhanced and improved through software updates. ARRI is well aware that people tend to use its products for many, many years, and the key to market adoption is to make something that not only works today but also well into the future.
If you are going to make a big investment in a lighting fixture, you want that lighting fixture to have a long shelf life. This is especially true for rental houses.
Quick Lighting Mount (QLM)
ARRI’s Quick Lighting Mount (QLM) is a bayonet-style connection similar to a camera lens mount. In a lot of ways, it is similar to a gigantic Canon EF mount.
Above you can see how easy it is to put optics on the Orbiter using the QLM mount.
You can use this mount to attach a wide array of optional optics such as the Fresnel, 15, 30, and 60° reflectors, light banks, barn doors, honeycombs, and other light-shaping accessories that have the appropriate adapter.
Unlike Bowens-S mounts that wobble around and don’t actually lock in solidly to anything, the ARRI QLM mount is rock solid.
The Orbiter also has a sensor that integrates with whatever optical attachment you place in front of the light. This lets the Orbiter know exactly what is being attached. Even if you put a softbox on the Orbiter, it knows which one you have attached. The interface port can also act as a power supply for an optical accessory when required.
The Orbiter Fresnel takes full advantage of the QLM mount as it can not only be powered but also electronically controlled because of the handshake that takes place.
You can’t use the Orbiter without an optic attached. If you try and turn the light on without having an optic or softbox with the correct mount attached you will get a warning on the control panel that says: Optics Recognition Failed.
Having a proprietary mount comes with its own caveats. Whereas mounts such as the Bowens-S allow you to use a wide array of affordable lighting modifiers, the ARRI QLM limits the selection of attachments. It will be interesting to see if other third-party companies start making optical accessories for this mount because we haven’t seen anyone do this since the Orbiter was announced.
The downside of a system that utilizes interchangeable optics is that you have to carry around a lot of extra accessories. Unlike a Swiss Army Knife where everything folds into the unit, the German Army Knife of lighting is going to take up a lot of space once you start adding optics and lighting modifiers.
ARRI accessories like the 4 and 8-leaf barndoors can be added to the Orbiter Fresnel lens to enable a perfect cut. It would have been nice to have seen ARRI include the barndoors with the Orbiter Fresnel.
Physical gels can also be used in addition to the more than 300 already pre-programmed gels available for Orbiter.
So now let’s get to the photometric results. I always test lights in this way so that I get a reference to how they compare to other fixtures. Results only tell part of the story and should never be used alone to judge a light. I have found from extensive testing over the years that certain lights that have good photometric results don’t always look good, and lights that have worse photometric scores can sometimes look better than their results indicate.
Different lights can also look different depending on what camera you happen to be using.
I can give you comparisons between the output and CCT accuracy, etc. when the Orbiter is being used with and without its Fresnel.
Now, I pre-warn you that there is a lot of data listed below.
Output & Color Temperature Accuracy
I tested the ARRI Orbiter with and without the Fresnel at a variety of CCT settings with a Sekonic C-800 Spectrometer to find out how much output the light had and how accurate the CCT reproduction was. All readings are taken at a distance of 1m (3.28ft) in a controlled environment.
The Orbiter has a decent amount of output, but it isn’t going to have the same amount of output as something like a K 5600 Lighting Joker2 800W. The output is arguably going to be closer to a K 5600 Lighting Joker2 400W. The trouble is comparing HMI fixtures to something like an Orbiter is a slippery slope. They are totally different types of fixtures.
So let’s see my independent testing results. All my readings were taken from the edge of the Optics. I have included results for three of the available optics as well as the Fresnel. ARRI’s quoted figures may have been measured from the actual lighting element and not the edge of the optics.
Orbiter Fresnel 15°
5600K (15° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the Orbiter when used with its Fresnel set at 15° recorded an output of 56400 lx (5240 fc). This is a decent amount of output for a fixture that draws 500W. All these measurements were taken with the light set in its exponential dimming mode.
The light recorded a CCT reading of 5626K which was an excellent result.
5600K (15° / High Output mode)
Above you can see the Orbiter when used with its Fresnel set at 15° in its High Output mode recorded an output of 61,600 lx (5720 fc). This was 9.2% more than its output when used in its High CRI mode.
The light recorded a CCT reading of 5664K which was a good result.
These results show me that you gain around 10% more output, but the caveat is that you get a slightly less accurate CCT reading.
Ok, so how does this compare against the Orbiter using its 15° Optic? Well, let’s find out:
|Fresnel 15° (High CRI mode)||56,400 lx||5626K|
|15° Optic (High CRI mode)||85,400 lx||5863K|
|Fresnel 15° (High Output mode)||61,600 lx||5664K|
|15° Optic (High Output mode)||98,300 lx||5850K|
What these results tell me is that the Fresnel when used at 15° has a lot less output than the 15° Optic, however, the CCT performance is a lot better when using the Fresnel.
3200K (15° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 3200K with the 30° Optic and set to the High CRI mode. It produced 43,700 lx (4060 fc), which is 22.5% less than the 56,400 lx it produced at 5600K.
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded an extremely accurate reading of 3186K.
3200K (15° / High Output mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 3200K in the High Output mode. It produced 46,400 lx (4310 fc), which is 6.17% less than it produced in the High CRI mode.
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded an extremely accurate reading of 3192K.
Ok, so how does this compare against the Orbiter using its 15° Optic? Well, let’s find out:
|Fresnel 15° (High CRI mode)||43,700 lx||3186K|
|15° Optic (High CRI mode)||72,900 lx||3286K|
What these results tell me is that the Fresnel when used at 15° has a lot less output than the 15° Optic, however, the CCT performance is marginally better when using the Fresnel. The 15° Optic had 66.8% more output than the Fresnel.
ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 30°
5600K (30° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the Orbiter and Fresnel when set at 30° recorded an output of 25,800 lx (2400 fc)
The light recorded a CCT reading of 5615K which was excellent.
Ok, so how does this compare against the Orbiter using its 30° Optic? Well, let’s find out:
|Fresnel 30° (High CRI mode)||25,800 lx||5615K|
|30° Optic (High CRI mode)||47,600 lx||5618K|
What these results tell me is that the Fresnel when used at 15° has a lot less output than the 15° Optic, and the CCT performance is almost identical. The 30° Optic had 84.49% more output than the Fresnel.
3200K (30° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 3200K with the Fresnel at 30° was 20,000 lx (1850 fc), which is 22.48% less than the 25,800 lx it produced at 5600K.
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded an extremely accurate reading of 3178K.
Ok, so how does this compare against the Orbiter using its 30° Optic? Well, let’s find out:
|Fresnel 30° (High CRI mode)||20,000 lx||3178K|
|30° Optic (High CRI mode)||40,400 lx||3215K|
What these results tell me is that the Fresnel when used at 30° has a lot less output than the 15° Optic. The CCT readings were reasonably similar for both. The 15° Optic had 102% more output than the Fresnel.
ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 60°
5600K (60° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 5600K with the Fresnel at 60° produced 8170 lx (759 fc).
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded a reading of 5510K. This tells me that Fresnel when used at 60° is slightly affecting the CCT accuracy, but only very marginally.
Ok, so how does this compare against the Orbiter using its 60° Optic? Well, let’s find out:
|Fresnel 60° (High CRI mode)||8170 lx||5510K|
|60° Optic (High CRI mode)||16,100 lx||5800K|
What these results tell me is that the Fresnel when used at 60° has a lot less output than the 60° Optic, however, the CCT reading was far more accurate when using the Fresnel. The 60° Optic had 97.06% more output than the Fresnel.
3200K (60° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 3200K with the Fresnel at 60° produced 6270 lx (582 fc), which is 22.25% less than what it produced at 5600K.
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded a good reading of 3125K.
Ok, so how does this compare against the Orbiter using its 60° Optic? Well, let’s find out:
|Fresnel 60° (High CRI mode)||6270 lx||3125K|
|60° Optic (High CRI mode)||14,300 lx||3199K|
What these results tell me is that the Fresnel when used at 60° has a lot less output than the 60° Optic. The optic also had an almost perfect CCT reading. The 60° Optic had 128% more output than the Fresnel.
ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 50°
5600K (50° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 5600K with the Fresnel at 50° was 11,900 lx (1100 fc).
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded a reading of 5554K.
3200K (50° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 5600K with the Fresnel at 50° was 9,060 lx (841 fc).
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded a reading of 3157K.
ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 65°
5600K (65° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 5600K with the Fresnel set at 65° in the High CRI mode was 6,430 lx (597 fc).
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded a reading of 5497K.
3200K (65° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see the light’s output when it was set at 3200K with the Fresnel set at 65° in the High CRI mode was 4,940 lx (459 fc).
As far as CCT accuracy goes, it recorded a reading of 3119K.
Summary of output from 15° to 65°
If you weren’t interested in seeing all of the individial results, below is atabulation of the output and CCT perfromance when using the Fresnel at various degree settings at 5600K.
As you can se the CCT does change the weider the beam spread is. However, in saying that, it only varied by 129K.
How does it perform at various CCT Settings?
Summary of results (ARRI Orbiter Frenel 15° / High CRI mode)
These results show me that the Orbiter and Fresnel’s output is fairly consistent at CCT values above 4500K, and that it has the most output when used at 4500K. The output across the 4500K to 10000K range only varies by 13.5%. It was interesting to see that the light doesn’t have as much output once you start getting to around 3500K and below.
The results also show me that the light is highly accurate when it comes to CCT accuracy throughout its range. It doesn’t matter what CCT setting you choose you run, the Orbiter is very good throughout its entire range. The light was no more than 41K off being perfect at all of its CCT settings that I was able to measure.
These results show me that the lights output is fairly consistent at most CCT settings above 4500K, and that it has the most output when used at 4500K. The output across the 4500K to 10000K range only varies by 11.9%. It was interesting to see that the light doesn’t have as much output once you start getting to around 3500K and below.
The results also show me that the light is highly accurate when it comes to CCT reproduction throughout its range. It doesn’t matter what CCT setting you run, the Orbiter is very good throughout its entire range. The light was no more than 32K off being perfect at almost all of its CCT settings that I was able to measure. Only at 8000K was it not as accurate.
The consistency of the Orbiter when using the Fresnel is very impressive.
What about if you start dimming the light down?
Nobody uses a light at 100% output every time they turn it on. It is important to test the CCT accuracy of a light when it is used at reduced outputs.
I tested the Orbiter at 5600K with the Fresnel set at 15° in the High CRI mode at a variety of outputs. These tests were conducted with the light’s dimming mode set to Linear. Below are the results I got:
At 75% the light at 25.6$ less output than when it was used at 100%. At 50% output it had 50.68% less output than when it was used at 100%. At 25% output it had 75.6% less output than when used at 100%. These results show me that the Orbiter’s linear dimming curve is almost perfect. This is one of the best performances I have seen from any light.
The light’s CCT accuracy barely changes at all when the Orbiter’s output is dimmed down. It only varied by 38K from 100% to 10%. That is extremely impressive.
How does this output compare to some other fixtures with Fresnel attachments we have reviewed?
|ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 5600K 15° (High CRI mode)||56,400 lx||5626K|
|Maxima 3 Fresnel 5600K 15° (Regular mode)||50,800 lx||5623K|
|Prolycht Orion 300 FS 2x Fresnel (Full Spot)||99,700 lx||5509K|
|Aputure LS 300d Fresnel 12°||44,400 lx||5129K|
As far as output and CCT accuracy are concerned, the Orbiter and its Fresnel are pretty compatible with the much smaller Maxima 3 in terms of output and CCT accuracy. Out of all these lights we have reviewed, the Prolycht Orion 300 FS 2x Fresnel (Full Spot) had by far the most output.
Now, that we have seen the CCT performance and output figures for the Orbiter and Fresnel, let’s move on to color rendering.
ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 5600K (15° / High CRI mode)
So now that we have seen how much output the Orbiter produces, how does it perform when it comes to replicating accurate color? Above you can see that when the light was set at 5600K using the Fresnel at 15° in the High CRI mode it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 98.3 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 97.28. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded for R9 84.3 (red), 98.9 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 96.8 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). Only R9 was below 90.
These are excellent results. In fact, the extended CRI of 97.28 is one of the highest figures I have ever seen from any LED fixture being used at 5600K. What is quite remarkable is that ARRI is blending 6 different colors together to create white light. Getting that mix just right isn’t an easy task.
The light, when set at 5600K, recorded a TLCI score of 97.
ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 3200K (15° / High CRI mode)
Above you can see that when the light was set at 3200K using the Fresnel at 15° in the High CRI mode it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 97.7 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 96.66. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded for R9 79.8 (red), 99.8 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 96.5 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). Only R9 was below 90.
These are excellent results. In fact, the extended CRI of 96.66 is one of the highest figures I have ever seen from any LED fixture being used at 3200K.
The light, when set at 3200K, recorded a TLCI score of 95.
How do these scores compare to some other fixtures with Fresnel attachments we have reviewed?
|ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 5600K 15° (High CRI mode)||97.28|
|Maxima 3 Fresnel 5600K 15° (Regular mode)||98.02|
|Prolycht Orion 300 FS 2x Fresnel (Full Spot)||96.06|
|Aputure LS 300d Fresnel 12°||89|
As far as extended CRI scores are concerned, the Orbiter and its Fresnel are pretty comparable to the much smaller daylight Maxima 3 and the Prolycht Orion 300 FS with its 2x Fresnel.
ARRI Orbitor Fresnel 5600K (15° / High Output mode)
I was interested to see if the color rendering scores were that much different when setting the Orbiter in the High Output mode.
Above you can see the scores for when the light was used at 3200K with the soft box. It recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 96.6 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 96.52. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded 98 for R9 (red), 97.4 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 98.6 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones).
These results were not quite as good as when using the light in the High CRI mode, however, they are still very good results.
CC Index & ⊿uv
The CC Index displays the CC correction value and whether any magenta or green need to be added or subtracted. 1 CC corresponds to 035 Kodak CC values or 1/8 Rosco filter values. Any reading less than +1.00 or -1.00 and you’re probably not going to need to make any kind of adjustment. The ⊿uv is the value to show how much this light is away from being an ideal light source (black body radiation = incandescent lamp). As with the CC Index you want this number to theoretically be zero. Kelvin is not a linear value, so we need to convert from Kelvin to MK-1 to compare the values of color temperature. To calculate from Kelvin to Mired is MK-1= 1*1000000/Kelvin. While this may sound confusing, it is the only way of measuring if the Kelvin shift is significant enough to warrant having to use a filter for correction. Below are the results for the ARRI Orbiter when using the Fresnel at 15° / High CRI mode.
Kelvin Vs MK-1
|Kelvin||Difference in K||MK-1||Difference in|
|ACTUAL READING||2469K||31||405.02||-5.02 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||3186K||14||313.87||-1.37 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||4492K||8||222.61||-0.39 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||5626K||26||177.74||-0.58 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||6515K||15||153.49||0.83 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||8024K||24||124.62||0.38 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||10077K||77||99.23||0.77 MK-1|
These figures might look confusing, but what it tells me is that the light has extremely accurate CCT readings at all settings. Any MK-1 score that is under -9/9 means you wouldn’t have to use any color correction gels. The MK-1 scores for this light were exceptionally good. At 4500K up to 10000K, the Orbiter when used with its Fresnel has close to perfect Kelvin Vs MK-1 scores. These are the most consistent and best Kelvin Vs MK-1 scores I have ever seen for an RGBW style fixture.
CC INDEX & ⊿uv
The CC INDEX & ⊿uv scores were reasonably good, but I have seen better results from other fixtures.
TM-30 is a relatively new color rendering standard that was developed to deal with the limitations of CRI. TM-30 looks at 99 individual colors. These 99 colors are categorized into seven groups: nature, skin color, textiles, paints, plastics, printed material, and color systems.
TM-30 scores go from 0 – 100. The higher the score, the more accurate a light is at producing colors. Any TM-30 Rf score in the ’90s is considered to be good. What is interesting and something that you need to be very aware of is that two separate light sources with the exact same CRI scores can render colors very differently. A light with a high CRI rating could have a low TM-30 score. Conversely, a light with a good TM-30 score could have a bad CRI score.
Now, there are two measurements associated with TM-30, Rf and Rg.
Rf (Color Fidelity)
Rg (Color Gamut)
With Rf value, ideally, you want a score in the 90’s.
With Rg value, a score below 100 indicates that the light source renders colors with less saturation than the reference source. So ideally you want this score to be 100.
ARRI Orbiter Fesnel 15° / High CRI mode
Above you can see the scores for the ARRI Orbitor and its Fresnel at various CCT settings. Below I have listed the figures as well.
The TM-30 scores are excellent and the light is very consistent at replicating accurate colors with full saturation at all CCT settings.
SSI (Spectral Similarity Index) was developed by the Sci-Tech Council of the Academy. SSI gives me the ability to set any light as a standard, or use predefined standards (such as CIE D55), and then give other lights an SSI score based upon how well they will match standards such as CIE D55. This way I can measure spectral response and compare it directly against an ideal light source. This is actually a much better test than recording CRI scores.
In this graph, the red bars indicate a perfect Planck 3200K source. The gold bars indicate a perfect 3200K Tungsten source. This lets us compare how close to a perfect 3200K lighting source the Orbiter with its Fresnel is. Any SSI score in the high 70’s, low ’80s is very good for a 3200K LED light. The Orbiter scored in the mid 80’s which is one of the highest I have seen from any LED light used at 3200K. Only the ZOLAR Vega 30C has scored higher. As you can see, LED lights have a hard time replicating colors below about 450nm.
In the graph above the gold bars indicate a perfect CIE D55 source. The red bars indicate a perfect CIE D 5600K source. This lets us compare how close to a perfect 5600K lighting source the Orbiter and Fresnel are. A score in the low 70’s is typical for a 5600K LED source. A score in the mid to high 70’s is very good.
The main reason we want to record SSI scores is so we can see how well they match with other lights. As an example, I wanted to see how well the Orbiter and its Fresnel matched the Orbiter with its 15-degree optic and the Prolychy Orion 675 FS using its 55-degree reflector. Below you can see the results.
As you can see the Orbiter with its 15-degree optic was almost a perfect match, although this is what I would expect to see. When compared to the Prolycht it wasn’t a perfect match, but a score of 87 is still ok. You could tweak the lights to get a closer match.
Just for another comparison, let’s compare the Orbiter and its Fresnel against two different fixtures. In this example let’s pick the Maxima 3 with its Fresnel set at 15 degrees, and the Z CAM Zolar Vega 30C. As you can see, the Zolar Vega 30C isn’t a close match to the Orbitor, and while the Maxima 3 isn’t either, it is slightly closer.
As another test, I thought I would compare the Orbitor with its 15-degree optic and the Prolycht Orion 675 FS with its Fresnel against the Orbitor and its Fresnel when all of the lights were set at 3200K. Below you can see the results.
As you would expect, the Orbitor was almost a perfect match against itself when using the 15-degree optic. The Prolycht and its fresnel were a pretty close match. Very few lights from different manufacturers are ever going to be an exact match.
SSI tests are a great way of telling you what lights you own or use will work well together.
Above you can see the spectral distribution of the Orbiter when it is set at 5600K using its Fresnel. The spectral distribution is very full, but you can see a green spike.
Above you can see the spectral distribution of the Orbiter with its fresnel when it is set at 3200K. The spectral distribution is very full, but it has a very slight push toward green. With +/- Green adjustment you could easily correct this.
Real-World Performance & Quality of Light
As I always say, photometric scores only tell you part of the story. So let’s find out if the scores from the Orbiter and its Fresnel translate into good real-world performance.
The quality of the light that is coming from the Orbiter is really nice, but like any fixture, how you use it is more important than what it can do.
Above you can see a collection of quick frames I took showing what the Orbiter and Fresnel look like at various settings. I have taken shots with the same exposure with the light on and off so you can what it is doing.
Above are some more examples of the light being used.
The Orbiter Fresnel does a fantastic job and at least in my opinion, it produces better results than any other similar removable Fresnel that is currently on the market. ARRI has been doing lighting for a very, very long time so it is no surprise that they know what they are doing, especially when it comes to Fresnels.
Above you can see three shots at 15°, 30°, and 65°. I have kept the exposure the same for 15°, so you can see the differences in intensity. These were done with the Orbiter set at 5600k at a distance of 3m from the wall.
When you use the Fresnel at 15° you don’t get any big hot spots and you don’t get any color fringing.
Even if I stop the lens way down you can see there isn’t any color fringing or giant hot spots.
The shadows it creates at 15° are nice and sharp and defined.
Now, if we look at the Orbiter with the 15° optic attached, we will see a hot spot and there is also some slight color fringing on the edges.
If you use the optional barn doors with the 15° optic attached and you try and close them up too much you do end up getting a strange pattern where you can see the individual LED colors on the edges. This is a little hard to see in the above photo.
I didn’t get to try out the ARRI Orbiter Fresnel barndoors because they weren’t available at the time of this review.
ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 15° fall off measurements
|DISTANCE FROM CENTER||OUTPUT|
|15cm from center||10,800 lx|
|30cm from center||8,040 lx|
|60cm from center||3,160 lx|
Above you can see measurements I took at a distance of 3m using the Fresnel at 15°. Here I wanted to see how linear the fall-off was as you move out from the center of the beam. As you can see from the data, the fall-off is quite gentle from the center out to around 15cm. From 15cm out it starts to fall off nicely.
ARRI Orbiter Fresnel 30° fall off measurements
Above you can see what the Fresnel looks like when set at 15° at a distance of 3m.
|DISTANCE FROM CENTER||OUTPUT|
|25cm from center||4,060 lx|
|50cm from center||3,310 lx|
|75cm from center||2,620 lx|
|1m from center||1,750 lx|
Above you can see measurements I took at a distance of 3m using the Fresnel at 30°. Here I wanted to see how linear the fall-off was as you move out from the center of the beam. As you can see from the data, the fall-off is nice and gentle from the center out to 1m.
Who is the Orbiter aimed at and where does it fit in the market?
You could use the Orbiter for lots of different applications, but the light is certainly being targeted as a versatile, high-output, high-quality lighting fixture for professional use in the TV and film industry.
If you are an owner-operator who is looking for a jack-of-all-trades lighting solution, would the Orbiter be something you should look at? I’m not so sure. Its size, weight, and footprint once you start adding optical attachments don’t make it overly suitable for anyone who is traveling a lot. This really is a fixture that is probably going to appeal to rental houses and gaffers more than anyone else. In saying that, there is no reason why certain owner/operators wouldn’t be interested in this fixture.
I keep asking myself where does the Orbiter actually fit in? In some respects, the Orbiter is a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. But you know what? I actually like that it is different. While there is no doubt that it does a lot of things well, you could argue that it is a bit of an in-between light. It could also be argued that it is somewhere between a K 5600 Joker2 400 and an 800 when it comes to output. It isn’t the brightest of lights, it isn’t the lightest of lights, but it does offer a lot of features and functionality that other fixtures don’t have. In saying that, we have seen quite a few lights come to market that have taken some creative liberties from the Orbitor’s design and feature set.
Whenever something new comes out there are always going to be questions asked such as, “Why do I need that?” and “Does this do anything that can’t already be done with something that I already own?” When the SkyPanel lights first came out a lot of people were asking, why would I need RGB capabilities, I just want good white light. Well, look at what happened. Every lighting company started making RGB panel lights and the technology got adapted very quickly. The SkyPanel was and still is a very popular light that has been universally adopted in the industry. I think we will see the same thing happen with the Orbiter.
Any potential buyer of an Orbiter has to way up the cost, size, weight, and feature set against fixtures they may already own.
Some people are bound to harp on about the output of the light and how it compares to HMI fixtures, but you know what, I don’t think you can compare this light to an HMI. Traditional HMI fixtures are completely different from modern-day LED lights and making comparisons between the two can just end up being confusing.
The great aspect of the Orbiter is that it has the ability to be a hard light source, a soft source, a fresnel, a gobo, or just about anything else you want it to be. With its ability to be updated through software and its feature set it is arguably a lot more versatile than a traditional HMI. No one light is going to be the right tool for every job.
Price & Availability
The ARRI Orbiter Fresnel Lens (15-65°) retails for $1,600 USD. The most basic ARRI Orbiter LED Light without Lens, Yoke, and Cable costs $6,300 USD.
Below you can see how the price of the Orbiter Fresnel compares to some of the other available COB style removable Fresnels that are available:
What you clearly need to factor in is that a lot of these Fresnels are a lot smaller and they don’t have the range of the Orbiter Fresnel. To work well Fresnels need to be a certain size and you can’t cheat and make something a lot smaller and expect it to perform as well. Fresnels also need to be tailored specifically to the characteristics of a light. You can’t just put any old Fresnel on a fixture because it fits and hope that it will work well because in most cases, it won’t.
The entry cost for an ARRI Orbiter and the Fresnel lens certainly isn’t cheap and that is something you definitely need to weigh up if you a considering it. Competition in the lighting space is at an all-time high and there are so many options now available.
For example, you could buy two Maxima 3 fixtures and still have $1,000 USD in your pocket compared to the price of a single Orbiter and its Fresnel. You could also buy three Prolycht Orion 300 FS kits and three Fresnels and still have money left over.
This is why the Orbiter, despite being a very good light, faces so much competition from much more affordable fixtures.
The Orbiter is a very impressive fixture. It is exceptionally color accurate, versatile, built like a tank, and it features a ton of innovation. If you own one then the Fresnel is probably something you would buy. It provides more flexibility and better CCT accuracy than carrying around a whole bunch of additional optics, however, it won’t provide you with the same amount of output.
While the Orbiter optics will create a lot more output, they do have some color fringing and they won’t provide the same clean look as you can obtain with the Fresnel.
The Fresnel provides excellent results and the motorized control is a really nice innovation. While some people may see it as a gimmick it has a lot of real-world use. If the fixture is up high and out of the reach of an operator, you can control and adjust the Fresnel. The other benefit is that you can dial in the exact amount of degrees you need. On most other removable fresnels the marking can be quite vague.
The only real downside to the Fresnel is probably its physical size and the difficulties some users may face with transporting it. You could also argue that you can buy more affordable lights and Fresnels that have more output and are significantly smaller and lighter.
Yes, the Fresnel is reasonably expensive, but it is going to be something you could perceivably use for many, many years.
The Orbiter is not a light for everyone and it is aimed at a specific audience. The same person looking at an Orbiter is not going to be the same person looking at a lower-cost COB-style light or even some HMI fixtures. In some ways, the Orbiter could be viewed as a light that you could use instead of carrying around both a SkyPanel and an M8. While not a direct replacement for either of those two lights, it does give you a lot of the benefits of both of those fixtures in a single unit. It is this versatility that is likely to appeal to potential buyers.
The ARRI Orbiter Fresnel is a really nice product that provides excellent results.