The Z CAM ZOLAR Blade 60C is the latest addition to the ZOLAR range of LED fixtures. The ZOLAR Blade 60C is a 150-watt thin LED light designed to be used by itself, or in an array. It has six zones for pixel mapping applications. It was first shown at NAB earlier this year.
Please note that I was reviewing an early version of the light and since that time some issues have been addressed.
The ZOLAR professional LED lighting system was developed by Shenzhen ImagineVision Technology Limited, the same team that created Z CAM Cinema Cameras. ZOLAR products are claimed to have been developed with profound color science knowledge, leading image processing algorithms, as well as camera lens and sensor calibration expertise. They were made to deliver high-fidelity color reproduction and excellent color rendition with performances very close to natural daylight.
The in-house developed “Self Adaptive Spectral Nonlinear Dynamic Illuminance Calibration System” is claimed to eliminate the inconsistent LED performance issues. In addition, the ZOLAR light series has been designed so that you can match all of the lights in the series without any inconsistencies.
Last year Z CAM started to branch out into making LED lights when they unveiled their ZOLAR 1×1 panel lights that consisted of:
The Z CAM ZOLAR Toliman 30S, Toliman 30C and Vega 30C are all 1×1 panels. It was probably a wise decision for Z CAM to release 1×1 panel lights instead of COB spotlights. COB spotlights utilizing Bowens mounts have flooded the market, but there aren’t nearly as many 1×1 panels, at least decent ones. Options from Litepanels, ARRI, Rotolight, Velvet, KinoFlo and Creamsource are all pretty expensive. Lupo, Luxli, and Rayzr 7, at least in my opinion, are the only ones who are making 1×1 panel lights that are reasonably affordable and also offer good quality and performance.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C Blade follows in the footsteps of the Toliman 30S, Toliman 30C, and Vega 30C, but it was designed to be a much thinner and modular fixture.
In a lot of ways, the ZOLAR Blade 60C reminds me of the Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED.
- CRI: Ra≥97 (R9 & R12 up to 95), TLCI≥98
- Spectral Similarity Index SSI up to 90
- 140W power draw
- Light Weight & Ultra Thin, edge thickness = 1 inch;
- IP 65 rated;
- Multi Panel Configuration: 2×1 Horizontal, 2×1 Vertical, 2×2 Grid;
- Full RGBAW Color Gamut, 2,000-20,000K CCT
- LumenRadio CRMX, DMX, Mobile App control;
- 6 Lighting Zones with pre-programmed dynamic pixelated eects.
- Multi Light Sync – ZolarLink (wireless), rapid auto sync grouping
- Supports Art-Net 4 & sACN (through wireless connection);
- Built-in Light Effects for different scene applications
Size & Weight
The ZOLAR Blade 60C has physical dimensions of 23.6 x 11.8 x 1.8″ / 59.9 x 30 x 4.6 cm and it weighs in at 6.97 lb / 3.16 kg.
This does make it relatively thin and the weight isn’t too bad considering what it is made out of and the fact that it is essentially a 2×1-sized panel.
Now you do need to factor in the additional weight of the controller unit and the power supply. Here is what they weigh:
- Controller 850g / 1.87 lb
- Power Supply 545g / 1.20 lb
Having three separate components isn’t ideal, however, because the ZOLAR Blade 60C was designed so that you could attach multiple fixtures together, it wouldn’t have made sense to have an integrated power supply/controller.
It would have been nice to see Z CAM make an integrated power supply/controller unit instead of having two separate components.
In case you are curious the Kino Flo style goose neck mount weighs 1kg / 2.20 lb.
Arguably, the Z CAM ZOLAR Blade 60C probably shares more in common with the Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED when it comes to size and weight than anything else on the market.
|Z CAM ZOLAR Blade 60C||10.03 lb / 4.55 kg||23.6 x 11.8 x 1.8″ / |
59.9 x 30 x 4.6 cm
|Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED||12 lb / 5.5 kg||23.5 x 11.5 x 4.5” /|
60 x 29 x 11.5cm
Above you can see a weight and size comparison if we include the controllers and power supplies.
So how does this weight compare to some 1×1 lights that are available? Below you can see:
|ZOLAR Toliman 30S||5.22 kg|
|ZOLAR Toliman 30C||4.53 kg|
6.03 kg with power supply
|ZOLAR Vega 30C||4.53 kg |
6.03 kg with power supply
|Luxli Timpani²||3 kg|
|Rotolight Titan X1||12.2 kg (including power supply)|
|Creamsource Vortex4||11.4 kg (Including Yoke)|
|ARRI S30-C SkyPanel||10.3 kg (including power supply)|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1||5.31 kg**|
|Rayzr 7 MC120||3.63 kg*|
|Lupo Superpanel 30 Full Color||3.7 kg*|
|Luxli Timpani 1×1 RGBAW||3.37 kg*|
|Aputure Nova P300C||10.35 kg (Including Yoke, |
Cable, Frame, Mount, Receiver)
* Including the weight of the power supply.
* This light has a built-in power supply
Now, I decided to compare the weight against traditional 1×1 panel lights, because most 2×1 panel lights have a much, much higher power draw. While this certainly isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, it does give you an indication of how the weight compares to fixtures you are probably familiar with.
The build quality of the ZOLAR Blade 60C is pretty good considering its price point. While I don’t think it is quite as robustly made as the previous ZOLAR fixtures I reviewed, it is also a lot thinner and lighter.
Not all of the casing is made out of aluminum like the ZOLAR 1×1 fixtures. The back of the ZOLAR Blade 60C is made out of some sort of durable composite material.
The ZOLAR Balde 60C features an IP65 weatherproof design which means it is protected from total dust ingress and high-pressure water jets from any direction.
The overall build quality of the ZOLAR Blade 60C is excellent and it is right up there with similar lighting fixtures that cost substantially more money.
The controller box is solidly constructed and all of the buttons and dials are very tactile.
I like that the Z CAM has placed two carry handles on the back of the ZOLAR Blade 60C. This is a nice touch and it allows someone to handheld the light if need be.
There are also two connection points on the controller box for attaching it to a light stand or other types of rigging.
Now, I did run into build quality issues when I tried attaching the optional honeycomb grids that screw onto the front of the fixture. Either the mounting holes on the fixture itself or the holes on the honeycomb grids weren’t aligned properly and I couldn’t get all four screws to do up because one hole was always out of alignment.
I would have preferred to have seen some sort of clip-on system as screwing in honeycomb grids wasn’t a pleasant experience.
I talked to Z CAM about this issue and they were aware of it and they told me that the current shipping versions don’t have this problem.
A lot of LED panel lights these days tend to have high power draws, and even a lot of 1×1 fixtures draw in excess of 200W, especially the RGBWW ones. The ZOLAR Balde 60C draws 140W.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C can easily be run at full power from a single flight-safe V-mount battery. This is a big deal if you are traveling a lot or need to power your lights remotely in the field. Z CAM did tell me that an AB Gold Mount version will also be available in the future.
The controller box has a single built-in V-mount plate. Now, what is nice is that you can run 14.4V or 28.8V batteries directly on the V-mount battery plate. This allows for a ton of versatility.
If you want to run the light via mains power then you need to attach the separate power supply to the controller box using its integrated V-mount adapter plate and plugging in a short cable.
I like that the controller box has a 36-48V DC input. This allows you to power the light for very long extended periods of time using a block battery or other battery solution.
For instance, I could use a SWIT TD-R230S power adapter and two SWIT HB-C420S 420Wh 28.8V batteries to run the ZOLAR Blade 60C at 100% output for more than 6 hours continuously.
The power supply for the light weighs 545g / 1.20 lb as I previously mentioned.
Yes, there are some advantages to separating the controller box and the power supply from the light as you can use a slightly smaller light stand. You can also use the power supply as a ballast further down the light stand if need be.
So how does the power draw of the ZOLAR Balde 60C compare to some other 1×1 fixtures and the Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED? Below you can see:
|Z CAM ZOLAR Blade 60C||140W (nominal)|
|Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED||150W (nominal)|
|Z CAM ZOLAR Toliman 30S||120W (nominal)|
|Z CAM ZOLAR Toliman 30C||200W (nominal)|
|Z CAM ZOLAR Vega 30C||200W (nominal)|
|Luxli Timpani²||120W (nominal)|
|Rotolight Titan X1||230W (nominal)|
|Creamsource Vortex4||325W (nominal)|
|ARRI S30-C SkyPanel||200W (nominal)|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1 Soft||200W (nominal)|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1 Hard||200W (nominal)|
|Rayzr MC 100||98W (nominal)|
|Lupo Superpanel 30 Full Color||200W (nominal)|
|Luxli Timpani 1×1 RGBAW||120W (nominal)|
|Aputure Nova P300C||360W (nominal)|
The ability to power a light at 100% via a single flight safe battery can be a big deal to some users. On the flip side, lights with a lower power draw don’t tend to have as much output as some other fixtures.
Z CAM has put a Kino Flo style mounting plate on the nack of the ZOLAR Blade 60C.
The Z CAM ZOLAR Blade 60C utilizes a Kino Flo style goose neck center mount with a baby pin at the end.
Personally, I find these mounts a lot easier to use on panels like this instead of having a traditional yoke frame. It allows for more adjustment and it makes it easier to connect it up to other panels to create larger arrays.
The controller box can be mounted in a couple of ways. First, you can use the loop, which in a nice touch, can be retracted back into the box when it doesn’t need to be used, to attach it to a light stand.
There is also a small V-mount wedge on the side of the controller box that you could use to attach it to a compatible mount.
You could also just place the controller box on the ground as Z CAM gives you a nice long 8m / 26.24′ cable that runs from it to the light.
What is nice is that Z CAM came up with these adapter plates that allow you to easily connect multiple ZOLAR Blade 60Cs together to create larger arrays. This is a nice way of creating larger, more powerful fixtures.
Above you can see the configurations you can create.
Now, I must warn you that this isn’t something you can do in 2 minutes. It does take a bit of time to connect two ZOLAR blade 60Cs together. You need to line up the plate and then insert and do up 8 screws.
You then need to add two other joiner support pieces that go in the middle. This whole process took me around 5-7 minutes because I found that some of the included screws had trouble going through the holes. Again, Z CAM was aware of this issue and I have been told that it was addressed with shipping versions.
Once everything is put together it creates a nice, solid connection. I weighed both fixtures with the connection plate and found that the whole setup tipped the scales at 7.7kg / 16.97 lb. This does mean that you will need to use a heavier-duty light stand to support the increased weight.
I like the versatility of being able to make larger fixtures out of smaller ones. With two ZOLAR Blade 60Cs combined you can create a pretty powerful and large fixture that only draws 300W. The other benefit is that because they are separate lights and have their own controller box and power supply, you can still run this et-up at 100% output from two flight-safe batteries.
Display & Controls
The built-in color LCD display on the controller box lets you clearly see all of the relative information. What I like is that the layout is exactly the same as it is on the previous ZOLAR 1×1 panels. It is nice that Z CAM has created consistency across the range.
Being able to see all the relevant information about your light without having to walk up really close to it is always nice. All the operating modes can be accessed through the pushing of a single button, and each mode is clearly and concisely shown on the LCD screen.
You select what parameter you want to adjust by pressing the corresponding Function Button (F1-F3). Whatever parameter is selected will be displayed in blue. You then use the dial to make adjustments.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C has full +/- G/M adjustment.
If you press the Mode button you can then cycle through and select what operating mode you would like to use. Your choices are:
- xy Coord
- Source Matching
In CCT mode you can adjust the CCT range from 2000-20,000K.
If you press the main dial button in CCT mode, it brings up a CCT Profile mode. Here you can select from the following:
- BlackBody (this is the default setting)
- ARRI Camera
- RED Camera
- Z CAM
- SONY Camera
- Panasonic Camera
- Canon Camera
- Nikon Camera
Now, this is a very, very interesting setting that I haven’t personally seen in a light before. What it essentially is for is that different camera brands calibrate their cameras to different curves (some are blackbody and some are not), so Z CAM wanted the user to be able to have the correct white balance when they set up their lights and cameras.
Above you can see a quick test I did to see if the CCT BlackBody setting looked any different to the ARRI setting when using an ARRI camera. First I used the light in both modes at 5600K and I set the WB to 5600K on the Amira. I then did a white balance with the camera and tested it again. To be honest, I can’t see much of a noticeable difference between the two modes, but after a white balance I did feel like the ARRI setting was a tiny bit better.
In HSI mode you can adjust the Hue, Saturation, and Intensity of the light. You get a visual reference that helps you select the color you would like to produce.
In the xy Coordinate mode, you can adjust the coordinates for the x and y axis and also the intensity.
In Gel mode, you can select from a wide array of gels. You can also adjust the CCT temperature and intensity.
In Source Matching mode you can select from a wide array of various lighting sources that you want to replicate.
In RGBW mode you can individually adjust the values for Red, Green, Blue White, and Amber.
In the Effect mode, you can select and adjust various effects as well as play them back. You need to press the Settings button and then rotate the dial to choose the effect you want to use.
If you select the Menu you are greeted by the following items:
- Light Control
In Light Control you get the following options:
- Dimming Curve (you can choose from Exp/Log/Linear/S Curve)
- Calibrated RGBW
- Render Mode
- Calibrated Stylist
- Light Matching
- Effect Group ID
You can either choose to enable or disable Calibrated Stylist. I am still waiting to try and find out exactly what this function does.
In Render Mode, you can select between High Output and High Power. I will test these further down in the review.
In Light Matching, you can set the ZOLAR Blade 60C to match the Toliman 30C and Toliman 30S. I will also test this further down in the review.
There are also options for adjusting the DMX, Art-Net, Wi-Fi, language, etc.
Now, if you would prefer to use wireless control you also have that option. There is also a free iOS/Android app called ZolarLink that is available. The ZolarLink app will have a Multi Light Sync Protocol, so up to 16 groups with a maximum 60 slave units per group (wireless) can be used.
I was beta-testing the app and I found that it worked really well. It is straightforward and simple to use and the interface is intuitive.
All you need to do is open up the app and as long as you have The ZolarLink activated in the menu it will appear as a device instantly. You then tap on the light and it connects up within a few seconds.
On the main screen, you can change between the various operating modes.
There are a ton of items you can adjust as you can see from the screenshots above. The app is excellent, and it is very intuitive and easy to use. It is one of the best lighting apps I have come across.
For studios and people wanting control over lots of different fixtures, the ZOLAR lights can use DMX, Art-Net 4 & sACN + powerCON.
Above you can download the ZOLAR DMX RDM information.
Pixel Mapping Effects
The ZOLAR Blade 60C has 6 Lighting Zones with pre-programmed dynamic pixelated effects.
To utilize the pixel effects in the ZOLAR Blade 60C you need to do the following depending on whether you are using DMX or CRMX.
Below is how you set up the DMX connection:
- Connection: Using DMX cable to connect multiple of them together. For example, there are 3 lights: A/B/C
- Master Slave setup：
A act as Master：menu → DMX → Master mode →on
B or C act as slaves：menu → DMX → Master mode →off
- Effect rolling:
F1（setting） → Group Total → 3（total numbers of the lights including master and slaves）
menu → light control→ Effect group ID→1（1 means it starts from this light）
B/C set Effect group ID to be 2 or 3
Then the effect will go from Effect group ID 1->2->3
Below is how you set up the CRMX connection:
- Grouping: Let’s take A/B/C as an example
A setup as Transmitter：
menu → DMX → Master mode→ on
menu → DMX → CRMX→ state→ on
menu → DMX → CRMX→ Mode→ Transmitter
B/C setup as Receiver：
menu → DMX → CRMX → state→ on
menu → DMX → CRMX → Mode→ Receiver
Pairing: go to the CRMX options inside Slave lights (B/C), clear the link and then go to CRMX option inside Master light (A) to choose link. They will get paired in seconds
2. Effect rolling
Same as DMX mode.
Inputs & Outputs
The controller on the ZOLAR Blade 60C has the following inputs and inputs:
- 5-pin DMX IN
- 5-pin DMX OUT
- 3-pin 36.6-48V DC Input
- 5-pin output for connecting the power supply to the controller
On the light itself, there is a single 5-pin receptor cable
There is none! The ZOLAR Blade 60C is passively cooled and it doesn’t feature any fans. This is great because you can have it very close to your talent when you are recording critical audio and it won’t make any noise.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C has a native beam angle of 90°. You can change this to 60° or 30° by using one of the optional honeycomb grids.
1×1 lights that are on the market have a wide array of different beam angles. Normally they have either a very tight beam angle or a very wide beam angle. Although there are exceptions to this rule such as the Rotolight Titan X1 and Ceamsource Vortex4 where you can adjust the beam angles.
Below you can see what the beam angle is of other competing lights:
|ZOLAR Blade 60C||90°|
|ZOLAR Toliman 30S||40°/ 88°|
|ZOLAR Toliman 30C||90°/ 127°|
|ZOLAR Vega 30C||90°/ 127°|
|Rotolight Titan X1||68° to 150°|
|ARRI SkyPanel S30-C||110°|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1||95°|
|Razyr 7 MC120||120°|
|Lupo Superpanel 30 Full Color||40°|
|Lupo Superpanel 30 Full Color Soft||115°|
|Luxli Timpani 1×1 RGBAW||78°|
|Aputure NOVA P300c||120°|
With lights such as the ARRI SkyPanels, you can put accessories such as honeycomb grids, benders, and intensifier panels that will change the beam angle. Other lights also have the ability to change the beam angle through the use of various light modifiers.
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. It is important that you don’t judge a light from one individual result. You have to gather all the data to make a comprehensive conclusion and that is why I do so much testing.
Different lights can also look different depending on what camera you happen to be using.
There are a lot of results to get through here so grab a coffee because this is going to take a while!
Output & CCT Accuracy
I tested the ZOLAR Blade 60C 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.
Above you can see the claimed output listed by the manufacturer.
First, let’s look at how the lights perform at 5600K.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 5600K (High Output)
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Balde 60C recorded an output of 5020 lx (467 fc) when set at 5600K in its High Output mode and run via mains power. This was a decent amount of output for a light with a 140W power draw.
The light recorded a CCT of 5554K which was a very good reading.
If you attach two Z CAM ZOLAR Blade 60Cs together and run the light in the High Output moe you can get over 10,000 lx @1m / 3.3′ which is pretty impressive.
ZOLAR Balde 60C 5600K (High Color Mode)
As the ZOLAR Balde 60C can be run in a High Color Mode, I wanted to see if this affected the output of the fixture.
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Balde 60C recorded an output of 4920 lx (457 fc) when set at 5600K and run via mains power in its High Color mode. This was just 1.99% less than its output in the High Output mode.
The light recorded a CCT of 5551K which was very accurate and almost identical to the 5554K it recorded in its High Output mode.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 5600K (Battery Power)
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Blade 60C recorded an output of 4920 lx (457 fc) when set at 5600K and run via a battery in its High Output Mode. This tells me that the light can run at 100% output from a flight-safe battery without any issues.
How does the output of the ZOLAR Blade 60C compare when used at 5600K to other 1×1 fixtures? Well, that is tricky, because it is hard to compare lights with vastly different beam angles, power draws, and diffusion. I have listed outputs, beam angle and power draw for some of the competing lights below.
|OUTPUT||POWER DRAW||BEAM ANGLE|
|ZOLAR Blade 60C||5020 lx||150W||90°|
|Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED||2409 lx*||150W||60°|
|ZOLAR Toliman 30S||4690 lx||140W||40°|
|ZOLAR Toliman 30C||8190 lx||250W||90°|
|ZOLAR Vega 30C||7900 lx||250W||90°|
(No Diffusion Panel)
|Rotolight Titan X2|
(100% Smartsoft Diffusion)
|Rotolight Titan X2|
|ARRI SkyPanel S30-C||5950 lx||200W||110°|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1 |
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1 |
HARD (Light Diffusion)
|Lupo Superpanel 30 |
Full Color Soft
|Lupo Superpanel 30 |
|Aputure NOVA P300c||9600 lx||360W||120°|
*Manufacturers claims (not independently tested)
As you can clearly see, the output varies depending on the beam angle, diffusion, and power draw of the light. It is impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison unless the two lights you are comparing have the same power draw, beam angle and diffusion.
ZOLAR Balde 60C 3200K (High Output Mode)
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Balde 60C recorded an output of 5460 lx (507 fc) when set at 3200K and run via mains power in its High Output mode. This was 8.76% more output than when it was used at 5600K.
The light recorded a CCT of 3168K which was very accurate.
ZOLAR Balde 60C 3200K (High Color Mode)
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Balde 60C recorded an output of 5080 lx (472 fc) when set at 3200K and run via mains power in its High Color Mode. This was 3.25% more than the output it recorded at 5600K.
The light recorded a CCT of 3140K which was very close to the 3168K it recorded when it was set at 3200K in its High Output mode.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 3200K (Battery Power)
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Blade 60C recorded an output of 5410 lx (503 fc) when set at 3200K and run via a battery in its High Output Mode.
How does the light perform at various CCT settings?
So how does the ZOLAR Blade 60C perform at various CCT settings when it comes to output and Kelvin color temperatures? Well, below you can see.
ZOLAR Blade 60C (High Output Mode)
|KELVIN SETTING||LUX||CCT READING|
These results tell me that the light has excellent CCT accuracy across its range, however, it is at its most accurate when used between 2500-5600K. At 5600K and above it wasn’t overly CCt accurate. The output varies by 18.68% from the highest to lowest recorded readings.
ZOLAR Blade 60C (High Color Mode)
|KELVIN SETTING||LUX||CCT READING|
Just like the High Output mode, these results tell me that the light has excellent CCT accuracy from 2500-5600K. Again, the CCt accuracy wasn’t great at above 5600K. The output varies by 10.03% from the highest to lowest recorded readings.
The output of the light could be more consistent across its CCT range. The light’s output was pretty consistent across its CCT range. What was interesting to see is that the light has the most output when used around 2500-3200K.
CCT consistency & linear output when dimming the light
Now, what you should always do when testing lights is to see if the CCT remains consistent when dimming the light. Just because you set a light at say 5600K, that doesn’t mean that the CCT will remain stable as you start dimming the fixture down. I also wanted to see how linear the dimming curve was.
I decided to do a series of tests at 100%/75%/50%/25%10% to see if the Kelvin color temperature being recorded changed. This was done at a distance of 1m using a Sekonic C-800. These tests were conducted in the light’s Linear Dimming modes.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 5600K (High Color Mode)
|CCT READING||OUTPUT||INTENSITY %|
The ZOLAR Blade 60C maintained very good color temperature consistency even when dimming it right down. The reading only changed by 60K. As far as how linear the output is when you start dimming the light, at 50% output it had 49.2% less output than when used at 100%. At 25% it had 73.8% less output than when used at 100%. At 10% output it had 89% less output than when used at 100%. This shows me that the light’s dimming curve is very close to being perfectly linear.
So now that we have seen how much output the ZOLAR Blade 60C produces, how does it perform when it comes to replicating accurate colors? Well, let’s first have a look at light when it is used at 5600K.
ZOLAR Blade 60C (High Output Mode)
Above you can see that when the ZOLAR Blade 60C was set at 5600K in its High Output mode recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 97.2 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 97.24. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded 99.0 for R9 (red), 98.7 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 97.9 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones).
These were outstanding results and some of the best I have ever seen from any LED light. No value was below 90.
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Blade 60C had a TLCI score of 99 when used at 5600K.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 5600K (High Color Mode)
Above you can see that when the ZOLAR Blade 60C was set at 5600K and used in its High Color Mode it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 97.1 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 97.08. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded 99.0 for R9 (red), 98.6 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 97.8 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones).
These were outstanding results and almost identical to those when the light is used in its High Output mode. This is just the second light I have ever tested where every single value from R1-R15 was above 90. The other light was also made by Z CAM.
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Blade 60C had a TLCI score of 98 when used at 5600K in its High Color mode.
So how do the extended CRI results taken at 5600K compare to some of the competition? Well, below you can see:
|ZOLAR Blade 60C||97.2|
|ZOLAR Toliman 30S||96.69|
|ZOLAR Tolman 30C||97.73|
|ZOLAR Vega 30C||96.60|
|Rotolight Titan X1||95.44|
|ARRI SkyPanel S30-C||93.39|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1 Soft||91.32|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1 HARD||96.52|
|Lupo Superpanel 30 Full Color Soft||93.4|
|Lupo Superpanel 30 Full Color||93.59|
|Aputure NOVA P300c||95.34|
As you can see, most of these lights are very close and you would be hard-pressed to tell any of them apart. However, all four of the ZOLAR fixtures I have now tested have higher scores than any of these competing lights I have tested at 5600K.
Now, that we have seen how the light performs at 5600K, let’s look at how it does at 3200K.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 3200K (High Output Mode)
Above you can see that when the ZOLAR Blade 60C was set at 3200K in its High Output mode recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 94.2 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 91.39. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded 52.9 for R9 (red), 96.8 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 88.9 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones).
These were not the results I was expecting and I think there was definitely an issue when using the light at 3200K in its High Output mode. R7, R9, and R15 were all below 90. The result for R9 (red) was terrible. I wouldn’t recommend using the light at 3200K in its High Output mode. It is much better to use it in its High Color mode, which you will see shortly.
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Blade 60C had a TLCI score of just 93 when used at 3200K in its High Output mode. This was a bad result and you can see that the spectral response isn’t great.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 3200K (High Color Mode)
Above you can see the results for the ZOLAR Blade 60C at 3200K when it was used in its High Color Mode. The light recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 95.8 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 95.37. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded 95.1 for R9 (red), 96.5 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 98.0 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones).
These were pretty good results, but not nearly as good as when the light was used at 5600K. Only R11 (Green was below 90.
Above you can see that the ZOLAR Blade 60C had a TLCI score of 91 when used at 3200K in its High Color mode. Again, this wasn’t great.
So how do the extended CRI results compare to some of the competition? Well, below you can see:
|ZOLAR Blade 60C||95.37|
|ZOLAR Toliman 30S||95.69|
|ZOLAR Toliman 30C||96.93|
|ZOLAR Vega 30C||94.69|
|Rotolight Titan X1||91.83|
|ARRI SkyPanel S30-C||93.56|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1 Soft||93.32|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1 HARD||93.32|
|Lupo Superpanel 30 Full Color Soft||91.86|
|Lupo Superpanel 30 Full Color||90.7|
|Aputure NOVA P300c||95.64|
Again, as you can see, all of these lights are very close and you would be hard-pressed to tell any of them apart.
CC Index & ⊿uv
The CC Index displays the CC correction value and whether any magenta or green needs 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 ZOLAR Blade 60C.
ZOLAR ZOLAR Blade 60C Kelvin Vs MK-1
|CCT||Difference in K||MK-1||Difference in|
|ACTUAL READING||2473K||27||404.36||-4.36 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||3140K||60||318.47||-5.97 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||4436K||64||225.42||-3.20 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||5551K||49||180.14||-1.57 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||6373K||127||156.91||-3.07 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||7641K||359||130.87||-5.87 MK-1|
|ACTUAL READING||9466K||544||105.64||-5.64 MK-1|
The light is very CCT accurate at all of its 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 very good. Any score that is under +/- 6 is considered to be very good. The MK-1 scores were very consistent.
ZOLAR Blade 60C CC INDEX & ⊿uv
Again, these scores were very good. The accurate ⊿uv scores across the light’s entire Kelvin color temperature range were exceptionally good. The lights CC INDEX scores were excellent from 2500K to 6500K. At 8000K and above it does start to shift, but you don’t have to worry about it unless it is above 1.0 G/M.
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 above 100.
ZOLAR Blade 60C (High Color Mode)
Above you can see the scores for the ZOLAR Blade 60C at various CCT settings. Below I have listed the figures as well.
The TM-30 scores are all good and it shows me that the light is pretty consistent at replicating accurate colors with full saturation.
Output & accuracy when creating saturated colors
I also wanted to test the light to see how it performed when creating super-saturated colors.
0° – RED
Above you can see that the light in its High Color mode recorded an output of 685 lx (63.6 fc). What you clearly need to know when using RGBAW lights like this is that the output levels you can produce when creating super saturated colors are a lot less than when using the light in a CCT mode.
As far as creating an accurate 0° RED, the ZOLAR Blade 60C was perfect.
120° – GREEN
Above you can see that the light when in its High Color mode recorded an output of 2940 lx (273 fc).
As far as creating an accurate 120° GREEN, the ZOLAR Blade 60C was spot on with a 120° reading and 100% saturation.
240° – BLUE
Above you can see that the light when set in its High Color mode recorded an output of 389 lx (36.1 fc).
As far as creating an accurate 240° BLUE, the ZOLAR Blade 60C was 1° off with a reading of 241°, but it did have 100% saturation.
60° – YELLOW
Above you can see that the light when using its reflector and medium diffusion recorded an output of 1590 lx (147 fc).
As far as creating an accurate 60° Yellow, the ZOLAR Blade 60C was way off with a reading of 46°, but it did have 100% saturation.
Because the light is RGBAW and not RGBACL it is going to struggle to recreate some fully saturated colors accurately.
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.
First, let’s look at 3200K.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 3200K (High Color Mode)
In the above 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 ZOLAR Blade 60C is. Any SSI score in the low ’80s is very good for a 3200K LED light, however, the ZOLAR Blade 60C was in the very high 80s’ which was outstanding. .
As a comparison, above are the results for the Z CAM ZOLAR Vega 30C.
As another reference, above you can see the same result for the Rotolight Titan X1.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 5600K
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 ZOLAR Blade 60C is. A score in the low 70’s is typical for a 5600K LED source. A score of 91 is ridiculously good.
As a comparison, above you can see the scores for the Z CAM ZOLAR Vega 30C when it is used at 5600K.
As a reference, above you can see the same result for the Rotolight Titan X1.
The main reason we want to record SSI scores is so we can see how well they match with other lights. Now here is where things become difficult. Because the ZOLAR Blade 60C has such high SSI scores it is not going to match other lights nearly as well, particularly at 5600K. As an example, I will show you how well the ZOLAR Blade 60C matched an ARRI Orbiter and the Prolycht Orion 675 FS. Below you can see the results when the lights are set at both 5600K and 3200K.
As you can see the ARRI and the Prolycht are not that close to being a perfect match to the ZOLAR Blade 60C at 3200K, although with a bit of fine-tuning you could probably get them to work together without any big issues. A score of 80 is still pretty reasonable.
Here is where things get interesting. At 5600K both the ARRI and the Prolycht are miles off being anywhere near a perfect match to the ZOLAR Blade 60C.
As another comparison, let’s see how well the ZOLAR Blade 60C matches itself in both its High Output and High Color modes, as well as its High Output mode when being run via a battery.
Above you can see that at 5600K the light is essentially a perfect match when run in its High Output and High Color modes. In fact, the High Output mode running via a battery was a 100% match to the High Color mode. This is the first time I have ever seen a score of 100.
Let’s now do that exact same test but at 3200K.
Above you can see that at 3200K the light is not a perfect match when run in its High Output and High Color modes. These results were surprising because, in reality, I would expect them to be a lot closer.
SSI tests are a great way of telling you what lights you own or use will work well together.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 5600K (High Color Mode)
Above you can see the spectral distribution of the ZOLAR Blade 60C when set at 5600K. The spectral distribution is exceptionally good at 5600K. This spectral distribution is right up there with the best LED lights I have ever tested at 5600K.
As another reference, above you can see the spectral distribution for the Rotolight Titan X1.
ZOLAR Blade 60C 3200K
Above you can see the spectral distribution of the ZOLAR Blade 60C when set at 3200K. The spectral distribution was not great and I definitely think there is an issue here.
As a reference, above you can see the spectral distribution for the Rotolight Titan X1.
As I always say, photometric scores only tell you part of the story. Lots of LED lights score well these days in technical tests, but a good light should be easy to use, versatile, and provide good real-world results.
The diffusion being used on the front of the ZOLAR Blade 60C is pretty mild in strength. I I stop the camera down, even at 100 output you can still see the individual LED clusters.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C does produce a fair amount of spill because of its reasonably wide beam angle. This is something you need to take into account when using the light. However, you can always just buy one of the optional Honeycomb grids if you want to control it more.
The light works well indoors for interview scenarios, but because the diffusion isn’t that strong, you may want to punch it through something else if you want to create something a little softer.
Because the Zolar Blade 60C isn’t overly heavy you can put it out on an arm to use as a backlight or to place over subjects as a top light.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C produces a really nice quality of light, and most importantly it is relatively easy to use and operate.
If you don’t have a high enough output, to begin with, and then attempt to heavily diffuse that lighting source, often the brightness of that light is reduced to a point where it’s only usable when placed very close to a subject. The ZOLAR Blade 60C has quite a lot of output so you don’t have to place it too close to your subject or run them at full output when using them indoors.
This light is a good solution for solo operators or traveling cameramen or women who need a light that is quick to set up and can be powered remotely in the field from a single flight-safe camera battery.
Being able to power the light remotely from a flight-safe battery is a big deal. too many lights coming out these days have such high power draws that it makes it almost impossible to power them from batteries you can easily travel with.
I also like that Z CAM gives you such a long cable that goes from the controller to the light. This allows you to place it a long way away from the fixture and it helps massively if you need to put it up high or in places where you need access to the controller.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C would also be a pretty decent option for news crews due to its quick setup time and ability to be run at full output via a flight-safe battery. You could also two of them or combine them together to create a much larger source.
I like how even when you have two of the fixtures together you can still use the Honeycomb grids.
I personally love the ability to combine two of these fixtures together to create a much larger source. This creates a much more versatile lighting solution and you can still power both lights from two flight safe batteries. That is a big deal.
As far as the RGB Color Mode, effects modes, gels, source matching, etc. go, while they are great to have, not everyone will need them.
The biggest question people will want to be answered is do these high SSI scores when using the lights at 5600K make any big real-world difference?
That is a good question. I decided to do a real-world test comparing the ZOLAR Blade 60C with the Litepanels Gemini 1×1 SOFT and the Luxli Timpani². I white balanced for each individual light and then took an image. Nothing has been altered or adjusted. As you can see there isn’t a massive difference between all three of the lights. The Litepanels is perhaps a tiny bit on the green side, but that light does have +/- G/M adjustment so you could change it. The Luxli and ZOLAR are incredibly close.
A light that has high SSI scores when used at 5600K is certainly capable of producing great results, however, you shouldn’t read too much into it depending on what you are trying to accomplish. As you can see from my real-world test, the Luxli Timpani² which doesn’t score nearly as high in SSI tests when used at 5600K is still able to produce extremely good results when used in this particular scenario.
Just for the record, above are the SSI scores for the Luxli Timpani² when it is used at 5600K.
Now, you will generally get pretty close results if you are white balancing and are in controlled conditions, but if you are trying to actually match a daylight source like the sun, then having a light with the ability to capture a fuller spectrum will make a difference. How many times have you seen shots on TV where they are using a LED light outdoors and the colors look terrible?
Above you can see an SSI comparison where I got a reading from the sun outdoors in bright daylight and compared it to the ZOLAR Blade 60C. In the graph, the red bars indicate a perfect CIE D55 source. The gold bars indicate the spectral response of the ZOLAR Blade 60C. This lets us compare how close to matching the sun the Blade 60C is. A match of 89 is ridiculously good for an LED light when used at 5600K.
As a comparison, above you can see the same test with the very good ARRI Orbiter. In the graph above the red bars indicate a perfect CIE D55 source. The gold bars indicate the spectral response of the ARRI Orbiter. This lets us compare how close to matching the sun the Orbiter is. As you can see the ARRI Orbiter only had a matching score of 66 which is pretty bad.
What this essentially means is that lights that have the ability to capture a greater spectrum when set at 5600K will match daylight sources such as the sun a whole lot better. Now, for smaller-sized panel lights with this ability, this advantage may not be that great because you could be trying to match a source (such as the sun) with not enough output.
What would be interesting to see is if manufacturers could put this fuller spectrum technology into high-powered LED fresnels. This would make a ton of sense, especially when using lights outdoors.
Above you can see a comparison when using the ZOLAR Balde 60C outdoors to try and match the sun. I white-balanced for the sun and then turned the light on. As you can see, the light was able to provide enough fill to help even out the scene.
Above you can see how far away I was from the light.
Okay, so now let’s do that same test again, and this time I will combine two of the ZOLAR Blade 60Cs together to create a larger source.
Above you can see the light turned on and turned off with the exact same camera settings. Two ZOLAR Blade 60Cs combined create a lighting source that is more than capable of being used outdoors in a lot of conditions. What is nice is that it creates a soft source and not a harsh one like you would get from point source COB lights.
If you just use a single ZOLAR Blade 60C you can get someone to hold it which is very useful. As the control box doesn’t weigh that much you could put it with a battery inside a backpack that someone could wear.
What I found is that the light is very good at replicating accurate colors when used outdoors. The fact that I didn’t even need to do a WB with the light on shows you how closely it actually matches daylight sources such as the sun.
I like that a single ZOLAR Blade 60C can be carried with its accessories in a relatively small case. If you travel a lot or need to keep a relatively small print, this is a nice solution.
Arguably the closest competitor to the ZOLAR Blade 60C would be the Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED if we look solely at form factor, size, and power draw.
If we want to widen the comparison, there are a ton of 1×1 lights out there on the market at varying price points that could be considered competition:
- Rotolight Titan X1
- Creamsource Vortex4 1×1 RGBW
- Litepanels Gemini 1×1
- Litepanels Gemini 1 x 1 RGBWW LED Hard Panel
- ARRI SkyPanel S30-C
- Lupo Superpanel Soft Full Color 30 Soft
- Lupo Superpanel Soft Full Color 30
- Rayzr 7 MC120
- Luxli Timpani² 1×1 RGBAW
- Aputure NOVA P300c
- VELVETlight Evo 1 Studio 1×1 Color-Tunable LED Panel
- TRIGYN Vari-Light RGBW 1×1 LED Soft Light Kit
- Falcon Eyes D-S811 RGB 1×1
- Fluotec Cinelight Color30 1X1 Color
You would expect that the newest lights on this list would be the best, but that is not always the case.
The SkyPanel was announced way back in 2015 and the Litepanels Gemini in 2017. The SkyPanel series has been hugely popular because it is widely available, super robust, and reliable.
The Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30/ Full Color 30 Soft, Luxli Timpani, Rayzr 7 MC120, Falcon Eyes, and TRIGYN are more budget-friendly options, that will probably appeal to a different segment of the market than lights like the Rotolight Titan X1, ARRI SkyPanel S30-C, Creamsource Vortex4, etc.
All of the competition have their strengths and weaknesses and what light will work best for you certainly comes down to a lot more factors than just specifications and features.
A rental house is much more likely to carry an ARRI, Kino Flo, Rotolight, or even a Litepanels Gemini over a Lupo, Aputure, Rayzr 7, or ZOLAR, although that is starting to change in some markets. This is primarily to do with the build quality, after-sales service, and a long-term track record of reliability. However, the build quality of the ZOLAR fixtures is excellent, as is the performance, so there is no reason that they couldn’t be used at the highest levels of production.
Price & Availability
The Z CAM ZOLAR Blade 60C Basic Kit retails for $899 USD and it should start shipping on the 18th of September.
- ZOLAR Blade 60C LED Panel
- ZOLAR Blade 60C Controller Unit
- AC DC Power Adapter 36V
- ZOLAR Controller Cable 8M
- ZOLAR Goose-Neck Rear Mount Plate
- Carrying Case for ZOLAR Blade 60C
Above is what you get in the kit.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C is very competitively priced.
The light comes in a nice soft/hard case with custom foam cutouts.
At least in my opinion, the bag is a lot better quality than the ones that came with the ZOLAR 1×1 fixtures.
Below you can see how the price of the ZOLAR Blade 60C compares to other RGBW panel lights on the market:
|Z CAM ZOLAR Blade 60C||$899 USD|
|Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED||$1,799.25 USD|
|Z CAM ZOLAR Vega 30C||$799 USD|
|Luxli Timpani²||$899 USD*|
|Creamsource Vortex4 1×1 RGBW||$2,799 USD|
|Rotolight Titan X1||$3,699 USD|
|ARRI SkyPanel S30-C||$2,450 USD*|
|Litepanels Gemini 1×1||$1,495.25 USD*|
|Litepanels Gemini 1 x 1 RGBWW LED Hard Panel||$2,517.50 USD|
|Lupo Superpanel Soft Full Color 30||$1,698 USD|
|Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30||$1,698 USD|
|VELVETlight Evo 1 Studio 1×1 Color-Tunable LED Panel||$2,776.75 USD|
|Rayzr 7 MC120||$744 USD*|
|Luxli Timpani 1×1 RGBAW||$799.99 USD*|
|Aputure NOVA P300c||$1,699 USD|
|TRIGYN Vari-Light RGBW 1×1 LED Soft Light Kit||$899 USD*|
|Falcon Eyes D-S811 RGB 1×1||$1,299 USD|
|Fluotec Cinelight Color30 1X1 Color||$1,807 USD|
*On sale at the time of this review.
With modern-day lights (and this goes for just about any of today’s technology) the lifespan of the product is not going to be as long. That is not to say your light will become obsolete in 3 years time, but there will be something better that is bound to come along.
In saying that, a lot of today’s lights are receiving new features via firmware updates. This is something that increases their flexibility and feature set.
At launch there will be the following optional accessories available:
- ZOLAR Honeycomb Grid 30D 60×30
- ZOLAR Honeycomb Grid 60D 60×30
- ZOLAR Light Control Gird 60×30
- ZOLAR Controller Cable 16M
- ZOLAR Blade 60C Mounting Accessory Kit ·
- Yoke for ZOLAR Blade 60C 2×2
I don’t currently have any prices for these accessories, but I will update the review once I do.
Above you can see the full specifications for the light.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C is an impressive offering. It is a very versatile and color-accurate fixture that can be run via a single flight-safe battery at 100%. It has a decent amount of output, especially for a fixture that only draws 140W.
The overall build quality is good, but there were those small issues that I mentioned earlier in the review that you need to be aware of (although these have now been addressed with the shipping versions according to the company). The other concern I have was that the light did not perform well in its High Output mode when used at 3200K.
The build quality, exceptional color accuracy, and different ways of powering and controlling the light are something that very few other manufacturers are doing at this level of affordability.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C represents very good value for money given its performance and feature set. For a light in this form factor with these features, I don’t think anything else comes close to the price. The nearest competitor for the ZOLAR Blade 60C, at least in my opinion, would be the Kino Flo Diva-Lite 21 LED. However, that light doesn’t have as much output, it is considerably more expensive, and it doesn’t have nearly as good color rendering performance.
Most ‘affordable‘ fixtures tend to suffer from average build quality and limited features, but that is not the case with the ZOLAR lights. At $899 USD there is a lot to like about this light. In my opinion, it is arguably a better option, or at least one that is worth looking at, if you are after a 1×1 LED light.
As I mentioned earlier, whatever they are doing over there in China, it should be making other lighting manufacturers very concerned. The build quality, photometric scores, and usability of the Z CAM fixtures, including the ZOLAR Blade 60C, place them right up there with some of the best lighting fixtures on the market.
The ZOLAR Blade 60C comes highly recommended, and although it’s far from perfect, it offers users very good bang for their buck.