The Practilite 602
In the wedding biz, the Practilite has practically become the king of wedding lights. The industry trend towards the Practilite has gained so much traction that even wedding photographers are ditching the flash and going with the Practilite. A very welcomed trend indeed!
This light is expensive, retailing at $967USD! But at the end of the day this light adds value. It is rock-solid, compact and versatile. You'll have one less headache because what was traditionally a stressful task has now become something you look forward to. No more concerns about your hot lamp melting the faux finish off of the venues walls or a waiter tripping over a power cord. How many of us have seen an old school wedding light go down? It's not pretty. The Practilite offers the tight beam, long throw and rich colors of a traditional tungsten fixture, without any of the liabilities and stress.
The other stress of lighting a wedding is the DJs, the Maitre D’s, occasionally guests (most likely sent by the DJ) hunting you down to complain about your light. Somewhere there is a parallel blog with a DJ ranting about videographers and their lights. It may be because some videographers in the past (myself included) have used large LED panels to light up the dance floor. Now we can throw a nice tight beam of light that looks more like a spotlight. Subjects are exposed and light isn't bouncing and spraying all over the place. Your image can be filled with beautiful contrast and the DJ has nobody else to blame if people are not hitting the dance floor.
The 602 offers a very high quality of light. When you see the image on the camera, the image just looks good, almost like natural light good.
The light is packed with versatility. It is bi-color so you can dial in warmth to match the practicals in a reception, and daylight if you are in a backlit indoor ceremony situation. The light is small and compact, it can run off v-mount batteries. The lighter the light fixture the less likely it is to tip over on a light stand. That one less headache really makes a difference
The Ultimate Convenience Factor
The main difference that sets this light apart and makes it the king is its well integrated app. Yes that’s right. You can pull out your phone and instantaneously control the light’s color temperature and output. No one has time to wait for a faulty wifi or Bluetooth signal. We need an app that just works. Tungsten lights can get you beautiful color, a tight beam and a long throw, but they get hot, the bulbs can die on you, and they cannot be controlled wirelessly.
In Comes a New Challenger
For a long time I’ve been waiting for a legitimate competitor to the 602. The Practilite as I’ve talked about is a great investment, but for LED lighting in 2020, the price feels wrong.
The reason they can charge so much is because their only real competitor, the Dedolight, is far less feature rich and also runs in the $1,000 range.
I have not heard that much chatter about the Lightstorm 60x, but I guarantee you that many wedding videographers (and photographers) will be lining up to purchase this unit, if the price is as competitive and under cutting as the rest of the Aputure line-up.
Aputure has built a reputation as an industry disrupter with their product features and price point. This light introduces a very real competitor to the Practilite 602.
The body is very similar to the Practilite- light and compact. Aputure at this point has nailed the balance between build quality, price and weight. The beam angle can be changed internally between 15-45 degrees. The light’s color temperature can be controlled from 2700 to 6500.
The light can be battery powered by a v-mount or two NP-F batteries! Of course we know Aputure has a best in class app. All in all, the 60x compares favorably to the 602.
Here’s what I’m most excited about.
The 60x bi-color is advertised to output 30,000 lux at 1 meter at the 15 degree spot. I have to assume that would decrease when dialed into the 3200 degree tungsten color, it remains to be seen what independent photometric tests will show once the light is released. But wow is that a ton of output. Here's how it compares to other battery powered LEDs.
To compare that to an actual tungsten fixture…
In a direct apples to apples comparison with the Practilite the 60x is advertised to gives us three times the output of the Practilite. Of course these are advertised metrics, and time will tell how the lights actually compare. Let me tell you the goal of lighting a wedding reception is not to blast the venue with light so it looks like daytime. Where the level really matters is its ability to throw light far distances. I'm talking about the inverse square law and the ability to get both an even spread of light across a large distance AND an adequate level of light across that spread. There will be another post where I can better describe what i'm talking about. For now let it suffice that more output and tight beam angles are a good thing.
The price has not been released. It remains to be seen how aggressive Aputure will be in its strategy here. Anything below $500 will be a huge win in my book.
What is your go-to wedding light? Let me know in the comments!