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Lighting Upgrade/Purchase - Kinos vs LEDs

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Donald Mitchell
Lighting Upgrade/Purchase - Kinos vs LEDs
on Mar 20, 2015 at 5:22:51 pm

I am in reinvesting some profit back into my business, and want to buy some more lighting for my studio. Currently I have all tungsten fixtures - Arri fresnels, Dedolights, Redheads, Blondes etc etc.

I have been looking at getting some Kinos, probably the 4 bank Tegras, but I'm worried that they will become outdated in the next few years, and that I should be moving towards LED lighting. Of those, I'm looking at The Light Velvet models.

All opinions valued!

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Erik Anschicks
Re: Lighting Upgrade/Purchase - Kinos vs LEDs
on Mar 20, 2015 at 10:59:12 pm
Last Edited By Erik Anschicks on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:07:38 pm

Personally, I wouldn't say that Tegras will be outdated compared to LED's in the near future, mainly because the difference in power consumption or heat generated from flos to LED isn't nearly as great as it is with traditional tungsten fixtures. Also, Kino Flo is a known and established brand that make wonderful products that can last for a long time if not totally abused. As such, I don't imagine anyone would be put off or think of them as outdated or inferior for quite a while.

The main benefit for me with LEDs over flos is that they don't have traditional bulbs. Most of my worries with Kinos deal with transport and footprint of the fixtures and bulbs. You have to carry spares and different color temp flavors that take up space and then there's nothing worse than a million bulb shards everywhere if they get crushed. However if I read your question correctly, it appears you're thinking mainly for studio use, which I think would minimize the drawbacks. If you go LED, I would advise you to NOT cheapen out (not that I'm assuming you will!). LED units that have great color rendition and build quality do exist, but they are not cheap. Then again, neither are Kino Flos! I have not used the product you've linked to, but I have heard good things about the company.

For what it's worth, I own and use Area 48 remote-phosphor LED panels from BBS lighting and they are awesome. Better specs on paper than the light velvet one and I can attest it's color and output are truly impressive. A similar alternative are the Cineo lighting products, LS or HS. The only "drawback" to these types of fixtures is that you can't dial the color temp in with a button in the fixture itself, you have to swap out panels that have different color temps. So that's somewhat less convenient and quick. HOWEVER, that enables you to get better color fidelity and output, since you're basically bypassing the inherent limitations in LED bulbs themselves. Each method has their pluses and minuses. Kino Flo also makes their Celeb line of LED fixtures, which I don't own but have used and been impressed by.

At the end of the day, I think the performance in light quality, provided the LED's are high-quality, would be pretty darn comparable between them and a Tegra. As such, it's more about your workflow needs. Tegras are much bigger and heavier and have traditional bulbs. LED's have a smaller footprint and might be a bit more flexible, but that might not necessarily matter. Do you need a wider throw? How much do you plan to use diffusion, if at all? IMO these are the important questions.

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