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Nanlite FS300 watt LED (bowens mount) 349$


Cameramoto
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My two new FS300s came in yesterday. The build quality is quite good and the output will be plenty for most of my OMB work. If more light is needed, I'll rent or recommend budgeting for my regular gaffer and his 600Ds.

It's nice not to have a separate control box/ballast and it means that using the lights with smaller stands is possible.

Since the replacement Noctua fans are not here yet, I went to Lowe's and Home Depot to see if I could find a sensible carrying container for these. I tried every ruggedized bin and tool box they had. The best fit I was able to find was the Craftsman 23" tool box at Lowe's (see attached). A little foam cutout on the bottom and I think that these will work nicely. There should be plenty of room for an extension cord too.

IMG_6736.JPG

IMG_6737.JPG

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My FS300 arrived a few days ago and I've tested it out ahead of a shoot tomorrow - this thing is BRIGHT!

However, one thing I already dislike about it is that there doesn't seem to be any way to 'exit' the menu. So one little bump of the menu dial can turn on the SFX modes. Has anybody found a way to exit the menu so that the dial is not always 'hot' if that makes sense?

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Used it on a shoot for the first time today. I was slightly worried about the fan noise beforehand but didn't even notice it on set. Certainly not enough to make me want to perform surgery on it and if there is any hum in the recordings, it should be nothing that a bit of noise reduction can't fix.

I had a setup that was pretty much worst case scenario - a moderately wide shot looking out a window in to midday sun on a very bright day. It maxed out the FS300 but I was able to get a decent amount of wrap and fill on the subject. Lost the sky due to shooting in Rec709 (client request) but managed to keep most of the detail in the trees. I feel like if it had been log I could've saved the sky... maybe.

It's a lot of light output for the price!

 

FS300.jpg

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Clar 350 on sale for $399. Not sure about the fan noise on that one but looks like it could be a good alternative, I like the remote and the PSU looks ok.

But there's 3 fans and a fan in the PSU so... good luck if you want to change anything.

I'm sure next year there will be even better lights! But at these prices, fighting daylight has never been more accessible.

I put 4x 300w through a full grid, getting around 11.5-12EV. Finally can light against windows!

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16 hours ago, scotchtape said:

I'm sure next year there will be even better lights! But at these prices, fighting daylight has never been more accessible.

This is why I bought the Nanlite over an Aputure. Sure, with Aputure you might be paying for more brand recognition and longevity - but at the rate we're moving all these lights are going to be obsolete in a few years anyway.

I'd rather spend AUD $500 on something that breaks in two years, than $2000 on something that I can't even flog for half of that after that same two years. I think we're just seeing the beginning of affordable LED's, and in another couple of years we'll really be spoiled by choice.

Already there's 1200W fixture announced from Nanlite, and I'm sure a few others will be looking to compete in the same space soon too.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thought I'd share that I have now successfully swapped out the fans in both of my FS300s, following the excellent video that @scotchtape posted. The first took me about an hour to do and the second, about half of that. The adapter cable from Amazon mentioned earlier in this thread works well. This modification makes a huge difference in the sound level coming from these lights.

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On 6/18/2021 at 5:17 AM, barefoot_dp said:

Used it on a shoot for the first time today. I was slightly worried about the fan noise beforehand but didn't even notice it on set. Certainly not enough to make me want to perform surgery on it and if there is any hum in the recordings, it should be nothing that a bit of noise reduction can't fix.

I had a setup that was pretty much worst case scenario - a moderately wide shot looking out a window in to midday sun on a very bright day. It maxed out the FS300 but I was able to get a decent amount of wrap and fill on the subject. Lost the sky due to shooting in Rec709 (client request) but managed to keep most of the detail in the trees. I feel like if it had been log I could've saved the sky... maybe.

It's a lot of light output for the price!

 

FS300.jpg

What was your ISO/aperture in this shot? I was thinking of getting the FS300 for this kind of set-up (exposing the interior and exterior through windows) as well as possibly using it as a fake sun for some shots. 

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On 7/13/2021 at 1:14 PM, Matt Kieley said:

What was your ISO/aperture in this shot? I was thinking of getting the FS300 for this kind of set-up (exposing the interior and exterior through windows) as well as possibly using it as a fake sun for some shots. 

That was at about F4 I think. ISO1250, 1.7 stops ND (because the ZCam eND doesn't go below 1.7 stops, I mostly shoot at the higher native ISO of 1250 rather than remove the ND)

This setup was borderline due to being a wider shot, but I've since used it on some more typical head-and-shoulders type interviews and in those situations where you can get much closer, it really lets you stop the overexposure in windows.

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15 hours ago, barefoot_dp said:

That was at about F4 I think. ISO1250, 1.7 stops ND (because the ZCam eND doesn't go below 1.7 stops, I mostly shoot at the higher native ISO of 1250 rather than remove the ND)

This setup was borderline due to being a wider shot, but I've since used it on some more typical head-and-shoulders type interviews and in those situations where you can get much closer, it really lets you stop the overexposure in windows.

I am pretty sure you wouldn't have lost any info if you shot in LOG in that shot you posted. Looked very nice even in REC709

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Ugh. 

Just finished working on the first day of a film which the mini lighting package was Aputure 600D + Nanlite 300 + Nanlite 60 (& a few other things. For the curious, camera package was an AMIRA with Tokina primes). 

Arrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh................

Those things are damn noisy. 

Not quite enough to be a deal breaker (as of course I can't tell the DoP and Director they can't use their lights!!), but more than loud enough to be a pain. Sigh. 

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11 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Ugh. 

Just finished working on the first day of a film which the mini lighting package was Aputure 600D + Nanlite 300 + Nanlite 60 (& a few other things. For the curious, camera package was an AMIRA with Tokina primes). 

Arrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh................

Those things are damn noisy. 

Not quite enough to be a deal breaker (as of course I can't tell the DoP and Director they can't use their lights!!), but more than loud enough to be a pain. Sigh. 

Damn, a lot of sound guys I know say noises like that aren't a big deal and can be removed pretty easily in post. Whats your thoughts on that? I am sure it depends greatly on how close the lights are to said mic. Is it a smart idea to go back to hot lights/HMI's for small space indoor stuff? 

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12 hours ago, IronFilm said:


Those things are damn noisy. 
 

 

This is partly the reason I'm thinking I might get a FS150 instead of another FS300 - so I have the option of using a less noisy unit if I'm ever forced to shoot in a cramped space really close to the subject.

So far I haven't noticed it on an actual shoot, but I did notice it when recording myself in my garage (small space, lots of concrete walls, etc.

I'm sure you're far more sensitive to these things than most of us here though!

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On 7/18/2021 at 2:19 PM, TomTheDP said:

Damn, a lot of sound guys I know say noises like that aren't a big deal and can be removed pretty easily in post. Whats your thoughts on that? I am sure it depends greatly on how close the lights are to said mic. Is it a smart idea to go back to hot lights/HMI's for small space indoor stuff? 

It is like when you're shooting in a kitchen with a noisy fridge, you surely want it turned off, right?

But if you can't, you don't go telling the director "we can't do your interview with the chef in the kitchen like you wanted to do". No, instead you just "live with it". But just because you go ahead and shoot with the background noise, does that mean it doesn't exist and isn't frustrating? No, of course not. 

As for in post, can it be removed? Maybe, maybe not, at what damage to the dialogue though? And it depends on the skill of the Dialogue Editor, and what tools they've got at hand. (read: depends on the budget/time they've got for post)

I just find it so infuriating that equipment specifically designed for the film industry is so NOISY!! For goodness sake, it should be obvious to everyone that it needs to be compatible with recording high quality audio as well!! Or are all the designers deaf? I can't believe that explanation, as that must mean every deaf person on the planet has gone and found themselves jobs as product designers for film gear companies. 

Of course it wouldn't matter if these were lights designed for DJs to use on the dance floor for weddings, who cares then? Because drunk wedding guests have far lower standards when it comes to subtle ambient noises than a Production Sound Mixer does, plus also you're blasting out LOUD MUSIC so nobody could hear your lights anyway even if they were as loud as a hairdryer!

But these lights are not for DJs, they're targeted for the film industry and out to be fit for purpose. 

  

On 7/18/2021 at 3:10 PM, barefoot_dp said:

I'm sure you're far more sensitive to these things than most of us here though!

Of course, one factor is that I'm wanting to do a high standard of work as audio is my specialty. 
Someone shooting a Tiktok video wouldn't even perceive there being any noise, let alone care!

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