Aputure have two super compact lights ready for NAB 2018. The Aputure $149 Amaran MX, and the $98 Amaran F7 lights are available from March 30th. Both lights naturally feature CRI and TLCI ratings of over 95+.
Check out the Aputure Press releases for the Amaran MX and F7 lights.
The Amaran MX is the older brother of the Amaran M9, with the X in MX standing for 10.
With each rendition, we’re always trying to break records and we’re proud to say that we’ve done it again with the MX. Numerous sources have already named the Amaran MX the brightest tiny LED ever. And this news emerged when the Amaran MX was still only a prototype, first hinted at IBC 2017 trade show in Amsterdam.
While the plastic build of the original M9 was designed to be as light and thin as possible, the aircraft aluminum build of the MX is alternatively designed to be as robust and powerful as it can be. This is a tool that we designed for higher end film sets and commercial shoots where the teams are used to throwing around their gear and having multiple hands on the same equipment. The idea was to finally design a high-end and concealable light that large sets and owner-operators alike could use on their shoots.
In addition to providing the most sturdy build we’ve ever made in this size, the metal housing of MX doubles as a highly effective heat-sink—resulting in a light that is not only LED powered, but also silent, without fans and insanely bright. I need to say that last one again. Both the MX and F7 are insanely bright. In fact in their respective sizes and to this date, there is not a commercially viable LED that compares in terms of output.
But just how bright is the MX? It has 128 LEDs packed onto the surface size of a credit card. The Amaran MX is 3x as bright as the already popular Amaran M9. This is also without factoring in the MX’s new BOOSTER function. The BOOSTER function, which can be turned on with the press of a button, gives the operator another 30% push of output on top of the light’s maximum illumination. That means that the MX with BOOSTER mode on is 4x as bright as M9. It should be noted though that this function only lasts for a 60 second duration though. This time limit protects the LED color fidelity, a quality that can fade when a light is stressed for too long.
Speaking of color, the Amaran MX bring a key feature that the previous never had. The MX is fully bi-color, built with alternating LEDs that can be adjusted anywhere between 2800k and 6500k. And in terms of color fidelity, the MX falls into the same upper echelon of Aputure Lighting Products. The MX has a TLCI and CRI of 95+.
In terms of battery life and powering solutions, we made the MX as easy to use as possible. One of the most common complaints we hear about cinema equipment is not only about how many pieces there are, but also how easy it can be to lose essential and often extremely niche parts. We designed the MX to simplify all of that. With an internal lithium battery, the MX is a light that requires zero cables or external parts to power it. On a single charge, this battery powers the MX at maximum power for 40 minutes and at minimum power for over 5 hours. To charge the light, it only takes one cable—a standard 5v USB C cable, which is considered by many to be one of the most common cables today. But of course, we give you one too.
In addition to that cable, we include a simple micro-mesh carrying case that’s large enough to hold the light and any other small accessories you may need with it. We also include small pre-cut pieces of velcro so you can begin mounting the MX anywhere you might need it to go. And that’s a key point to mention because at the end of the day and like the Amaran M9, the Amaran MX isn’t designed to fulfill any singular purpose.
The Amaran M9 was designed because we had a random customer ask us if Aputure could design a “Lighting Up Index Card”. When we asked him what he intended to use the light for, he didn’t really have a good answer. In fact, he didn’t have one at all. All he said was that he would “figure it out” and “do something cool to do with it.”
To this day, we’ve seen Amaran M9’s get used all kinds of commercials, films and music videos. I’ve seen it mounted on the bottom of skateboards, behind beer glasses and inside refrigerators. When purchased in bulk, we’ve seen them lined up the inside of ring lights, art exhibits and and British phone booths. Literally everyone we’ve given the light to has “figured it out.” And everyday without fail, we see a new Aputure user “doing something cool with it”. So as a homage and to pay our respects to that first user with the idea, we still print “Lighting Up” on all of our boxes.
The Amaran F7 is the long-awaited upgrade to one of our oldest products—the Amaran 198.
Some quick history, but the Amaran 198 is the first product that put Aputure on the map. Prior to being Aputure, we used to OEM for others—and while we can’t say names, there reached a point that we were making the on-camera lights for many of the biggest camera manufacturers. It was at this point that we decided to come out as our own brand. And it was at this point that we released the Amaran, the first Aputure light.
Part of what’s so fun about having OEM’ed for so many brands is that we’ve already seen and made our Amaran lights for filmmakers all over the world. And in the case of on-camera lights, we’re absolute experts. The beginning of our origin story if you will. And with the Amaran F7, we’re using that expertise to build upon an already famous design to make it even better. We’ve never shown the F7 to the public or even hinted at it. So if you have one right now, it is without a doubt a prototype. And only one of an extremely small limited number that exist.
The Amaran F7 does everything that the Amaran 198 does, but better. With 256 LEDs packed into a slightly longer, but almost identical surface area, the F7 is 3x brighter than the Amaran 198c at 5500k. That said, even though it is significantly brighter, the build of the F7 has been carefully designed and compacted to be only half the size of the 198 in depth. The result is an impossibly thin on-camera LED with more output than ever.
But in addition to improving upon the key features of the 198, the F7 is also capable of several features that other fixtures in that the entire Amaran series has only dreamed of:
1. 100% Output AND BiColor . One of the most common dilemmas that filmmakers have have when buying LED is whether they want the bicolor lights or daylight so they can maximize the output of their fixtures. Bi-Color lights generally only have 50% of the output of a similar daylight panel because they alternate every other LED between 3200k and 5600k, but the ability to change color temperature on the fly has proven to be essential for many filmmakers that are used to working in fast-paced environments. The Amaran F7 solves this problem by adjusting the color range of the LEDs from 3200k to a whopping 9500k. This places the middle color temperature at a perfect 5600k, meaning that for the first time ever, filmmakers have a bi-color light that still has a 100% brightness daylight output for when they need that extra kick.
2. Dim to Zero Percent. LED has opened an entire world of dimmable lighting. In prior days to dim a tungsten light, it required using an external dimmer that literally squeezed the amount of electricity that powered a fixture. While this was effective at lowering the intensity, it also often made the light a nasty red hue because of the way the lighting filament reacted to less power. Fortunately, LEDs have solved that problem by now. But for years, have still been facing an entirely different issue—how do you make a light that can dim to zero without any impact on the color fidelity? Well it’s taken us years, but with the Amaran F7, we’re proud to say that we’ve done it. Now if 10% is too bright, which it often is in low-light shooting scenarios, shooters using the F7 now have the ability to dim anywhere from 0-9% as well.
3. Aputure Designed Ball – Head Mount. Back in our OEM days, we heard literally every complaint about poor quality stands, mounting brackets or magic arms that were often included with gear purchases. To solve this, it took a significant amount of work, but designed our own ball-head mount. It’s made with an extremely industrial and durable design with a clear goal of making a mounting accessory that we could proudly put our name on.
4. D-Tap. While both the Amaran F7 and MX can be used as on-camera lights, the F7 is designed specifically to be the ULTIMATE on-camera light in both form factor and function. We spent a ton of time talking to ENG shooters asking them what their needs were for a light. And in addition to the key functions listed above, the biggest request that we got was to add D-Tap as a powering solution. This is due to the nature of ENG shooting where shoulder camera operators almost always have either a V-Mount or Gold-Mount battery powering their camera system. The D-Tap input on the F7 means that this light can be powered from the very same source, simultaneously.
And then there’s everything that we’re fortunate enough to say people already expect from us:
1. Color Fidelity – The F7 is just like the rest of the Aputure line-up in terms of color quality and a TLCI and CRI of 95+.
2. Casing Included – Included with the F7 is a tripod style case designed to house the F7 in as small, but safe as a package as possible. We spoke to many ENG shooters who told us that they expected to pack the case of their on-camera LEDs inside of a larger camera backpack so the goal here was to make the case as small as possible for this purpose.
3. Battery Powerable – Like many of the other Amaran lights, we chose to power the F7 off of Sony NP-F batteries—the most common and standard lightweight battery used in the film industry.
4. Aputure Support & Customer Service – The Aputure Support Page and User Group are basically where we live these days. In addition to gathering feedback and talking with the Aputure family, we take care of our customers here too. Obviously gear should never fail, but if and when it does, we want to make it clear that everyone can know where to find us.
The Aputure Amaran F7 is available March 30th. Pricing is set to $98.