Comparing the Aputure 300d to “Professional” Lighting – Joker 800, 2K Tungsten, ARRI 650


(upbeat music) – Hey guys, it’s Bart Johnson here and today I have an exciting video and overview for you guys. We’re gonna be taking a look at the Aputure 300d LED light, and seeing if it can compete with some pro-level lighting that’s been an industry
standard for years and years. Stay tuned. (upbeat music) So guys, like I said, I am really excited to be here today to talk to you about this guy right here. This is the Aputure 300d LED light. This is the latest from Aputure. It is the big boy top
of the line right now in their Light Storm series. And one of the big kickers about this is that it is a hard source,
single source LED light, and that it puts out a ton of power. Now when we first saw this at NAB, back in April at NAB 2017, I was there, got to talk with Ted about this light and about
some of its features. And while it looked incredibly amazing, what we really wanted to see is if their claims were true that this thing could
compete with the output of stuff like Tungsten 2K specifically is what they had mentioned. But also to see if this could fit in the line-ups of maybe
some small HMI lights, like Joker 400s and Joker 800s, and how it compares to
some traditional lighting that’s been used for decades and decades in the film industry. So I wanna take a look at that today. So this light, very similar
to its younger brother, the 120d, it’s basically about twice the size, and it comes with that
awesome Bowens mount on the front which allows you to put all sorts of
lighting modifiers on it. Right now, I have the Frenel attachment, which is sold separately, but I think really is a must to go along with this light if you wanna
get the most power out of it. So the light can be run either on AC power or on battery, but it
does pull a lot of juice. So you’re going to want to make sure that you have batteries
that are recommended to run this guy, and they’re still not
gonna last you all day. But it does all you the
mobility and portability that you may be looking
for with this light. And if you guys wanna know more about powering the 300d, both on AC and using battery power, go ahead and check out my video, I’ll pop a link to it for you guys. I have an entire video just on powering the 300d, and what you’re gonna need
to be able to do that. So let’s go ahead and let’s start looking at what this light can do, and see whether it’s just a high-end independent filmmaker tool, or if this is really starting to cross into the realm of being a contender to replace some standard lighting on pro-level shoots and industry shoots. So let’s take a look. Before we get into the testing and the results of the
testing on this guys, I do wanna just put the
disclaimer out there that this 300d was sent to
me for review and testing by Aputure. It is a full production model. I got it basically when
all of the production units were being shipped, but I did not buy this with my own money. They did send it over to me to check out, see what I thought of it, and really put it through its paces. Now I’m not sponsored by
Aputure or anything like that. I do tend to really like their products, and usually give them some thumbs-up, so let’s take a look and see if I really like this light as well. So a few weeks ago, I brought the 300d out and got together with my friends form GearJones, Derek Allen and Tim Wilson. And we got together a
giant lighting arsenal to spend the entire afternoon pitting all these lights
against each other and see how they stacked up. So in addition to the
300d, we had the 120d. We also had a 2K Tungsten, which was a beast of a light. We had an Arri 650, which is kind of your standard, run-of-the-mill tungsten kit light. And we also had a Joker HMI, a Joker 800. Now this is the one that
we really wanted to see how the 300d would stack up against. And so we ran all of these
lights through a test. What we did is we focused all of the lights directly on a single point on a wall, a plain wall from 10 feet away, so
our distance was 10 feet. And what we did is we went through running each of the lights, and testing with my spectrometer, my CB600 Colormeter, testing the CRI, TLCI, lux, and also the color temperature, to see how accurate each
of these lights really were and to see what kind of power
we could get out of them at that 10 foot range. We tested each of the lights
in a variety of setups. So we did the 300d with the
dish that it comes with. We also did it with the Frenel attachment, both in Spot mode and in Flood mode. And so we have results for all of those different situations, and to see how it stacked up and compared to some of these traditional
lighting sources. So let’s go ahead and dive in to some of the results, guys. So first, let’s go ahead and look at the results for
the light in question here, the Aputure 300d. So like I said, we tested
this with the dish, the Frenel attachment on full Flood, and the Frenel attachment on full Spot. And here you can see
the results that we got from each of those tests. So this is a daylight-balanced light, and you could see where
those color temperatures are falling in a range from around 5100 all the way up to about 5400. And it does look like
the Frenel attachment does make a bit of a difference
in the color temperature. So that’s something to keep in mind. You can also see here the lux, from 10 feet, with all of those. Obviously the Frenel attachment gives it a big boost and allows it to throw a bit more light. Surprisingly here, we were getting numbers of around 94 for the CRI and TLCI, both with the Frenel
attachment and without. Now while these numbers are a bit lower than the 96 or whatever it was that Aputure is claiming for this, and we were a little disappointed to see it down there in the 94 range, keep in mind that 94 is
still an excellent score, and so anything over 90
is really gonna give you pretty color-accurate light, and it’s gonna recreate colors accurately. So 94, not as impressive as we were hoping that it was going to be. But still a good score in its own right. Now of course, like I said, we wanted to pit this against some of our industry standard lights. So we had a Joker 800 HMI, which we had set to Flood. We had an Arri 650 which we set to Flood. Then we also had a 2K Tungsten which we set to both Flood and Spot. Now like I said, Aputure claimed that the 300d would have output basically equivalent to a 2K Tungsten, so here’s where we’re gonna see if those claims are accurate. So as you can see guys, when
we put these results here from those test up on the screen, we are actually getting really close in terms of lux at 10 feet from a Joker 800 HMI on Flood to the Aputure 300d with the
Frenel attachment on Flood. Now the 300d, when it’s
on Spot, does beat out that Joker 800, at least at 10 feet. Now when you look at the
2K Tungsten on Flood, it is definitely beating. It is over 1200 lux more, just about 1200 lux more than
the 2K Tungsten at Flood. So based on those numbers and based on both lights being set to Flood, and with the 300 having
the Frenel attachment, yes, this light is actually more powerful, at 10 feet, with this attachment, than a 2K Tungsten. And that is impressive, considering the small
form factor of this light compared to the size of
those old 2K Tungstens. Now if you look at the 2K Tungsten when we set that guy to Spot, however, there’s just absolutely no beating it. I mean 14,308 lux, that is ridiculous. So on Spot, it’s gonna take a lot in order to beat a 2K Tungsten. But on Flood, I would say we’re looking pretty
good with the 300d here. Now like I had mentioned, we also brought along the
sort of younger brother, smaller version of the
300d, which is the 120d. And we wanted to put
those against each other. Obviously, we’re expecting that the 300d is going to be
a lot brighter than the 120d. Nobody expects them to compete there, but I just wanted to
give everybody an idea of where the 120d falls in that spectrum, and letting you know exactly how much more power this one is putting out. So if we look here, here’s the two side-by-side. You can see the 300d results, and you can see the 120d results. So if you had any questions about how those two from the same family stack up against each other, there’s your answer right there. Now guys, I know that’s a lot of numbers, and we did a lot of testing, and that can be a lot to go through just quickly on the screen, so what I’ve actually done is put together a spreadsheet of all of the numbers from all of our tests. And I’ve put them together
and I’ve made them available for you to download. So there’s a Google doc
that you can download of that spreadsheet. I’ll put a link in the
description down below so you guys an go ahead and check that out and compare some of the other lights that we also tested as well. Because we lined up a
whole bunch of lights because we had them with us, so why not? So go ahead and check that out guys. And check out the numbers
and results for yourself. Now of course sitting and testing numbers and seeing how many lux from 10 feet, and CRI and TLCI and all that stuff, is great but it can get
a little bit boring. Nobody is buying this light to stick a color meter in front of it and use it that way. So what we really wanna know is, how would this perform in real-world use? So what we did is we were lucky enough to be given a great location. My friends over at GearJones were able to make the connections and get us a local boxing gym, little MMA gym. And what we did is we set up a mock scene, something that we might do
on a real set in real life. And what we wanted to see specifically was how the 300d compared
to that Joker 800. We knew got comparable numbers at 10 feet, but does that mean the lights could really stand up to one another? Could one of these actually
replace a Joker 800 on set? And so we got this entire scene set up, we pumped some haze into the room. We had our fighter go in and do some shadow-boxing and fighting. And what we did was we
set the lights up outside, one story up, coming in through a window to try and give us a nice
punchy shaft of light coming down into the scene. And what we found is that the 300 did perform extremely well. It gave us a nice beam coming down, it bounced off of that haze really well and the shots ended up looking fantastic. But when we did the same
test with the Joker 800, the Joker 800 still eked
out the 300 in our opinion. It seemed to have a
much more defined beam. It seemed to have a bit more punch. And so this is a longer
distance than 10 feet where we did our test, and it seems like the Joker
can really throw light a greater distance before
it starts falling off. And so that’s kinda disappointing that this won’t be a
perfect non-distinguishable replacement for something
like a Joker HMI. Maybe a Joker 400 would be a little bit more comparable to this. But in a pinch, and if you’re on a budget, and you’re trying to
get equipment for a set and you need to do some shots like that, and you just can’t afford
to get a set of Joker 800s, I think personally, you could get by with a set of 300ds to pull off that same kind of thing. So I’ll put that footage
up again for you guys so you can see side-by-side how the 300d and the Joker
800 compare to each other in this real-world scenario here. But you can see there
is still a difference and the LED technology, as great as it is in the 300d, it just isn’t quite there yet to really replace the tried and true HMIs, specifically like the Joker 800s. So there you go guys. There are the long-awaited test results from the testing that I did with the 300d here from Aputure, along with my friends over at GearJones. Big thanks to the guys at GearJones for getting a lot of those
other lights together, and for getting our location where we were able to do
those awesome, awesome tests. So guys, all in all, this is an extremely impressive light. For the price, and for what it is, and for LED technology and for how fast LED has developed, and also how far Aputure themselves have developed LED technology, I think the 300d has really
knocked it out of the park. While it sort of
disappointed us a little bit in those CRI numbers, and it doesn’t quite have
the punch or the throw, you know, those things are probably only gonna get improved
going into the future. So if you guys have any other questions about the 300d, please feel free to pop them down in the comments below, and I’ll make sure the check them out and try and answer them for you. I’m gonna be making sure this guy gets lots of use on lots of projects that I have coming up, and get some more
real-world use out of it. But guys, make sure that you go ahead and like this video and click
down below to subscribe. Make sure you click
that notification bell, so that you get alerted every time I have new videos coming out, and new products to
review, new tips and tricks and all that sort of good stuff. So stay tuned guys, and I’ll see you guys in the next one. (upbeat music)

85 thoughts on “Comparing the Aputure 300d to “Professional” Lighting – Joker 800, 2K Tungsten, ARRI 650

  1. Flood is a pretty broad term. I think you should be more specific with beam angles at least.

  2. Thank you for this! Great info in the pdf! And for the price of a Joker 800w you can buy 6 of these 300d! 😉

  3. Bought 6 of these babies. I like how small it is, now i can set space lights in smaller rooms

  4. Good job Bart. We've been waiting quite a while to see what this light will do.

  5. And thanks for the info on other lights. By the way, with the Came Boltzen lights, were you testing the 30w or the 55w?

  6. The way these leds are designed can’t really compare to traditional lights due to the way light is being distributed/collected upon emission. Older lights used parabolic reflectors and such to achieve such throw and efficiency. Just slapping on that fresnel attachment doesn’t make it a fresnel. Fresnels ultilized reflectors and onmi sources. You would have to have a better designed modifier to achieve more concentrated light from an 300d. There’s long throw reflectors, but you would need a custom mounting for max efficiency. I would consider these a high power broad source. I wouldn’t compare these to long throw razor sources.

  7. I'd say the light is ok (wouldn't use myself due to the low r9 values) but that fresnel is a bit lame. If you compare it with the jocker you should use an equivalently well made modifier.

  8. Hey Bart, Thanks for the work on this! Super informative! I have two questions: 1. With your 10 feet light test, it looks like the 300d looks like it's light has a magenta cast on top and green cast on the bottom in the clips where you overlay your data, for example 5:49. Have you figured out why that is? 2. I'm wondering about the boxing ring comparison of the 300d to the joker. One variable that's not mentioned is the amount of smoke you had in the air, which it looks like there was more haze with the 300d test (not being able to see much brick detail in the far corner), than there was with the Joker (being able to see a lot of brick detail in the far corner). I'm wondering if this greater amount of smoke diffused the 300d light more than the joker light, rendering softer shadows and a weaker throw?

  9. Hi, thanks for the video but why don't you talk about the green colour cast or measure that with your light metre. Isn't that the reason for the lower TLCI and CRI scores (as the Aputure quoted figures are for the pre production model with out the green colour cast).For real world comparisons ie skin tones thats a pretty important thing to know about, not least when comparing it to lights that don't have that. Apart from the real world power the colour cast was the main thing I was looking out for in your video. The colour cast, lack of objective metered readings, is the main thing putting me off buying the 300d.

  10. Great work, thanks for making this! 🙂 Our video will come out Tuesday, making a whole horror film with just the 300D and two reflectors.

  11. This is amazing. I feel like I should pay you some how. The excel sheet is beyond awesome haha! Thanks guys!

  12. I couldn't help but notice the level of haze difference between the two shots in the boxing ring scene. That being said, I'm thinking that it may well have played a big roll in the shape/punch of the beam. What really gets me excited about these is the low power draw, no worries about blowing fuses onset or even needing to plug them in for that matter.

  13. I bought a 300D and it definitely doesn't have as hard of a cut as I expected. I wonder if there is a better bowens fresnel out there that would increase the hardness of the beam. Using it with a hard cookie it doesn't come close the pattern from a lowel pro light or omni in definition of the pattern on the 300D with the fresnel the pattern is kinda blurred which was a shock.

  14. ….that unit has green fringing, too!….hope, Aputure will come out with a fix soon..

  15. Lets not forget… The Joker 800, for a single light kit on B&H Photo is roughly $6,400USD. You can get 4 or 5 Aputure 300D's for the same price and have an amazing kit.

  16. Hard to beat price of 300D and it's flexibility. The Joker is great light, but for 6k it should at least have a handle. Great demo! Thank you.

  17. Awesome review loaded w/ info and examples. I have a question, Am I reading the Google doc correctly ? The Came-Tv 55w beat out the Aputure Mini20 in both output and accuracy ? ? thanks keep up the good work.

  18. This is a great video, thanks for this. It's not a light I can afford today but it's some I might have to save up for. I was thinking of getting the Came Tv LED fresnel – I see you test that in your spreadsheet, I'll have to check the result

    Purchases like this are a big deal to me, I have to take care to spend wisely, – like everyone else watching this – so videos like yours are a godsend

    Good work mate thanks

  19. Would of been nice to see how it stacked up against two converged Aputure 120d lights as the 300d nearly twice the price?

  20. This is a great test and Thank you for the work and effort. It definitely doesn't totally overtake a Joker 800 but I got to see where this will come in handy. Definitely worth picking up a set of these. (less heat output, portable/less power, way less expensive as well)

  21. "kind of disappointing" that 1000$ light can't beat the joker 800 which is $6000 ?

  22. Nicely reviewed. Thanks for putting this together. The COB LED lights are the future of lighting instruments. I'm glad to see them getting more powerful and improving their color spectrum. I'm guessing there will be a bunch of unused HMI's sitting on the grip trucks in the near future.

  23. Great video. How do the cheaper aputure LED like the HR672 and AL-M9 compare to the 300D and 120D? A lot less power obviously, but how much less?

  24. Can you talk about mixing the 300d with the 120d? Its 6000K vs 5500K – will this result in a difficult, mixed light? Especialy if one person is hit by these 2 lights. Should I opt for multiple 300ds or multiple 120ds? Or can i mix?

  25. Super review, thanks for showing in a real-world​ use case, so nice to compare with other lights as well.

  26. excelent review
    I wish you could do the same with the Intellytech "light canon"
    which seems like an intersting light that is being overlooked

  27. I’m thinking about buying 300d and could you please tell what’s the benefit of a single 300d vs a couple of 120d? Am I losing anything if I just use a couple of 120d instead of a single 300d?
    120d is 2x cheaper, plus having 2 of them is more flexible than a single 300d, for example one could be used for key light and another for backlight, or both could be combined in a single key light.

  28. How does light fall off at different rates. The inverse square law applies to both LED and HMI and any other light source. It is still light. I think the measuring isn't accurate or the measuring tool isn't accurate. You can't have variable light depreciation. It's physics. Unless I am missing something.

  29. Thanks for compete test! Is it fluttering on 240fps?

  30. My concern is electronics. Jokers are great because you can pound nails with the ballast and they keep performing. The Aputure has an electronic box– that means many more points of failure. I can't imagine it will take the pounding that the heavier gear takes being moved from location to location.

  31. I think your test with the smoke is not accurate! Because you didn.t used the same amount of smoke on both setup! We can see that you used more smoke with the led…so it is more diffused than the hmi with less smoke. But thank you for all your test.

  32. A few points:
    1. Comparing the spot/flood of the 300d to a tungsten 2K fresnel is useless unless the circle of light is a similar size with both lights. In other words the 2K probably has a wider spot to flood range. Light levels diminish as a light is flooded so if one light can flood (spread) more then the another it will measure lower. If the 300D at 10 feet at full flood created a circle of light 10 foot across the 2K at 10 feet might make a circle of light 10 feet across at only 1/2 or 3/4 flood resulting in higher readings. The same holds true for spotting both lights.

    2. A tungsten 2K fresnel’s color temp is 3200k, the 300D is 5600 ( or close). If you needed to use 3200k in a scene you would have to gel the 300D resulting in a much lower reading then the 2K. The reverse is also true.

  33. Do you think the Leko mount would help the 300d cut through the fog more like the joker 800?
    Brightness aside, a more defined beam like the 800 could be enough to sell the direct sunlight look.

  34. all the problem is the quality of your fresnel, if you get a better one, with tight spot, you will get the same numbers like the 2K and you will get the same effect on that scene

  35. I love your reviews, Bart. This was extremely informative and extremely neutral; great combo!

    In future light reviews, I wish you would mention what camera you're shooting on. Aperture and ISO information would be welcome, too. Part of judging a light is trying to figure out if it is bright enough, and we need to know camera sensitivity to judge.

    Just a minor critique; don't let it take away from a feeling of accomplishment… great test!

  36. You will see a real difference in skin rendering – not just color – between any Joker and a 300D. Skin is a complex thing, and a very high CRI/TCLI instrument will shade differently, not just color differently. You can't fix shading issues in a color grade – because CRI and TCLI affect the perceived shape and texture of a face – it's not just a matter of a color being a bit too green or whatever.  A 120D, while still inferior to a top-tier HMI, is far, far better for lighting skin, for this reason.

    Also, the comparison you make is not really awesome. You're comparing the optics quality of the 69 dollar Bowens fresnel mount with a Joker 800 reflector and lens combination. This is not the same as comparing the lightsources themselves fed though identical modifiers. This is why proper tech readings are not, in fact, boring – they are useful, while "real world shots" are rarely so, because there are often too many external variables.

    Speaking of variables, the shape of a light emitter is also important. A joker Bug is an ideal shape for most kinds of modifiers, and on top of it k5600 makes many customs modifiers that are awesome, and that you cannot use with any other light.

    Now I'm not saying that the 120D is not great value – what I am saying is that you do, to some extent, get what you pay for. With a Joker you will get better light spread and much better skin shading. As a result your productions will, in fact, look better using Jokers. Whether that's worth the extra money and power draw is another issue. On our productions my answer is yes, most but not all of the time. Certainly just as a backlight, or fed through a strong party gel, the 120D is fine. But as a keylight, give me a Joker any day of the week.

  37. that is a fair test… and for many ppl that aputure light will be great… the 800 has a bit more juice.. but the aputure seems to perform great

  38. Thanks for the info. Answered my questions I was wondering.. I'm picking one up soon !

  39. Cool comparison and thanks for putting in the work. Seems like a decent light for the money and certainly a little more flexible than an HMI in terms of easy usage so a little upside there. Agree about the throw of the light, but I’m glad to see we’re finally getting some options!

  40. 12:35 – Isn't this more an example of the light modifiers used and less about the light generator/source itself?

  41. great comparison! loved it and helps me understand better when it compared with the 800w joker. Deserve a sub!

  42. Now that Aputure release the Fresnel 2X… It would be interesting how it fair versus the Joker 800 HMI ! Based on what they say they improved on it, that it would 'fix' the complaint of it in this comparison.

  43. to be fair, the beam on the spot 2k tungsten was so much narrower than the 300, i suppose it has something to do with the glass each one uses, the adapter did not replicated the punchy spot the tungsten has.

  44. Check out the Genaray Powerhouse 330W LED Monolight with Bowens Mount for $999 USD, sometimes on sale for $799 USD. That one looks promising!!!

  45. I think that one major aspect of this test that seemed to be ignored is the fall off rate differences between the joker 800 and 300d. Long live joker and the joleko! ?

  46. It would be interesting to see how much difference the new fresnel mount from Aputure makes in these tests

  47. How many lux does the Joker 800 provide in the full spot mode (in your 10 feet test)?

  48. That's 2K Tungsten??
    I had a 2K tungsten and it wasnt big. That looks like the size of a 4K tungsten.

  49. The only thing better than this light is your video. Despite the fair points others have made I am appreciate of the content. You were great on camera bro cheers

  50. I'm surprised how "little" the fresnel attachment does really, I think the application of the fresnel attachment is almost an afterthought, a, "well it works on other lights, so lets make one" without actually designing the fresnel/lens for the 300d LED module

  51. seriously edit the rambling out ! this could be 5-6 min of solid moving content. as for the comparison, a joker or kobold 400 would of been the right comparison. the flood comparisons should of had about the same size of coverage. most fresnel's are rated about 1/4 in from full flood too 🙁

  52. the flod on the 2k tungsten flod is much broader, so that is inconclusive

  53. Maybe the new 300d mk ii with the new 2x Fresnel can compete with the spotted 2k

  54. No verbal mention of the green ring of doom and the overall drubbing in cri and tlci the aputure took by the pro lights makes you lame, thumbs down.

  55. 12 min in – boxing ring test – Would the time in-between shots matter concerning the atmosphere? If you shot the Joker first then the atmosphere would be very concentrated and if there was a longer reset time and more atmosphere dropped in it seems like the mist would fall off and start to fill the entire room giving the 300D a wider range of mist in the air that it bounces off of, opposed to the desired spotlight/ light ray effect. Thoughts?

  56. Be interesting to see how the 300d MKII competes with the JOker with the boxing shot

  57. Great and very informative video, thank you @Bart Johnson
    What is your opinion on the color acuracy? Especial if you shoot things that are VERY critical when it comes down to precise colors. Is the Aputure still a good pick, compared to the very high CRI numbers from the Tungsten and HMI? Thank you

  58. Hi Bart! Great review! But what about fan? Sound dept. would come crazy or not? Thanks

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