Aputure just announced two neat little lights – the Amaran MX and F7. Even though these babies are small, they pack one hell of a punch! One of these suckers is built like a tank and the other is capable of max daylight of an ultra-cool 9500K. Wow! And this is some exciting news because when it comes to these little LEDs, the possibilities are endless. You can tape them to the wall, attach them to your camera, light a tight space, and on and on. When I was filming Need for Speed these things were a godsend! And now, finally, a follow-up to the old 198 and M9! It’s good to know that Aputure hasn’t forgotten about the small lights especially after the overwhelming success of the 300d, they can’t seem to keep those things on the shelf! With the Amaran MX and F7, they prove two major things: Tungsten is “still king” and small, compact LED lights can ignite pure power!
I don’t have to tell many of you how important it is to have a trusty LED source to work in tight situations. Such lights especially can prove extremely useful in cars. That’s why when I was filming Need for Speed, I would attach these babies in the dashboard to augment the light that was there naturally to light our talents’ profiles. But let’s take a closer look into the new face of the Aputure family.
THE AMARAN AL-MX:
Now, you’re probably familiar with Aputure’s highly popular M9 light. The Amaran MX light is the successor of the M9, but this new MX is seriously built. It is sturdily constructed utilizing tough aircraft aluminum, making it a durable light that can take an impact. This is good for a fast-moving set, or a shot where durability matters. With the light comes a quarter-twenty mount, making it simple to attach to pretty damn much anything! Remember, these are the types of lights that will be used in the most unconventional of ways. You’re going to tape them to the ceiling, throw them in your car dashboard and window frames, and they’re going to fall down. So they need to be built tough. These lights are going to be used in unconventional ways – taped to ceilings, car dashboards, window frames… you name it!
Not only that, Aputure boasts that the Amaran MX is the most powerful micro LED on the market – the MX is 3 times as bright as the M9, featuring 128 LEDs, and when using the “booster” function, it can temporarily output 4 times as much light as the M9 for about 60 seconds. And at half a meter away, just in case you were wondering, it claims over 1200 lux.
Something to also love about the new MX is its ability to easily change color temperature. It can easily swing from an ultra-warm 2800K to an ultra-cool 6500K. This is a useful bicolor feature that makes it essential when working with any color temperature.
So, some things to keep in mind… The metal of the MX adds both size and weight. If you’re looking for something small and compact, the MX’s robust size doesn’t usurp the M9s leaner more compact body. So, don’t go getting rid of your M9s just yet. Its battery is something to consider as well. With one full charge, the MX will last 5 hours at minimum power and 40 minutes at maximum power, so for your typical use it will hunker down somewhere in the middle. It also possesses an internal lithium battery and a USB-C cable which is becoming standard.
THE AMARAN AL-F7:
The Amaran F7 is also a follow-up to one of Aputure’s existing models – a light that is about as old as Aputure themselves: The Amaran 198C. The Amaran F7 is a dynamite innovation to this trusty old light and could prove to be quite handy as an on-camera light. Right away, we can discern that the F7 exudes a larger light than the MX and has 256 LEDs which is twice the amount of LEDs compared to the MX. That’s twice the punch!
This fixture is the first capable of max daylight by using LEDs of an ultra-cool 9500K, while also, the F7 is able to carefully set its center range at a perfect 5600K. I’ll tell you, we cinematographers used to really only have two options when it came to these lights. Bicolor or max output. The F7 has completely done away with that limitation!
Now when considering raw intensity of the light, the F7 utilizes Aputure’s signature honeycomb to pack an additional 58 LEDS on the board. That brings the amount of LEDs to a whopping 256! Also, when it comes to solving the bicolor dilemma, Aputure is on it. For the first time ever, a bicolor light has 100% brightness output when it is set to 5600K. I’m really digging the max daylight power capability of the F7!Strength and power isn’t the only thing that makes the F7 a must-have light. Unlike the 198C, the F7 is able to dim to a true 0%. Now, this is a HUGE deal. With other LEDs, you can read the brand claiming to be able to be dimmed to 0%, but when in practice we find it to not be the case. This is not the case with the Amaran F7, which delivers the goods.
The F7 is also powered through the D-Tap, or you can use Sony NP-F batteries. And, similar to the MX, it’s has a CRI and TLCI of more than 95. That said, another thing to consider about the physical build of the light is that it’s a bit of a cheaper build. Unlike the MX, the F7 does not have a strong metal build. That said, it shouldn’t hold you back from getting a few of these lights. They sure as hell will come in handy. And, oh baby! – they can perform!