In my humble opinion, one of the most
important and useful tools in the lighting
arsenal is the Fresnel light.
One of the unique features of the Fresnel
is ability of the lens in front of the light
to diffuse the illumination. Focusability
also goes hand-in-hand with the Fresnel, as
you’re able to go from flood to spot and
back again with the twist of a knob.
There are some drawbacks with the Fresnel
fixture though: you lose some of the
light output due to the lens, they generate
lots of heat, and they consume lots of power.
However, that has all changed with the
introduction of Zylight’s new F8 Fresnel.
The instrument uses LED technology to
eliminate most all of the problems associated
with conventional Fresnel devices
such as high power consumption, talent
discomfort due to the heat generated, expensive
lamp bulbs with a short life, and a
large physical footprint.
Light emitting diode technology is not
new; many manufacturers are using LEDs in
lighting instruments. The only real drawback
to this technology is that the LED falloff is
very rapid. LEDs function well close to the
subject, but once you move a few feet away,
the light’s output is drastically reduced.
Zylight has overcome this problem with
the introduction of their first LED Fresnel,
the F8. All LED fixtures aren’t created equal.
Zylight utilizes Quantum Dot LED technology,
which in layman’s terms, means that
the LED’s illumination is more accurate in
producing lifelike skin tones and greater
color depth retention. The color retention
index (CRI) of the F8 is listed at 97.
The F8 (named for the diameter of the
unit) is 8-inches in diameter
and is available
in either daylight (5600
degree K) or tungsten
(3200 degree K) color
temperatures. Its associated
door mounts and dismounts
easily to shape
the light pattern. The F8
itself is extremely compact
in that it is a mere
3.5-inches deep. When
changing from flood
to spot, the unit’s “bellows”
extends the light
from 3.5 to 9-inches.
The glass lens in the front of the instrument
is just that—real glass that diffuses
the light for the softer look for which Fresnel
lights are known.
At the rear top of the light is the focusing
knob which easily changes the light
beam emitted from flood to spot. As the focus
knob is rotated, the bellows extends or
contracts to move the light source closer
to or farther from the lens.
There’s a five-pin DMX input with a rotary
adjustment knob directly above it. The
unit also can be controlled remotely via
the wireless Zylink link.
Directly below the Zylight nameplate
is an OLED screen for displaying the unit’s
output in percent. At the center of the back
is a 14.4 Volt battery plate for Anton/Bauer-type
batteries. There’s also a four-pin AC/
DC input for feeding power from either
a battery pack cable or the included AC
The F8 is water resistant and extremely
well built. It weighs only 12 pounds, including
the yoke. The power input is 90
Watts and with that you get more light
output than with a 650 Watt tungsten
bulb fixture. This makes for an extremely
bright light with miniscule power consumption.
The focus range of the F8 is 16–70 degrees.
The F8 unit I received for review was
the daylight model. Most lighting units at
our school are daylight balanced, allowing
their use with window illumination.
I found the F8 easy to use and set up
directly out of the box. My testing began
by shooting some footage at 60 fps with
a Canon EOS C100 and using the F8 as my
only source of illumination.
Some of my work required early morning
sunlight, midday light, and moonlight
indoor illumination. The F8 handled all of
Outdoors, the F8 was perfect as a fill
light as it was daylight balanced. I used
makeshift cardboard venetian blinds as a
cookie, with the Zylight acting as the sun.
Changing the color temperature on the
camera and focusing the F8’s beam to spot
or flood allowed me to be a one man crew.
I was fortunate to also be able to shoot a
documentary with the Zylight F8 as the only
lighting unit. The talent, a 103-year old woman,
had had difficulty with the bright lights
that most video crews had used around
her when recording, and asked me not to
point the light directly at her. I set up the F8
about eight feet from her and dimed its output
down to 40 percent. I got great images
and she was thrilled. (I suppose that Zylight
could use her testimonial in their brochures
saying that the Zylight F8 is recommended
and approved by a 103-year old.)
I really couldn’t find much not to like
about this lighting instrument. If you only
have one light with which to illuminate your
environment, make sure it’s a Fresnel, and
make sure that that Fresnel is the Zylight F8.
Chuck Gloman is chair and associate
professor of the TV/Film department at
DeSales University. He may be contacted
Any studio or location shooting
where a compact, very bright,
noise-free and low-heat focusable
lighting fixture is required
Low power consumption, light
weight, long-life LED light source,
produces very little heat, adjustable
barn doors, daylight- or
tungsten-balanced models available