A Modular LED Panel Kit
Easy to pack, easy to move. A solo filmmaker’s dream. Here’s an in-depth review of the Aptolux MP-1. Specs included.
Since I reviewed the original Aputure Lightstorm way back in 2015, my inbox has never had a week where I haven’t received a review request. The crazy thing is, it’s often a product that isn’t related to filmmaking in the slightest, such as knock-off Italian watches, pressure cookers, and even coat hangers (?).
However, every so often, I have a manufacturer reach out that offers an incredibly unique product and, most recently, that was Aptolux.
The Latvian company has developed a modular LED light panel kit, and its portability is something to be praised. They’ve created a kit that can easily fit into a lunchbox, but when combined, it has a 12,000 lx rating at 1m.
Visual information for a lot of businesses nowadays is everything. But, the filming process usually requires moving from one location to another. Solo videographers and small teams have to bring their gear by themselves, but space in the backpack or even in the car is often limited.
So, the difficult choice should be made—whether to bring all the lighting equipment, if it is even possible, or choose only a few lights, losing the flexibility, and even quality while filming? The solution created by Aptolux won’t force them to make tough decisions anymore.
The Aptolux MP-1 light panel kit is a modular light system that consists of six panels, and the panels attach and detach quite efficiently using a twist mechanism. They can be combined together in different shapes and forms, entirely dependent on the filmmaker, the situation, and premises.
And, they don’t have to be connected. You can individually place lights around the room, provided they’re powered by either battery or AC adapter.
The most notable factor is the light’s portability. At 27×9.5 cm, you can fit the entire selection of lights into a lunchbox.
The creator and CEO of Aptolux, Alvis Rozenbergs says,
Before developing the product, more than 100 videographers from all around the world were invited to take part in the concept establishing process. They were sharing their needs and experiences with video lighting.
After the prototype presentation, more than 500 videographers worldwide put their hand in improving the product even more with their feedback and suggestions. The long-term goal of the company is to offer gear that removes restrictions, nourishes creativity, and helps videographers evolve.
I have been filming for over ten years now. Shooting in different locations has always been a big part of the job, and trips between them can be challenging. Carrying bags with all the necessary equipment or having to make a choice among all lighting options wasn’t always easy, so I decided to build portable and versatile video lights myself.
– Alvis Rozenbergs, Creator and CEO of Aptolux
- Color temperature: 3000 to 6000K
- Color modes: Full RGB Tuning
- Color accuracy: CRI 96, TLCI 97
- Mounting options: 4×1/4″ threads
- Light effects: 30x Animated Effects
- Cooling system: Passive
- Dimming: 0 to 100%
- Battery plate: Sony L-Series (NP-F)
- Power source: AC Adapter, Sony NP-F
- Size (single panel): 27 x 9.5 cm / 10.6 x 3.7 in
- Max power consumption: 20W
- Brightness: 2000 lm
- Number of LEDs: 39
- Max power consumption: 120W
- Brightness: 12000 lm
- Number of LEDs: 234
The batteries used are the standard Sony NP-F batteries. And, while each panel has a battery slot, you don’t need to add a battery to every individual panel. However, and perhaps somewhat obvious, the more panels added, the more power drained from the singular battery.
Given the portable nature of the kit, carrying around a dozen NP-F batteries somewhat defeats the purpose of being a nimble solo shooter. Therefore, in the roadmap for the lights is the addition of a D-tap so that you can power more significant and more power-consuming builds with a V-mount battery.
Initially, the lights felt somewhat plasticky and that they wouldn’t withstand any form of damage if they were accidentally nudged off of a table. However, the models I had were the prototype series. As noted in the video interview, the production models will be built from more robust plastic, as well as having several design additions to the lights to make them more efficient for transport.
I haven’t had time to fully use the lights to provide a suitable review and see how the lights work under duress and various conditions, but we’ll see that in the coming weeks.
However, I can say from the limited use I’ve had with the lights that I’ll always bring at least two panels with me in my laptop compartment.
The MP-1 kit is currently available for pre-order (in a Kickstarter-like fashion) from Aptolux’s website, and these pre-orders are open until the 18th. After that, there’s a limited batch of pre-orders being accepted.
- The MP-1 starter kit costs $300 (pre-order price)
- The MP-1 medium kit costs $600 (pre-order price)
- The MP-1 full kit costs $850 (pre-order price)
A few more lighting tips, tricks, and advice:
Cover image via Aptolux.
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