ARRI Fresnel 3-Light Kit Review

I recently took this ARRI Fresnel 3-Light kit for a spin while shooting a couple of interviews.  I was seriously impressed with the ease of use and overall performance while working with these ARRI fresnel lights.

ARRI Fresnel 3-Light Kit Contents

  • ARRI 150 Watt Fresnel Light
  • ARRI 350 Watt Plus Fresnel Light
  • ARRI 650 Watt Plus Fresnel Light
  • (3) AS-01 Light Stands
  • (3) Full Double Scrims (1 for each light)
  • (3) Full Single Scrims (1 for each light)
  • (3) Barndoor Sets (1 for each light)
  • (3) Lamps (1 for each light)
  • Rolling Case

One thing that a lot of photographers and those new to video may not appreciate is just how hot these tungsten lamps get.  And I’m not talking about a “Man, those are pretty hot” kind of heat, but a “You could be seriously injured if you don’t exercise the appropriate care when using these” kind of heat.  So, exercise caution when handling these or other tungsten lights.

Note that, these types of lights don’t come with a dimmer switch.  So, 300 watts is 300 watts.  As I understand from those more experienced than I, using a dimmer on these tungsten bulbs affects the the color temperature of the light, which is something that you just can’t compromise on when you are using a multi-light setup.

Fortunately, ARRI includes a full single scrim and a full double scrim for each light in the kit.  In close quarters, these are a necessity – else you will nuke your subject.  And, while each of these lights are awesome (and together, they make a solid interview kit), I can’t see me needing more than the ARRI 300 Plus for small interviews.  The 650 Plus was almost too hot for our not-so-small room.  In a small office, the 650 would be overkill – requiring some bouncing or additional diffusion.

Frame grab direct from 1D Mark IV. No grading.

Any of the multi-light ARRI fresnel kits give you everything you need to plug and play.  You get light stands, barn doors, lamps, scrims and gel holders for each light.  While you can certainly come up with other items that you might need or want, the kit is a great point to start building on.

Additionally, the rolling case is a necessity with this amount of gear – although I would prefer to see a little more padding in the case as there was evidence of the lights and accessories shifting around during shipping when I first opened the case.  Perhaps cutting a bit of egg crate padding and gluing it on some of the hard sides would ease this concern a bit.

ARRI fresnel light kit in action. 650 at right. 300 at left for fill. 150 at subject right rear as back light. Note that I also used a CTO'ed spare PAR can as a background light behind the interview chair.

Each of the lights, from the 150 to the 650 is very well built, which should be expected of something bearing the ARRI name.  Bulbs on the 300 and 650 are changed by flipping the top of the case open and rotating the flood/spot dial all the way back to allow easy access to the lamp.  On the 150, you actually turn a dial on the back and the bottom half of the case slides back, revealing the lamp.  I don’t need to remind you (but I will) that you should do this after the lamps have cooled.

Each lamp features a flood/spot control dial that allows you to focus the intensity of the light on your scene/subject, giving you a nice range of lighting possibilities – particularly when combined with other accessories like barn doors, scrims and gels.

As noted above, the overall construction of the ARRI fresnel lights is solid.  The housing appears robust and durable with appropriate ventilation.  The power cables are heavy-duty and feature an robust inline power switch that isn’t going anywhere.  From a convenience and storing perspective, I would prefer a detachable power cable – even a pigtail out of the lamps would do.  It can sometimes be a bit cumbersome to stow the 25-foot cables alongside the lights.

This 3-light kit, while not the cheapest, is a very solid kit.  If you’ve got the bones to spare and you are serious about lighting in your videos, ARRI’s fresnel lighting kits will be hard to beat.

This ARRI Fresnel 3-Light kit is available from Tech Tilt’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:

ARRI Fresnel 3-Light Kit at B&H Photo

By making your purchases at B&H Photo through these links, you are helping Tech Tilt to continue bring quality gear tests, news and reviews. Thanks for your continued support.

Comments

    • says

      Not sure about Indian power conditions. The specs say: “This kit is equipped for use with 120V AC current, but it will also operate with 220-230 voltage with the appropriate bulbs and plug adapters, available separately.” So, it sounds like it’s set up for a variety of uses, but obviously I didn’t test these parameters.

      I know B&H will ship internationally, but I would give them a call or shoot them an email about your specific uses before ordering – and also ask questions about international shipping rates and any applicable VAT to your country.

      • says

        Dear Eric,Thanks, for the reply.
        I came to know that it works with indian conditions and a dealer here in Delhi also.
        But the cost effects plus 35% customs duty and 12.5% VAT.

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