The Akurat Lighting on-camera LED lights are robust and colour accurate video lamps. The newest addition is the A1, which has dual colour balance using two sets of diodes (warm 3200K and cold 5600K) and the ability to mix the two colours together in various colour temperature combinations. The A1 has the highest CRI values in the industry with an Ra of 98 and an R9 of 97. It is capable of throwing about 1100 lux onto your subject and features innovative white LEDs based on violet chip technology, called V-WHITE.
The A1 is small enough to fit comfortably on top of a camera, be it a professional ENG type or a Sony A7. It weighs next to nothing, yet is made of aluminium. Optional barndoors use strong magnets for mounting. With the barndoor option also comes a diffusion glass.
The A1 can be powered using any type of battery that is used in the video industry — including any camera battery. I chose to have the Sony NP-Fxxx type of battery adapter fitted. Equipped with a NP-F970, the light has about 4 to 6 hours runtime. With this type of battery, it does become quite heavy. If weight is an issue, you can also power the A1 with an optional power adapter, or by using your own 6 to 14 Volt DC adapter. I tried it out with a Powertraveller Powergorilla set to 12V and it worked like a charm.
The LEDs become warm to the touch but not really hot, not even with the diffuser glass mounted. The Akurat lights all come with a generous and efficient heat sink so there’s little worry about shortening the impressive expected lifespan of 50,000 hours.
I tested the A1’s luminous output extensively as well as its colour accuracy. The A1 approached perfection, with only slight differences between the colour temperature on the control knob and the measured temperature, even when using the mixed colour output settings.
The A1 I received came with the barndoors and diffuser option. These are meant to control the light cone. Using magnets on the front bezel, they are extremely easy to attach and detach from the unit. The diffuser glass requires the barndoors to be mounted and does double duty as a protection for the LEDs. You don’t lose f-stops when using it.
There is one thing that I like less about the A1. It comes with a jointed mounting system that allows for more accurate targeting of the light. It is not a ballhead, but allows you to aim the A1 in the horizontal and vertical plane only. The whole thing is built of metal and screwed into the alu body. However, the rotating part didn’t stay firmly fixed in place at first.
I discovered this has to do with a special torque washer that is meant to keep the mounting system aligned (parallel) with the front. I ultimately fixed it by inserting a silicone washer in-between the torque washer and the rotation part.
The Akurat A1 (and their other on-camera lights) is small enough to sit on your dSLR’s flash hot shoe. This means you can use it even if you’re shooting with a dSLR or a small camera like a Sony A7. However, you can do more with the A1 than use it just for video. The light’s colour accuracy and luminous flux allows you to use it as a continuous on-camera light where you would otherwise perhaps choose to use a flash. In fact, the A1’s mounting system combined with the barndoors option even allows for photographic lighting without harsh shadows.
The A1 by itself costs around €380.00. You should add the battery adapter to that price, which adds another €70.00 approximately. That’s not dirt cheap, but inexpensive compared to Akurat’s direct competitors. In return you get a much more robust device that delivers the most accurate colour rendition in this industry.