The Amaran 100d COB LED Fixture fights well above its proverbial weight

The Amaran 100d is a 100 Watt Daylight (CCT 5600K) balanced point-source COB LED fixture with Bowens mount and wireless Bluetooth control via the Sidus Link app. At full power, the light outputs an equivalent of a 750W tungsten light. It features 0% to 100% dimming control and scores a high 95+ TLCI (Television Lighting Consistency Index). The Amaran 100d is made of industrial-grade plastic that reduces the weight of the kit to only 3.4 kilograms, power adapter included. There’s a very, very quiet built-in fan to ensure the LED remains cool.

The Amaran 100d is a COB (chip-on-board) lamp. COB involves mounting a bare LED chip in direct contact with a substrate to produce LED arrays. COB technology allows for a much higher packing density of the LED array.

The Amaran 100d’s industrial plastic frame is, of course, less sturdy than more expensive lights’ all-metal frames but it keeps the price low. My personal impression was that it won’t break unless your handling it is very rough. Even then, it’s reassuring to know that all crucial parts like mounting parts and others actually have a metal core.

The lamp has a handle on the back to carry it around and comes with a 3m long cable that has a 3-pin XLR power plug. The power adapter has a small hole for a metal wire — or bright orange nylon rope, as I use — that will support hanging the power adapter from the light stand. The 1.5m power cable at the other end has an IEC LOCK connector, which is most secure. The Amaran 100d can also be used with 48V battery packs. These require equipment such as the Hawk Woods 48V RP converter, which without batteries retails at 534 EUR, which is more than the Amaran 100d costs.

The cardboard box the Amaran 100d comes in is also home to a Hyper Reflector with a beam angle of 55 degrees — and that’s it. Without the reflector, by the way, the beam angle extends to 105 degrees.

The back of the fixture has a small monochrome LCD screen that shows a Bluetooth connection icon and an output percentage icon. There’s a dial that can be clicked to change the output in 20% increments, a small button for engaging Bluetooth and the On/Off switch.

Using the Amaran 100d

While you can operate the lamp from its on-board controls, the idea is to operate one or more Amaran 100d’s remotely using a smartphone or tablet with the Sidus Link app. With the app, you can change the output in 1% increments and have access to eight lighting effects, including lightning, pulse, etc. There’s a flash effect as well, but photographers should not confuse that with the lamp being capable of operating as a speedlight. The free Sidus Link app is a must-have, certainly when you’re operating the lamp on a high light stand or hanging it down from a ceiling-mounted rail system.

I tested the Amaran 100d in a small room of about 14 square meters. In that room, the 100d outputs an awful lot of light. When used as a flood light for lighting up my face, the lamp without the Hyper Reflector, mounted on a fully extended 230cm light stand and at a distance of 1m was capable of overpowering the sun that comes in via my left window. The window light power was at 1070lux, the Amaran 100d had some 3000lux headroom at the matching lux value I set with the help of my Illuminati IM150 light meter.

I also tried mounting a Rogue Flashbender to the 100d’s head. The Flashbender isn’t made for that — it’s meant to be mounted on camera flash heads — but using an extra velcro binder it worked nevertheless. I could create some nice diffuse light without any other accessory this way. I wouldn’t use it for long projects, though, as the lamp does get quite warm and the Flashbenders weren’t really made for this.

If you want to diffuse the light, it’s better to mount a photographic umbrella in the incorporated umbrella holder.

Measuring is knowing

I measured the Amaran 100d using my Lumu Power Gen.2, my Illuminati IM100 and IM150 light meters.

At a quarter output, my test unit without reflector output approximately 1371lx at a colour temperature of 5300K + ⅛ Green. At half output, the output increased to 2240lx at 5340K + ⅛ Green, and at full output, the lamp shone bright at 4120lx and 5400K + ⅛ Green.

With the Illuminati light meter app, one can now also see how balanced a light is. The colour balance of the Amaran 100d for D65 was Red 1%, Green 0%, Blue -19%. This improved when taking 5500K as a reference with Red 1%, Green 0%, Blue -16%.

The only way to know if this is bad, good, or excellent without a colour spectrum meter is to compare it with another lamp that has better specs. The on-camera V-White A1 from Akurat Lighting is such a lamp as it has a 98+ TLCI, which is some 3% better than the Amaran.

The Akurat’s colour balance showed Red -3%, Green 0%, Blue -13%. That’s a little better than the Amaran 100d. However, the Akurat, which is also a 5600K rated fixture, was actually worse in the colour temperature test, with colour temperature that rose to 5930K +¼ Green at 100% output power.

Output in a large room of 8m x 7m; Amaran 100d in one corner

Recommended or not?

I’d say you can’t go wrong with the Amaran 100d, not even if you’re a fully professional filmmaker, and here are a few reasons:

  • It’s dirt cheap for what you get in return.
  • It supports excellent colour rendition, across the output levels it’s capable of.
  • It has power to spare for smaller rooms with its sibling, the Amaran 200d, throwing about more lumens for coverage in bigger rooms.
  • It can be used with any Bowens mount compatible accessory and has an umbrella holder incorporated.
  • Its electrical power supply accessories are of a robust quality.

What else could you want? The Amaran 100d is available in Europe from early February 2021 onwards.

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