[00:00:12.18] The Aputure 120 light is quite possibly the single most popular light on YouTube. It is in use by tons and tons of YouTubers. There are literally thousands of videos about it on YouTube, and you know, rightfully so, it is a very good light. It is a very bright light, it has a very high CRI (Color Rendering Index) and it is a relatively low cost product. For what it is, it's an affordable, reasonable fair price. But, as you can imagine, in the world that we live in, there is always somebody coming after the successor and in this case that company is Pixel.
[00:00:47.10] A company called Pixel manufacturing a light called, unfortunately simply The Pixel LED has a product that is going after the Aputure light. And I don't say it's going after it because it's kind of a similar light that's got kind of similar specs… it’s a blatant knockoff, and I'm not a huge fan of that. In fact, I'm not a fan of that at all. I really wish that the company had designed something different instead of just copying every curve and line from the Aputure light, you know, just make your own.
[00:01:14.11] But that aside, what we want to talk about is what's inside and what you get out of the light because that's what matters the most. Now, today I've got one of those lights right here. This is the Pixel LED that's lighting me now. Right next to it, I have an Aputure 120t, that's the Tungsten version and we'll talk about that a little bit later on as well, and I'm gonna compare them eventually so you can see the differences or not see the differences as the case may be, and they're both being pumped into identical Godox P120L Octoboxes. That's a 48 inch Octobox, it's big, it's soft, it's beautiful.
[00:01:43.19] I absolutely love this light combination. And we will switch over to the other light in a moment but for now, I just want to look at the specs. So let's start with the price because that's kind of important. The price of the Aputure 120, the Mark 1, the original one was about $650.
[00:01:59.04] Now, there is now a Mark 2 out that is actually a bit more, $750 and the Mark 1s are now available for about $550. So, you've got a range between the Mark 1 and the Mark 2 of about $550 to $750. The Pixel light is actually $500. So it's not that much less. Especially compared to the Mark 1 of the Aputure light, it's only $50 less and so your first thought might be “well, why would I get a knock off light for $50 less? It's clearly not worth it; spend 50 bucks more to get the better light”. Okay, that's fair but we're not done yet.
[00:02:28.28] Incidentally, the Aputure 120t, the Tungsten light which is actually the one I'm using here is on sale for only $300. Now, that is a real bargain no matter what you decide after watching today's video about the Pixel light. The Aputure 120t at 300 bucks is a steal. That is the Mark 1 and I guess they've got a warehouse full of them, maybe they just really didn't sell that many and so they're selling them at a discount.
[00:02:50.29] So, as long as you know how to white balance, it's a great light to have. Anyway, the color rendering index, the CRI of all the lights is about the same, as well as the TLCI, which is another way to measure the quality. The CRI and TLCI of the Aputure Mark 1 and the Mark 2s are all at 96.
[00:03:11.06] For the Pixel light, it's a little bit higher, 97 and then 99 for the TLCI. Now look - I'm gonna be honest with you, I don't have a way to measure this myself. I can't say whether there is actually a difference or even whether those measurements are accurate; I don't know. But we'll take them at their word for now and what really matters is what we see on camera, but that's the numbers that we see on the specs.
[00:03:34.10] Noise; noise is a big issue. These lights, the Aputure lights have always been heralded as being very quiet and they claim to have an 18 decibel rating when the fan is on. That's quiet, that's great, that means you can use them on a film set.
[00:03:45.29] The pixel LED light also claims to be quiet. In fact it's called “ultra-silent”, but there's no number given. So, we will listen to it on the bench. We'll hear what it sounds like. I've used it a bit and I've listened closely and you can certainly hear the sound of the fan if you put your ear up to it but it is not a loud fan by any stretch of the imagination.
[00:04:04.02] So, now let's get into the last spec that I have on here, and that's the light output, and this is where the real differences are. The Aputure 120 Mark 1, the original one has a spec output of 14,000 Lux at half a meter. That's the measurement from half a meter away from the light, 14,000 lux. Okay great!
[00:04:23.26] The Mark 2 version of the light is measured at 30,000 lux. So it's got twice the lux which, I think it's not a stop but anyway, it's a brighter output light. Great! We always want more light. So, similar light, better build quality, fully redesigned et cetera et cetera, blah, blah, blah, everything they talk about, it's got 30,000 Lux versus the 14,000.
[00:04:45.19] The Pixel light however is advertised as having 66,000 lux. Now, I put a light meter down and put a gray card and measured in between the two at full brightness and it is a full stop brightness. That's what I'm measuring by putting a gray card right where I'm sitting now, double arm's reach away from the light. If I put a grey card here and I do an exposure reading, I can get a one stop difference between the two lights, and that's pretty significant.
[00:05:10.14] So, now that $500 versus $550, and one stop difference, well, that's a lot of light and $500 being the lesser one that's actually putting out more light. So, that's really interesting. That makes a huge difference. That allows you to put the light farther away or diffuse it through a larger panel and there's a lot of things that you can do with brighter light, so brighter is definitely better here.
[00:05:33.01] Now let's turn off one light and turn on the other one. The Pixel and the Aputure both come with remote controls, so I'll turn off the Pixel and on the Aputure and the Aputure is a Tungsten light. The white balance for this light is currently set to Daylight, let's go ahead and move it over to My Custom White Balance setting for the Aputure light. And this is what we've got. Now, obviously the shadow is gonna be different because the lights are in different position, but overall they are both a very nice quality of light.
[00:05:56.14] But what really matters here is the output. The Aputure is set to 55% while the Pixel light was only set to 15%. Both lights at 55 versus 15% putting out the same amount of light. Again, same distance to subject through the same diffusion panel and the exposure on the camera of course has not changed either.
[00:06:13.04] So, we're seeing a dramatic difference in the light output between the two. Okay, that's enough of specs. Let's take a closer look at the light, at the light itself. Okay, that was — weird — incidentally, if you're still here, Subscribe! Ya know how it goes. Subscribe to the channel, hit the bell, all that good stuff.
[00:06:32.20] Uh yeah, alright, onward… So this is the light that was there… it's the Pixel. That's what it's called and it does actually have another model number on it on here, the Fodavil C220. Excellent! Anyway, it does look um, it's very recognizable, isn't it? That looks kind of almost exactly like the Aputure light, but whatever.
[00:06:53.25] There is one significant difference; the control panel is here, which on one hand is quite convenient. You've got your control panel right on the light where you would kind of expect it, but on the other hand, quite often you put these lights up really, really high and the Aputure light actually has its control panel on its power supply/inverter, whatever the heck you call this part of it.
[00:07:14.17] This one is just a huge power brick which incidentally does come with a little cage and a big velcro strap so you can hang this wherever it needs to be. The actual plug that plugs into the light is locking, so that's very nice, you snap that in and at least in theory… And at least in theory, it's not going to come out, you have to push it all the way in the first time. And then all your controls are here.
[00:07:39.08] So again, on the Aputure, because they are on the power brick supply thing, that means that that can hang down low if you've got your light up high, you don't have to climb a ladder. In fact, I kind of forgot that and I just climbed a ladder to make a change to the Aputure light and then realized that's actually on the thing down… anyway, so that is a very nice feature.
[00:08:00.04] The remote control that it comes with… it's cool but I will say it's a little bit weird in that this actually can be powered on and off itself. The remote itself can be turned off which you would think it would just turn itself off and I came in one morning and the blue LED was on and so it had been on all night and the battery was showing almost empty and it barely worked.
[00:08:21.24] Now, I turned it off and then after a while it was kind of back to powered up. You know how batteries do that sometimes? Kind of weird. But it's just one of these little pen - what do you call these? CR2032 batteries and that's annoying because that means that when it dies, you can't just pop in some rechargeables. But to be perfectly fair, the Aputure light – uh, control – uses the same type of battery and one of my Aputure remotes is dead already as well. So, I guess I can't really complain about that. That does seem to be about the same.
[00:08:51.21] There is a temperature control on here and there is a temperature display on here. Now, this particular model is not temperature tunable; it is a 5600 Kelvin daylight balanced light. It's just a little bit odd that you can change the color temperature on here but it doesn't actually do anything that you have a color temperature display which I guess it's good to show you what it is but you can't change it. So, that's a little bit weird but whatever, it just tells us that they're using the exact same casing, control and everything else for their different lights. So, they, I guess make a color temperature tunable one as well.
[00:09:23.25] Let's take a look at the interface on here. Power this thing on and it does have, just grabbing the knob on the back, a very nice comfortable knob to go from 1% and then to crank through all the way up to 100 which is really, really bright, so let's just back that back down to maybe just 1% which is still quite bright.
[00:09:42.18] You have on here the ability to change the group and the channel for the remote control, so you get all of that on there so you can have multiple lights put on different channels. From your remote control, you could control multiple lights by switching the channel on here or just have multiple remotes, each one controlling different ones… up to you.
[00:09:58.12] I do like this feature. There's a button both on the back and on the remote that allows you to jump through brightness in 25% increments. So, that is a pretty nice feature, I do appreciate that; the ability to jump up in big increments quite quickly. You can do the same as I said from the remote, but you can then also adjust the brightness on the remote with a dial.
[00:10:16.19] Now one thing that's a little bit finicky about the dial on the remote is it's a bit difficult to get it precise. It feels like, if you move it just a little bit too fast, it jumps forward quite a bit. So if you wanted to get it to say exactly 20, I might have to go a little bit slow, kind of one at a time to get there whereas if I kind of tried to knock down to it I might overshoot it/under shoot it before I got it. It's a little bit touchy but you know, these are really picky details here.
[00:10:41.29] Another feature like the Aputure is the ability to force the fan to come on. This allows you to force the fan if you need to quickly cool the light. And now that I'm listening to it, it is actually quite a bit louder than the Aputure. I don't have a way of measuring the decibel readings on here. The Aputure 1, I honestly wasn't even sure that it was spinning when I forced it on, put my hand under the fan I could feel the air moving, you can actually see it through the vents but it is very, very difficult to hear.
[00:11:10.18] I've got a little bit of ambient noise in this room, there's a fan from the neighbor’s business that I can hear right now. I could not hear the Aputure fan. This fan however is definitely more audible. Now, I'm not gonna say it's so loud that it's gonna mess up a shot, but if sound is absolutely critical, if you need perfect silence, then this may not be the best light. However, it is not bad. So, you can certainly have that on and I think you'll be okay for most situations.
[00:11:35.14] It is a Bowens mount just like the Aputure light. Comes with a standard… reflector here snaps right on. This is the one that it comes with… I think this is the one; if not, it comes with one just like it. I've got a few of these lying around. But being a standard Bowens mount means that you can attach any number of modifiers to it like the big huge Octobox that I had earlier, a Beauty Dish or really anything that you want that you can find in a Bowens mount; that'll work on there.
[00:12:01.01] The arm on here is a little oddly stiff when you loosen, and I'm getting really finicky here, but when you loosen it up, it's a little bit weird, you feel like the rubber grommet in here get kind of bunching up and you kind of got to loosen it more than you should to move it. But, you know, again, I'm being really, really particular.
[00:12:17.25] If this was the same cost for the same brightness output then the Aputure, I would definitely say “just get the Aputure”. If there was a $50 difference, as it is between this and the Mark 1 of the Aputure, I would say get the Aputure except that this one is twice as bright as the Mark 1, a full-stop difference and it is, whatever the math is, 50% brighter or something than even the Mark 2. So it is a significantly brighter light and that does make a huge difference. And that is the one real reason that I would say this is a very good choice.
[00:12:50.29] Now, if you don't need that much light, if your situation means you don't need it and even in the situation that I had set up there, I was only using it at 15%. So you could argue I don't really need that much light there. But you know how it is… When you have it, you'll find a way to use it.
[00:13:04.11] So, if you've got that kind of brightness, then you can pump it through a bigger diffusion panel. I could put it through something much bigger and still get enough light out of it which would be pretty nice to be able to do.
[00:13:12.22] So, if you want a lot of light, do check this one out. If you're not needing that much light, you're more concerned with build quality and you want something that's gonna last for a long time, I think the Aputure has got the reputation and it just feels like a better built light overall. But again, for the brightness… I'd probably get one of these.
[00:13:34.12] Well, that's everything folks! What do you think? Do you think this light is worth saving a bit of money and getting twice the brightness but buying into a brand that is maybe a bit questionable, you're not so sure about, you don't really know, aren't familiar with? I will say what's kind of funny, so the brand on here is Pixel and I just bought a wireless remote control for my camera so that I could start and stop recording on this camera here and it turns out it's also from Pixel. Go figure.
[00:14:00.22] So, I guess they have more products out there that I even realized. This is my first introduction to them or maybe this was my first introduction and I didn't realize it. But, they're here, they're making some products that are interesting, definitely very, very bright. It is that same chip on board design as the Aputure, so I don't know. Tell me what you think in the comments below.