CTA Review: Elation Design LED PAR Zoom MH

We’ve been in the market for some new moving lights for our stage. We currently have six old Martin 518 Roboscans (we just can’t kill them…) and six High End Studio Color 575s. Both those lights have been workhorses for us, but we really wanted more. Our goal with new lights is to give us a lot of strong color backlight, so we started looking at LED moving head fixtures. 

I hadn’t considered this particular fixture (one that might have the most awkward name ever for a fixture), but our dealer recommended it. So we got our hands on one to try out. It’s kind of a funny looking fixture; sort of like something a maker would come up with. It appears to be a moving yoke from their Design Spot line, with an OptiPar stuck on it. But instead of the tungsten light source, there’s an LED engine. And zoom optics. 

It’s heavier than it first looks, and appears to be built pretty well. We connected the Omega Clamp rails to the bottom, put some clamps on and hung it in the truss. As soon as we fired it up, we noticed a few things. First, the color mixing is really good. Some LED lights show obvious RGB patterns in the light; the color is not homogenous. This can be especially noticeable if you point it at something that casts a shadow. But with this fixture, the mixing is very good. Even purples, yellows and light blues looked very smooth and consistent.  

Second, when zoomed down to the tightest beam (about 10°), the output was very comparable to our Studio Colors. The beam has nice soft edges and a fairly even field. Zoomed out, output drops as you would expect. At 21’ of trim height, the 60° full wide casts a wide, even field of light. We compared it to the Studio Colors in white and quite a few colors. Overall, the MH held up quite well. The blue didn’t get quite as deep, but yellow and red were quite a bit better. Even in white, the MH was nearly as bright as the Studio Color open. Movement is quiet, if not a bit slow. This isn’t an effect light, so the speed really won’t be much of a factor. 

Tech Specs

The LED engine is made up of 36 3 watt LEDs (12 each of Red, Blue & Green). It has a zoom range of 10°-60°, and can pan 630° and tilt 265°. I for one, am glad they included both 5-pin and 3-pin XLRs for DMX, especially since the lighting world can’t seem to standardize on one yet. At maximum burn, it uses a mere 150 watts, and the lamp is rated for 100,000 hours. Output is rated at 251 Lux at 10 feet, at full. In practice, it is pretty comparable to our Studio Colors, which use a 575 discharge lamp (that costs about $225 each to re-lamp, by the way…).

So, nothing ground-breaking here, but it’s a solid fixture. Perhaps the best part is the price—you can find them for somewhere around $1,100, so it’s a really good value.

Conclusion

Overall, we liked the fixture. As a color backlight, it looked really good. As I said, color mixing was quite nice, and the edges of the field had a pleasant softness to it. I’m not sure I’m sold on the zoom, though. I can see a need for it, especially in a smaller room with a lower trim height. For us, at about 20’, we’d probably never use the zoom at all; 10° is just about right. You also loose a lot of output as you zoom out, so part of me wishes they would make a version with no zoom that might be a bit cheaper. Of course, the question would be, what beam angle? I would say 10°, but that’s me. 

But still, I think it works. It’s well built, decently bright, moves and zooms. And at just over $1,000, it’s definitely worth checking out.

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