Genaray’s new BLT-60B portable focusing bi-color LED lights are the bomb, er … make that the torpedo. The slick retro-spaceship design is great looking and it packs a lot of features including a choice of battery or AC power.
These lights are great for product and portrait shots, too! B&H sent me a kit of three of them to review.
Lots of light in a very small package
Everyone who makes a product wants its review to be all positives. For the most part, the Genaray BLT-60B Torpedo light is just that. While its official name makes me want a sandwich, it puts a lot of light into a very small, portable, fan-cooled package.
The light is eight inches long with the built-in barn doors folded and the unit focused at 15º. It’s not quite 3 3/4″ in diameter, and weighs in at just over 2.5 pounds. The light is dimmable from 1% to 100% and the colors are adjustable from 3200º K-5600º K in 100º K steps. It is made from ABS plastic that gathers fingerprints easily and is super hard to clean, as you might see in some of the product shots.
Focusing light source
Twisting the yellow ring that surrounds the torpedo focuses the light from a 15º spot to a 75º flood.
The description of the Genaray BLT-60B says it’s a focusing floodlight. I want to clarify that while it can change the spread of the light from a wide 15º to a tight 75º is does not truly focus the light into a sharp-edged beam. This means that with the torpedo close to a subject, the cast shadows will never be truly hard-edged.
The versatility of a light that can light a relatively small area or flood a large one outweighs the lack of true spotlight type focusing. Generally the tighter the focus and the closer the color temperature is to 5600º the more light the Torpedo throws out. The photos below illustrate the spot and flood effects.
Using the torpedo
The buttons that control torpedo light are on the back — on/off and mode on the left side and up and down on the right. Press and hold to power up the light. When it’s on battery power, the scale on the right of the display shows how much juice is left in the battery. On A/C power it glows full. The buttons require a lot of getting used to — I would love to see them replaced by dials.
By default, the mode is the brightness of the light. It’s dimmable from 1% to 100% by pressing and holding either up or down until the wanted level is reached. Press and hold the mode button to set the color temperature. When the color section blinks it’s active. Press and hold up or down to move the color temperature in 100º steps.
The torpedo comes mounted in a very solid yolk with fittings for an umbrella and to mount it on a standard 5/8 inch light stand. Two knobs on either side of the yolk allow the light to swivel in it. The specifications say the tilt is 180º which is true with a Sony L-series NP-F battery on board because it blocks the light by hitting the nut attaching the light stand/umbrella mount. A slightly longer yolk and a less thick nut attaching the yolk to the umbrella/stand mount would solve this. Using the mini XLR plug for A/C power the tilt is more like 270º.
A slightly longer yolk and a less thick nut attaching the yolk to the umbrella/stand mount would solve this. Using the mini XLR plug for A/C power the tilt is more like 270º.
The Torpedo comes with a power brick and a 3-prong U.S. power cable. The brick has a mini XLR connector that plugs into the bottom of the light toward the back. Additionally, the Torpedo can be powered by a Sony L-series NP-F battery that outputs 7.4 volts. One of the included accessories is a T-Tap to XLR mini connector for use with V-mount batteries when longer periods of use are required.
Contrary to common beliefs, LED lights get hot. The Torpedo is fan cooled and it is so quiet I didn’t realize it even had a fan until I felt warm air flowing from the vents. This makes the Torpedo perfect for videos where sound is being recorded.
For the Torpedo, barndoors are included. They serve not only to shape the light from the Torpedo when they are folded in, but they also protect the Fresnel lens from damage. They unscrew from the light so that included color filters and/or diffusers can be added to the torpedo. The filters keep the price of the lights down. Bicolor lights are a lot less money than RGB-AW LED units.
Each light comes in a soft-sided case that has just the right amount of room for the light, the power cord and brick with a little room left for a couple of batteries. The color discs and diffusers along with the T-tap are kept in a zippered mesh compartment in the lid. Nice!