After watching a ton of glowing (pun intended) YouTube clips and reviews of Nanlite’s Pavotube II 6C, I caved in and bought one (despite the fact, that I’m still not the biggest fan of LED lights).
So after unboxing and playing around a bit with it, I have to say, it’s pretty impressive. They packed a ton of features and some serious output in that little stick. But I also run into some things I don’t like.
But lets talk about the pros first
Size and wight is way less than I expected. This light goes literally everywhere. Also kudos for throwing in those little metal bits, to mount it on non magnetic surfaces – heck I managed to stick it on the curtains – try that with any other light.
The three flat surfaces on the backside, give you three angles on any flat surface, if you need more precise control, you can order different holders from Nanlite.
What I really like are the recessed buttons, especially the on/off button, that prevents battery drainage during transport. It’s almost impossible that the light turns it self on, when something is accidentally pressing that button in the back of your truck. Throwing in a free egg crate is also a plus.
Light and Color
The Pavotube II 6C is a RGBWW light, so if you want just white light, there are actual two sets of white LEDs (daylight and tungsten) in there, and not just a crappy RGB mixdown. Color in OCT mode goes from 2700K to 7500K and is quite good, but since it goes well under the Planckian curve, it needs some +green, caus it can get quite pinkish/magenta. Good thing is, you can actually dial in plus/minus green, so that’s no deal breaker, but needs some attention – more on that in a minute.
The full HSI mode provides you not only with all 360 colors – which is quite unusual at this price point – but you can also desaturate them.
Than there is the effects mode, with the usual arsenal like welder, paparazzi, disco, candle/fire, police, lighting etc.
Runtime at full power is about an hour, which is okay for such a little light, and actually it is so bright, that you seldom will need 100%.
Light output at 1 meter is around 130 Lux.
CCT accuracy is between -58K on the warm side and -123K on the cool side. TLCI is 97,2 on the warm side and 98,5 on the cool side.
TM30 RF is around 92 on the warm side and 92,1 on the cool side.
Not too shabby.
You can control the light with a RC-1 remote control (not included), or via NANLink WiFi controller (not included) – works on IOS and Android.
So for the price point, it’s a steal, but there are also some cons.
Unfortunately the position of the USB-C inlet is on the back. So if you need to run it from the mains, or from a power bank, and you plug it in, it gets in the way, when you want to put it on a flat surface or mount it on the wall. There are at least 5 better positions for the inlet on that body – why they put it at the one position, where it is in your way, is beyond me.
As I said earlier, the white point is off as much as DuV 0,0082 from the Planckian curve, and that’s a lot – as much as a 1/4 and a 1/8 plus green combined.
And yes you can dial that in, but it changes when you dim the light. That means you have to dial in the plus green every time you make an adjustment in the brightness.
In HSI mode you can also dim and desaturate the colors, at least to a certain point. Here is the catch: let’s say you dial in a nice warm orange at 100% saturation, and dim it down, it’s all fine till about 7%, than it start’s getting green.
If you have your orange desaturated to 80%, and you start dimming down, it gets first magenta at 17% and teal after hat.
So yeah, use dimming and desaturation with caution. Is ist a deal breaker? In my humble opinion not. For 100 bucks, you just can’t have it all.
The effects mode has also some minor issues. I wish the lightning would be more random, with a smooth roll-off, that would look much more natural, and you could set it, put it in a corner, our outside of a window and shoot your scary movie all day long. But it’s totally robotic and predictable, so you need a person taking care of it during the shoot to make it more random.
The candle/fire effect is not bad, but color temperature is not even close to a candle or fire, so you need a gel. Same goes for the lightning, you absolutely need a blue gel to make it halve way decent.
In a nut shell:
- very affordable
- great output
- free egg crate
- mounting options
- good diffusion
- available accessoires
- super versatile
- 1/4″ mounting points
- magnetic back
- needs plus green correction
- fixed battery
- some of the effects could use some improvement
- bad position of the USB-C port
- dimming and desaturation is usable only to a certain point
- NANLink WiFi controller needed
That little light – despite some flaws – will com in handy very often at my set. It’s so versatile, small, light and easy to mount everywhere, I gonna use the shit out of it, and I will probably by some more.
At the price point of under 100 bucks, it’s a no-brainer in my book, and IMHO everybody should have a few of them in his kit.