The interplay between light and dark – this is the essence of filmmaking. Moving from behind the lens of the camera, the lighting is the filmmaker’s brush. John Hess takes a look at the Impact Qualite 300 and B&H Qualite kits.
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The Impact Qualite is a basic entry level open face lighting fixture. At 300 watts and priced just under $100 including barn doors, the Qualite is a simple no frills fixture that will be easy on the budget. Since light is light and it hasn’t changed much since the photon epoch 10 seconds after the big bang, the quality of a lighting fixture is not necessarily in the light it generates but how effectively you can controls all them pretty photons.
The Qualite generates a nice even beam of light and that is going to be a huge step for anyone using those terrible halogen shop lights. A knob on the side adjusts the beam from a 21 degree spot to 40 degree flood. In front of the 300 watt bulb (which is included with the fixture) is a piece of safety glass – a nice feature in case the bulb should ever shatter.
Now this glass is purely a safety glass, it’s not a lens. Being that the fixture is an “open face” you’re going to get a lot of different penumbra (mainly three – one from the the light from the bulb and two from the reflector) and none of the hard shadows or soft shadows that a lens fixture or a single point light can give you.
To shape the light, the Qualite comes with a four leaf barn door set. This sits fairly loosely on the fixture which leaves a lot of spill on the sides that you’ll need some black foil to cover up. Behind that there is space for a 5.5” scrim or filter.
Moving back on the fixture you’ll find the power switch. It’s not uncommon to see this switch on the fixture itself and not the cable, but can make turning it off and on a bit tricky if you’ve installed it in a hard to reach place.
The fixture is attached to the a stand receptacle by a single blade yoke which is notched to prevent slipping. The notches also prevent the smooth movement of pitch, which is something that I find a little annoying.
The light body is made of Polycarbonate plastic which is both a good and bad thing. These tungsten lights get hot – very hot. I’ve read some instances online about this fixture melting. Polycarbonate will melt at 267 degrees Celsius (512 degree Fahrenheit). I won’t say it’s not impossible to reach that temperature, if you leave it on for a long time in a hot space with no ventilation, I’m sure it’s possible. But I ran the light for about 1 hour nonstop in a reasonably ventilated room and I did not see any damage. On the plus side, even thought he polycarbonate gets hot, it’s not going to scar you like a full metal body. Allow proper airflow and this light should be fine.
I do like the handle on the back that stays cool even after hours of operation. This allows for a safe place to grab when adjust the light.
The Qualite is available as a two light kit with accompanying stands. The stands themselves are pretty much your standard small light stand – they’re not sturdy enough for much more than than the weight of the fixture – I wouldn’t put a boom on them. The one nice feature is they are air cushion so they won’t come crashing down when you loosen the stage knobs.
B&H also offers a soft box kit that includes two Qualites with barndoors, two stands, two Fotoflex silverdomes measuring 16 x 22 x 13 and two smith victor speed rings. These pop together fairly easily and when matched with the Qualites, make an excellent soft light for the price. The total weight of the softbox and fixture starts to max out the weight limit of these stands. You should invest a few sand bags to keep the entire thing from tipping over.
Bottom line, the Impact Qualite 300 is a good entry level open face light. At 300 watts, they’ll pack a good punch and will be a useful addition to your lighting kit.
- Even beam light
- Big lighting punch for the price
- Notched yoke makes it hard to make small pitch adjustments.
- A lot of space between the flags and the fixture that leads to spill.
You can purchase the items featured in this review from our trusted sponsor B&H Photo. We don’t recommend B&H because they our are sponsor, they are our sponsor because they are the only store we would ever recommend.
Items from the review:
Other Similar Open Face Lighting Fixtures
- Arrilite 600 Watt Focusing Flood Light (120-240V AC/30V DC)
- Lowel DP Focus Flood Light (120-240VAC)
- Lowel L-Light with Stand-Link (120V AC)
- Lowel Omni-Light 500 Watt Focus Flood Light (120-240VAC/12-30VDC)
- Mole Richardson Mickey-Mole 1000 Watt Focusing Flood Light (120-240V AC)
- Norman Allure C1000 1000 Watt Open Face Tungsten Light with 2-Level Switch, Bulbs (120V AC)
- Smith Victor 700-SG 600 Watt Open Face Tungsten Light with DYH Lamp (120-230VAC)
- Smith Victor Q60 600 Watt Open Face Quartz Tungsten Light (120-240VAC)