Aputure Amaran AL528W AL528S AL528C LED Video Light Tests

Here's an unboxing of the new Aputure Amaran 528 LED Video lights along with a few tests to show the difference in spread (diffusion) and light output. [Note: The readings on the C-500 Light Meter may not be accurate with the full spectrum of LED lighting, but should provide a baseline for comparison between the lights. Do not accept my readings as an accurate source for each manufacturers specifications]

The lights are about the size of an iPad (not as thin), so carrying around a three piece lighting kit should be an easy task. For a very portable solution, these ultra portable Light Stands are a great combination (found here). The three different Amaran LED Video lights share mostly the same features which include a Digital brightness display, Double power supply system (battery or AC), the ability to charge batteries from the unit while being powered by AC, a Battery power indicator, and all come with a nice Carrying case.

Aputure AL-528W LED Video Light Panel.png 1
find-price-button Aputure AL-528W LED Video Light Panels

The AL-528W is an all daylight color temp rated at 5500K and throws a 75 degree beam angle.
The AL-528S is an all daylight color temp rated at 5500K but throws only at a 25 degree beam angle (spotlight type effect).
The AL-528C throws at the 75 degree beam angle, but can adjust color between 3200K-5500K using two sets of different color LED bulbs.

battery
Batteries can be charged in the LED Light Unit

The unit DOES NOT come with batteries. You will have to purchase a set of Sony NPF style batteries, but you don't need to purchase a charger, since the Amaran LED light allows you to charge the batteries while mounted to the LED light (I haven't tested how long to charge a battery). I have to admit, the digital display does come in handy when you're monitoring power from a glance. Why doesn't all LED lights have this?

The Digital display shows you Kelvin temp and Power output. I don't know how accurate this is, but I can see this being very useful if you're trying to match the color or the brightness between three (or more) different lights. I have more tests to do, but for more information on the Aputure Amaran AL528W, AL528S, and AL528C, they can be found at eBay (click here).

Aputure AL-528W LED Video Light Panel 5Aputure AL-528W LED Video Light Panel 4Aputure AL-528W LED Video Light Panel
find-price-button Aputure AL-528W LED Video Light Panels

 59 Comments





59 thoughts on “Aputure Amaran AL528W AL528S AL528C LED Video Light Tests

  1. RG

    I purchased mine in 2013 and the lights no longer appear to be charging the batteries. Anyone else experienced this?

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @Elias - I haven't tinkered with a battery pack, because the connector to the light is not so common. I didn't bother digging around to find one.

  3. Hey Emm,
    great work as always!
    any suggestions for a battery bank for al-508w?
    14v or 18v (as the power supply indicates as 18v)
    what adapter will need for connect the battery bank with the light.
    Thanks!

  4. steve

    Hey Emm,

    I managed to lose the power supply for my light. Would you have any idea where I could get a replacement?

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @Matthew - The AirBox is pretty generic and can fit different sizes. I would contact them to find out which would work best.

  6. Matthew

    First, I love what you do. I purchased the Aputure Amaran lights that you reviewed. They are great lights. I would how ever like to find a way to soften the light. I was looking for a softbox approach like an airbox, but I do not think any of their airboxes fit the Amaran. Do you have any suggestions?

  7. I definitely am noticing flicker/banding with the 528S. Exactly as KC described. One thing I have just noticed (and this COULD be sheer coincidence) is that the red digital power display on the back (digits 10-100 depending on intensity) tends to flicker at varying levels also. I selected a number that didn't appear to flicker (57 in my case) and I got no flicker! I haven't retested.. But will do. Interested to know your thoughts guys!

  8. Rodrigo

    hi, my name is rodrigo, im from brazil , for 180$ i can get 4x wansen W260 , instead one al-528s , it will give me 1040 leds = 72w, im running a low bugdet rig , with a canon EOS-M , and i would like to know some opinions if this deal worth, 2xw260leds would be greater than 1 AL528s?

  9. kc

    I can confirm the flickering effect in the spot model with controlled tests that i've done. I've tested 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 99% power levels while keeping exposure constant, or varying the exposure at camera. I've also looked at shutter speed.

    1) The flickering (small vertical bands) diminish the closer you are to full power. 80 to 99% is usable with no flicker. No flicker at 99%.

    2) The flickering IS diminished or accentuated by shutter speed in part. But it's not the only factor, nor will it fully eliminate flicker.

    3) Overexposure or underexposure affects how much perceived flicker there is at any dimmer level. An underexposed scene will show up those little bands. Proper or 1 stop over exposure will greatly diminish the perception of the flicker.

    Despite the flicker at certain dimmer levels, Im picking up a second one of these. Im using it a full power, then simple inverse square law or ND filtration (like every single other light source i own) to make the light do what i want!

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Helloman - There are a few different models of Aputure LED lights. Some are brighter than others. Which one are you asking about?

  11. Helloman

    Would you please tell me the data of the brightness(LUX) of AL-528W?
    I checked it by google and found that is 1200lux(1M) but i also watched that light is 2200lux(1M), what is true data? I am wondering abt that cuz i wish to buy it too. Hope you can tell me soon. Thanks!:-)

  12. I was confused about the letter designation early on until I re read the article... I think I will get a few instead of grouping so many smaller ones as I previously did...
    Ordering my first batch at month's end... Probably the W... then the S the following month or at new year

  13. markflorian

    Hi guys ! I'm Olivier from France ! I wonder about flickering. I've been heard it could create unusable videos with this led panel. But I'm really interested for my short film. Do you think if my settings are 24fps and shutter 1/50 ( I only want to shoot with these settings for my short film ) it'll be ok without flickering with the wall power ? At what percentage with the dimmer will you see this flickering or not ? I know it's a lot of questions but I need your help before buying it for my short film 😉

  14. Thanks for the great review. I own some arri's, and some florescents, but have been waiting and wanting to lighten my load for corp shoots. Just ordered the three pack on ebay - thanks you.

    Keep up the great work!
    -Tommy

  15. Dave

    Emm, or anyone who has done a comparison, I am curious about how the Amaran 528 lights compare to the F&V R300. I've read a few reviews that suggest the Amaran has flicker issues and an audible high pitched tone at certain dimming positions.

    I presume 528 LEDs outputs more light than 300, but that may be an incorrect assumption.

  16. Just got my unit today. Took about 3 days to get here (USA, IL). I'm very happy with the unit so far. I'm trying to figure out if the the unit has to be on to charge the batteries or whether or not it will charge them while it's switched off. I'll comment back later.

  17. Sherwin Lau

    @emm and all those who've received these lights, how much running time do you get with the batteries, for example the NP-F770?

    Great find Emm!

  18. Fred Bo

    Just received mine yesterday (14 days to reach France), and I can confirm that there's no point getting the 528W wide beam angle. Mine is 528S (S is for spot) and it's better to have 25 degree beam angle which gives you the choice of having powerfull concentrated light angle and you can always use diffusers to enlarge beam angle !
    It is really good for the price, even if it's all plastic.

  19. jimagine

    Just tested these beside the Coollights 256 and 600.
    When I test it next to a Coollight w/ 80CRI, the Coolight screams green even with a 1/4 minus green filter in.
    But it's not just the inherent green cast - First thing to know: the Aputure 528S has a magenta bias. In one sense that's a lot better than a green cast, but it's there and it will change the color green to an off-white depending on intensity.

    The upside is the power. Blows away the 30w 256 and is a bit brighter than the 50w CL600.
    They're not for rugged use - light plastic on everything. But they charge internally, the digital power and battery read outs are nice and the "S" spot is the only logical way to go - very good, bright beam, good enough to hit a subject outdoors, shade or clouds from 4-6 feet. Close-up is too strong under normal conditions so it will probably be great with a softbox, real diffusion.

    I'm still testing to see how the magenta bias really pans out, but without it, I'd order three more today, no question.

    Oh, and I ordered them on the weekend and they arrived at my door on Wed. I was shocked they sent them DSL air for free.

  20. Emm

    Post author

    @Dean - As far as I know, there is only one version. Maybe it's just a marketing thing to get more visibility.

  21. jimagine

    I've got full kit of Coollights 600's, 256, and CDMs as well as a few of the generic LED 500s. Once I saw the CRI comparison on the other Vimeo test using the Aputure and the Fancier 500 (generic), I was able to believe their higher CRI claim.

    Bottom line- the Coollights are/were an affordable Litepanels replacement, but you have to 1/4 minus green them, like all the early LEDs. The Aputure, at first glance looks like it can go without the minus green making them effectively 25% brighter out of the box.

    But comparing the photometry (actually validated by Mr Cheesy's 2200 lux @ 4') to the Litepanels 1x1, the Sola ENG, Sola 4, and Coolights shows that the Aputure is actually considerably brighter than the $700 Sola Eng and the other Litepanels and looks to put out about as much as the CL 600 (50W).

    I'm guessing the lItepanels still has a higher CRI, but for many times more $ and the Aputure 528s (that I based this all on while taking into account the 25 degree angle vs 40 degree, 30 degree, etc.)

    I just ordered 3 528s to add to the kit and given there size, weight, output I bet they become the new go to spots.

  22. AdRath

    @Emm How would you compare these lights to over 500+LED panels for light quality and build quality? How do they compare to the R-300?

    I really wish there was more out there on these lights. They look great. I am in the market for two panels and was considering the F&V R-300 but the 528spot looks far more of what I'm looking for.

  23. Emm

    Post author

    @oldCorpse - Well we'll see how much help I can offer. It's time consuming and difficult without a proper meter. I think I have a really good one in mind, but let me test it first.

  24. Emm

    Post author

    @Archie - RAW is a good thing to have (when it's needed). A few seconds of RAW can add up to Gigabytes of data, not to mention a lengthy workflow. Even guys who picked up the BMCC because of RAW often just settle for ProRes because the quality is better than most DSLRs and it doesn't have the RAW workflow. I say get a 5D Mark III because it's a better camera than what you have now, offers a full frame look, and is amazing in low light. It's great to have the option of RAW, but that should not be your primary reason to get this camera.

  25. Archie

    @Emm ya makes sense that it will save time. thanks.
    Just got the 528W delivered and looks awesomely compact. Let me know if anyone needs any simple info/test.
    Emm, now that I will be using LED of different brands do you think it makes sense to get a color temp meter? As I am not able to tell if there are differences in the accuracy of daylight balanced lights. Any other tests/ways apart from a meter.
    (on an unrelated note had a camera question too, canon in my country is selling 5D III for $2999 for few days on eBay, I already have a T2i and T4i. Should I buy 5D as it can now possibly shoot RAW? I initially thought I will wait for pocket camera but a 3x crop makes it too complicated plus I have some Canon L glass already. GH3 is what I should have instead of T4i but its late and now 5D is doing RAW.hope you can answer).

  26. OldCorpse

    Emm, I have to warn you. You're about to take your site to the next level, because nobody anywhere has done a test like this and it is highly desirable. LED lights are the future and there is a ton of interest. But nobody has had the organization to put together a comparative test that is worth anything - if you can reliably measure output, CRI, and light characteristic as well as practical issues (such as batteries etc.), you will have every buyer look to this. Your stuff will be referenced everywhere and - I'm not even kidding - it has the potential to really change the industry. Right now, the demand and interest is sky high, but buyers are very confused and uneasy - if you can do good tests, you will have pointed the way, and as they say, the rest will be history. This is gonna be epic!

    F&V lights (both day and bi) R-300, CN600, CN900, YN-300, YN-300II, and the rest of the most popular LEDs on the market (that you can get ahold of).

  27. Michael

    I am glad you are going to incorporate CRI info into future test, its kind of important.

  28. AdRath

    I'm really interested in these panels. The spot seems like a perfect match for the ultra compact interview kit. I wonder what the light is like with the spot version and an umbrella.

    Can't wait to see more tests. Especially skin tone as that is the only thing holding me to my tungstun Lowel kit although I'm tired of lugging it around and finding power outdoors.

  29. Emm

    Post author

    @Archie - A gel only allows one color temp change. The variable dimmer can mix anywhere between 3200-5600K. So without gels, you can quickly go to 4200K or 4800K to 5200K. If would be quite time consuming to switch a three light setup with different gels each time.

  30. Archie

    why would someone buy the color adjustable that gives half the power when you can always put a gel?
    Also, didn't know that meters are light source dependent? isn't it just "light" be it from tungsten or LED? please explaIn. Gosh there is so much to understand.

  31. Besides $100, what's the difference between the "pro" units on eBay ($279) and the non-"pro" units ($179)? They appear identical. What am I missing?

  32. Emm

    Post author

    @robert - Not sure. Even if you have the correct cable, you need the battery to have 14V. The light doesn't power on with just one battery so I'm not sure how variable the input is. Other LED lights can operate from 7V-16V with a basic 5.5mm 2.5mm tip.

  33. robert

    Hi Emm - can you put a AB or Switronix battery on one of these through that DC input on the back?

    Thanks for your tests,

    Robert

  34. marklondon

    Thanks for this. Love these - will go right onto my Nanostands and I already own the batteries.
    I have uses for both the wide and spot.

  35. Simon

    I would be inclined to get the narrow beam daylight version since you can always make it more diffused and if you want warmer, you generally don't need the brightness to fight daylight.

    So I wonder what effect the supplied diffusion panel (no color change) has on the beam angle. It appears fairly opaque in the picture so perhaps a layer of light opal or tough spun on the filter would convert it into a soft light in a pinch. Of course a Chimera type hood would be better...

  36. Emm

    Post author

    @Satva - These are two different lights and I have yet to perform all of the tests. These will both appeal to different crowds depending on your requirements.

    The Aputure Bi-Color read 535 LUX at 4ft. The K4000S Bi-Color reads at 745 Lux at 4ft.
    The Aputure is a more portable solution, the F&V is larger and will have better more even diffusion with it's unique offset milk diffusion filter.
    (I have yet to measure an accurate reading of CRI or Green/Magenta bias on either).
    The Aputure can use cheaper Sony batteries. The F&V K4000S requires V-Mount batteries.

  37. I admit I have ulterior motives for suggesting this, namely me not spending any money before I'm sure which LED panel would serve my purposes :), but if you're doing comparisons of the most popular panels around, it might be a good idea to throw one of those Beamlite 72 "high-power" LEDs from India into the mix. I don't know if you can afford to, of course, but that's the only panel on the market currently that claims significantly higher output over the "traditional" LED panels.

  38. Satva

    Nice test Emm!

    How would you compare the 528S to the F&V K4000 Bi Color? I have the F&V and am really happy with it(especially the milk diffusion for interviews) but wondering how these compare.

    Thanks!

  39. Emm

    Post author

    @apostolos - Good question, let me try this out and compare to it's original LUX reading without the Gel. Should be able to report back sometime today.

  40. What's the lux reading for the two daylight-only models when you add the tungsten filter, in other words how much light does the filter cut down, because in my CN-600s it cuts the light output down quite abit.

  41. Fred Bo

    This is a must have at this price point, for small fresnel tungsten replacement ! i'm talking about th 528-S of course.

    You can always diffuse your light very easily. But you can't focus wide beam as you don't have fresnel lens nor barndoors.

    Will buy one for sure maybe next week 🙂

  42. Emm

    Post author

    @David S. - I can run a few more tests, but the accuracy of my meter should not be used for exact 'color temp' measurements. Hopefully in about a week I can get a more accurate meter that will give some hard numbers on CRI.

  43. David S.

    This was so helpful. Thank you for getting a light meter! My main concern with LEDs, particularly ones at this low price point, is the accuracy of the color temperature. It seems like 528W is a pretty good option for a soft, daylight balanced light - but what is the light loss and accuracy with the tungsten gel it comes with? Thanks for your help. We are in the market for LEDs, and the price of these make these very, very tempting.

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