Falcon Eyes BL-30TD Review: The Ultimate $800 Video Light

We've been using the Falcon Eyes BL-30TD for three months now, and we are big fans. For $800, it has an amazing list of features. But, how does it compare to another light that sells for the same price? 

Instead of a standard review video above, I decided to put the Falcon Eyes BL-30TD up against the much more compact Fiilex P360 Pro Plus, which is currently on sale for the same price. For the written review, I will focus exclusively on the 30TD.

What Is It?

The Falcon Eyes BL-30TD is a bi-color LED light, which means it is capable of dimming and color shifting from 3,000 K to 8,000 K. The light itself isn't too big, but the power supply that powers the light is massive. This makes this light a fantastic choice for a studio but slightly more difficult the travel with. 

Ergonomics

The light itself is about the size of a Profoto D2 monolight. On the front is a standard Bowens mount that will allow you to attach modifiers easily and quickly. There are no buttons or knobs on the light itself; instead, a single cable attaches the light to a gigantic 300-watt power supply. On the power supply is the on and off switch, dimmer knob, and Kelvin temperature knob. On either side of the power supply are slots for dual V mount batteries. On the back, there is an off, battery, or AC power switch. Batteries would allow you to use this light out on location, but of course, it would make the power supply even larger and more cumbersome. 

You'll also notice both DMX jacks on the back of the power supply and an antenna that allows wireless control of the light with the optional $60 RC-3T remote control

Light Quality

Light quality is measured with a CRI rating (Color Rendering Index) of 0-100. Most people consider lights producing a CRI of above 90 to be good and over 95 to be excellent. At 5,600 K, the light produced a CRI rating of 95.0, at 8,000 K, 94.4 CRI, and at 3,000 K, 89.7 CRI. I would personally consider this to be excellent, especially for the price. 

Light Consistency

Bi-color LED have both red and blue LEDs that turn on and off as you shift the light's color. At 3,000 K, perhaps only red LEDs will be illuminated, and at 8,000 K, only blue LEDs will be illuminated. At 5,000 K, all of the LEDs will be illuminated, and at this color temperature, the light will have the potential to produce the most light. 

In my tests, I got the brightest output around 5,000-5,600 K and lost 1.3 stops of light when I shifted down to 3,000 K and lost 1/3 of a stop when I shifted up to 8,000 K. 

Power

Flacon Eyes claims that the BL-30TD has a LUX of 18,500 at one meter. My tests, with the included reflector dish, were somewhat close to that, but it's hard to measure and comprehend LUX ratings, because light modifiers can completely change test results, and very few people even know what LUX is. I decided to compare this light directly to the Fiilex P360 Pro Plus, which is a great little light, but isn't very powerful. The BL-30TD was exactly two stops brighter than the Fiilex, meaning that it was equivalent to four P360 Pro Plus lights. 

We've been using Fiilex P360 lights for years, and our only complaint with them is that they aren't bright enough in some situations. The BL-30TD is a big improvement and is bright enough for almost any video production indoors, but it is not going to do much in broad daylight. 

Reliability and Warranty

Falcon Eyes is a budget tech company out of China, but they do claim to include a one-year warranty with their products. There are only two reviews for this light on Amazon, and they are both negative. One claims that the light immediately broke, and the other claims that theirs would overheat and shut off. We couldn't replicate this.

We've personally owned Falcon Eyes lights for years now, and they are all still working, but I'm sure if you spent more money, you could buy a more reliable light with better serviceability. That being said, the BL-30TD is around 1/3 of the price of its name-brand competitors. You could buy three, have two break, and still be ahead. 

Conclusion

I'm a big fan of the Falcon Eyes BL-30TD. It's not quite as powerful, accurate, or feature-rich as some other lights that we own, but those other lights cost $3,000 while the 30TD is just $800. If power isn't a huge priority for you, the Fiilex P360 Pro Plus is the same price, but is about 1/5th of the size and weight. But for most people, power output is extremely important, and If you're looking for a bright, color-shiftable LED light, the Falcon Eyes BL-30TD is certainly the best bang for your buck that we've tested so far. 

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7 Comments

Ronnie Dai's picture

Never heard of Aperture?

michaeljin's picture

First, it's Aputure, not Aperture. That having been said, the Aputure 300D and 300DmkII are more expensive. The Aputure 120D and 120DmkII are cheaper, but I would put the Fiilex above them in quality. If money is no object, Aputure isn't even close to the best lighting brand out there. If you're just looking for value, then I would argue that Godox SL lights are a far better value than Aputure for comparable performance.

One fan might not be picked up on audio, but I use 4-8 lights for big shoots.
Fan noise and flicker make the Godox line a non-starter for my shooting, though I love the AD600 strobe.

michaeljin's picture

I've not experienced any issue with flicker on the Godox yet. As far as fan noise, I suppose it would depend on what kind of stuff you're shooting. If you're in a dead silent studio, then yeah, you will probably pick it up, but if you're in any sort of situation with ambient sound, it's even 8 of them are unlikely to register as long as you're using good directional microphones. Even in a silent studio, it wouldn't register as all that loud with a directional microphone and you could gate it out as well as apply noise reduction.

Rob Mitchell's picture

I got started in the business with a couple of Falcon Eyes Flashes. They were stupidly over powered for what I needed really. They took some serious knocks in the first couple of years, never once letting me down. Only if you needed to shoot a lot of shots in quick succession did you notice a variation in power output.
I sold them on to another beginner for what I paid for them. Bargain really.

Terry Wright's picture

Lee needs a new headshot. This one with hair isn't cutting it anymore.

Is that thing 10 years old?