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Tag : Big Eye Fresnel

18 Nov 2019

K5600 Big Eye Fresnel – Update November 18 2019

November 18 2019

I have utilized my K5600 Big Eye Fresnel during a recent studio dance session. I have never used a large Fresnel as my key light for dance. But based on my prior testing I decided that the light produced by this instrument was worth the try. Thankfully the AD agreed and so I used it for dance for the very first time. I will say that unlike other modifiers, focusing rods, soft boxes, etc. a Fresnel instrument is unforgiving with moving subjects. But for the right mood, I find it to be worth the effort. No it won’t be for all of my dance sessions, but for the ones I want this delicious type light, I won’t hesitate to use it.

October 13 2019

The pre owned K5600 Big Eye which I found through Kaylites.

After having converted a Mole Richardson 412 Fresnel spotlight to accept a strobe my local client base began to fall in love with the lighting style of a large Fresnel. Since spotlights were used in the 1930-40s for portraiture there is a very romantic look and feel to the imagery. My issue with the converted 412 is it is almost impossible to transport via airline. Plus I’ve invested loads of time and effort so if it were to be damaged or lost I’d be pissed! My remote clients wanted to know ‘When we get that kind of light Mark!’

I looked at a Bron Flooter, but for around 4.5k and the same transport issue I did not consider it viable for my needs. I then found the K5600 Big Eye Fresnel and for 2.2k it fit within my budget, but more importantly I could break it down for airline transport. So at first I tried to rent one, but then decided to purchase the unit. This is where my troubles began. I found that the unit is no longer manufactured by K5600 to purchase, but can be rented at several different rental houses. My preference is to purchase my equipment since I often find rental units to be poorly cared for with either missing or non functional parts. I was lucky enough to locate a used one through an exceptional retailer.

The Big Eye Fresnel was made for K5600 Joker HMI constant lights, but I ‘hoped and figured’ I could adapt it to my strobes which are the Flashpoint 600 and 200 line of lights. The Big Eye comes with three different length 5/8” spigots to accommodate their 200, 600 and 800 HMIs which vary in height. By using a few standard 5/8” adapters I found the right ones for both the 200 and 600s both using remote heads on the various length spigots supplied with the Big Eye.

My next task was to follow my normal protocol of testing the quality of light for any modifier before putting it into my normal workflow. I was fortunate to find a theatre set and a beautiful actress where I could not only test the quality of light, but the focusing characteristics of the large 24” Fresnel lens. Long story short, I could not be happier with the instrument and its conversion to strobes.

As shown in the two following images I am able to use both the AD200 and 600 strobes with their remote heads in the Big Eye.

The AD200 remote head and bulb reflector. I believe that this configuration will be my most often used set up. In a following photo I show how I rigged a modeling light to use with the 200 remote head.

The Flashpoint 600 remote head can be used both vertically and horizontally in the Big Eye. I have found no appreciable difference in the quality or pattern of light in my testing. Using it in the vertical position allows the bulb to be very far from or very close to the lens.

In order to have some sort of modeling light when I use the 200s I purchased a Lume Cube Air and simply mounted it to a steel bracket I made which affixes to the AD200 remote 1/4 20 threaded hole. The Lume Cube Air comes with an embedded magnet on one side of its case. Although it’s not exactly centered when mounted on the lighting fixture, who cares! And I can control the Lume Cube from my phone via Bluetooth. Perfect for my needs.

The modeling light works really well to get a general idea of the light’s focus and placement. And since it’s attached to the actual light fixture it moves in and out with the light source for focusing.

I am able to use the AD600 remote head as well. It can be used both in the normal bulb horizontal position or in this case the vertical position. I made a little DIY reflector when I want to use it in the vertical position out of a biscuit cutter….. I just cut it in half.

I just use Nano tape to affix the biscuit cutter reflector to the remote head.

“Honey look I bought you two new biscuit cutters!” (I used the largest one to make the reflector)

I cut the biscuit cutter just in front of the handle and folded the edge over to prevent cuts to my hand. It also adds additional strength to the ‘reflector’ as well. And if you’re wondering the actual OEM Joker reflector that comes with the Big Eye is not as stout as this little biscuit cutter! LOL

To me the little biscuit reflector looks OEM! Hahahahaha

I was fortunate enough to be allowed to use this set to test my Big Eye between show performances.

The scene with the stage work lights on.

My setup to test both the Big Eye and my new Aputure Spotlight I used with a window gobo.

Please note that all of the imagery of Catherine was shot using the AD200 set between 1/32 and 1/4 power levels. There was no need for me to use my 600. All stage work lights remained on throughout the session. My Pentax 645Z was never set to HSS. All images shot at 1/125th shutter speed.

I first balanced the Aputure window gobo light….

And then the Big Eye as my key light….

First to shoot lovely Catherine with just the Big Eye….

And then using both the Big Eye and the Aputure. I wanted to determine how much focus was needed in the Big Eye so as to not overpower the gobo light from the Aputure instrument.

We then moved to the bedroom set to determine just how finely the Big Eye could be focused.

Again adding the Aputure instrument for the window with the Big Eye fully focused as my key light.

And one more of the Big Eye in mid focused position.

Finally a more traditional use of a Fresnel on the chaise lounge. Three quarters flooded.

I will simply say that I am thrilled at not only the quality of light produced by the Big Eye, but it’s construction and design. I’m actually shocked that K5600 has discontinued its production, but happy that rental houses still offer them as rentals. If you are ever in the need to rent a fantastic Fresnel, don’t hesitate to rent a K5600 Big Eye Fresnel.

05 Oct 2019

Incredible Customer Service

I recently posted a review of my testing of the K5600 Big Eye Fresnel. That blog post can be found here.

The photo sent to me by the owner of the K-5600 Big Eye Fresnel for sale. 

I recently decided to buy a K-5600 Big Eye Fresnel after having fallen in love with the delicious light produced by a large Fresnel lens. I had converted a vintage 1965 Mole Richardson 412 Hollywood spotlight into a strobe, which I used for my local clients. After viewing the results I was attaining with the Mole my remote clients said “Uh Mark we want that same light for some of OUR shots. How can you make that happen?” Due to its sheer size/weight and all of the effort it took to convert it I could not transport it to my remote clients via airline.

So I began to investigate portable options which led me to the Big Eye. It’s not inexpensive listed at $2250.00 so at first I thought I would rent one. Due to the multiple hassles involved with that idea I just decided to bite the bullet and purchase one. I ordered one through Adorama and in two days received a notice that my order had been cancelled. I contacted their customer service department and they informed me that K-5600, the maker of the Big Eye no longer manufactures them. I decided to contact K-5600 and they explained that the unit was released in 2010 and met with tepid sales. So they decided to discontinue production.

I’ve rented modifiers before, Bron Para 133s, etc. But my personal preference is to own my equipment. It’s always available and I take care of my gear, something I find is not necessarily so with rentals. I began a search for a retailer or rental house on the off chance they had one in stock. Or because they were not popular enough for K-5600 to continue production, they had one they wished to sell. Peter Bradshaw of K-5600 did his best to help me find one, but to no avail. I had contacted Kayelites via their web form like I had with the other retailers who indicated they had some in stock. But like the others they did not have one on hand and would have to special order one from K-5600.

Stephen the owner of Kayelites called me and told me that in 2010 he had sold two to his customers. It was at that point he looked them up and called one of them while I waited on the line. He came back on to tell me he left a voicemail and would contact me if or when his call was returned. Two days later I received a call from Stephen that one of his customers planned to retire soon and was interested in selling his Big Eye! Holy smokes really?!! Stephen then asked the owner to send photos of the unit and forwarded them to me. He brokered the deal with a very modest handling fee and I received the unit directly from the owner. In every step of the way Stephen followed up with not only great service but a level of communication that I was accustomed to 30 years ago.

I am now the very fortunate owner of a K-5600 Big Eye Fresnel that no one, not even the manufacturer could locate for me and at approximately 700.00 less than new! My plan is to use it with both as a constant light as well as with a strobe depending on the need of the client.

Adapting the Big Eye to various strobes.

Kayelites, specifically Stephen Kaye has a customer for life. Thank you Stephen and thank you for your kindness and tenacity. It’s so appreciated.