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Click here to read the article about the Hedler DX-15 HMI Light
by Michael Roscoe from the British Journal of Photography.

With its compact size and affordable price tag, Michael Roscoe finds out if the Hedler DX-15 head is the HMI that video and stills photographers have been waiting for.

Hedler’s latest addition to its lighting range, the DX-15, appears tailor-made for photographers experimenting with the HD video functionality of their digital SLR cameras. It boasts a built-in ballast and a metal-halogen lamp (150W/SE) that produces a flicker-free, daylight-balanced continuous light, and it has no fan that could interfere with sound recordings.

I used the Hedler DX-15 Pro2 Kit, which includes two heads, two 4way barndoors, two light stands and a kitbag (priced £1180+VAT from Robert White Photographic). It is also compatible with a large range of lightshapers, including the two Maxisoft softboxes employed during my tests.

The kit’s smart looking bag has a dense, black exterior and is slightly padded for some rudimentary protection against the odd bump and scrape in transit.  It features a hand strap to carry it around, although it would also benefit from a shoulder strap as an extra option. You unzip the case to reveal two compact sized Manfrotto light stands (1051BAC) that are air cushioned and are extendible from 75cm to 211cm in height, which should cover most common eventualities. That said, their compact size means that they don’t offer rock solid stability, especially when they are used with a softbox at loftier heights. The two DX-15 heads and the barndoor attachments can be found in three separate padded compartments and the bag has three movable dividers so it can be configured as you desire.

The DX-15 heads have a familiar appearance to other of German maker’s own Tungsten-Halogen range of continuous lighting units, like the Hedler HF 65. It is square and box-like, but the first noticeable aspect of the DX-15 head is its small size (160×165×180mm) and light weight (under 2.4kg). It feels very well constructed with no hint of any rattles or any loose fittings. It features a tough aluminum housing with a plastic back panel and fits on to a standard sized spigot. The back of the DX-15 incorporates an On/Off switch and a plastic handle that can be held even when the head has been left on for extended periods of time.

Any fears that the DX-15 won’t offer the control over the quality of light compared to a studio flash head should be quickly quashed. It is compatible with a multitude of light shapers, including different sized softboxes, striplites, honeycombes and reflectors, such as the Maxispot (snoot) and Maxibeauty (beauty dish), as well as the aforementioned bundled barn doors. It is also possible to get a mount fitting (HE7010) for the side of the DX-15 if you want to use an umbrella.

The kit is quick and easy to set up. The heads do come with some nice details such as a push lock so that the head can’t be accidentally released from the stand, even if it hasn’t been screwed into position. It only takes a few minutes to set up the gear but before getting started it is important to ‘burn-in’ the lamps to ensure the colour temperature remains stable. The manufacturer recommends leaving the lamp on for at least three hours before you use them for the first time to attain the stated 5800K colour temperature.

Performance

The DX-15 is child’s play to operate. You merely need to plug it into the mains and flick the switch on the back of the unit to get going. The barndoors attachments are incredibly quick and easy to connect to the head by lifting a spring-loaded lever and slotting them into place in seconds. It takes around three minutes for it to reach its optimum power and colour temperature setting. There is no power adjustment, but you can cut the power by attaching a light-shaper like the Maxisoft softbox that I used, which reduced the output by around half an f-stop.

Otherwise, you can of course simply move the lamp nearer or further away from a subject to adjust the power.

One of the main attributes of the DX-15 is its almost silent operating performance. In fact, it is so quiet that I had to put my ear next to it to hear anything at all, ensuring that it won’t have any detrimental affect on any video/sound recordings. It is also noticeable that the head produces comparatively low levels of heat. Although it is not recommended to touch the aluminum outer casing, the heat will not make sitters sweat in the same way that a tungsten lamp can. It also means that it is ideal to light still life subject matter that can be adversely affected by heat such as food and foliage. The low heat also means the head can be used with a softbox without the need of huge ventilation holes that can cause unsightly light leak.

An HMI like this comes with a number of other advantages over its tungsten lamp equivalents, besides its low heat output. The daylight-balanced cast of light is a primary reason for investing in this kit, and there's no need to doubt the stated colour temperature that is around 6000K mark. (It is also worth noting that the DX-15 can be fitted with a tungsten-balanced lamp that was not used in this test). Another notable attribute of the DX-15 head is that the average lifetime of its halogen lamp is a lengthy 6000 hours (approximately), compared to around 75 hours for a lamp used in a head like the Hedler H 25s.

One minor inconvenience with all HMI’s is that once a lamp has been switched off, it will not switch back on straight away. I found that it I had to wait around three minutes for it to come back to life. I’ve been informed that HMI bulbs are slow to heat up the gasses to reach the optimum colour temperature, and as equally protracted to cool down before being re-ignited. That said, a three-minute wait is quick for an HMI lamp head.  

The DX-15 has broad range of uses that include lighting for still-life and portraits, but its primarily appeal is likely to be for video capture. The power of the 150W Metal Halogen Lamp is purportedly equivalent to a 650 W tungsten. I used a Minolta Auto Meter IV F (light meter) to test the power by setting to ISO 400 and a shutter speed of 1/30s, and got a reading of f/16 from a distance of 50cm. I also used a Canon EOS 5D Mk II, and generally needed to shoot at over ISO 1600 to get the aperture and shutter speed setting I wanted. In one lighting set-up (to shoot stills) I bounced the light off a polyboard in a studio to get a broad spread of light to get and aperture of f/5.6, a shutter speed of 1/250s at ISO 2000. (The lamphead was about a metre away from a polyboard and bounced the light to the sitter who was within a few metres).  I also captured movies files using the same lighting set-up at ISO 2000 with an aperture of f/5.6 at 24fps.

Conclusions

The Hedler DX 15 Pro2 Kit is an impressive lighting solution. Its compact size and light weight make it easy to take on location when needed, and its cast of light means it can be seamlessly mixed with naturally occurring daylight to help boost the illumination in a room or to add some highlights when necessary. Continuous lighting is often preferred to flash lighting by less techno-savvy photographers, and this kit certainly ticks the ease-of-use box. It can also be beneficial to see exactly how the light falls when using continuous lighting among its other benefits. But make no mistake, this kit is built to withstand regular professional use.

The range of compatible light-shapers also means there is no compromise in the quality of light output from a DX-15 head. Photographers looking to invest in a HMI lighting solution are often put off by the high price tag, which makes this Hedler kit even more tempting. Solid build quality, impressive performance credentials and value for money… what more could you ask for?

Hedler DX & DF HMI Lights for Film, Video, TV & Stills

Hedler DX 15 HMI Light

The most compact & lightweight
one-piece HMI light in its class!

Hedler product image 1

  • Tough, well built Aluminium construction.
  • 150 Watt Metal Halogen Lamp equivalent to 650W tungsten.
  • 6,000 hour operating lamp.
  • Flicker-free light balanced at approx 5800° Kelvin.
  • Built-In Ballast!
  • Huge accessory range: reflectors, barndoors, filters, softboxes.
NEW Hedler DF 25 Fresnel

A more powerful version of the successful DF 15 Focussing Spot


Hedler product image 2Hedler product image 3

 

  • Continuous HMI daylight Fresnel Spotlight.
  • 250W Metal Halogen Lamp equivalent to
    900W tungsten.
  • Focussing range: Spot 15°, Flood 50°.
  • Weight only 2900 grams.
  • Perfect for sound recording. No fan!
  • 6,000 hour operating lamp.
  • Colour temperature: 5600°K, Flicker Free.
  • Light source & ballast in same housing.

Code
Product
 

Daylight HMI / D-Models

1625
NEW HEDLER DF 25 Fresnel HMI Lamp
with 1 x 250W HMI bulb, safety glass, U-Bracket with Quick-Lock Light Stand attachment 5/8 inch, and built-in Electronic Ballast.
 
1516
NEW HEDLER  DF 15  Fresnell Focusing Spot
with built-in ballast, 1 x Metal Halogen Lamp 150 W / SE T, safety glass & mounting bracket
 
1512

HEDLER  DX 15  with built-in ballast
1 x Metal Halogen Lamp 150 W / SE T, Matt safety glass & mounting bracket

 

Daylight HMI  Kits

1560 NEW  DF15 Focus Kit contains:
2 x DF15, 2 x 4 Way Barndoor, 1 x Case, bulbs and mains cables
 
1561 NEW  DX & DF15 3 head Kit contains:
2 x DX15, 1 x DF15, 1 x 4 Way barndoor, 1 x Maxisoft reflector,
1 x Maxisun reflector, 1 x Soft Scrim for MaxiSun, 3 x light stand,
1 x case, bulbs and mains cables
 
1552 DX 15 - Pro2 Kit, comes with:
2 x HEDLER DX 15 incl. Lamp, built-in ballast, and safety glass,
2 x 4-Way Barndoor 360°, 2 x Light stand 2,11 m, 1 x KIT Bag 
68 x 26 x 22cm
 
1553 DX 15 - Pro3 Kit, comes with:
3 x HEDLER DX 15 incl. Bulb, built-in ballast, and safety glass,
3 x 4-Way Barndoor 360°, 3 x Light Stand 2,11 m, 1x Kit Bag 
68 x 26 x 22cm
 

Please refer to our Online Shop for prices.

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