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Author Topic: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name  (Read 2004 times)

Steve Cook

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Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« on: July 12, 2017, 09:14:32 am »

I run a modest lighting rig for my events.  Just 8-12 pars for front wash, sometimes 8 in the rear.  For 2 years I've used some chinese direct RGBW I got from a buddy.  They did the job.  However, it's time for a change.  Over the holiday, I rented Elation SixPar 200 IP.  I took some pictures during the show, and the next day is when I realized how much better the Elation fixtures are.  Looking at the posted pic,  Everything looked awesome!  Every picture!  I can include those in this thread if you folks are interested. 

I'm now looking at buying 12 of the SixPars, and looking to the forum for advice as I don't have much experience in different brands.  The obvious first question is regarding a possible direct from China equivalent?  I can't find one, and, really, in my opinion, the quality of lighting isn't even close between the Elation and any of the Chinese direct ones I've seen. 

Alternative fixture at similar price point is the Blizzard Tournado or the Toughpars.  Without seeing them, I'm guessing the quality of lighting is going to be pretty much the same. 

Ideas?
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Chris Pflieger

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 10:52:50 am »

I think you've answered your first question - the Chinese knock-offs don't match the quality.

Do you need a weather-proof fixture? That's going to limit your choices, as you know.
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Steve Cook

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2017, 11:21:23 am »

I think you've answered your first question - the Chinese knock-offs don't match the quality.

Do you need a weather-proof fixture? That's going to limit your choices, as you know.
[/quote

Yea, gotta be IP rated.  I do about 40 shows outdoors a year. 
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2017, 02:30:29 pm »

I think you've answered your first question - the Chinese knock-offs don't match the quality.

Do you need a weather-proof fixture? That's going to limit your choices, as you know.
[/quote

Yea, gotta be IP rated.  I do about 40 shows outdoors a year.
And how about UL or other electrical approval?
The off shore fixtures I have seen need a special inspections sticker to pass electrical inspection and help reduce liability in case of an accident.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 04:34:39 pm »

In addition to everything already mentioned, name-brand fixtures (of a moderate to high quality) also excel in low-level performance and color matching.  The generic Chinese fixtures really start to struggle when operating at intensities below 10%.  Their dimming is "steppy" and won't give you a smooth halogen-equivalent dimming curve.  They also tend to flicker, especially on recorded video. 

Regarding color matching, this really reflects how well and consistent the fixture can replicate a given color.  If I tell my light board to replicate Rosco #02 (Bastard Amber), how accurately will the light actually produce that color compared to a halogen S4?  This is what really sets the premium fixtures apart from the budget fixtures, aside from the overall quality and durability already mentioned.

Now as I've said before in previous threads, if all you're going to do is blast random colors on a wall or build a pixel grid, 90% of what you're paying for in a premium fixture will be wasted.  Many forum members have had good luck with the sub-$100 fixtures from eBay, and when used in that given situation they do quite well.  The same fixtures would never hold up on a Broadway stage however...  At the same time, you can buy a few dozen Chinese Pars for the cost of one premium LED fixture.  You just have to figure out where the best bang-to-buck is for your current application.  Hope this helps!
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 06:15:22 pm »

The colorwheel and gobo rotation are two areas I have found the Chinese "Beam" clones lack in.   

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Steve M Smith

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 03:08:52 am »

I wonder how many of these 'big name. brands are manufactured in China...

Quality has nothing to do with the country of manufacture.


Steve.
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Dave Barker

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 09:25:58 am »

For me it's reliability.  When I took out what I will refer to as my Chinese fixtures say some 36x10 washes I would take out 8 and HOPE that 5-6 would work.  Even though they all worked in the shop when on site I always had issues.  It was always a crap shoot to figure it out.  A lot of time running dmx had to have certain type of fixtures on legs from a splitter couldn't just link fixture to fixture.  Had to keep washes together, sharpys together and so on.  I hated doing lights.  It just never seemed like it worked out of the gate.  I won't even comment on my IP65 par cans that I now refer to as my IP32.5 par cans.  I have 20 of them on bars and nearly everyone of them leaked and filled with water.

I have since purchased 24 of the Martin Rush series moving lights along with Elation pars and while they are made in China they have been rock solid.  I take them out hook them up and everything works the way the should.  I can't afford the big name Martin fixtures but these have made my life much easier and now I enjoy doing lights.
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BrianHenry

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 10:31:14 pm »

I have some cheap fixtures that I've had great luck with from a longevity standpoint. The problem for me as pointed out above is color and poor dimming curves. For these reasons I will probably be upgrading them well before they fail. Although it is kind of nice that they weigh next to nothing!


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Craig Leerman

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Re: Differences of chinese fixtures vs Big Name
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2017, 02:15:00 pm »

I wonder how many of these 'big name. brands are manufactured in China...

Quality has nothing to do with the country of manufacture.


Steve.

Exactly.  Elation, Chauvet, ADJ, TEI, Blizzard, Mega, etc all have lights made in China.  The big difference is in quality control and binning the diodes so that the fixtures are color matched. There are many reputable companies in China that sell fixtures of their own design, not just " knock offs" and in a few cases that I know of the branded American fixture is actually a knock off of a design that was already made somewhere else.

I use a COB par (LEDJ brand from the UK) that is made in China that is one of the best led lights I have ever seen. it's rugged, well made and replaced some lights in my inventory from one of the above named manufacturers.
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