New Nanlite Forza 60C Review
New Nanlite Forza 60C Review. Lighting manufacturer Nanlite is fresh off a string of releases that include the Forza 720B, 300B, and the 60C (first look here). The “C” in the name – Nanlite Forza 60C – stands for color, and the development of the C is exciting enough to warrant a full review of this nifty little 88W draw light. In the race for higher output fixtures, it’s easy to miss the need for smaller, more compact, and flexible lights that work as everything, from product to background to mobile Steadicam/gimbal or even as event coverage lights. Of course, for content creators in small spaces, the Forza 60C might also make for the perfect key light where you aren’t fighting the sun. Here’s my full review of the Nanlite Forza 60C.
First, let’s acknowledge we’re in the middle of a fascinating technology race towards high-output fixtures that are color capable. Currently, there’s an inherent output tradeoff between Bi-Color and Daylight, and then with Color and Daylight fixtures. In most cases, when compared watt to watt, the daylight-only fixtures will simply provide a higher output. With Bi-Color and Color lights, you’ll see a 20% or even 30% drop in output as a tradeoff for the added flexibility of bi-color or color.
This decrease in output is no surprise. There’s only a certain amount of space in a lamp head, and the mix required between different LED emitters to create a given color means that not all emitters can operate at 100%. Wonderfully saturated color is the result, but not the same output as emitters are devoted to doing one thing and doing it well – like outputting 5600K daylight.
Which brings me back to the Nanlite Forza 60C and a few questions – why do we need a light like this? Who is it for? And how far can we push that “C” in the Forza 60?
The Forza 60C is an RGBLAC fixture – meaning, beyond the common red, green, and blue LED emitters, Nanlite engineers have added lime, amber, and cyan chips into the lamp head to create a variety of colors. This is a similar mix of chips to the Prolycht brand of lights – though it definitely matters what each brand is doing on the software side to express those colors. Time will tell which mix technology will win the day in the market, but in my opinion, the Forza 60C mix of six color chips tends to make richer orange and brown colors.
For my work, I look at the Forza 60C as a replacement or partner to my use of LED Dedolights on set. Both are good choices for highlighting small details, or as a hair light in a pinch. At $699 for the base package, the Forza 60C is certainly cheaper than the Dedolight DLED7 Turbo Bi-Color. At bi-color (not color), this Dedolight has a comparable wattage draw of 90W with a price tag of roughly $1600, depending on sales.
The Forza 60C ships with the following in the kit:
- 45-degree Reflector
- Lamp Head
- Small Soft Case
- AC Power Cable (10′)
- Bowens Mount Adapter
- Battery Grip (NP-F)
The primarily plastic-included Bowens adapter does work in a pinch for adapting to other Bowens accessories, but I would be very careful about what larger Bowens S-Type accessories you use with it. For instance, not everything is optimized for the COB of the Forza 60C and some accessories are heavy metal, which might damage your adapter.
I will say that the battery grip stands out as a comfortable tool to allow you to walk easily with the Forza 60C, while under battery charge. This feature, paired with a Nanlite Forza 60 Softbox, makes for a highly mobile kit for tricky spots or where you simply don’t have time to put down a stand. The lamp head is only a few pounds too and could be handheld with ease.
I would like to see the Forza 60C available in a 3-Light kit with some type of rolling hard case option. To me, it feels like a fixture that would require additional lights to reach its full potential. Given the relatively reasonable price point, I also think buying several might be an acceptable option, as a plane-friendly travel kit.
The exterior body of the Forza 60C has a carbon-fiber style to it and doesn’t feel like it can take too many hits or withstand challenging weather. Still, given the output capabilities of this fixture, it also doesn’t feel like a light you’ll leave outside in the snow for too much. The Forza 60C would feel most at home during interiors, or during night exteriors in favorable weather.
Beyond the core kit, I was able to test the $79 Nanlite FL-11 Fresnel with a 10–45-degree adjustable beam spread, the previously mentioned $119 Forza 60 Softbox, and the $299 19-degree Forza 60 Projector. More on these accessories later.
Controlling the Nanlite Forza 60C
The rear menu is not tricky to navigate, but the Bluetooth Nanlink app will simplify picking colors and making fast selections, like turning the fan on or off. There’s no silent option available yet.
A few banner selectable features:
- Selectable Color Temp from 1,800K-20,000K
- HSI Mode, RGB Mode and XY Mode for color selection
- 15 Customizable Effects like fireworks and welding
- +/- Green Control
The huge selectable color temp range available on the Forza 60C is particularly impressive when compared to competitors that might top out at 10,000K or even lower on the daylight end of the spectrum.
I’m seeing continued improvements to the Nanlink app over time, after an initial phase where it felt like it was very much in Beta testing. The app might work fine for routine work, but for anything complex, you’ll want to look into DMX options. Unfortunately, built-in wireless DMX isn’t available, so you’ll need to use the back DMX port to explore wired options. My guess is that internal wireless DMX would have pushed this fixture out of a certain price point Nanlite was trying to hit.
You can power the Forza 60C using standard AC power by connecting the barrel to the lamp head. I wish the barrel connector was locking, as I always worry about these connectors getting pulled out by mistake during mid-shot.
The light also comes with a useful hand grip (which also fits on a C-Stand) that has slots for two Sony NP-F batteries, or you can purchase the Nanlite V-Mount battery adaptor for $42 HERE.
This is the type of fixture that lends itself well to battery operation, given the 88-watt draw and the ability to add batteries to an accessory that doubles as a hand grip.
Output & color handling
I grabbed a few measurements on my Sekonic C-700U Spectrometer (now updated with the C-800U) to see how accurately the 60C handles color temp measured in Kelvin and output (lx) from a distance of 3 ft. Here are my readings with a target of 5600K and output set to 100%. This test was completed with the kit’s 45-degree reflector attachment.
A reading of 5492K with a target of 5600K is excellent and well within a normal operating margin on the lights I’ve tested. I’d love for more output here, but something’s gotta give in a battery-powered light that’s so compact.
And here’s a test with a target of 3200K.
Nearly spot on with a reading of 3194K. This is one of the best results I’ve seen when testing kelvin accuracy, and the [lx] levels are also remarkably consistent.
And now, a test with a target of 4700K.
A reading of 4593K is also great.
The output numbers are very consistent from kelvin to kelvin with a slight output drop in the middle of the range between standard daylight and standard tungsten kelvin targets.
There’s much to like about the Forza 60 Softbox, the FL-11 Fresnel, and the 19-degree projector. For one, all of them are made from plastic (except for the barn doors that come with the Fresnel and the glass elements within the projector) and that actually serves to keep the overall rig lightweight – though perhaps not making everything impervious to damage.
I feel much better about these accessories being optimized for the Forza 60 line of lights and not adapting heavier Bowens S-Type mount accessories designed with other fixtures in mind.
The Forza 60 Softbox uses the click-in-place mechanism I’ve become very fond of over the last several years, and it appears that forcing metal rods into an unmovable ring might be a thing of the past. Setup is quick and painless, becoming a configuration that content creators and streamers will appreciate.
I found that the FL-11 Fresnel does indeed narrow or widen the beam angle, but it is prone to light leaks at the edges and doesn’t quite give you that fresnel-like look that a larger source will. This is more a function of the size of the Forza 60 COB and less an issue with the fresnel accessory itself. If you’re really looking for a quality fresnel shadow, then I would suggest looking at the Forza 300, the Forza 500, and up.
The Forza 60 19-degree projector is incredibly compact and light compared to the bigger projector attachment from Nanlite. I can’t stress enough how useful being able to put a tiny splash of light in any part of your image is and the projector gives you that flexibility without the hassle. This is the attachment you need if you’re doing anything related to product photography or video. It’s just so darn handy in those scenarios because you can make tiny hard cuts of light easily. You also get a gobo holder and a variety of standard gobos for the price of this accessory. However, because of the output needs of my work, I find myself using the larger projector on larger Nanlite fixtures when I used those gobos.
Given the relatively affordable price of each of these three accessories (about $500 for all three), my choice would be to purchase them despite any quibbles – if only to get more flexibility out of the fixture.
Final thoughts on the Nanlite Forza 60C
If you’ve read or watched my reviews, you know I’m not a slam-dunk fan of adding more and more lights to a kit. I’m always asking what works for what purpose, considering we all have a minimal amount of storage. Towards that end, if you’re starting to build a set of Nanlite Forza 60C’s, you’ll want to consider a set or trio at the minimum for your work.
Over the course of testing for this review, I found myself building my usual lighting plots, which includes tossing the Forza 60C soft case in my vehicle or on the G&E truck and then taking it out in a pinch when I needed it to save me for that moment I didn’t consider in my lighting plan. The size and weight (even with the projector attachment) made it an easy light to throw into the mix on shoots, along with its larger cousins – and the addition of color just makes it that much more flexible.
At the risk of stressing out yet another engineer, I’m very excited for even the possibility of a Nanlite Forza 300C, 500C, and 1200C perhaps coming to the market at some point. I have no inside knowledge in this regard, I’m just trying to manifest a few more stellar lighting fixtures with a “C” at the end of their name. In the meantime, I’ll have to live with my small, affordable, and ever-versatile Forza 60C.
Link: Nanlite website
What do you think? Will you be adding the Nanlite 60C to your kit? Let us know in the comments below!
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