ADJ Focus Spot Three Z Review – Advanced Features Become More AffordableApril 16, 2018
ADJ Focus Spot Three Z
As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. The more you get, the more you pay for it, and for moving lights that can certainly be the case. In order to get great performance and advanced effects out of a fixture, you can find yourself paying a pretty penny for it. Ever since the moving yoke design hit the market, the features, the performance, and the capabilities have all made their advancements.
Remember when the flat-panel TV first came out? At the time, the flat-panel TV was only a top of the line item, while the entry-level TV’s were still bulky tube sets. Now, every new TV is a flat panel TV, even entry-level TV’s now are capable of at least 1080P resolution. When it comes to advancements in entertainment lighting, the same can apply. Now don’t expect every $200 moving head to have framing shutters and CMY color mixing, but new developments in moving lights can certainly make their way down the price line over time.
Entry level moving lights today tend to have a pretty limited feature set in order to maintain their price point. Lighting manufacturers will often cut corners by sacrificing certain features to better cater to its purpose without hiking the price. Usually, the projection capabilities and effects of an affordable moving light is the first corner to be cut. Lacking features such as rotating gobos, motorized focus, zoom, or a decent prism to multiply the projection and produce greater aerial effects. The key features that can completely transform the look of a room and potentially produce a much better look. Now cutting corners isn’t always a bad thing if it means adding more capabilities to a fixture, but only when the right corners are cut by prioritizing what matters.
American DJ is one of the largest manufacturers for DJ lighting as well as modestly priced professional intelligent lighting for concerts, clubs, and churches. Recently, ADJ released the new Focus Spot series of luminaries catered towards to mobile DJ and venues looking for a little more advanced features to deliver better visuals in the environments they light up.
Recently we took a trip to Daytona Beach, Florida USA where we met up with ADJ at Total Entertainment Music Center to do an in-depth test of ADJ’s latest products. The Focus Spot Three Z stood out to us the most.
What It Offers
Best suited for larger venues or mobile performers looking for a high output mover that delivers the advanced performance without the advanced price, the Focus Spot Three Z is the largest and most advanced model of the Focus Spot series of moving lights. The Focus Spot Three Z is a high output LED spot moving head that features motorized focus like its little brothers but also features motorized zoom. The light uses a 100-watt white LED source, while utilizing a color wheel with 8-colors plus open to maximize brightness that results in brightness up to 13000 lux at 3 meters. The Focus Spot Three Z is “focused” on delivering great effects and optimal performance from this attractively priced fixture.
The most notable feature of the Focus Spot Three is the motorized zoom and focus. The fixture offers 12 to 18-degree zoom range, along with motorized focus via DMX that allows for gobo morphing between two gobo wheels. You have one static gobo wheel with 7 gobos plus open with gobo shake. Then there’s one rotating gobo wheel with 6 interchangeable, rotating gobos with gobo indexing. The Focus Spot Three takes the effect capabilities to the next level with two 6-facet rotating prisms, one circular and one linear, which is completely unheard of with moving lights at this price point. Being LED, the fixture uses electronic dimming with 5 dimmer curves, an electronic shutter delivers a strobe rate up to 20HZ, plus you have precise 16-bit pan/tilt movement.
Even though it’s advanced, it still has 4 show modes plus sound active mode with daisy chaining for those new to lighting. You have 3-pin DMX in and out along with Neutrik PowerCON True1 in and thru to top it off. The fixture, while larger than the Focus Spot One and Two, has a modest size and only weighs 26 lbs. The fixture can easily be rigged by using ADJ’s pro clamp.
Not only is it the most advanced model of the Focus Spot family, it’s also very advanced compared to its competitors. Features like Motorized focus, motorized zoom, 100-watts of LED output, and 2-prisms is something that you can’t really find in a unit that’s under $1,000. All only $899 per unit.
If you’re a discerning buyer, you’re probably wondering what the build quality is like on a fixture that offers so much that won’t take so much out of your wallet. The fixture features a relatively solid body construction suitable for a mobile traveling performer that will constantly set up and take down these fixtures. There is a glass layer in the front of the fixture that separates the actual lens of the light. This glass piece is somewhat thin and seems vulnerable to cracking if it were dropped or hit the wrong way. It would be wise to put this fixture in a road case as opposed to a gig bag like its smaller counterparts.
Now the Focus Spot Three Z, like other lights in its price point did cut some corners, the light is currently too new to determine whether or not anything will break anytime soon. Some internal parts used are not the latest and greatest but will get the job done, however, you can expect much better quality with the Focus Spot Three Z than you would with any generic moving light. Not to mention a reliable warranty and much better support for replacement parts.
DJ’s latest fixtures have been quite impressive when it comes to performance. This where corners can be cut with other manufacturers, but ADJ again focused on ensuring that the core aspects of the Focus Spot Three Z would perform best. After a quick boot up, the pure white LED immediately starting shining and resulted in an output that is extremely bright. The beam is not extremely sharp but projections onto surfaces are crisp thanks to the motorized focus.
Now, the Focus Spot Three’s zoom range is not that much, fortunately, it’s within a modest zoom range that allows for both spot and beam type applications. The motorized zoom is not quick, but it definitely beats having to manually adjust the zoom and focus. The colors on the Focus Spot Three are vibrant, and nicely arranged for great color splitting. The color transitions are pretty noticeable but it maintains the brightness for most colors, some of the more saturated colors may reduce the brightness slightly.
The effects, however, can be a real strong point of this light. The Focus Spot Three Z is capable of producing a lot more effects than it’s smaller brothers of the Focus Spot Series. The fixture has unique modern gobos that are easily interchangeable for custom applications (aka weddings). The fact that this fixture has a 6-facet prism as opposed to the standard 3-facet found on competitor fixtures can result in much more stunning aerial effects and effects onto surfaces. The additional 6-facet linear prism just makes this light go the extra mile. The gobos and prisms rotate quickly or slow and smooth as you like.
The pan and tilt movement was also surprisingly fast for its class. With 16-bit pan/tilt movement, the yoke can move quick and smooth for a wide range of applications but a great solution for high energy environments. The dimming on the fixture is not the smoothest when you start getting into the precise dimmer chases. The strobe, on the other hand, is extremely quick and very comparable to more expensive, professional grade fixtures.
The Focus Spot Three Z packs a lot of bang for the buck. It packs a lot of advanced features and significant brightness at a price of just under $1,000. There are some very minor pitfalls, but ADJ focused on delivering the performance where it counts and is likely to suit the type of buyer looking for this type of light.