- by Nook Schoenfeld
in Road Tests
In the last year or so, the industry has seen the advent of the small footprint, hybrid light fixture. Unlike the large model fixtures that can take the place of a wash, spot or beam fixture dependent on their light’s output beam, these smaller lights are not the all-in-one hybrids they claim to be. But as far as functions go, it’s plain to see that Harman’s Martin Lighting excels in areas where others took shortcuts and is hands down the best little moving light in its class right now.
A Compact Fixture
The fixture itself is very compact and weighs in at just under 55 pounds. I pull it out of the box with one hand and unlock the yoke. It sits about two feet tall on a 16-inch base. The metal body, while looking very modernistic, also appears built to stand up to a good deal wear-and-tear. I plug the powerCon connector into an Edison wall outlet. The fixture runs between 100-240 volts and consumes 600 watts of power. I address the fixture to take 23 channels of DMX in mere seconds and fire the lamp up. Within a minute, I have a hot white beam that meters out at 7000°K. The bulb is a 440W short-arc discharge lamp. Osram, which makes the bulb, promises 1,500 hours of use, on average. The fixture boasts an output of 15,000 lumens in its medium zoom state. I tighten the zoom up and walk about 20 feet away from the fixture. It reads 31,000 footcandles in the hotspot.
These short arc bulbs are known to have incredible hot spots, and this fixture is no exception. Except they have done a lot of things with the optics to alleviate this — should the user wish to have a uniform flat field of light. One of which is through a frost channel. This is actually more of a slight diffusion (and is not variable). Dropping this lens in the optic path cuts out the hard edge of the beam, giving it a wash light appearance without frosting the entire beam. Basically, there is no such thing as a beam/spot mode option on this fixture, just the pleasant uniform dimming with the zoom.
The zoom function is instantaneous as it moves from 2° to 44° in any time I give it. It snaps like an iris would if it had one. It obviously does not need one. At no point is there any silly lens dropping into place and giving me an unwanted bump in intensity as I evenly adjust the zoom slowly. I check out the function in a sine wave, and it’s incredibly fast to react, with no lag time when one switches directions. I do a shootout with another popular hybrid light of its size, and the intensities are the exact same, but the beam can actually get both larger and smaller with the Axiom model. This fixture has another function called the beam smoother. There is a setting located at the end of the static gobo wheel that when enabled flattens out the beam, reducing the hot spot so it’s practically non-existent.
The strobe commands for sync, random and pulsing effects behave flawlessly.
There are two gobo wheels in the fixture. One is a stamped wheel with 16 static, permanent gobos. These are similar to the wheels seen in small beam fixtures. They start with small dots that can take your overall beam size to .5 of a degree and upward. The gobos can be seen just fine when the beam is zoomed out. One can mimic an animation effect with the stamped wheel, but it has limitations. The other wheel has nine rotating/indexable gobos that are interchangeable. They include patterns that make good textures for painting scenery as well as aerial breakouts. The shake function on this fixture is different than the standard shake on most lights in that it basically spins a gobo in one direction for a second before reversing the direction. It does not actually “shake,” so there is no shake while you rotate function on this fixture.
The focus lens works great and can easily morph sharpness from one gobo wheel to the other. The fixture has the ability to keep a gobo sharp as the beam changes zoom if the operator wishes.
There are two separate prisms utilized in a way unheard of before the birth of the Axiom. There is a three- and eight-facet lenticular prism used in a patented “lineator” zoom effect. Basically, the prism modules can drop down either in front of or behind the focal lens. This causes the prism to look narrow or wide. For instance, say you have a gobo with four squares in your path of light. When in one position of the prism lineator train, the four-square gobos will be spread apart so they look like 12 separate blocks of light. When we move the prism to the other position, these squares of light all overlay each other, with the squares intersecting like a kaleidoscope.
Colors and Movement
The Axiom Hybrid uses all servo motors as opposed to steppers so the fixture remains very silent in operation and the light beam can move very steadily, no matter how slowly it travels. The fixture is incredibly fast, rotating 540° in one second. It executes a circle effect on the console perfectly. One of the sweet things this light can do is switch direction instantly upon command. There is literally no lag time when the fixture is put in a tilt sine wave (“can-can” effect).
The color system on the Axiom Hybrid is different than the dual sliding color flags one has become accustomed to. Each of the three CYM colors has a single colored lens that drops in to the focal point in increments to increase the color saturation. They drop in from one side only, and all three colors are offset by 120° in the path of the beam. While the default mode of the light has the color occupying the entire focal path, they have an option where the dichroic lens only fills about ¾ of the path leaving ¼ of the beam as white. When you add all three colors at once in this mode, you can achieve a multicolor beach ball effect.
The colors are very similar to what one finds in the MAC Viper, so matching colors to that fixture is a plus. I get a nice deep blue when I mix the cyan and magenta together, though I must resort to the color wheel itself if I want a proper Congo/UV color. It mixes a beautiful blood red color easily with just the yellow and magenta colors combined. A variable CTO filter is included as well, and a dirty tungsten look is easily achieved. There is a separate DMX channel to control a color wheel that has 16 slots, which include two green colors and a beautiful gold among your usual favorites. Half colors are available but are separated by a noticeable thick black line.
All in all, this in one helluva light that has everything you can ask for in this size fixture. Backed by a pleasantly affordable sticker price and the service one expects from Martin Lighting by Harman, you really can’t go wrong with this light in any use.
At a Glance
Compact and Colorful Beam, Spot and Wash
Martin’s MAC Axiom Hybrid combines beam, spot and wash capabilities into a compact light fixture that can be hoisted with one hand. By implementing the Martin MAC Viper CMY color palette, the company promises an unlimited choice of color, from subtle pastel shades to deep and saturated colors.
MAC Axiom Hybrid
PROS:Best light product in this size range. Incredible zoom optics, prism lineator zoom effect and beam flattening option.
CONS: No real shake function in the gobos.
- Size: 15.8” x 16.3” x 24.3”
- Weight: 54.7 pounds
- Power: 600 watts
- MSRP: Check w/ dealer
- Manufacturer: Martin/Harman
- More Info: www.martin.com, www.harman.com