Digital Sputnik DS1

So, what does the name Sputnik mean to you?


Well to me it’s either a Russian satellite or a somewhat lame 80’s “glam punk” band. Both are famous for different reasons, the satellite for being the world’s first man made Earth satellite and heralding the dawn of the “space Age” and the band, Zig Zig Sputnik for being, well, truly awful in every way, despite being formed by Tony James of Generation X (remember Billy Idol?).

Sputnik literally translates to “Fellow Traveller” but I can’t think of any link between that and the rather snazzy DS1 lights that I’m here to tell you about.

So, the DS 1 (I’m going to hazard a guess that the DS bit stands for Digital Sputnik and the 1 bit is for one module but more of that later) is a LED RGB lighting system and for a change its not a panel (hooray).

 In fact, the DS1 looks different to anything else I’ve seen in LED lighting so far, bearing a striking resemblance to a Dino or Maxi Brute only much, much smaller. This multi lensed beauty is certainly unusual in appearance and is just as good performance wise as it is unique. Digital Sputnik say that it’s the “only RGB LED solution able to challenge the output of widely used HMI technology”

 The DS system has a modular design all based around the same lighting ‘HEAD’, the DS1 Has one of these heads and the DS3 version has three, no prize on offer for guessing how many the DS6 uses but I’m sure you get the idea. These Modules can be linked together (a bit like Lego) to form larger, more powerful lights. I won’t get to bogged down with this as we have only received the DS1 units so far.

 A good range of accessories is available for the DS range including soft boxes, frames and even a rather odd square speed ring!

Control is totally in vogue with the latest trend of free smart phone apps but the Digital Sputnik version is “as simple and intuitive as using a box of crayons” that’s great until you think of the artwork generally produced by crayons, normally somewhat less than wonderful and only really enjoyed by the proud yet deluded parents of the offending “artist”. See what I mean.


The DS1 can be powered  by AC or DC with V locks, so its versatile on location or in the studio and is DMX / ArtNet ready as standard.


This blog is not long enough to list the number of notable movies in which the DS series of lights has been used but a couple you may have heard of are, Rogue One, La La Land, Independence Day Resurgence and even Queen of the Desert (I’ve not seen this one yet but it’s directed by Werner Herzog so I probably won’t understand it anyway lol). But the list of films and users is rather impressive to say the least.

 I think the modular design of the DS series is what really sets them apart from the field, each light module is identical and they can be linked to one another  to form a larger more powerful light. So, with only a few units you can make numerous different configurations of light and then add to this a range of accessories. I think this is a very clever concept indeed, but its not the cleverest bit of the DS system.

 Ok now I don’t fully get this myself and I think you need to see it in action to really appreciate it but let me try and explain the really clever bit of the DS range. If we take it that todays CMOS camera sensors “see” light differently to us then it will help. All CMOS sensors “see” RGB primaries colours but don’t see the full spectrum so Digital Sputnik selected RGB LED’s that emit light at the ‘sweet spot” for these sensors and then use the RGB mixed at high output to produce white light. This apparently gives the sensor more chromatic information than a normal light would. This equates to the camera “seeing” more colour depth and hence recording a more saturated image. So, more bang for your buck! I am yet to actually have a look at this person but it’s a stroke of genius by the sound of it. At this point I think I should say that if you want a full explanation of this then don’t ring me ring Digital Sputnik!

 Now the important bit, the coolness rating, well with built in DMX controllable fans and passive cooling the DS1 is cool all on its own. Add another unit and it gets cooler, another and it’s cooler still. We have quite a few now so they are cooler than a Pola bears bum!  10 out of 10 from me, they look great, perform fantastically and are “well clever” unlike this blogger lol.


Cheers B B

steve knight