Constant LED lighting has been gaining popularity amongst photographers for the last few years. It’s becoming particularly popular with photographers who have yet to master professional strobes but are aiming to take their images to the next level by utilizing lighting. While continuous LED lights are useful tools for lighting, their biggest weakness is a relatively low power output when compared to traditional strobes. The folks at Light & Motion aim to address this common shortcoming with their newest Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light, which features a maximum light output of 8,000 lumens. We spent some time shooting with this new light from Light & Motion this past week while we in Oregon for Sony’s Kando 3.0 Trip, head on after the jump for our first impressions of the Stella Pro CLx8.
Editor’s Note: Sony gave us full room and board at Kando trip. Phoblographer’s staff are trained against giving overly positive output as a result of being gifted trips like this. We focus on being extra transparent.
We tested the Light & Motion Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light with an Elinchrom RQ Portalite Octa Softbox, the Sony A7R IV, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master, Sony 85mm f1.8 G Master, and Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master.
Tech specs for the Light and Motion Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light taken from Light & Motion’s official product page.
|Lumens||8000 (high), 4000 (medium), 500 (low)|
|Runtime||55 min (high), 115 min (medium), 900 min (low)|
|Beam Angle||120° (flood), 120° (native), 50° (modified), 25° – 120° (range)|
|Charge Time||105 min|
|IP Rating (FL-1)||54|
|Depth Rating (FL-1)||meter(s)|
|Impact Resistance (FL-1)||1 meter|
|Product Weight||1237 grams|
|Product Dimensions||8.07″ x 3.78″ x 3.78″|
|Compatible Mounts||C-Stand, Camera, ¼-20 Adaptor|
The Light and Motion Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light is has a rather compact footprint. It is slightly larger than a conventional 70-200 f2.8 zoom lens and weighs about the same. As seen in the above image, the CLx8 is mounted onto a light stand using the included C-Stand mount, which features an integrated umbrella holder. The standard retention ring that keeps the LED head attached to the body of the CLx8 includes an integrated Elinchrom mount. A Profoto adapter ring was also included and was installed onto the demo unit we were using (as seen in the image above).
Here’s a look at the front of the Stella Pro CLx8, sans modifiers. Unlike many continuous LED lights currently on the market, the CLx8 features a single large LED rather than an array of small ones.
The CLx8 comes standard with a 5600K LED head, but you can swap in other color temperature heads easily by twisting off the retention ring and removing the LED head. You’ll want to ensure that the light has been off for a bit prior to changing it out, as the LED head can get quite hot when the light has been operating at full power. Much of the LED head’s body acts as a heat sink to help dissipate the heat generated.
All of the controls for the Stella Pro CLx8 are located on the top of the light, including the Power Knob, along with a trio of buttons for Up, Mode, and Down. The Power Knob turns the light on or off, and must be turned to the On position when charging the CLx8. Pressing the Up and Down buttons increases and decreases the CLx8’s output by steps. Holding the buttons down will raise or lower the light output gradually. The Mode button is a multi-purpose button that can be used to access the CLx8’s menu as well as select the various menu options, with the Up and Down buttons being used for navigation purposes. The CLx8 can be controlled remotely, using an RF remote (sold separately), although we did not have one on hand during our time with the light.
Moving towards the back of the CLx8, you will find the proprietary charging ports, along with the OLED informational display. The CLx8’s battery is built into the body of the light itself and is non-removable, and Light & Motion state that the internal battery of the CLx8 is rated for 500 cycles. During standard operation, the OLED rear display shows the currently selected Lumen/Percentage Output, along with the status of the CLx8’s battery and remaining run time.
Having only used the Light and Motion Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light for a few short hours, we found the light itself to be sturdily built. However, the 22″ Elinchrom RQ Portalite Octa Softbox that was mounted onto the CLx8 we were testing came loose on two separate occasions while we were moving from one location to the next. The Elinchrom modifier clips on the CLx8 appeared to be in good working condition, and we were able to lock the softbox into place, so we’re not entirely sure what caused the modifier to become dislodged. We will need to test the mount further with other modifiers when we call in a CLx8 for a full review. We were told that the CLx8 is fully weather-sealed though; it’s going to be a joy to use in the rain.
Ease of Use
We found Light and Motion’s Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light to be intuitive to use during the few hours we had to shoot with it. The real-world runtime also matched the advertised maximum of up to 55 minutes when the light is running at full power (8,000 lumens). If you’re using the CLx8 indoors, runtime becomes a non-issue as you’re able to use the light while it is plugged into a wall outlet and being charged. We did encounter a particular inconvenience while testing the CLx8 outdoors, however. In order to adjust the CLx8’s output to compensate for the constantly changing light conditions brought on by erratic cloud coverage, we had to repeatedly lower and raise the light stand to access the CLx8’s controls. Light and Motion does offer an RF remote control as an optional accessory for the CLx8, which certainly would’ve been helpful while we were using the light. Sadly, we did not have the remote at our disposal, and truthfully, we feel it should be included with the CLx8 as a standard accessory.
All sample images seen within this First Impressions article are straight out of camera JPGs captured using a Sony A7R IV and lit with a Light & Motion Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light. As a matter of ethics, none of them have been retouched so that you may judge the quality of the images for yourself.
Although our time with Light and Motion’s Stella Pro CLx8 continuous LED light was brief, it is certainly one of the most powerful portable LED lights that’s currently available on the market. However, when we tried using the light outdoors under the mostly cloudless sky on a particularly sunny Oregonian afternoon, we found that the CLx8 didn’t quite have “the power to leave strobes behind” (as Light & Motion’s marketing material phrased it), despite having a maximum light output of 8,000 lumens. With that said, the CLx8 generated a consistent quality of light throughout its run time, performed admirably as a key light in open shade, and worked well as a fill light when the subject was backlit. We look forward to reviewing the Light & Motion Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light more comprehensively at a later date. Please stay tuned for our upcoming full review. Interested in picking one up for yourself? Head on over to Adorama.