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StellaPro Reflex S Evaluation: One Gentle to Rule Them All?


There have been quite a lot of fascinating mild options for creatives launched in the previous few years, however they had been both a slight enchancment over a earlier era (just like the Profoto A1 to A1X) or one thing to serve a distinct segment nook just like the Lumee from Spiffy Gear. Nothing has been actually groundbreaking… besides maybe for the StellaPro Reflex from Gentle and Movement.

Launched earlier this fall, the StellaPro Reflex is a 100-watt equal hybrid LED monolight and strobe that was designed to be helpful for each photographers and videographers on the identical time via a single high-powered supply.

The system is modular, very moveable, and able to placing out mild constantly for as much as 10 hours (or 15,000 full-power flashes) on a single cost, and might seize as much as 20 frames per second (fps) with the Reflex S as a strobe with out lacking a single body. Whereas it isn’t essentially the most highly effective mild of its measurement in the marketplace, it undoubtedly has a few of the most variable and versatile makes use of, arguably making it one of the crucial well-rounded mild options for sports activities, motion, occasions, and weddings since it may be used as a one-light setup for each video and picture conditions, swapping between each use circumstances shortly and seamlessly.

Design & Construct High quality

The brand new Reflex and Reflex S lights are impressively small and light-weight which makes them splendid to journey with. The sunshine head itself can match within the palm of your hand and simply wants a USB-C connection to energy it up. Beneath the sunshine head is a form of cold-shoe mount that may be tailored in a number of methods for quite a lot of completely different mounting options, from a digital camera hotshoe, to quite a lot of lightstand mixtures.

It really works effectively, however the one factor that considerations me with the design is it’s just about totally plastic. Whereas this retains the load of the product down, the mounts require an ideal match to make sure it has “clicked” and is locked in, and in additional excessive temperatures (sizzling or chilly), this might show to be problematic. Particularly with heavier modifiers hooked up to the system, it feels as if the system is a bit precarious and will come tumbling down.

That mentioned, the corporate guarantees that the sunshine is extremely sturdy, able to withstanding drops of as much as one meter with out incident. Whereas I didn’t wish to personally take a look at this function, it’s a bit reassuring to know that if there ever was a difficulty it will possible survive the autumn in most conditions. And whereas I had fears of collapse, none ever offered themselves in real-world use circumstances.

One other ingredient that I used to be much less of a fan of within the product design is the best way the adapter works for mounting the sunshine onto a lightweight stand. It’s a must to put the system collectively after which screw it on utilizing a equipped hex software. My challenge isn’t the steadiness or safety, however with the workflow. Making certain the battery is securely mounted to the sunshine stand isn’t precisely quick, so if you need to make fast modifications, this may pull you out of your zone for a second — particularly for the reason that screw could be simply dropped and misplaced.

The corporate additionally states that the lights are IP65 rated for weatherproofing, that means you might doubtlessly use these lights in a heavy rain or snow scenario. That is one thing I used to be unable to check, but it surely does have me questioning how correct that is and I’d like to see some precise footage from individuals utilizing it in moist scenes. The sunshine has uncovered grates for a fan and cooling, and whereas my preliminary thought is to cover these lights from something weather-related due to them, Gentle and Movement’s promise of weatherproofing has me questioning if the best way they work is akin to air conditioners, which have exterior followers that sit within the climate with out challenge regardless of all of the electronics.

The Reflex and Reflex S are designed for use with quite a lot of modifiers and equipment, and are able to working with almost any taking pictures state of affairs. For this assessment, I merely used the sunshine bare-bulbed or with a Chimera Magnificence Dish that was supplied by Gentle and Movement. In my testing, I discovered that mounting and adapting these equipment was very quick and straightforward carry out.

One factor to remember is it doesn’t matter what setup you intend to make use of, make sure the magnifier (fresnel) accent is positioned again on the sunshine when you’ve hooked up no matter modifier you intend to make use of. The lens is critically necessary in terms of general mild energy, so it’s a should. The directions don’t explicitly say to do that, so in my first checks with the sweetness dish I left the magnifier off and the sunshine output was surprisingly low.

The final main concern I had with the Reflex mild is the scale and positioning of the facility swap and menu buttons. The facility button on the battery pack is small and positioned very near the cold-shoe mount which I discovered makes it awkward to get to when the entire setup is mounted on a lightweight stand. Moreover, the dial/button for making modifications to the strobe or steady energy ranges is considerably awkwardly positioned and might subsequently be cumbersome to make fast changes to the facility ranges.

All these quibbles are comparatively minor, however nonetheless price stating.

Colour Temperature and Brightness

As a moonlight, the Reflex S can output about 86,000 lux at a one-meter distance whereas utilizing the spot optic with a coloration temperature of roughly 5,600 Kelvin. The sunshine (when used as a steady supply) could be dimmed all the best way all the way down to 100 lumens making it helpful for managed ambient mild sources within the video as effectively. Particularly when paired with gels to recreate daylight temperatures or sure temper colours for the theme of a video. That may be a good level to make: the sunshine’s coloration temperature just isn’t adjustable.

Steady Gentle
Strobe

Gratefully, I didn’t discover the colour temperature of the sunshine change with variations in energy. If there may be any change both hotter or cooler, it’s to such a minor diploma that it doesn’t have an effect on real-world use.

Efficiency

As talked about above, the StellaPro Reflex and Reflex S can hit speeds of 10 and 20 frames per second respectively. The system is able to firing constantly with none dips in energy even in high-speed sync, which ensures that in motion moments, you’ll by no means miss the shot.

To check this, I left the Reflex in strobe mode and began firing in high-speed burst for about 70 frames with my Nikon Z6 (see gif above) and never as soon as did the Reflex miss a shot. Significantly, not one single body dropped. Whereas the sunshine will not be as vivid (by itself) as another methods in the marketplace, it’s wildly spectacular in its consistency in burst hearth. That is efficiency that no different model of lights I’ve examined up to now have been in a position to do.

Utilizing the Reflex S, it’s attainable to recover from 15,000 full energy strobes on a single battery cost, or as much as ten hours of steady mild. Moreover, the lights could be powered with any 100W USB-C energy supply that means that if the equipped battery occurs to expire, you’ll be able to preserve going through the use of one other USB-C supply.

One other function of the brand new Reflex system that had me very impressed was its means to work effectively with different manufacturers of lighting, together with Godox and Elinchrom (we anticipate help for Profoto sooner or later as effectively). Which means, it’s attainable to set the sunshine to be triggered utilizing any of those manufacturers of RF remotes and have the sunshine work in tandem with these respective manufacturers. This makes it extraordinarily straightforward for creatives to increase their already present mild kits with the Reflex and keep away from the difficulty of feeling as if they’ve to start out over from scratch.

It is usually price noting that when working the sunshine within the 4,000 lumens and above, the cooling fan will kick in and it’s surprisingly loud for such a small system. It’s akin to a gaming laptop computer fan when kicked into excessive gear, and the high-pitched “whirr” can generally be tough to disregard, particularly indoors. This isn’t actually a difficulty for photographers, however videographers may discover it annoying to work round when filming in a quiet surroundings.

Beneath are just a few photographs I captured utilizing the Reflex S as the sunshine supply.

Jack of All Trades: A True Hybrid Gentle

Gentle and Movement have managed to make a fairly spectacular mild that does quite a lot of issues very effectively, however doesn’t fairly excel as the most effective within the class. Its strobe efficiency is de facto good and presents unimaginable reliability, however is underpowered in comparison with high-end strobes or speedlights that depend on a basic flash tube. Conversely, the sunshine output for video is nice, however the sound of the fan generally is a hindrance.

It’s the basic jack of all trades, grasp of none scenario, and for a lot of that’s goes to be greater than okay. What makes the Reflex system so fascinating is that it’s each a stills and video lighting system in a single. No steady mild that will get as vivid because the Reflex additionally presents the flexibility to strobe and cease motion prefer it does, and no speedlight or strobe presents the flexibility to help video productions to the extent it does. Often, a hybrid shooter has to hold a system for each conditions, however the Reflex is de facto the primary time a product successfully solves that drawback with out making too many sacrifices to get there.

All the problems I had with this mild centered round minor points with the construct high quality, however I don’t assume these ought to deter anybody who desires the efficiency that these lights present. Maybe Gentle and Movement will make some {hardware} changes sooner or later to deal with my considerations, but it surely’s laborious to argue with what the lights let hybrid shooters do. From that perspective, these are a win.

As a reminder, there are two variations of the StellaPro Reflex: the usual and “S” variations. The usual model is ready to hearth at as much as 10 frames per second and is $849, whereas the Reflex S ups that to twenty frames per second and prices $1,096.

Are There Alternate options?

The Rotolight AEOS and NEO 2 have been round for some time and each providing dual-use as strobe and mono lights, nevertheless, these lights require a Rotolight Elinchrom EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus that prices about $250 USD (as in comparison with the cheaper $69 Godox triggers that the StellaPro Reflex can use). Moreover, they aren’t a single mild supply, they’re a lot bigger, and the facility of the Rotolight choices is a lot decrease than what the Reflex presents.

Godox and Profoto even have form of related choices with the Godex FV200 that retails for $299 and the FV150 for $259. The Profoto A1X AirTTL prices about $695 USD. The Profoto A1X is a extra highly effective on-camera flash that doesn’t provide the continual mild energy the Reflex and Reflex S can, but it surely does sustain and “outshine” the sunshine in strobe energy and brightness. You’ll need to resolve what’s extra necessary to you.

Ought to You Purchase It?

In case you are a hybrid shooter who wants to have the ability to swap between picture and video purposes shortly and infrequently, completely sure. Anybody trying to completely clear up the lighting wants of both a photograph or video set will discover issues they don’t like in regards to the Reflex system, however those that want the pliability it presents will wish to work with nothing else.

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