Lupolux – LED Fresnel Lighting Review
Having come from a career spanning over 25 years in the movie camera and stills industry, I have always dreamt of owning my own film movie lights, particularly the Arri HMI 1.2. And as the sad Geek that I am, I have often trawled eBay looking for used lights. But even second hand they cost upwards of £1000 and are bulky, heavy, and require you dragging a ballast the size of a suitcase around with you to make them work!
So I found myself investing in a few Tungsten 1kw Pups, built like tanks, but run very hot, but loose a lot of light when you gel them with a daylight CTB gel. Not ideal for shooting food or portraits in small areas – things start to heat up, wilt and get sweaty pretty darn quick, including me! And then you have the 10 – 15 min wait you have to endure for the lights to cool down enough to pack away, GRrrr.
SO, imagine my excitement on meeting Damien Lovegrove and his lovely team at Lovegrove Consulting one of the many UK photo conventions, where he was selling Fresnel HMi/LED daylight balanced lights. Sturdy, lightweight and COOL in many ways, the lights I mean, although the same could be said of Damien. As soon as I saw and had a play with these lights, I HAD TO HAVE THEM! But like everything in this world, they were still an investment I had to carefully consider.
After careful consideration, and inspired by seeing Damien at Focus this year (2013), I went through the range again with him. He’s a very patient man. I decided the 800w HMi and the 650 LED were the perfect combination for my kind of shooting. So I took the plunge and ordered these two amazing tools.
Having a Photographic Studio within a Movie studio, you can imagine that I constantly see ‘toys’ come and go on other productions that I wish I could own, but these big boys kits have big boys price tags. But, the word was soon out about my two Lupolux Lights, and like moths to a flame, people were paying me visits to see them in action. And even the big boys were amazed at the power and punch these two lights have.
Well a month on, and at least 20 jobs done with these lights, I feel they’ve been put through their paces enough to review them, so if you are interested, here we go:-
800 watt HMI :
This lamp throws quite a punch thanks to the amazing Fresnel lens and 800 watts of pure clean daylight teamed with a great spot and flood knob. I use this as my sunlight source for back lighting food, it works brilliantly. On many shoots it has been left on for the best part of 12 hours, and is great to be able to control the shadows with the barn doors. However, if I was buying again, I would go for the 1kw version. Having that extra power up my sleeve, just in case my ambient light is too strong, would be a bonus. You are always in a position to ND the light down if it’s too strong.
It takes a few minutes to get up to colour temperature when you first switch it on (typical of all HMI’s), and then a few minutes to cool down when you switch it off, but nothing like a tungsten equivalent light.
This light is amazing, and epitomises how far LED technology has come in recent years. Old fresnel projection Lenses combined with modern low wattage, high quality LED bulbs, has made this an awesome product. And the cherry on top, a digital dimmer built in to the head, this light Rocks!
It’s small, light, punchy, and if you want to be up to date with modern technology this is the range to look at. Yes, it’s a little more expensive than the HMi range – but worth certainly it!
Pros and Cons:
Well put together
Lightweight / Portable
Colour of the lamps is spot on (daylight)
Good spot/flood range
They run cool/warm not unbearably hot to touch and move
Lightweight again, but from the point you can raise them high on fairly lightweight stands.
Daylight (No Ballasts – power control boxes)
Not much really!!
Barn Doors a little flimsy (but do job fine)
Power cable direct into the back of the heads, would rather see a system you plug into lamp with a kettle lead type cable – but that’s just me.
Very light writing on LED for dimmer, in low light hard to read, and I find myself always pressing DMX button – but that’s probably just me again!
I use these lights alongside a few Lite Panel LED’s 1×1 lights, and what perfect synergy!!
Because of the low power consumption, these lights use, it means I can plug many more into a domestic supply, unlike hot tungsten lights were you soon find you are at your safe limit. And if you are plugged in to a studio supply that is monitored, you will find the savings in electricity costs substantial.
The colour temperature is spot on daylight, no green hues like you get with cheaper lights, and the build quality is fine. I would love them to be tank like metal, but hey, then they would not be lightweight and portable. So the build is a perfect trade off between weight and durability.
I would not hesitate to recommend both of these lights, and constantly do. Depending on your requirements, it’s worth considering the LED for main lights and HMi for the background and effect lighting.
Having shown these to film movie professionals who are renowned gear snobs, the feedback was, they are not Arri, Kino or DEDOlights, and when hiring lighting kits, I guess people will still go for well known brands such as these. But to own any of these yourself, you are talking ££££’s.
However if you are buying, and using for your own shoots, there is nothing that really comes close to the price and function of these lights at the time of writing this review.