The Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro Edition is the latest iteration of the British brand's continuous lighting panel – but it is far from iterative. While it isn't a full-blown 'version 3' follow-up, it may as well be.
If the Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro had a tattoo on its chest, it would be "Bigger, better, more". It takes everything that was great about the Aeos 2 and makes it greater, from the power to the creative options.
Given its pedigree, it goes without saying that this is one of the best LED light panels money can buy – but here's why this is a light that any serious photographer or videographer absolutely needs to add to their arsenal…
Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro review: Key features
The Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro boasts a 25% boost to the brightness of earlier models, giving its continuous output the extra punch to make it more adaptable to more shooting situations.
It also features near-universal compatibility with the most prominent flash triggers, featuring built-in receivers for Godox, Profoto, Elinchrom, Neewer and Pixapro, making it easy to incorporate into your existing setup.
The creative possibilities are even richer, with over 100 presets – including many custom designed by some of the greatest lighting artists in stills and cinema. There are special effects presets from Emmy winners like Roy Wagner (Nightmare on Elm Street, House, Ray Donovan) and Stefan Lange (Batman (1989), Tomb Raider, No Time to Die), with gel and HSI packs from fashion photographers Jake Hicks, Sam Nash and Jason Lanier.
If you use a meter to measure and control your lighting setups, you will definitely appreciate the new True Aperture Dimming (FDIM) function. Like a light meter you enter your desired ISO and shutter speed, along with the approximate distance from your subject. The Rotolight then calculates the required output as an f-stop – and you can change any variable (like moving the light closer or further, or dragging the shutter) to quickly recalculate the necessary power.
Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro review: Build and handling
We're largely looking at the same excellent build as the base Aeos 2 (this is, after all, an iteration rather than a new model), so you can refer to our original review for a full rundown.
Suffice to say, everything that was great about that is great about this. The color touchscreen with smartphone-like sensitivity is a joy to use, especially when it comes to choosing gels – you get an absolutely true rendition of the tones and pantones, so what you see on the screen is what you get on the subject.
The big physical difference here is the addition of anodized handles in the signature Rotolight red, adding a sleek professional touch to the unit.
Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro review: Performance
If you've used earlier Rotolights, or you're a flash shooter who has concerns over the lack of power in traditional LED lamps, be prepared for the punch packed by the Aeos 2 Pro.
We're seasoned Rotolight users at DCW (for reference, this reviewer owns three units) and the difference in output is noticeable right away. If the high speed sync was the 'kick', the 25% improvement in power is definitely the punch that completes the combo.
And, yes, this light can be used outdoors – something that still can't be said of many LED panels. If you're doing location work, this is a tool that you absolutely need to bring with you.
In flash mode the recycling is instantaneous (remember, this is an LED device so there's no xenon flash tube to refill), which can improve workflow for fast-paced shooters (or flow-posing subjects!).
Where the Rotolight truly shines brightest (well, in a metaphorical sense) is in its continuous color capability, though. The addition of gel and HSI presets isn't just an excuse to ape the work of the likes of Jake Hicks; it gives you a starting point and an insight into color theory, and how a leading creative lighter chooses complementary palettes.
We're also big fans of the one-tough Source Match, which instantly duplicates the dominant light for organic amplification of the existing illumination.
Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro review: Verdict
For stills and video shooters alike, the Rotolight Aeos 2 Pro is an absolute game changer. If you've never used gels but always wanted to try them, this is the best entry point; if you rely on gels for your imaging, this is utterly essential.
Like the original Aeos 2, the Pro Edition carries a premium price tag – but when it comes to lighting, you get what you pay for. And what you're paying for here is the most versatile, adaptable lighting instrument on the market.