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StellaPro Reflex S review

Light & Motion's StellaPro Reflex S bridges the lighting gap between stills and video

Light & Motion StellaPro Reflex S
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Billed as ‘the first true continuous strobe hybrid light’, the StellaPro Reflex S features ‘digital burst’ technology for stills photography that can keep up with continuous drive modes of up to 20fps. In ‘continuous’ mode for videography, it’ll run for 30 minutes at maximum output from its own battery pack, or for 10,000 full-power ‘flashes’. You can also run the lamp direct from the mains via an optional 100W USB-C charger. Overall, it’s a compact yet powerful and versatile lighting kit with excellent all-round performance, justifying its high-end price tag.

Pros

  • +

    Compact, lightweight, powerful

  • +

    Tough build quality

  • +

    True constant/flash versatility

Cons

  • -

    Fixed 5600K color temperature

  • -

    Optional extras are pricey

  • -

    Narrow beam for high power

The Light & Motion StellaPro Reflex S is available as a standalone unit and as a ‘2-Light Kit Special’, pictured above. The basic package includes one hybrid LED constant/flash head and companion Reflex Quick Switch Battery, which doubles as a hand grip, a Flat Port DM transparent lamp cover, a Medium Optic that narrows the native 120-degree angle of illumination to 24 degrees, and 0.1m plus 0.6m heavy-duty USB-C cables. The 2-Light Kit Special doubles up on lamps and battery grips, swaps out the Medium Optic for a pair of 12-degree Spot Optics, and adds a Spider X Base Holster Kit, Cold Shoe Mount Kit, a pair of Reflex Professional Light Stand Mounts and a pair of Dome Diffusers, all wrapped up in a CL Action Kit Soft Case.

Specifications

Max output (constant): 6,000 lumens
Max output (flash): 12,000 lumens
Color accuracy: CRI 92, TLCI 93
Beam angle: 120 degrees (native)
Wireless control/trigger: Wi-Fi, Godox, Elinchrom, Profoto
Optional mounts: Lighting stand/cold shoe
Battery life: 30-600 minutes
Dimensions (dia x depth): 230x100x100mm
Weight (excl battery): 785g

Key features

Aiming to satisfy almost any lighting need, the StellaPro Reflex S effectively combines powerful continuous LED lighting with a flash mode, triggered by a sync cable or wirelessly via optional Elinchrom or Godox RF triggers and is compatible with Profoto triggers too. It’s small and lightweight enough to be easily handheld, with a combined weight of 785g for the lamp, optic, and battery grip. Various optics are available including Wide (65 degrees), Medium wide (36 degrees), Medium (24 degrees) and Spot (12 degrees). With each successive narrowing of the beam angle from the native 120 degrees, you get a corresponding increase in maximum light intensity.

A range of ‘optics’ is available in wide, medium wide, medium and spot options, narrowing the native 120-degree beam to as little as 12 degrees. (Image credit: Light & Motion)

A softbox, barndoors and glass filters are available as optional modifier accessories, the last of which can come in useful as the lamp has a fixed 5600 Kelvin color temperature. A Chimera speedring as well as Profoto and Bowens mount adapters are also available.

The battery pack/handgrip takes two hours to charge from flat and has enough juice for between 30 and 600 minutes of use, depending on how hard you cane the lamp. Turn up the wick in continuous mode and the cooling fan kicks in almost immediately, but runs fairly quietly. In digital burst mode, you can expect 10,000 full-power bursts from a fully charged battery.

The clip-on battery pack doubles as a handgrip, complete with adjustable safety loop. (Image credit: Light & Motion)

If you have access to a mains electricity supply, you can keep going all day by connecting the lamp to a 100W USB-C power supply. This also gives the bonus of boosting the maximum constant and burst output from 6,000/12,000 lumens to 9,000/18,000 lumens respectively.

A key feature of the burst mode is that you can sync the lamp when shooting stills at frame rates of up to 20fps, complete with adjustable burst duration of 0.5ms to 5ms. It’s the main advantage of the Reflex S over the standard Reflex lamp, which still manages an impressive 10fps burst rate with a fixed duration of 5ms.

Build and handling


The versatile and perfectly portable nature of the lamp makes it ideal for wedding and event photographers/videographers, as well as for shooting action sequences. As such, it’s built for the great outdoors and the quality of construction is excellent. It feels tough, robust and well-engineered, and is rated as having IP65 water-resistance and 1m impact resistance.

The controls are simple yet effective, based on a small OLED screen and rotary control knob/pushbutton. The battery pack has its own status indicator for charging and charge remaining.

Onboard control is based around an OLED display and rotary knob/pushbutton. The battery pack has its own on/off switch. (Image credit: Light & Motion)

Performance

Although small, the StellaPro Reflex S packs plenty of punch. Used a distance of 1m, the maximum constant output equates to camera settings apertures of f/4 in native (120-degree) coverage through to f/16 with the Spot optic (12 degrees), using a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second at ISO 400. In digital burst mode with the same settings, the light increases to effectively give you an f/5.6 to f/22 range of apertures. In both cases, greater maximum light intensity is delivered when powering the head from a 100W mains adapter, equating to half an f/stop.

The only catch is that most of the available optics give quite a narrow beam angle and, with no optic at all mounted to enable a greater spread of light, the maximum intensity is relatively low. The same goes when using a diffusion dome or softbox.

Verdict

Billed as ‘the first true continuous strobe hybrid light’, the StellaPro Reflex S features ‘digital burst’ technology for stills photography that can keep up with continuous drive modes of up to 20fps. In ‘continuous’ mode for videography, it’ll run for 30 minutes at maximum output from its own battery pack, or for 10,000 full-power ‘flashes’. You can also run the lamp direct from the mains via an optional 100W USB-C charger. Overall, it’s a compact yet powerful and versatile lighting kit with excellent all-round performance, justifying its high-end price tag.

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Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.