Stella Wedding Photographer Lighting Kit Review
The Stella Pro CL Portrait Kit is a powerful continuous lighting setup meant for portrait and wedding photographers looking to change the way they light!
Just as mirrorless cameras are taking over the market and changing the game for professionals, Art in Motion is attempting to change the game with continuous lighting as well!
Speaking of mirrorless, continuous lighting makes it even easier to nail your exposure quickly and easily while using the Electronic Viewfinder. It certainly is a joy having a powerful light while taking some of the guesswork and frustration out of using flash with mirrorless cameras.
These portable, waterproof lights certainly are innovative! They are certainly powerful for continuous light, but are they powerful enough to replace your flashes?
I will be covering the following criteria in the Light & Motion Stella Kit review:
Table of Contents
Stella Wedding Kit Review | Specs & Pricing
These specs are provided by Stella’s website! The Stella PRO CL Light Kit is occasionally on sale at B&H Photo.
This makes it one of the more expensive lighting setups out there, but it could potentially be worth it to you!
Here are the specs:
- Lumens: 5000 (high), 2500 (medium), 1200 (low)
- Runtime: 90 min (high), 180 min (medium), 375 min (low)
- Beam Angle: 120° (flood), 120° (native), 50° (modified), 25° – 120° (range)
- Color Temp: 5600k
- CRI: 92
- TLCI: 94
- LUX: 10300
- Beam Distance: 191m
- Charge Time: 120 min
- Depth Rating (FL-1): 100 meters
- Impact Resistance (FL-1): 1 meter
- Product Weight: 1,148 grams
Build Quality & Handling
The Stella CL’s use an integrated Li-ion battery making them very portable and without limitations.
You can use the provided chargers to plug into any AC or DC power source when needed. In fact, one of my biggest complaints about this Light & Motion Kit is the chargers themselves.
The CL5000 uses a completely different plug and charger than the CL2000. I wish these chargers were the same so we could eliminate the need for 2 separate chargers to pack.
Overall, these lights feel very solid and sturdy. With an impact rating of 1 meter, they should be able to withstand small drops without breaking.
The light power is adjusted by a spring powered knob on top. This is also how you turn on the units, and you can lock the power into place by twisting the knob.
I’m not a big fan of this design as it felt flimsy for long term use. I believe a more traditional turn dial knob and on/off power button would have been more sufficient and easier to use.
We love the back LCD screen of the CL5000 and wish the CL2000 had something similar. It is very high quality, and the brightness is easily seen outdoors with it’s anti-glare screen.
A big selling point of these Light & Motion lights is the waterproof capability. These lights are weather resistant and can be used underwater up to 100 meters!
That’s really impressive! We didn’t want to test these depths out since these were on loaner to us, but we did get them a little wet running around in the ocean!
You may want to use them underwater simply because these lights do get HOT! If you are running them for any period of time over a minute, you need to be very careful about touching the area around the LED, or using certain modifiers not designed for the unit.
We were using a makeshift MagMod gel and grid adapter on the Light & Motion light for a little over a minute, and actually ended up melting the gel and the center of the Grid!
The flashes are able to mount easily and quickly to a light-stand or C-Stand, however, my only other complaint on these units is the knob threads are very short.
We actually lost two of the tightening knobs from these Light & Motion lights in the month we had it and couldn’t put back on the stands!
Overall, you can tell they are expensive lights when you hold them because they feel very solid and engineered. I would just like to see a few small improvements to the adjustment knobs, mounting knobs, and maybe a one-size fits all charger for their line.
The standard beam angle of 120 degrees is useful and is easily modified with the included modifiers (25° Fresnel, 50° diffused optic, and barn doors).
The Light & Motion lights also include a Profoto ring adapter for use with their modifiers! My favorite setup was using the CL5000 with the Profoto adapter, along with MagMod’s Profoto adapter, and attaching it to the new MagMog MagBox!
Sitting at 5000 lumens, the CL5000 is indeed very powerful, perfect for any high key or low key lighting endeavor, indoors or out. Pair this with their fresnel head that directs the power and beam, you can use these outdoors at sunset or in the shade and dramatically light your subjects.
It is powerful enough to use in a studio environment through a small softbox, but you can expect to shoot a little more wide-open or increase the ISO more than you would with strobes.
Using mid-day outdoors with other modifiers can be a little tricky and I believe you would be better suited with the CL8000 (not included in this kit.)
Indoors and in more dimly lit situations is where this lighting kit really shines. Most of our testing came inside of our studio:
The CL2000 is nice for a quick and easy compact light setup and is best suited in dark reception halls or environments when the subject is close. The compact size makes it really easy to fit in any small camera bag.
My favourite part about shooting with these lights is that I don’t have to worry about Sync Speed or using HSS and “losing” power off my flashes.
The battery life is rated at 90 minute on high to 375 minutes on low power. I found this to be pretty accurate and possibly slightly underrated on the CL5000 and overrated on the CL2000.
If you find yourself needing power for longer, you can always hook up to the nearest outlet with the included DC and AC power supplies.
However, I wish they had a detachable battery pack so we could purchase more batteries to carry along on those all day weddings!
The included modifiers include a 4 way barndoor for light shaping. The fresnel lens narrows the beam angle and creates a more powerful, focused look with high contrast.
This was personally my favorite as it reminds me of coveted MagMod MagBeam.
Comparing the light output, it really makes a huge difference and gives it a powerful spotlight effect that can be extremely useful outdoors and to keep the light outside of the frame.
The Light & Motion kit also includes their own gels and the 3″ Speed Ring Gel Holder to be able to use them. However, they can only be used on the CL2000 from what I can tell.
One modifier that I didn’t find myself using that much, but could come in handy for filling a room with light is the Glo Bulb.
This is similar to a MagMod MagSphere or Gary Fong Lightsphere as it spreads the light to 180 degrees.
Last but not least is The 50-Degree Optic. This tightens a smooth beam light to 50 degrees from the usual 120 degrees. This reduces quite a bit of light spill.
Now one thing I did not do is point the light at a wall and compare all of the modifiers and show what it does to the light.
I totally meant to, but life got in the way with my short amount of time with these Light & Motion lights!
Light & Motion Stella Wedding Photographer Kit | Conclusion
I believe this is the start of something great and Light & Motion has something that no one else offers. I am anxious to see where continuous lighting goes from here and if they will become even more powerful and cost effective.
I believe this kit could be useful for most situations for photographers and videographers alike. I especially believe mirrorless shooters would benefit the most from a constant light setup, and hybrid shooters (photo and video) would see quicker and more consistent results by only having to use these lights.
Overall as a mirrorless and hybrid shooter myself, I would love to try out the Stella Pro 8000 and believe a 2 light setup of that, along with one CL2000 would be the kit I would feel comfortable bringing along to weddings to replace a bit of my flash usage.
The cost for these Light & Motion lights is a huge factor for me though, along with shooting all day on a single charge.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.