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Lightstar Lightman LUXED-4-LM Review

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The Lightstar Lightman LUXED-4-LM may not have the most catchy name, but I thought it was a light that was worth taking a closer look at.

It is being touted as an affordable, 2800-6500K high output LED source that can be used for creating both hard and soft light.

Who is Lightstar?

If you are like me, you probably haven’t heard the name Lightstar before. Lightstar has been around since 2001 and they have been making lighting solutions for the film and TV industry, as well as powerful lights for high-speed shooting and vehicle impact tests.

It’s not small & it’s not lightweight

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I’m not going to try and sugarcoat it, the Lightman LUXED-4-LM is large and heavy. It tips the scales at 20 kg (44 lb) and has physical dimensions of 94.5 cm x 91 cm x 21.6 cm (37.2″ x 35.8″ x 8.5″).

A lot of the 20 kg weight is swallowed up by the large metal frame and the inbuilt power supply/ controller.

How does that 20 kg weight compare to other similar options? If you were to look at something like the Outsight Creamsource SpaceX, that fixture weighs 18 kg. A Digital Sputnik DS3 Spacelight 3 LED Module DMX/RDM Wired System weighs… .well, that’s actually a good question, because I couldn’t find a weight listed. The NOVAMAX Space Light LED Bi-Color 800 weighs 25.85 kg.

Design & Concept

The Lightman LUXED-4-LM looks very industrial. It comprises of a large, sturdy frame that looks like it would be more at home on some sort of heavy piece of machinery, four Lightstar LUXED-S fixtures, and a power supply/controller.

The light has been designed to be an all-in-one unit. There are no separate power supplies, control boxes, or anything you need to add. All you need to do is plug it in and turn it on.

In a way, this makes it quick to set up and use. The downside of having everything attached to the fixture is that it is heavy. There are certainly arguments for making a large light like this self-contained, but there is also an argument that having a separate power supply/controller makes the light easier to rig and keeps the weight down.

I thought that Lighstar could have tried to go down the path of making the power supply/controller removable, but once I looked at how big it was, I don’t think this would have been possible.

On the back of the mounting frame, there are four large solid eyelets that have a steel cable attached so you can hang the light from a lighting grid and use it as a spacelight.

The large yolk that is attached to the frame allows the user to position or turn the light in any direction they want. It has been well designed.

What you need to remember clearly when you are using the LUXED-4-LM is that it features a junior pin, so you will need a suitable light stand or mounting point that can except that sized pin.

Key features

  • High quality light output, CRI≥95, ·TLCI: ≥96
  • Brightness 0-100% adjustable
  • The color temperature is continuously adjustable within 2,800K-6,500k
  • High-intensity
  • Support DMX 512, Lumen radio communication protocol, LCD control, software control
  • Double power supply convenient for outdoor shooting
  • Support each unit separate control, color temperature, brightness, and strobe
  • Dimensions(mm): 945Hx216Wx910L(mm)
  • Net weight: 20 KG

Build Quality

There are not many occasions where I come across a lighting fixture that is built like a tank. The Lightman LUXED-4-LM has been built to take punishment, and clearly it is being targeted as a light that is going to be very comfortable in a rental house environment.

The frame, the mounts, and the fixtures are all very well made. This light certainly has an industrial feel to it.

Cooling

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This is a large fixture that draws a lot of power so you won’t find any passive cooling I’m afraid. There are two large fans on either side of the power supply/controller and they do generate noise.

Given the lights intended use, I don’t think the fan noise is going to be any sort of problem. This is not the type of fixture you are going to have close to anyone. In saying that, If you are using it with a softbox and you do have it closer to where your audio is being recorded it may be a problem in very quiet places.

It packs a punch

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The Lightman LUXED-4-LM is a 720W lamp head. This enables it to output a considerable amount of light while still comfortably being able to be run from any household power outlet.

The light’s input is 100-240V, 7.5A 3A.

The fixture can also be run off a portable 48V DC battery supply unit such as an FXLION XM-DY 7220-48D.

Kelvin Color Adjustable

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The light is Kelvin color adjustable from 2800-6500K. This is a pretty good range and it will cover most people’s needs.

There is no +/- Green adjustment.

Controls & Menu System

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The LUXED-4-LM features a very basic menu system. There is four buttons, an LED display, and one control knob.

I like the simplicity of the menu system on the LUXED-4-LM. The menus and controls are straightforward and easy to use. Making changes is easy and intuitive.

The controls can be hard to reach if you have the light high up on a stand, but the fixture does have DMX and a built-in Luminair receiver.

Operating Modes

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Depending on what operating mode you are in, the LUXED-4-LM can be configured to work in a variety of ways.

What I like about the LUXED-4-LM is that you can turn on one light, two lights, three lights, or all four lights. You can also individually change the output and Kelvin color temperature of each individual light in the array. This makes the LUXED-4-LM a very versatile lighting fixture.

While I am on the subject of versatility, I like how you can angle the lights to narrow or increase the spread of light. It would have also been nice to have had the ability to angle the lights up or down as well. Maybe I’m asking for too much!

Ok, back to the operating modes. The fixture can be run in the following modes:

  • Wall
  • Rank
  • Individual

WALL

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Wall is where all four lights are activated and when you make changes, those changes affect all four fixtures.

In Wall mode, you can also change the Hz frequency to make the light strobe. This can be adjusted from 0Hz to 50Hz.

RANK

In Rank mode, you can control both the right side and left side fixtures independently. This means that can effectively have one half of the fixture at a different Kelvin color temperature and output level to the other.

You can also adjust Hz frequency to make one side of the fixture strobe, or both sides strobe at different frequencies. This is handy if you want to create a continuous light source that also has strobing, or if you want to create unique lighting effects.

INDIVIDUAL

As the name alludes, Individual lets you make changes to both the output, Kelvin color temperature, and Hz frequency of all four lights individually.

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This is a handy feature to have, as you can turn some of the fixtures off, have them set at different outputs or Kelvin color temperatures. It’s a good way of turning a large light into a small light very quickly.

Beam Angle

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I’m actually not sure what the beam angle of the individual fixtures is. The information doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere. From what I can tell it is quite a wide spread of light, especially when all four individual fixtures are turned on.

I like how you can turn the right and left sides of the fixture in or outward to angle the light.

One of the nice features of the light is the ability to change the beam angle by simply attaching a different fresnel style lens to the front of each lamp head.

Photometrics

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So now let’s get to the photometric results. I always test lights in this way so that I get a reference to how they compare to other fixtures. Results only tell part of the story and should never be used alone to judge a light. I have found from extensive testing over the years that certain lights that have good photometric results don’t always look good, and lights that have worse photometric scores can sometimes look better than their results indicate.

Different lights can also look different depending on what camera you happen to be using.

Output & Color Temperature Accuracy

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I tested the Lightstar LUXED-4-LM at a variety of Kelvin color temperatures with a Sekonic C-800 Spectrometer to find out how much output the light had and how accurate the Kelvin color temperature reproduction was. All readings are taken at a distance of 1m (3.28ft) in a controlled environment.

5600K

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Above you can see the Lightstar LUXED-4-LMX recorded an output of 60000 lx (5580 fc) when set at 5600K. 60000 lx from a light with this type of beam spread is certainly impressive.

LIGHTSTAR4 5600K 02 5609K WhiteBalance

The LUXED-4-LM produced a Kelvin color temperature of 5609K. The light had a CC Index score of 0.1M. These were both excellent results. The white balance was almost dead on as you can see from the image above.

3200K

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Above you can see the lights output when it was set at 3200K. It produced 58700 lx (5450 fc), which was just 2.2% less than the 60000 lx it produced at 5600K.

I also tested the light with the optional softbox. When set at 5600K the fixture still managed to put out a whopping 17500 lx (1625 fc) at a distance of 1m. The nice aspect of using the light with a softbox or a diffusion screen is you can place your subject a long way back and still get plenty of light. You can obtain around the same amount of output from the Lightstar at 3-4m when using a softbox as you would using a 2×1 LED light with a softbox or diffusion screen at 1m.

LIGHTSTAR4 3200K 01 3133K WhiteBalance

As far as Kelvin color temperature accuracy goes, it recorded a fairly accurate reading of 3133K.

It was impressive to see that the light had almost identical output at 3200K as it did at 5600K.

How does it perform at various Kelvin color temperatures?

Summary of results

3200K – 58700 lx (5450 fc) and a Kelvin color temperature reading of 3133K

4750K – 56200 lx (5220 fc) and a Kelvin color temperature reading of 4581K

5600K – 60000 lx (5580 fc) and a Kelvin color temperature reading of 5609K

These results show me that the lights output is fairly consistent at any colr temperature.

The results also show me that the light is very accurate when it comes to Kelvin color temperature reproduction, particularly at 3200K and 5600K.

Color Rendering

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So now that we have seen how much output the LUXED-4-LM produces, how does it perform when it comes to replicating accurate colors. Above you can see that when the light was set at 5600K it recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 94.4 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 94.38. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded for R9 98.4 (red), 97.9 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 97.5 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones). These are very good results for such a large LED light.

TLCI 5600K Lightstar

The light when set at 5600K also recorded a TLCI score of 97.

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Above you can see the scores for when the light was used at 3200K. It recorded an average CRI (R1-R8) of 96.5 and an extended CRI (R1-R15) of 95.88. For replicating accurate skin tones it recorded 93.9 for R9 (red), 96.0 for R13 (closest to caucasian skin tones), and 96.2 for R15 (closest to Asian skin tones).

Just like at 5600K these results were excellent..

TLCI 3200K Lightstar

The light, when set at 3200K, recorded a TLCI score of 99.

SSI

SSI (Spectral Similarity Index) was developed by the Sci-Tech Council of the Academy. SSI gives me the ability to set any light as a standard, or use predefined standards (such as CIE D55), and then give other lights an SSI score based upon how well they will match standards such as CIE D55 measure spectral response and compare it directly against an ideal light source.

Lightstar SSi 3200K 1

In this graph, the red bars indicate a perfect 3200 (Tungsten source. The Red bars indicate a Planck 3200K source. This lets us compare how close to a perfect 3200k lighting source the light is.

SSi 5600K Lightstar

In this graph, the red bars indicate a perfect CIE D 5600K source. The Red bars indicate a perfect CIE D55 source. This lets us compare how close to a perfect 5600K lighting source the Lightstar is.

3200K5600K
Tungsten (3200K): 87CIE D55: 74
Planck 3200K: 86CIE D 5600K: 74

Above are the scores for the light when used at 3200K and 5600K.

The scores show that the light does an extremely good job of accurately replicating a 3200K (Tungsten) source, but it’s not as good at replicating a 5600K source. In saying that, it is important to note that most LED lights only record SSI scores in the 70s when they are used at 5600K.

The main reason we want to record SSI scores is so we can see how well they match with other lights. I was curious to see how well the LUXED-4-LM matched a Litepanels Gemini 1×1. Below you can see the results.

Lightstar 5600k SSi LP comparison 1

As you can see the LUXED-4-LM is a pretty good match when used at 5600K. Any SSI scores you can get that is in the 90s when trying to match lights are going to get you pretty good consistent results.

Spectral Distribution

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Above you can see the spectral distribution of the LUXED-4-LM when it is set at 5600K. The spectral distribution, while reasonably full has a slight green spike.

LIGHTSTAR4 3200K 01 3133K SpectralDistribution

Above you can see the spectral distribution of the LUXED-4-LM when it is set at 3200K. The spectral distribution is very good for a LED light being used at 3200K.

Real-World Performance & Quality of Light

As I always say, photometric scores only tell you part of the story. So do the scores from the LUXED-4-LM translate into real-world performance? The simple answer is yes. The quality of the light that is coming from the LUXED-4-LM is very good for a large LED fixture.

The output of this light is impressive and that is probably going to be it’s biggest selling point.

I have used the light on a couple of productions, but I’m not allowed to show any footage or images from those shoots yet.

Above you can see some quick tests I did just using the LUXED-4-LM. All these tests were done with each set up taking less than 3 minutes to set up. I like to do this with any light I review because it is important for me to see how quickly and easily a light can be used. The quick tests will show you how the light looks when bounced into a ceiling, into a wall, punched through an outside window, and with a soft box.

For me personally, I like the versatility of the light. It’s great for creating hard light, projecting light over large distances, creating a nice big soft source when punched through diffusion, and I love being able to individually control each fixture independently.

The caveat with this light is that it is large and heavy and that is certainly something you need to factor in. While I found the light great to use, it is a pain to transport and move around. Like a lot of products, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. It’s always a trade-off with lights, if you want large and powerful you have to live with weight and size.

I like that I can use the light via mains power or through a DC power supply without any limitations on the output.

The LUXED-4-LM is a versatile lighting tool that concentrates on good output and good color rendition. No, it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles and it isn’t RGB, but I think that is a good thing. that doesn’t come at the cost of accuracy. I have seen quite a few lights where the manufacturer has concentrated too much on features and gimmicks which has come at the expense of the quality of light. I’ll personally take good color rendition over effects and digital gels any day of the week.

Who is the Lightman LUXED-4-LM aimed at?

You could use the LUXED-4-LM for lots of different applications, but the light is certainly being targeted as a high output, durable fixture that can be used either indoors or outdoors.

The LUXED-4-LM is more of a rental item than something owner/operators would buy. In saying that, If you don’t travel much and you have space, the LUXED-4-LM certainly is a very capable and versatile light that could take the place of multiple different fixtures.

The real elephant in the room for small crews or solo shooters is the size and weight. Unless you are working with a team that could help you, this is not a light I would want to be using as a solo shooter. The light requires at least two people to lift it comfortably.

Bigger Versions Available

Lightstar also makes the LUXED-6-LM, LUXED-9-LM and LUXMAN-12 LM.

Price & Availability

Currently, the Lighstar Lightman LUXED-4-LM isn’t sold in the US. In Europe, it costs 2590.00 € tax excl. I found it listed in the UK for £2,286.15 + VAT.

Conclusion

The LUXED-4-LM certainly offers very good value for money, and the fixture is substantially more affordable than a lot of other high powered large lighting sources that are available.

The light is well built and most importantly it produces a really nice quality of light. The color rendering scores are very good and the output is also impressive.

Is it a practical light for solo shooters, no, but that is not who it is aimed at. The light is for studios, location work, and for use when you have several sets of spare hands.

It is hard to have your cake and eat it too. If you want a large, powerful fixture you are going to have to live with the weight and the size. In some ways, I would like to see Lightstar make a lightweight version of the LUXED-4-LM. I think that if they made a version that didn’t have a huge steel frame they could probably get the weight down to a point where it could potentially be around 10-12kg.

The Lightstar LUXED-4-LM surprised me. I wasn’t expecting the light to perform as well as it did. With a combination of good out output and excellent color rendition, it is certainly worth looking at if you are in the market for a large, powerful light source.

If you are after a high output, large fixture, that produces a very accurate and pleasing light source then the Lightstar LUXED-4-LM is definitely worth looking at.

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