Light & Motion CLx10 Review

Lauren KUPO

03/03/2021

What is the Light & Motion CLx10?

Constant lighting has come a long way in recent years, going from a rare sight to commonplace for both stills and video.

One of the most interesting aspects of constant lighting is the different approaches taken by manufacturers. Many follow standard panel design using DIP type LEDs, whereas others such as Light & Motion utilise the latest COB (Chip on Board) LED technology.

This new LED style has many advantages: improved light efficiency, glare and light loss, and an incredibly bright light emittance.

There are also a few downsides to this technology. The first is that these LEDs emit an incredibly hard bright light, so they should never be used directly without some diffusion as they can be dangerous to the eyes.

The second issue is that the closely packed COB LED design produces a staggering amount of heat. Think traditional tungsten bulbs rather than the LEDs we’ve become used too.

The CLx10 is the latest version of Light & Motion’s compact LED constant light, and at 10,000 lumens, it challenges the power of many strobes.

Like all Light & Motions gear, the CLx design is compact and robust. I have some Light & Motion bike lights that are fast approaching 20 years of age.

The design is unique, check online, and you’ll see patents filed for the front section of the lamp, which can be interchanged between the ultra-bright 5600k head or a tungsten equivalent, although at a lesser power.

Light Motion CLx10 review

Power comes from the internal rechargeable battery, which will supply charge for 45 minutes at full beam. That might not sound like a great deal, but using the light at that brightness is unlikely. Reducing the intensity dramatically increases usage to 15 hours for the lowest brightness of 500 lumens.
Specification

Lumen Output: High (10000), Medium (4000), Low (500)
Charge time: 75 minutes
Beam Angle: 120° (flood), 120° (native), 50° (modified), 25° – 120° (range)
IP Rating (FL-1): 54
Impact Resistance (FL-1): 1m
Product Color Temperature: 5600k
TCI/TLCI: 93/94
LUX: 16320
Flicker-Free FPS: 1000
Thermal Management: Active
Product Dimensions: 8.07 x 3.78 x 3.78-inch

Build and Handling

Like the build quality of the bike lights that have been a permanent fixture on my bike for almost two decades, the CLx10 has a robust and water-resistant build. The main body is built from various materials, including tough black plastic and metal.

The resulting aesthetics give the lamp a striking look that I like. However, checking over the lamp and a few aspects of the build are in stark contrast.

Light Motion CLx10 review

Firstly the lighting stand mount, which is solid, features two adjustment screws to tighten the clamp to the stand. The knobs are injection moulded in what looks like cheap shiny plastic; they work fine, but don’t match the rest of the quality.

Then there’s the shrowd that covers the front lamp element. The design is faultless when it comes to functionality, but there’s a bit of play. This play does not affect the light’s operation in any way, but it’s a niggle.

Then there’s the three main control buttons across the top of the unit. These feel cheap compared to everything else; these should have been the rubberised push type that features on the companies’ bike lights.

I must point out that these three points don’t detract from how the light functions, but at the same time, they feel like they should be better.

When it comes to using the CLx10 light, it’s not as straight forward as a simple on and off. Firstly the on/off switch is rotated, and the lamp powers up.

se the brightness.

Brightness can be adjusted from 500 lumens to 10,000 lumens. As a COB LED is in use, cooling is important, so from 0 to 4000 lumens, the internal fan is off, 4000 to 6000 lumens the fan kicks in, above 6000, the fan goes into overdrive.

The fan’s noise is nice and quiet, between 4000 and 6000 lumens, but above 6000, it makes quite a noise, so it can only be used at a distance if recording audio.

The middle button acts as the mode select and enables access to the limited functions and features, including the wireless operation groups with the Elinchrom controller.

As the CLx10 has a fixed 5600K Kelvin colour temperature light with a 120º beam angle, any changes to the light spread and temperature are made through the front mounted accessories and gels.

Our review sample arrived with the 25 and 50º lenses that can be fitted directly to the front. Alongside these direct-attach accessories are a range of adapters that enable you to fit a wide range of options, including those from Elinchrom, Bowens, Profoto and Westcott.

The accessories that arrived with the review kit are Fresnel 50º, 25º lens, Diffusion dome, Gel Adapter, Barn Doors, Profoto adapter ring.

Powering the lamp is a built-in battery that can supply the unit with 45 minutes of power at full brightness. As you drop the power, the battery life extends to a maximum of 15 hours at 500 lumens which is impressive.

As well as being powered by the internal battery, you can also connect to the mains, which is a good option. However, it would have been nice to see the ability to plug-in into an external power source such as a D-Tap.
Performance

I was excited to use the CLx10; the brightness and size meant flexibility that would suit using in a good variety of situations. Its arrival between lockdowns was perfect time-wise.

I had a series of interviews and performances to film, and the small light seemed like an ideal solution.

As ever, before leaving for the first job, I had to heed my own advice and checked the light and diffusers to sample the light spread, brightness, and any issues.

To check out the light throw, basic operation and spread, I directed the light at a blank wall. This showed a nice all-round spread at a distance of 4m and then I checked through the full power range. Next, I popped on the diffuser dome, which helped soften the light considerably.

The next accessory to check were the barn doors, these push-fit securely into the unit’s front, and then you can adjust as required. Although the light is hard, the light edge from the throw is very soft, so if you’re looking for a hard edge, this isn’t possible.

Two of the main accessories are the 25º Fresnel and 50º optical lens.

Mounting the 25º Fresnel brings the light into spotlight like focus. You instantly notice that against a blank wall, there are very visible signs of yellow fringing. You can also see the tightly packed LEDs’ shadows that create a grid pattern on the wall when not using the diffuser dome.

Increase the distance for the subject, and this effect disappears. Add the diffuser dome, and the lamp then creates a really nice usable light.

Adding the barn doors to the 25º Fresnel lens has little effect on cutting the light.

Light Motion CLx10 review

Unlike the 25º Fresnel lens, which push fits onto the front of the unit, the 50º lens attaches in place of the clear LED protector or light dome. Once in place, the throw of light is nice, but the size of the 50º means that you can no longer attach the barn doors or filter holder. However, it does feature a diffused front element which makes it ideal for use for interviews.

The final option that arrived with the review kit was the 82mm Gel holder, which again pushes into the unit’s front.
Light Motion Clx10 for video use

Having run through the options and familiarised myself with the various accessories’ effects, it was time to head out and test the lamp in the field.

The first stop was to use the lamp for a series of interviews. I positioned the lamp as the main lighting source with two other lamps to add subtle side fill and another for backlighting.

The light fall diffused by a Profoto diffuser produced an ideal working light with plenty of illumination to match the scene.

I dialled the light down to 5000 Lumens and positioned the light at the height of about 2m, angled down at the subject from a distance of 3m.

I was pleased with the effect. I kept the brightness at 6000 lumens below due to those fans’ noise, but that seemed more than enough for each situation.

The next test was a full choir; my usual lighting was nowhere near powerful enough for what was needed. The addition of social distancing, meaning everyone was well spread out, all further added to the technical issues.

However, again diffused and cranked up to the max with a distance of over 10 meters; using the lamp shining down on the choir was just enough to lift the tone.

Overall, I was impressed with the light’s brightness;