The Luxli Cello RGBAW 10" LED Light Gets an Upgrade with the Cello210/06/2021
Luxli has added another instrument to its “symphony of light” with the new Cello2 compact 10" on-camera LED light, and I was happy to get my hands on it to light a few scenes. At first glance, the light has basically the same form factor as the original Cello light, it comes with a shoe mount and L-series NP-F750 battery like the original, but the Cello2 also includes a USB Type-C cable and power adapter, rather than a battery charger. The USB Type-C port on the Cello2 has been updated to allow charging, while the previous model’s micro-USB port was only for firmware updates (you can now update the Cello2 firmware via the Composer app). The advantage of this update is that you can power the light and charge the battery at the same time. It also retains a DC power input if you have a 7 to 15V adapter, allowing you to also utilize external batteries and plates with a DC output.
The light is easy to start up right out of the box, and I set it up with the included shoe mount on my camera. The mount is made of metal, which holds the light steady with easy adjustments. It is also very easy to pop onto a tripod or light stand using the ¼"-20 thread on the bottom. I plugged in the power adapter, and the instructions in the box, as well as on the back LED screen, state very clearly that the light requires a minimum voltage and a PD 3.0 compatible adapter, so it’s best to stick with the original adapter in the box when using the USB Type-C input. Or you can always power it using the DC input or install the included L-series battery in the slot on the back.
Also in the box is a custom photometrics sheet for this particular light―not the model line, the actual light in your box tied to the serial number, which is a handy detail on Luxli lights not found with many LED products. If you are a calibration nerd and want to ensure the color gamut, beam angle, lux vs kelvin, or Planckian locus derivations are accurate, you’ve got all the information you need. It even lists what instrument was used to calibrate the light, so the lumen heads among us can geek out some more. Another update from the original Cello is the array of 176 5-die LEDs (as opposed to 4-die in the original Cello), which feature all five colors (Red, Green, Blue, Amber, and White) in a single LED package (or die), making it easier to mix colors more efficiently, as well as to cut down on the number of LEDs installed in the light to keep it compact and require less power. Also according to Luxli, it features 20% brighter output, lower power usage, and an expanded color temperature range from a minimum of 3000K on the original Cello to 2800 to 10,000K on the Cello2, which gives you even more choice when setting your CCT levels.
The Cello2 is very light, weighing less than a pound, but when you add the included NP-F750 battery or another high-capacity pack, it can get a bit weighty even for the durable shoe mount (1.4 lb by my home scale). That’s why it is a great advantage to offload the power to a pro battery or other source, so you can keep that weight down when using it in a mobile setting. The NP-F750 lasts about two hours with constant use, but if you need more batteries for the light for longer shooting days, additional Watson Li-ion packs such as the NP-F975 or NP-F770 are just fine to pop onto the back of the light and charge using the USB input.
Turning on the light is easy. There are two buttons on the bottom of the light just under the LED. The power button is inset, so it can’t be pressed accidentally and can be easily distinguished from the other button by touch, which is a nice feature. The other button allows you to select the options when you use the knobs next to the LED for the different light modes, levels, and brightness. The modes are set up in the same way as on the original Cello model with HSL mode, CCT mode, Effects mode, and RGB mode, and it features easily selectable gels to mix and match. Both knobs are redesigned for easier adjustment, allowing you to change settings smoothly in 1% increments, so you have seemingly unlimited color options. When you want to inject even more personality into your scenes, the ten lighting effects, such as Color or CCT chase, Explosion, Fire, Fireworks, Lightning, Paparazzi, Pulse, Siren, and Strobe, are fun to customize.
For more complexity and control, Luxli highly recommends downloading the free Luxli Composer app for iOS and Android. I tried the app on iOS and Android phones, and it installs and operates on both without an issue. The updated Bluetooth 5 connection is fast and instant, and once you have it enabled (the instruction sheet tells you how to enable it out of the box), you can use it from up to 100' away, which is great when shooting in a large area while controlling several lights. The controls respond instantly, and it allows you to navigate the settings in a much more organized way than on the tiny LED screen on the back of the light.
Like all other Luxli lights in the “symphony,” the Composer app also allows you to add the Cello2 to a group so you can control all your lights, no matter what the Luxli model, from a single location. It makes everything easier to control—mix different settings, save different modes, even see the light view from your smartphone camera―basically acting as your central lighting console. I found using the app much easier and intuitive to navigate than the buttons, much better on my eyes, and there is no delay whatsoever in wireless response. However, if you are not using the app and Bluetooth setting on the Cello2, I would recommend turning off Bluetooth to conserve the battery, since Bluetooth can be a power drain.
There are also handy, custom-made accessories available for the Cello2, which include a barndoor set and a diffuser hood. The barndoor kit snaps right onto the light and the diffuser hood secures using a magnet, making it easy to take them on and off when needed. The diffuser hood creates a noticeably softer output, and the four-way barndoors perform as they are designed, to cut light from four sides with individual adjustment on each side.
Overall, the new Cello2 is a powerful light with color output that rates at CRI 97/TLCI 97 at 3200K and CRI 97/TLCI 98 at 5600K, which are high scores on the accuracy scale. I was also impressed with the brightness output (which shows 1500 lux at ~3' on the photometrics sheet), and the versatility of color mixing and the response of the controls were a breeze to work with. It’s a light that can definitely find its way into my kit for mobile production, vlogging, a sit-down interview, or even a studio shoot.
Is the Luxli Cello2 the right light for your production? Share your thoughts and any questions you may have in the Comments section.