Testing the Rollei Lumen LED Stick for photo and video
The Rollei Lumen portable light promises flexible lighting in the studio and on the road. The light emits white light in different colour temperatures or the complete RGB colour spectrum. In this article, I test the workmanship and use for video and photo lighting.
Workmanship and operation
The Rollei Lumen light bar * is shipped with a high quality soft case with Rollei imprint.
The soft case contains batteries, chargers, power supply unit, light bar and screw-on 1/4 inch handle. A high-gloss local language instruction manual is also included.
The batteries come 80% pre-charged and can be used directly.
The light bar can also be placed in this soft case with batteries inserted.
In addition, a fabric cover is included, which can be put over the lamp including the batteries. I like to call this cover “the condom”. The condom is super practical if you don’t want to take the whole bag and the included accessories with you, but only the light incl. handle and batteries prepared for use.
The scope of delivery and the well thought-out transport options alone make it clear: this is not a cheap product. It claims to be a thoroughly thought-out solution, whether in the studio or on the road. This is also evident in the mounting options:
The light bar has two 1/4 inch threads with which the light can be connected to the supplied handle or a tripod: One for mounting the lamp horizontally, one for vertical orientation. Depending on the orientation in which the lamp is mounted, the light cast and the resulting shadows can thus be influenced. More about this later.
The light is pleasantly heavy. It has a high quality plastic housing. The lamp feels good in the hand, but not too heavy, when held by the handle. However, after a longer time of handling the handle, it can happen that it jerks loose in the 1/4 inch connection. You then have to tighten the handle again. Personally, I can live with that.
However, the lamp is too heavy to attach it directly to the camera on a hot shoe adapter. For such cases, the lamp should be attached to a suitable camera cage.
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Controlling the lamp
On the back of the Rollei Lumen light bar * there is a settings display, two pressable control wheels and two selector switches for the modes “Off”, “Mains operation” and “Battery operation” and white light (CCT) and coloured light (RGB).
The display is illuminated and, together with the two clickable control wheels, looks extremely valuable. The feel gives good feedback and allows fine adjustments. Superbly done, Rollei!
In the white light mode, we can fine-tune the colour temperature in Kelvin. A symbol also shows us which light colour (artificial, sun, cloudy, candle, etc.) this setting comes closest to. Of course, the brightness can also be controlled.
In colour mode, the colour tone can be adjusted on the luminaire by means of a 360-degree selector. In addition, the saturation of the colour and the overall brightness can be adjusted. As an alternative to the 360-degree selector, predefined colours can be selected.
The selector switches, on the other hand, look and feel extremely cheap. It hangs loose and is made of light plastic. This switch does not fit in at all with the rest of the lamp’s otherwise high-quality appearance. The feel of this switch is terrible, it could have been done better. At both of my lamps the colour/white switch doesn‘t really attach in one position, there is no feedback at all. Terrible.
We have triple freedom of choice when it comes to controlling the lamp:
- Option 1: Control via the integrated controls and the display.
- Option 2: Control via Bluetooth using the Lumen app on the smartphone.
- Option 3: Control via DMX
Immediately after unpacking, I put the lamp into operation. I downloaded the Lumen app and started it. On my iPhone, the app asked me for Bluetooth access rights. I granted Bluetooth access and the lamp was connected immediately.
“How the hell did they do that?”, I asked myself. It went so smoothly, I didn’t expect it to. I would have thought I would have had to at least find and pair the lamp manually, but the app did that on its own. Great success. That is intuitive usability and excellent user experience. Nicely done.
When it comes to having the light bar permanently installed in the studio, it may also make sense to control the lamps via a DMX controller. No problem, because each lamp has a DMX input and DMX output in the form of an RJ45 socket. I don’t use this, but I tested it with a DMX controller lying around. It works perfectly, but I couldn’t get the colour temperature for white light right with DMX. But I only tried it out for 3 minutes out of curiosity.
Regardless of where the lamp is operated from, it remembers the last settings when it is switched off and on again. Even after a loss of voltage.
How does the Rollei Lumen portable light perform in photo shooting?
As described at the beginning of this article, the orientation of the Rollei Lumen light bar * can be freely selected. This applies equally to photo and video purposes:
The horizontal position of the light distributes the light over a larger target area. Shadows become softer. Ideal for portrait photography or the illumination of video recordings – but more about that later.
Vertically aligned, I can focus the light on a specific target strip. Ideal for artistic lighting designs, low-key and still life lighting.
The brightness of the lamp can be adjusted in one hundred 1% percent steps. This is granular enough for all lighting situations.
In June, I was commissioned by a client to photograph the new bus stops they had produced and installed in a municipality. Let’s face it, a bus stop is not exactly the most exciting subject. So I came up with the idea of taking the photos in the dark and colour lighting the modern bus stops with the Rollei Lumen light bars. The result is something to be proud of.
Rollei Lumen light bar as Video Illumination
The Rollei Lumen light bar * does not flicker when shooting in 30p, 25p, 60p, provided that the 360° rule is observed. Flickering is neither visible with battery operation nor with mains operation. That was my biggest concern.
For video recordings in my “YouTube studio” I used to use 4 Samtian TL-600AS studio lights distributed on two lamp tripods. They were often too bright.
Two horizontally mounted Rollei Lumen light sticks now take over this job. The brightness of the 4 lamps used before is not quite reached, but that was simply exaggerated and hurt my own eyes on full brightness.
My Rollei Lumen light bar * emitts perfect brightness, flickerfree and looks much better and stable, than my former light setup.
Conclusion and recommendation
The Rollei Lumen light bar * does what it is supposed to do. For around 120€, we get a versatile and largely high-quality product that is very well thought out, from the menu navigation to the carrying bag. The light quality is impeccable. Colours are mixed cleanly, the light is soft and cast shadows are not distracting. For such a compact device, the performance is super.
Even if the workmanship and the material of the lamp are largely okay, the wobbly and not properly engaging selector switches are a horror. That is already the biggest minus. But you can live with that and the lighting result is not affected by it.
I particularly like the fact that it can be used for both video lighting and photography. In my eyes, this is the most solid, affordable and versatile solution at the moment.
All links marked with * in this post are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through these links, we will receive a commission. Nevertheless, this review is real and not bought. I could recommend any other studio light to you, but I am really enthusiastic about the Rollei Lumen product series and don’t want to miss my lights for photo and video purposes anymore.