ColorRight Lumenator Pro LED light disc

ColorRight is well known for its white balance tools and flash modifiers. It has expanded its reach into the LED lighting market with products that can be used as a complement to your speedlight as well as on their own: the Lumenator range of LED lights.

Upon opening the packaging of the €119.00 priced Lumenator Pro device I tested, the plastic shell holding the actual LED lights fell apart. It looked as if it had been pried open by a previous reviewer — or at least, that’s what I hope has happened. If not, the ColorRight people have a huge quality control problem on their hands.

For me as a reviewer, the defect was a godsend, offering me a nice look inside. It showed the Lumenator to be made of a plastic shell with one half containing the LEDs as well as the electronics and battery/power interface and the other holding the semi-transparent reflection disc. The LEDs are placed at equal distances along the edge of the light disc, with a bright white background to reflect the light.

My unit definitely had been used. From the brownish discolouration along the edge where the LEDs sit, I couldn’t tell how long, though. Not only does this spell bad news for the Lumenator’s white balance over an extended period of time, it also put me on guard for overheating and subsequent melting. However, after having tested the included battery’s runtime for over 2.5 hours at full output, I can safely say that, although the unit does get quite warm, it never got really hot.

LEDs on the edge

The other half of the Lumenator holds the white front disc — which in my case was unseated as well. I glued the whole thing back together and started this review by reading the instructions to use the battery. Those instructions are a literal translation of Chinese into English — it’s gibberish. After reading it a couple of times, I understood I had to use the one power adapter in the packaging without a European power plug.

ColorRight should really make the small effort to include a proper English instruction sheet for the operation of the battery, especially as improper charging of batteries can be dangerous devices.

The actual test results

The ColorRight website tells us the LEDs used are Samsung LED lights. These LEDs are claimed by the company to produce the smoothest, most natural LED light available and yes: the Lumenator in its highest brightness setting does send out a nice disc of light. With the dim switch in the lowest position, however, the LEDs along the edges become apparent.

In addition, the dim switch is a low quality contraption. You can keep on turning it beyond its lowest and highest setting. Dimming also isn’t flicker free, despite the claim on the website. Especially turning down brightness will result in occasional flickering, which makes the device less suitable for video.

ColorRight also claims the Lumenator to be thinner (1.25cm), lighter (370 grammes) and more flexible (triple purpose), than any other LED light. Those claims are false, except for the last one.

Lumenator Pro

In fact, I am about to receive an Akurat Lighting LL2120hc3 V-WHITE. This is a European made aluminium device that is actually lighter (270 grammes) and about as thin (1.7cm) as the Lumenator (but admittedly at twice the price). To the Akurat’s advantage speaks a CRI (Colour Render Index) of 98, while the Lumenator is much less impressive in that — very important — area. In May of this year, Samsung Electronics announced that it had improved the light quality of its LED packages and modules based on a 90 CRI for use in advanced lighting applications. We may therefore safely assume the Lumenator has a CRI of 90 or even less.

You can use the Lumenator mounted on your flash or directly on any hot/cold shoe. It serves as a flash diffuser — which has limited use, as most flashes come with a diffuser built-in — as an additional continuous light (which does make sense) or on its own.

The battery in the Lumenator Pro package is a small-factor 2800mAh Li-ion non-standard plastic brick with associated charger. However, in my test pack the battery was a 3800mAh brick. As professional and semi-pro video shooters will prefer standard type batteries (Bauer, Sony NP…), I don’t think the Lumenator will penetrate that market big time. Amateur video enthusiasts might find a non-standard battery type of less importance.

Mounting the Lumenator onto a flash is done using a secure velcro strap, which makes the unit a fit-for-all-sizes tool. The marketing babble states the Lumenator is powerful enough for studio use, mounting on any standard light stand. The latter is due to a 1/4” thread in the bottom of the unit itself, as well as the inclusion of a microsize ballhead with the Pro edition. However, the studio use claim is a bit exaggerated.

At its highest setting and measured at a distance of 50cm, the Lumenator Pro spit out 420 lux (lumen/m²) in my test at 5920K. At half output setting, the unit’s luminous emittance dropped to 76 lux at 5860K. At its lowest setting, we were left with 42.5 lux at 5800K.

You can see in these photographs what this amounts to in a real-world setting. I set up my “model” at a 1 metre distance from the camera. I fixed the camera at an exposure time of 1/250 and an f2.8 aperture. The first photograph was shot with a LumoPro LP180 flash set at 1/128 and zoom factor 50mm, mounted on the camera and aimed directly at the puppet. The second photo was shot with the Lumenator mounted on top of the camera, aimed directly at the puppet and at full brightness.

LumoPro LP180
LumoPro LP180 at 1/128
Lumenator Pro at full brightness
Lumenator Pro at full brightness

Proper exposure of the puppet with the Lumenator alone would have necessitated an exposure time of 1/30. I think you can draw your own conclusions. The Lumenator Pro comes with two filters — one warm, one cold — that you can mount on the front bezel using velcro strips.

Verdict

Many of ColorRight’s claims related to the Lumenator don’t stick. One unit is not enough for studio use. I doubt if three would even do. The CRI is average and certainly does not justify the marketing moniker “LEDnatural” nor ‘most natural LED’ and the Lumenator is not the lightest unit.

The plastic shell is rather flimsy and you need to be careful not to break the shell halves apart. The white reflective background inside shows discolouration after usage — how much usage I can’t say as I don’t know how many reviewers had my test unit before me. It could be weeks or years of normal use, but the major issue is that discolouration occurs.

The Lumenator uses a non-standard type of battery. The dim switch is of inferior quality and dimming does introduce occasional flicker.

All these findings are based on testing a unit that was damaged upon receipt and that had been used before by an unspecified person for an unspecified period of time. As I always try to give vendors a chance to defend their product if I find it performing below par, I emailed the company informing them of the state which I received the product in and asking them if this is what their regular customers are to expect. They have yet to reply.

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8 Replies to “ColorRight Lumenator Pro LED light disc”

  1. Thank you for this review. I have ordered a Lumenator Pro. But after a nine-day wait, I have received nothing from ColorRight … not even an email. I have noticed that they have a new announcement on their website stating that orders made today are now considered pre-orders and will not be filled for three weeks. So, they are having trouble filling orders. Still, a confirmation email seems like the least they could have done. I’ve called their customer service line twice, filled out their on-line contact form three times, and emailed them twice. But, they have not responded. A questionable product, coupled with lousy customer service, results in business failure.

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    1. I AGREE COMPLETELY with Jim.
      They don’t respond to Contact or my emails.

      My saga so far. I finally received my Lumenator Pro order Monday, 12/21/2015, ordered on 11/19 and followed up with at least 3-4 emails asking if you would be able to deliver by 12/31/2015, as I am going out of state then. If they couldn’t, I would understand that they were busy and cancel my order. Got no response.

      I had also written in and ordered an extra battery, which when they finally wrote me and apologized, they said would be included with my order.

      My current status as of 12/28/2015, 12:39PM, after my mail delivery:
      No extra battery (exactly a week from receiving my original order)
      No velcro patches in original package at all (they say there will be a bag of patches. Now, can’t attach my battery to my Lumenator.
      Charger does not have red and green lights, just red showing right now. Have no idea if it will change to green or will stay red. Have no idea if battery is charging. Battery is on according to directions. Charger does not agree with video directions. Written directions say red light will change to green. I shouldn’t have to guess.
      I have written them about the extra battery and charger, twice I think, and have not received a response.

      They have a dismal record about answering emails, even if they apply to orders and existing customers. Not satisfactory!

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    1. There’s a video on their web site, but directions for the charger don’t agree with the charger and its directions that I did receive.

      There’s a bigger issue. They don’t respond to Contact or my emails
      My saga so far. I finally received my Lumenator Pro order Monday, 12/21/2015, after at least 3 emails asking if you would be able to deliver by 12/31/2015, as I am going out of state then. I had also written in and ordered an extra battery, which they said would be included with my order. To get my order placed took at least 3-4 emails.

      My current status as of 12/28/2015:
      No extra battery (exactly a week from receiving my order)
      No velcro patches in original package
      Charger does not have red and green lights, just red showing right now. Have no idea if it will change to green or will stay red. Have no idea if battery is charging. Battery is on according to directions. Charger does not agree with video directions. Written directions say red light will change to green. I shouldn’t have to guess.
      I have written them about the extra battery and charger, twice I think, and have not received a response.

      They have a dismal record about answering emails, even if they apply to orders and existing customers. Not satisfactory!

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  2. Is there any number that is working with the company. I have got a few emails saying my order went from 3 to 4 weeks to 6 to 8 now. Then since on emails. I can’t seem to find a number to call for.

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  3. I ordered my Lumenator lights in December of 2015 and never received them. I have contacted the company and had no response. My $300 payment cleared the bank and no merchandise. This company stinks.

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  4. I ordered mine back in November 24, 2015 that’s 8 months ago and there is still no “illumination” as far as what is happening to my order. I wish there is a way to get my money back. I keep on getting this automated e-mail which is in a way insulting because it’s saying “if you ordered the product that it was clearly stated 5-6 weeks. Well it’s been 8 months!!!!!

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