A head-to-head comparison of the features, color rendering and light quality of the Arri SkyPanel S60-C versus the new Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60. This is a guest review by director of photography and longtime cinema5D fan Scott Leslie. Learn more about him below this post!
When Lupo agreed to this head-to-head comparison, I thought it was a pretty gutsy request. The Arri SkyPanel is the industry standard with great feature sets and an excellent build quality. That’s why it’s been so widely adopted. While the Italian company Lupo has been around since 1932 and making lighting instruments since the 90’s, it’s relatively new to RGBW lighting. The Superpanel Full Color 60 is their first 2×1 RGBW LED panel and it comes in well under half cost of the Skypanel S60-C. The question is: does it measure up? So, with the help of a Sekonic C 800-U Spectromaster Color Meter, I put both lights through test with interesting results.
The Arri SkyPanel S60-C is built like a tank with an aluminum frame a heavy-duty yoke and a really well made disc break mechanism for locking the tilt of the light into place. Because of its weight, it has a Junior Pin connector, so you’ll need a beefier stand with a Junior Pin receiver – like a combo-stand. Now the Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60 is made of technopolymer plastic reinforced with carbon fiber. Now, this isn’t your typical plastic but it’s a durable industrial material that is really robust. I’ve had a 1×1 Superpanel for about 2 years now and I haven’t had a single issue with it. The Superpanel Full Color 60 has a solid, although not as beefy of a yoke as ARRI and its breaking mechanism works well, although it’s not as heavy duty as ARRI’s.
BUILD QUALITY WINNER: Arri SkyPanel S60-C
The Arri SkyPanel S60-C is quite a bit heaver. The head of the unit weighs in at 28.2 lbs and the separate power supply weighs 7.7lbs bring the combined weight in at 35.9 lbs. The Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60’s power supply is connected to the unit and the combined weight is just under 20 lbs. Having the power supply attached to the main unit is also much more convenient than having it separate.
WEIGHT WINNER: Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60
Both fixtures have the standard 4-pin XLR DMX in and out, but the Skypanel also has a LAN DMX port.
DMX WINNER: Arri SkyPanel S60-C
While both instruments have a nice frosted front, the Skypanel’s front diffusion can be removed and replaced by thicker or thinner diffusion or even an intensifier that increase the light output by 50%. The Skypanel has really cleaver release mechanism that makes changing out the diffusion a snap. It also has an extra slot for adding accessories, like a soft box. The Superpanel Full Color 60’s front diffusion is not removable and there is no accessory slot.
FRONT DIFFUSION WINNER: Arri SkyPanel S60-C
Features: CCT, HSI and RGBW modes
Both fixtures are basically identical with these modes. They both have a CCT mode, which is basically a dual color mode, where the Kelvin can be changed from 2800K all the way to 10,000K. Where most LED lights only go from 3200K to 5600K, the extra color temperatures on both sides are really nice. In the CCT mode, both the Superpanel and Skypanel also have a plus/minus green, which is really handy when matching to different fixtures or practical lights.
The HSI mode allows you to quickly set the color of the light from red to yellow to green and everything in between. They each have a dial that adjusts the hue and a separate dial to adjust the saturation. The RGBW mode allows you to dial in specific RGB colors.
FEATURES WINNER: Tie
Both lights have preset special effects but the Skypanel has many more to chose from, especially for film production. Lupo did inform me that they are currently working on more special effects, which should be out soon.
SUPERPANEL FULL COLOR 60: Strobe, Party, Cop Car and Disco
SKYPANEL S60-C: Party Effect, Candle, Clouds Passing, Club Lights, Color Chase, Cop Car, Exposition, Fire, Fireworks, Florescent Flicker, Light Strobe, Lightning, Paparazzi, Process, Pulsing, Television and Welding
SPECIAL EFFECTS WINNER: Arri SkyPanel S60-C
The Arri SkyPanel S60-C does have some additional features that the Superpanel Full Color 60 doesn’t have, most notably the ability to dial in specific Roco or Lee filters. If you’re a DP or Gaffer that’s use to using Roco and/or Lee filters then this can be super handy. You simply dial in the filter number and the light will emulate the color. The Skypanel also offers, at an additional cost, a wired remote or wifi controller through Art Net. You can also set up a Master/Slave mode where the units can be daisy chained so that one Skypanel can control the color and output of other Skypanels in the chain. You can achieve the same result through using DMX with either the Skypanel or Superpanel.
ADDITIONAL FEATURES WINNER: Arri SkyPanel S60-C
The Arri SkyPanel S60-C is currently going for $5,850 where the Lupo Full Color 60 is $2,598. That brings the Lupo in at $3,253 cheaper.
PRICING WINNER: Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60
I used a Sekonic C 800-U to test the color rendering and output of these lights.
First, in CCT mode with 0 Green, I meter the 2 instruments at 3200K at 1 meter. Now if you look at the numbers from the Sekonic C 800-U you’ll see that both lights are close to the 3200K color temperature. The Skypanel S60-C is almost 4,000 lux brighter, which sounds like a lot but equates to about a 1/2 stop. And they both have a tiny Green/Magenta cast. Lupo has a slightly better color rendering with an average CRI of 95.9 vs 95.3.
Now when you look at the spectral distribution at 3200K, the Skypanel has a green spike where the Superpanel is much smoother and fuller. The Superpanel Full Color 60 looks much more impressive here.
When we look at the color rendering by the numbers, for skin tone the important spectrums are R9, R13 and R15. It’s interesting to see that the Skypanel does score higher on R9 & R15, while the Superpanel is higher on R13. In aggregate, the Superpanel does score slightly higher.
I also metered at 5 feet, 10 feet and 15 feet and received similar percentages. The Skypanel hovered at 1/2 to 1 stop brighter with the color indexes basically staying the same.
Now when I tested the lights at 5600K, these are the results the Sekonic C 800-U gave me.
Again the Superpanel Full Color 60 had a slightly better color rendering, but at 5600K it has a little more of a green shift than the Skypanel S60-C. The output of the Skypanel is now about 1 stop brighter than the Superpanel. I was disappointed by the Superpanel’s CCT number. The Kelvin temperature read at 6317K where it should be close to 5600K. The Skypanel’s CCT number was also a little high (5783K) but much closer than the Superpanel.
At 5600K, the Lupo Superpanel’s spectral distribution chart again looks much better the Arri SkyPanel.
At 5600K at 1 meter the Superpanel Full Color 60 has a higher combined CRI and scores higher on the skin spectrums (R9, R13, R15), making it the clear color rendering winner.
I also metered the lights at 2800K, 4500K, 8000K and 10000K. Here is the master chart showing the results.
These results are a little bit of a mixed bag. While the Lupo Superpanel Full color 60 consistently scores higher in color rendering and has much better spectral distribution, the Arri SkyPanel S60-C has an higher output of ½ to a full stop and it has a more accurate Kelvin temperature at 5600K and above.
Real World Tests
While metering numbers are great, I wanted to see the quality of light these produced on a subject. I alternated both the Arri SkyPanel S60-C and the Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60 at exact same spot (about 4’ away from the subject) and metered them both to the same output. For flavor, I added small bounce card, a backlight and a background accent light. Note: the background light is putting the projector shadow on the background, not the Skypanel or Superpanel key light.
Here’s a side-by-side test with the Superpanel Full Color 60 on the left and the Skypanel S60-C on the right. As you can see that the quality of the lights are very similar, with both giving a nice soft key.
Snapbag Octa 5’ Softbox
I was also really curious to see how these instruments would work with my Snapbag Octa 5 soft box. This is a fantastic soft box that I really recommend for beauty lighting. Because the softbox is very large and is skinned with Magic Cloth, you need a pretty powerful instrument to punch through it. Both lights had plenty of out put for the job. Again, both instruments are very similar in light quality and they look great!
Here’s my final score card:
In conclusion, the Arri SkyPanel S60-C’s specs and feature sets are a little more robust than the Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60 but the quality of the light is very similar. The question you need to ask yourself is: are you going to use the extra features, like dialing in Rosco or Lee filters enough to make it worth over double the price?
Currently, B&H and CVP don’t list the Lupo Superpanel Full Color 60. We will update this post once they do, we have reached out to them.
Do you use RGB or RGBWW lights? What do you think of the ARRI Skypanels and the Lupo Superpanels Full Color? Let us know in the comments below!