Lupo has introduced their latest Kickasspanel Full Color, a 3” x 6” RGBWW panel light, that packs a punch for its size. Lupo claims that this light emits 2100 Lux at 1m. That’s an impressive number – but I didn’t just take Lupo’s word for it.
I conducted my own tests which you can see in the video above, along with a detailed look at all the Kickasspanel Full Color’s modes and features. Here is my complete review.
The Kickasspanel Full Color has the same modes as its big brothers, the Superpanel Full Color and the Actionpanel Full Color.
- CCT MODE. The CCT mode is the white light dual color mode similar to what you find in standard bi-color lights. The Kickasspanel Full Color goes from a warm 2800K to a cool 10,000K. This is a wider spectrum than the 3200K to 5600K that most LED lights have. It also has a green/magenta shift adjustment, which is a great feature when matching it to other lighting instruments or to a location’s practical lights. For example, if you have to shoot under florescent practical lights, you can dial in some green to match their green tint. This is the mode I used for the color test below and this is the mode that has the greatest light output.
- HSI MODE. HSI stands for Hue, Saturation, and Intensity. The hue is a really fast way to dial in colors. The saturation brings the color intensity up or down from anywhere between fully saturated to white light with no color. The intensity adjusts the brightness.
- RGBWW MODE. In the RGBWW mode the red, green, blue, and white colors can be individually adjusted to give very precise control of the color. This mode is trickier to use if you are not used to mixing colors – but if you are, then this mode gives you the most control over the colors.
- PRESETS. The Kickasspanel Full Color comes loaded with presets. There are 48 color options, from the standards – blue, red, green, yellow, etc. – to replicated color gels like No Color Straw, Special Lavender, and Light and Dark Bastard Amber. There are also five user presets that allow you to save your own specific colors.
- EFFECTS. The Kickasspanel Full Color has 10 built-in effects. Some are more geared to live events – like Strobe, Disco and Party. Others are really useful film effects like Cop Car, Television, Fire, Lightning, Explosion and Paparazzi. Each of these effects can be adjusted. For example, you can set the speed of the Fire flickering, and in Television you can adjust both the range and frequency. I have owned the Kickasspanel’s big brother, the Superpanel Full Color for a couple of years now and have used the Television, Fire, Cop Car and Paparazzi on different film shoots. These effects are a great tool to have in your lighting toolbox.
PLAYING WITH COLORS
I attempted to simulate the lighting from some films with two of the Kickasspanel Full Color lights. On two shots I added an additional up-light to the background with a Lupo Actionpanel Full Color. Unfortunately, for legal reasons I can’t show the film frame grabs I was mimicking but they were from the following: Atomic Blonde, The Place Beyond the Pines, La La Land, Spring Breakers, Logan, Black Sea and Muse’s music video to Madness. When preparing to do the test I pulled all the film frame samples from Shotdeck, which is a great resource for filmframes.
BY THE NUMBERS
I used my Sekonic C-800 to test the Kickasspanel Full Color’s Lux and color rendering. Well, Lupo didn’t exaggerate on the light’s output. In CCT mode, which is the white light dual color mode, the Lux was consistently over Lupo’s claimed 2100 Lux at 1m. I got a range of 2160 Lux at 2800K to 2340 Lux at 100,000K.
Now, 2100 Lux is an impressive number. Compare that to the popular Aputure Mc RGBWW LED light, which emits 100 Lux at 1m. Do the math: It would take 21 of Aputure’s Mc lights to get the same output as one Lupo Kickasspanel Full Color. The Kickasspanel is larger than the Mc. The Mc’s dimensions with the shell are 3.7 x 2.4 x 0.7″ / 93 x 61 x 17 mm, while the Kickass panel is 7.1 x 4.7 x 1.8″ / 18 x 12 x 4.5 cm, so it is almost twice a big.
One of the ways that Lupo achieves its massive output is through intensifiers in front of the LEDs. These intensifiers also focus the light, making it more spotted than most LED lights. The Kickasspanel Full Color has a 45-degree beam angle as opposed to the 120-degree beam angle of Aputure’s Mc light. With a narrower beam angle there will be less spill and the light is more controlled, but if you need a wider beam angle and you don’t have the space to move the light back, then this isn’t the light for you.
The numbers below from my test tell us a few other things. The color temperature (CCT) is almost right on at 2800K but it fluctuates a bit on the other kelvin temperatures I measured. At 3200K it reads a little warmer at 2996K. At 5600K it reads a bit cooler at 5988K and at 10,000K it reads a touch warmer at 9833K. While I’d like these numbers to be closer to what the back panel reads, they are not bad for an RGBWW light.
Moving to color rendering, these number are a little low. While it’s good to see CRI and TLCI numbers at 95 and above, these dip just below that, scoring from 92.3 to 95 depending on the color temperature. In my experience, RGBWW LED lights are never as accurate at strictly bi-color LED lights. The color correction number (CC#) was almost spot on for all the temperatures except 5600K. I’m not sure why there was a larger shift there of 1.1M.
When switching into HSI or RGB mode, a lot of light output is lost – especially at full saturation. This is the case will all RGBWW lights. I tested the output of the preset red, green, and blue, and here are the results from my Sekonic C-800:
- RED: 683 Lux at 1m. That’s a 1,417 Lux difference from the CCT output of 2100 Lux.
- GREEN: 1430 Lux at 1m. That’s a 670 Lux difference from the CCT output of 2100 Lux.
- BLUE: 229 Lux at 1m. That is a 1,871 Lux difference from the CCT output of 2100 Lux.
As you can see, different colors emit differently and there is certainly a big drop from CCT mode.
Like most Lupo lights, the Kickasspanel is constructed with brushed aluminum and reinforced techno polymer. I’ve found this to be a robust material that can handle a good beating. You may have heard my story of my gaffer dropping the much larger and heavier 2×1 Superpanel off the back of the truck. It was a 6-foot drop to concrete and there was no damage to the shell.
The Kickasspanel Full Color also comes with a plastic diffuser that screws onto the sides of the light. This is very simple but effective, and it sets the diffusion off the light by about ½ inch. Personally, I would prefer if the diffusor was attached by magnets or clips so you wouldn’t have to take the time to screw in the screws, but this is a very minor complaint.
There are three ways you can power the Kickasspanel.
- It can be powered from a Sony type NP-F battery, which most people already have.
- It comes with an USB Type-C charging cable (but not the base/AC plug). I’m not in love with using USB-C cables. I’ve had issues with them in the past, but it works.
- You can also power it through a 2.5mm jack. This is a flexible option and it will take anywhere from 12 – 24V, which allows you to power from camera or V-lock battery or from a power supply. I used an old hard drive power supply that is 12V 3A.
In conclusion, Lupo’s Kickasspanel Full Color RGBWW panel light lives up to its name. The 2100 Lux omitted out of this small instrument is impressive. The HSI and RGB color modes are well designed and the presets and effects are very handy. The CRI and TLCI are a little low, scoring between 93.3 to 95, when I had hoped for consistently 95 or better, but it is pretty close.
The Kickasspanel does not have any app support and cannot be operated remotely.
When it comes to pricing, the Kickasspanel Full Color with the diffusor and a ball head mount is $298 US at B&H. For the amount of light and features packed into this small light, this seems very reasonable.
If you are looking for a small, very powerful, robust RGBWW light at an affordable price, the Kickasspanel Full Color could be the light for you.
What do you think about the new Lupo Kickasspane? Do you use small powerful RGBWW lights for your productions? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.