Help with LED continuous lighting choices..

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by perpetualjon, May 19, 2014.

  1. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    226
    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    I'm trying to reduce the load of lighting I wind up hauling to photoshoots. I prefer to work exclusively with continuous lighting systems. I've been using CFL's in a soft box but I recently did a couple of shoots just with a F&V R-300 ring light on a tripod / boom stand and found it much easier to work with, setup, and haul. So now I'm thinking I should pick up a couple of 1000 LED light panels and just drape a screen over the barn doors for a soft box effect --and greatly reduce the bulk of my lighting kit. Do any of you have experience with these things? Also, I've seen LED work lights at Home Depot for around half the price but all I have been able to determine about their light output is that they're a bit less than the halogen kits made by the same company --I have NO way to compare them to a 1000 LED light panel...

    led-light-comparison01.

    I'd love to know your thoughts on the concept.
     
  2. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    How do you plan on diffusing the Ace hardware work light?
     
  3. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    Why don't you check out the Ice Light from Westcott?

    In all honesty, you need 2 of them which will put you up to about $1000 (with taxes), but they will be way more portable than the product images you posted.
     
  4. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
  5. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    226
    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    I guess I'm just wondering if going with a big LED panel will actually be as good as my usual CFL lighting kits with soft boxes. Do any of you have any experience working with these LED light panels? I'm beginning to think they just may not be as bright as fluorescent lights yet...

    I'm also considering using a bank of grow lights like this:
    led-light-comparison02.
    --The latest fluorescent light technology (T5 HO) is pretty amazing in its output per watt and size. I'd just really like to reduce my equipment weight but have my doubts about LED panels.

    I REALLY love the IceLight but just am not willing to pay $500-$1,000 when I can do so much more with that money (but not be as small in size). It's just priced me out of even considering it.
     
  6. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    I've had 3 photography friends that ridiculed me for wasting $ on the Ice Light, but after playing with my Ice Light & seeing the results 2 of them bought them and the last friend is seriously considering getting one as well.

    I know they're expensive but I still think it's the simplest LED light to use.
     
  7. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Ice Lights are specialty light. They won't throw enough power in many situations.

    Just did a video shoot using Fiilex P360s - http://www.fiilex.com/products/P360.php. Nice and cool but light output was on the low side. We need to put three in a soft box to get the output we wanted.

    I've used LED panels too. They're nice - can't beat the size and setup time. But it's hard to shape the light since it's 1,000 point sources instead of one. Barn doors are useless because they produce very visible banding. Flags will likely behave the same way. Whether or not they will work for you depends on what you are shooting and what your style is.
     
  8. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    226
    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    Well, I guess my style is low-light, portrait shots. You can see most of what I'm trying to accomplish with my "Boudoir" photography link in my signature below but I am beginning to think that I'm using too little light and could accomplish the same result but with better detail and clarity with brighter lights.

    I definitely see a difference between my photos and the "pros". I don't exactly want to look like a playboy model shoot where everything is just too perfect to be real, but I do think the general quality of my shots could be better and I think my lights are where I need to work.

    I'd also prefer NOT to use a flash. I like "knowing what I'm getting" in the viewfinder rather than doing the math and then checking the preview after the shot is taken --also, I intend on shooting video in the future as well (mostly interview / documentary style shots).

    Am I heading in the right direction?
     
  9. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    An interesting review of the Fiilex, noting the low power output:

    http://www.slrlounge.com/gear-review-fiilex-led-light

    Ultimately, the LED panels will throw more light but be less shapeable. You could put a sheet on the barn doors or better yet a scrim, but that will require its own stand.

    I've also used CFL in a softbox and they worked well.
     
  10. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    226
    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    I did this shot with one CFL soft box using 4 bulbs:
    proudphoto07.

    I'm happy with the results here (and this is exactly the type of shot I aim to achieve) but just want to see if there is a way to take it to the next level (and reduce my equipment weight and setup time). I guess it's sounding like there really isn't a good LED alternative to this yet (beyond an IceLight)...
     
  11. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    226
    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    I did this shot with one CFL soft box using 4 bulbs:
    proudphoto07.

    I'm happy with the results --and this is exactly the type of shot I aim to get-- but just want to see if there is a way to take it to the next level (and reduce my equipment weight and setup time). I guess it's sounding like there really isn't a good LED alternative to this yet (beyond an IceLight)...
     
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    John M Flores - would you recommend the P360 for a simple talking head one man production video with possibly a fill light?
     
  13. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    IIRC, we had two or three P360s in a softbox as the key and were shooting 1/50s, F5.6 (on a 5DIII to ensure enough DOF), ISO800. We really wish that we had more power, as we had a window behind the subject that was blowing out. Not only that, but putting more than one in a softbox means carrying more lightstands.

    So in a word, not really. Once they double the output it will be awesome, but it's not quite there yet. Right now, I'd estimate it's power output as roughly equal to a 360-500 LED panel. Could you pull it off? Yes, but you'd have to put the softbox really close, which is ok since it doesn't generate much heat. But you'd eventually run into situations where you wish you had more power.

    Right now, the best combination of portability and power seem to be the LED panels. But like I've said, you can't shape the light easily. I've got a 360LED panel which is OK if you crank the ISO. I'm using a hacked GH2 which can be pushed a bit.

    One note about the bicolor panels - remember that your usually getting much less than full power because you're mixing LEDs. I'd guess that a 1000 LED daylight panel will put out nearly twice the light as a 1000 LED bicolor panel.

    Or you can use a monster CFL in a softbox until LEDs get more powerful:

    6305649297_76c4618370. You call that a light bulb? That's not a light bulb. THIS is a light bulb. by john m flores, on Flickr

    I used this for a couple of years and was pleased with the results. My videos end up on the web, so if you're doing something more demanding, YMMV.
     
  14. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Thanks. I am using big CFLs, not as powerful as your Square bulb, in two old lights that I would like to replace. Having something like a P360 that I can run off a ZeroGoal battery would be ideal if it would work. Perhaps, soon.
     
  15. perpetualjon

    perpetualjon Mu-43 Veteran

    226
    Oct 30, 2013
    Southern California
    I actually use those large CFL's as well. It allows me to just mount a couple in a light as opposed to 4. Hell, sometimes I only need one.