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Old February 1st, 2009, 11:40 AM   #1
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Lowel Caselight 4 vs Kino flo Diva 400

Ok, I want to buy some fluorescent lighting for my videos. I've been looking, trying to decide between the Caselight 4, and the Diva 400. From what I see they both seem to be about the same as far as lighting output. The caselight is a bit cheaper than the diva lights though, and apparently there's also a space to pack the stands in the caselight. I wanted to get some opinions/recommendations from people here who know about either of these lights. I'd rather buy the better of the two (even if it means paying a bit more) than to chance things with lesser quality lights.

My main concern is portability and durability, because I have to travel to various locations around the world with my lights. So I definitely need something that's gonna hold up to airline baggage handlers. I've had lights break on me before during shipping and I don't want that happening again.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 12:15 PM   #2
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A few years ago I looked at both the Diva and the Caselight and bought 3 of the Caselights. Light output is the same but I liked the way the Caselights all folded up into a single case, including the stand. Also, the Diva had little plastic barn doors that didn't do much. The Caselights have big barn doors with one side shiny the other side black. You can keep the shiny side in, and properly adjusted they will amplify the light a little; flip them over so the black side is in and they act like regular barn doors, and they're big enough to actually do some good. I go two of the Caselight 2 sets and one Caselight 4. The Caselight 4 is a bit heavy for the small stands that come in the set. The stand holds the 4 but you have to lock it down good and be a little careful around it. In the studio I usually used a heavier stand for it and only used the smaller one for location.

The great thing about the caselights is that one little case has the whole thing, with room for a spare bulb. It doesn't get much more portable than that, great for location interviews.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 01:21 PM   #3
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Stephen:

Have you considered the Coollights fluoros? They are a much better deal than either the Caselights or the Kinos. I love the Kinos but feel that they are priced toward Hollywood, which they are. So much so, that I built my own Diva 200s from scratch. I bought the ballasts, wired up the fixtures, built the housing, but I used Kino tubes and a Kino lollipop for mounting as it is the best fixture mount on the market. When all was said and done, it took me about a day of labor per fixture and about U.S. $250.00 for parts. Now I see that Coollights has smaller fixtures that are lighter than what I built and they have barndoors, which mine do not for a mere $273.00. So for an extra $23.00, I could have bought the Coollights.

I know Bill had good luck with the Caselights and they are good, but once again, rather expensive. Bill, have you mostly replaced using the Caselights with your Flolight LEDs now?

To me, light is light, I am not that concerned about the fixture that it comes from if the fixture is reliable and easy to use.

Softlight Series - Cool Lights USA

Dan
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Old February 1st, 2009, 02:13 PM   #4
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I agree, if money is an issue (when isn't it?) the Coollights flos are excellent and half the price. The thing you get with Caselights is the fact that everything is in a small case. That's what you're paying for. At the time I got them, there were only Caselights and Divas in that ballgame. I don't have them anymore, I sold a bunch of stuff to a production house a few years ago. I think I said once I liked the Caselights a lot but I wouldn't buy them today, and I didn't--I got the Flolight LEDs, and I like them better, actually. I still like Caselights but the reason I wouldn't buy them today is simply that there are now other things out there that are lots cheaper.

However, I did a bunch of interview shooting for a documentary filmmaker over a year or two and lit every interview with a single Caselight 2. He wanted it all low key and handheld. There was always enough ambient daylight in every location, so it was easy to light with one Caselight with daylight lamps for the look he wanted. I could walk in with my camera bag in one hand, a Caselight 2 in the other, and that's all I needed (wireless lav lived in the camera bag). So for that kind of thing, the convenience is worth the money.

Although, when I think about it, my LEDs are just about as convenient as the Caselights. I have three of them in a canvas bag that's smaller than my gym bag. They stand upright on the edges, and the bag is probably about 15" long and about a foot wide. Then I have the three stands in a lightstand bag. So, when shooting interviews, I could walk in with one Caselight in each hand. Now I can walk in with the LED bag in one hand, stands in another and be there with three instead of two lights. Still, if you want to carry in just one case with everything you need for a light, nothing beats the Caselight.

Flolights sells flourescent lights too, but I think Coollights.biz equivalent flows are just a little cheaper. Also, Coollights has the two bulb portable that's really nice. I was going to buy three of those but they were out of stock when I needed them, so I went to Flolights and discovered the LEDs. Coollights also has an LED now that looks nice. I think with both of these places you get your money's worth moreso than with the big guys. And, at least with what I bought, the quality is great.

The only thing I like better about fluorescents is that you don't have to use diffusion gel when you're in close because they are softer than my LEDs. On the other hand, if you want a little big sharper light, the LEDs are good for that too. And, they're DC so you can run off a battery pack. Some LEDs come with the flood (versus spot or halfway in between, which is what mine are) LEDs, so they might be soft enough so you wouldn't need diffusion.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Stephen:

Have you considered the Coollights fluoros? They are a much better deal than either the Caselights or the Kinos. I love the Kinos but feel that they are priced toward Hollywood, which they are. So much so, that I built my own Diva 200s from scratch. I bought the ballasts, wired up the fixtures, built the housing, but I used Kino tubes and a Kino lollipop for mounting as it is the best fixture mount on the market. When all was said and done, it took me about a day of labor per fixture and about U.S. $250.00 for parts. Now I see that Coollights has smaller fixtures that are lighter than what I built and they have barndoors, which mine do not for a mere $273.00. So for an extra $23.00, I could have bought the Coollights.
I've handled one of the studio version coollights, and although I liked the light output... the build quality seemed a bit flimsy to me. Have you by chance handled the portable coollights? Perhaps the portable ones are better constructed and more durable. If so, then I'd definitely look into those. They are definitely lighter than the caselight and diva light, which is a plus. But I can't have my light fixtures breaking on me or getting damaged during transport.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 03:45 PM   #6
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I bought a Caselight 4, because you can put everything you need in it. Light Stand, extension cord, diffusion, 2 extra bulbs (heavily padded), and a little room left over. I fly with this inside a cheap blow-mold case for extra protection. Since I redid the padding for the extra bulbs, I haven't had a bulb break. Also, with the two extra bulbs I can be set up for either daylight or tungsten. I have 3 of each. If I need that extra push from 4 bulbs I just use one from the other color temperature. It only modestly changes the overall color temperature.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 03:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
The only thing I like better about fluorescents is that you don't have to use diffusion gel when you're in close because they are softer than my LEDs.
I also have an LED light from Flolight that I power with a battery (2+ hrs). It's awesome and adds overall flexibility to my kit. But I wouldn't replace my Fluorescent with it. I often use it for a back/side light with the fluorescent or in a pinch use it on battery power. A single LED has a bit of a hot spot, but even worse the hot spot is a cooler color temperature than the falloff area. When you combine a bunch of LEDs together you reduce that effect. But there are sometimes you can get some weird coloration. Diffusion eliminates that problem, but unfortunately they don't put enough light off that I can always use diffusion with them.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 09:18 AM   #8
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Interesting. First thing I did was check my lights with a color temperature meter and they read consistent. And I have to use diffusion in close because they are too bright and harsh, very similar to a fresnel but a little softer. I also don't see any hot spot in the center. They're very even, with a sharper falloff than fluorescents. Maybe there are some manufacturing differences.
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