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Old February 8th, 2013, 11:04 AM   #1
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Video of VL312 on camera light

OK guys. I recently purchased a new Sony EA50 camera and wanted some hands on time with it. I never take new gear on gigs until I know the new piece well. I have never done a web review of anything, and I donít shoot free commercials. In this case, since I was going to shoot anyway, I decided to see if I could spread a little bit of good karma.

1. By letting Chris Hurd know I support his sponsors. I prefer to buy from small vendors whenever I can and DVINFO sponsors come first.
2. By letting you guys know a sponsor has a great deal on a good on camera light.
3. By doing the sponsor a favor and giving him some extra exposure. I have no connection to L.A. Color Online.


Because this shoot was self assigned to check out a brand new camera body I wanted experience with, I did not put the same level of time and effort I would have if was a paid gig. It can be technically picked apart so please take it for what it isÖ.an unsolicited testimonial for a vendor that sells a good light for a great price. I am going to put my ego aside and post it even though it is not a good example of my work. It is something I threw together.

The VL312LCD is a good light. I would recommend it to anyone that wants an on camera light for a very reasonable price. I am a buy cheap pay twice believer. I do not buy cheap gear. I took a chance this time and bought a medium to low priced light and got a bargain instead of a piece of junk. I like the light. It sells for $149.00 at L.A. Color. Other lights in this category seem to range from $80.00 to $400.00. This light is a great deal. If you read reviews of other inexpensive lights the first thing you see is the hot shoes break off. This one is solid and I believe will last a long time.

The video shows the features. I found all claims by the manufacturer to be true except one. The light is not truly dimmable down to 10% as stated. There is obvious flicker at its lowest setting. The usable low range is probably closer to 20 or 30 percent. Very common with inexpensive dimmers.

I did not make any statements about brightness specifications because those seem to be unclear. You can read it for yourself at L.A. Color Online. The bottom line is this thing is bright, soft, and broad. There is plenty of output. In fact the diffusion filter it comes with is not quite soft enough for me. That is a good thing because you can always knock it back by adding tough spun but you canít get more power out of a light if itís not there.

The light sells for $149.00 at L.A. Color Online | Online Photo/Video Gear Shop

Steve

Here is the video:
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Old February 8th, 2013, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

Yep, had one for a while and while I got it from someone else, the gear is the same. It's kinda big looking on some cameras but fits the HM700 nicely. It has a nice even pattern and throws a nice light but here's is a caveate. I throw a piece of Tough Spun on almost every light I own. I find this light works really well either on the camera or a a key light for talking heads stuff. If I'm shooting outdoors and really need some gusto I am using the Chinese made 8 power LED. That puppy has every bit as much power as my AB Ultralite with an 85W tungsten and I think actually has more. It seems like it's got about 125W of light but regardless of wht it has at 8 feet outdoors as a fill, it is superb.
For indoor stuff though, this 312 is hard to beat from a light stand point and portability.
I have mine set up to work with the Sony type batterys, a Bescor 50W NiMH with a cig plug on it and now I have it set up to work off the power tap of the 700. I love it. It's the one light that's actually in my camera bag. All others reside in a seprate case. Well worth the money even though it's kind of big.
Just an FYI as well...the same company has a 512. I'm thinking about one. A 512 for a key light, 312 for a fill 2 light stands, fast setup, no cables, fast move around...and BAM talking heads at a seminar will never be the same. ;-)
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Old February 9th, 2013, 03:00 PM   #3
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

Groovy editing, I was so hypnotized I almost placed an order. :D
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Old February 9th, 2013, 03:11 PM   #4
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

Dang... so close. Almost worked! :-)
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Old February 9th, 2013, 05:21 PM   #5
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

I mis-typed. The mfg. has a 508 not a 512. They also offer others like a 1000 in different shapes. Square and rectangle but they are strictly AC power so for me that defeats the portability.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 02:06 AM   #6
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

I'd like to know the CRI of this light as well as its dimension. Neither appear to be specified on the web site. This light does seem appealing for its powering options alone. I'd also like to know the same for the Comer 1800. Taky? Or if no one has the CRI info, how does it look to the eye? Are either of these a little green?

Thanks.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 07:01 AM   #7
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

(WidthXHeightXDepth) 7.5X4.5X1.25 with the diffuser lens in place. The CRI is listed at 80 and the light is eqivalent to a 130W tungsten.
These numbers come from the dealer that I bought mine from. This light is the same as the one Taky sells or appears to be so the information should be good for his light as well.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 10:51 AM   #8
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

Thanks Don.

So it does have a low CRI. What do you correct with? Or do you simply rely on a custom white balance? And how does it look once you have? What interests me about this light is the possibility of using it for quickly set up interviews, not as an on camera light.

I have 2 LED lights at present. A lightpanels Micro pro which is great for its CRI but its powered by 6 AAs which last about an hour - not so good. (I do have an AC power supply for it but that defeats the portability) And I find it too large for my liking to be mounted on camera. I also have a coollights LED 600 spot. Even with the supplied minus green I just don't like the look. Not that its green (once you've put on the minus green) but its just not a flattering light imo.

I'm also curious to know which camera you're using that you find these lights have sufficient output to be used as key and fill. Perhaps they have a much better output than my litepanels but I can't imagine using that as a key, at least not with my XH A1 which is not very good in low light. Soon hope to upgrade, well past time for that so along with looking at all the usual specs, I'm interested to know what people are using that is quick for set up (run n gun frequently) and has good sensitivity.

Thanks again.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 11:22 AM   #9
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

I also have a LP Micro-not the pro and used it extensively with Sony PD series cameras. I've used the 312 with those also as well as the JVC HM700 and Sony Z1.
I did a festival last September with a couple of big name bands from the 70s..anyway I was running the rover camera and had to get some crowd shots, at night dark as a cave (the stage was lit of course but as soon as I turned around BLACK! I flipped on my 312 which I had on the Z1 and while it wasn't going to throw 100 feet, I was able to get about 3 rows of people. This was all sent to Imag on a giant screen but there was no kind of CCU for the Z1 so we had what we had and the director was happy with it so I guess it worked.
I have been doing a lot of talking heads and promo stuff lately and I find the 312 off camera within about 5 to 6 feet works well as a key light with one of my other LEDs (usually a 160) as a fill. Everything I do with the 700 is a manual WB and I've had no problems with the light(s) showing anything off color. Even when I use on my my PDs it hasn't given me any off color look and when I'm using the PDs it's on auto white. I think for the money, the 312 is a pretty good value. Plus it gives me lots of options for power. The Sony type batterys, I can use my Bescor NiMH with the cig adapter or I can use the power tap on the 700.
HTHS
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Old February 10th, 2013, 12:19 PM   #10
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

Jase,

Don is one of the most helpful and informative guys on this board. His info is always spot on.

The power options for this light are pretty impressive. It will run on one or two battery's at a time. And coming with a canon and pani adapter makes it helpful for us guys that have boxes of old stuff laying around. If you are shoulder on your XH A1 with one battery attached you will feel a little out of balance but I can live with it. I had that camera and this light would be good for it. My new EA 50 is a similar form factor but much lighter. Also much better in low light so the VL312 works great.

Interesting thing is the VL312 does not come with an AC power supply to feed the light. But like Don, thats not the way I use it. I have two universal power supplys in my kit. The kind with selectable voltage and a whole assortment of pins to fit just about anything with a hole in it for power. They work, and have been life savers in many situations for other things. The AC battery charger that comes with the 312 even has a USB port on it that has nothing to do with the light. Is your I-Pad, or phone fading on set? Whatever....

Don, I have an old Bescor battery belt in my bone yard that quit taking a charge a few years ago. Maybe its time to get out the soldering iron and replace the batterys! I never thought about using it to power an entire interview lighting kit.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 01:16 PM   #11
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

Steven, I used to use a Bescor 50W with a lead acid battery. The battery died but the case it came in is a great accessory pouch for a belt. Also the connectors were slide on not soldered but your's might be different. I still have a Bescor lead acid double battery belt that I could power a fullsize camera off of and it still holds a full charge so I suppose if I needed to I could power my 700 the same way. I can also use it to power not only the 312 although I prefer the small 5ow NiMH for that but I also have the 8 power led light that has to be equal to about a 175 or 200W tungsten. I've used that outside as a key light keeping it about 5 to 6 feet and it's powerful enough to open up shadows and put twinkles in the eyes. That's a light that I could run off the dual battery belt or a Sony Type battery (all of mine do except the LP Micro) so I can be 100% cable free and portable enough to run around a trade show with an off camera light and an on camera light. To my eye it just looks better than the old news style of 1 light on the camera. Even at weddings now I use my 2 160s to light the dance floor and use my on cam light simply as a fill or if I'm in an area that the others 2 don't cover.
Everyone has their own way but this works for me. At least so far!
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Old February 10th, 2013, 04:56 PM   #12
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

Thanks for the input guys. I too have a Sony PD, (150 in my case) although I don't use it anymore. Good in low light. Beats the XH hands down, as SD typically does over HDV.

Is it fair to say that the Z1 is comparable in low light to the XH? I believe it is but no direct experience.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 05:10 PM   #13
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

I don't know for sure but since the XH is newer I'd say it's as least the same if not a bit better than the Z1. BTW I still have and use my original PD150, it's 12 years old has more miles on it than an over the road truck and works like a champ. It goes well with my PD170 that is getting up there in miles as well. I've always taken them to an authorized Sony tech every year just to "dust 'em off and check 'em out".They have made me a lot of money over the years and while I'll hate to get rid of them, I know someone else will be able to put them to better use than I do anymore. So 1 more job that calls for them in February and then off they go.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 05:59 PM   #14
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

The two "old" cameras I have hung onto for SD are my XL2s. Paid for themselves so many times I can't count it. Their do for one more trip back to Canon for minor repair and service. Then....who knows.

The only disappointing moment I ever had was when me and another guy walked into a dimly lit ballroom. He had a PD150 and was still shooting, while I was going to my kit for a light. I was thinking how the hell is that Sony still shooting in here? Sony had it over Canon at the time in that comparison.

Steve
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Old February 10th, 2013, 10:09 PM   #15
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Re: Video of VL312 on camera light

The PD series (and the VX series as well as the DSR250 which was a PD150 on steroids) were known as the kings of low light then. I had come from both JVC X2 cameras to a VX1000 which was an absolute revalation to the PD150 then 2 PD150s then a 150 and a 170 with a JVC GY-DV5000 and a 5100 plus a DSR250 thrown in for good measure. Now I'm back to JVC so maybe I AM a JVC guy and just didin't realize it. ;-)
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