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Old March 11th, 2003, 05:02 PM   #1
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JTL Everlight kit

I received the following post and wanted to put it up for everyone who has shown an interest in the Everlight Kit from JTL Corp. www.jtlcorp.com


>Wayne:
>
>In your post at DVInfo.net you refered to the Everlight kit as a "three
>light kit that I am testing out to see if it will be the answer for
>tight-budget lighting." I did not see another post in which you gave
>results for your testing.
>
>If you do have results, could I prevail upon you to add them to the "El
>cheapo lighting..." thread?
>
>FYI, some prices for the Everlight kit (3x500W):
>adorama.com - $490
>porterscamerastore.com - $550
>jandkgroup (eBay store) - $600 (=list price)
>thecameratrader (eBay store) - $470 (out of stock)
>
>Will


Hello Will

Funny you should post this at this time. The UPS truck literally just dropped off a light from JTL for me to check out. Here is the problem: I purchased a 1000 watt bulb for the Everlight kit and within ten minutes of turning on the lamp, it shut down from overload. I phoned the company and they said there is a "switch" inside the lamp housing that needs to be reset for higher wattages. If I would return the lamps they would reset the switches. Hmmm. So I returned the lamps, and now they say there is no switch but they can put in a larger fuse. Hmmmmm. I explained that the unit is not performing as advertised, nor as a label on the back of the head indicates if it will not use the 1K bulb. They agree, have spoken with their manufacturing facility, and are going to replace the labels on the lamp heads. But that does not solve the problem for those who may have already purchased the kit.

Also, they make a unit that has a built in fan that will cool the head, but that costs an additional $20 per unit. They sent me one to test, which just arrived by UPS. But if the fan is too loud, this will negate the value of the lamp for sound recording.

The labels indicate that the lamp head is good for use with bulbs from 250, 350, 500, 750, 1K, and 1200. As a practical matter, there are no tungsten halogen bulbs below 500watt available in the G 9.5 socket that the lamp uses, nor is there a 1200watt bulb. Another user of the kit informed me he was having trouble using a 750watt bulb, so I decided to test the 1000watt bulb. The inescapable conclusion at this time seems to be that from a practical sense, the kit is only good with the 500 watt bulb it comes with, since there is nothing in a lower wattage, and higher wattage trips the breaker.

This is not the final answer in this matter. We still need to find out if the user can safely replace the enclosed fuse with a higher amp fuse, and if that will allow use of the 1000 watt bulb. I will let you know as soon as I finish my discussions with JTL headquarters and test the unit with the fan.

Sorry if my premature recommendation has caused any problems. I did warn I was not finished "testing" what looked to be a very good kit for the $490.00 price. It still may be the best value out there, but not as advertised at this moment.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:34 PM   #2
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The prices I quoted to Wayne in the above post were the result of research I did today. I called JTL to ask them for three online retailers who carried the kit. The first three were their answer. All, including Adorama, had the kit in stock. The fourth was one I dug up last week based on random calling from JTL's dealer list.

I also called JTL's dealer in Delaware because it is close. The Camera Shop turned out to be a Ritz Camera that did not have the item in stock but offered to get it for list price. This must have been a local store decision, because the kit is not available at ritzcamera.com.

Wayne made a post last month in the "Soft Box or Umbrellas" thread mentioning that the kit was hard to find. He was right.

When I told the JTL receptionist that I was inquiring about the Everlight kit, she said "It's a hot seller." Maybe she knew more than she realized.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:36 PM   #3
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Bulbs

The Everlight kit apparently uses JTL's SuperLight bulbs. These are the ones listed (http://www.jtlcorp.com/light/9.html):

2813 Superlight Bulb, 1000W
2814 Superlight Bulb, 750W
2815 Superlight Bulb, 500W
2819 Superlight Bulb, 1200W
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:44 PM   #4
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Accessories

It's a bit hard to piece things together on JTL's site regarding the Everlight kit. Even though JTL lists part numbers for the kit components, they are not in obvious places.

The softbox is one of JTL's standard models, the model 2524. It turns out it has accessories, which can seen here: http://www.jtlcorp.com/lightbanks/4.html. Most interesting are three masks, including louvers.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:45 PM   #5
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The problem is, Will, they don't have all those bulbs in stock. Another purchaser wanted the 750 watt, and they didn't have it. The bulbs that come with the kit are from Ushio, a reputable manufacturer. But they show no 1200 watt bulb in their catalog. Neither does anyone else, but it is a moot point, since, as I mentioned, it appears anything above 500 watt shuts down the lamp. Here is the latest info:

Will wrote
>I talked to JTL today and was told the kit was selling very well. Maybe
>there will be even more unhappy campers out there.

I am afraid there certainly will be. I just tested the head with the fan they sent me, and no way is this usable for shooting with sound. I assume the original purpose was for still photagraphy, as that seems to be their primary market.
>
>For my own purposes, I think 500W in two of the lamps will do well for me.
>But I had thought that I might up one lamp to 750 for the key light so I
>could ratchet it down with scrims or gels or whatever if need be. Now I'm
>worried that this won't work.

The reason I jumped to the 1K, is there is not that much difference from 500 to 750. The 500 watt lamp will provide all the power you need for today's cameras to do talking head interviews and what not. Unless you have to balance to available daylight. Here is the rub; if you use a full CTB (blue color correction gel) to balance to daylight, you are loosing almost 2/3 of the output of the lamp. Do the math. Not good. This is why I was especially interested in the 1K light. Now we are back to square one, since the fan lamp is too noisy.
>
What did you think of the quality of the light coming through the box?

No problem here. Actually the light coming through any similar soft box would all look the same. They have a slightly smaller surface area, at 24x24 inches. Most similar size boxes are 24x32, not a big deal. The general rule is, the larger the area of diffusion, the softer the light. Which is why in fashion photography you will see soft lights exceeding six feet in diameter! These are not too handy to schlep on location.

Here is something interesting. I mentioned the good stands that come with the kit. You can extend the height to seven feet. When you finish shooting, just unlock the three locks and walk away. The "air cushion" stand will lower by itself! Pretty wild. I wish the whole kit was that cool, but when you consider you can easily spend $500.00 for one soft box, quality stand, lamp head, speed ring, and bulb, the Everlight is still a good deal even with the 500 watt limitation. At least that is what I am trying to convince myself.

More to come.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:52 PM   #6
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Re: Accessories

<<<It turns out it has accessories, which can seen here: http://www.jtlcorp.com/lightbanks/4.html. Most interesting are three masks, including louvers. -->>>

Pass on the louvers!!! They come as individual strips, and when they are in place, they flop all over the place. $50.00, and not worth it, IMHO. As for the masks, you can make these yourself. Go to an art store and buy black foamcore and cut your own custom masks. They should fit snuggly in front of the diffusion material. Then you can use the left over foamcore to make an "eggcrate" instead of louvres. (I haven't done it, that's just a thought)
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Old March 13th, 2003, 03:13 PM   #7
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Wayne, not to rush you into your final review of this kit, but have the 500W lamps tripped the overload protection in your testing so far?

Obviously, I'm after continuous lighting.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 08:13 PM   #8
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500 watt lights can be limiting. Through even just one level of difussion you'd have almost nothing left. Then there's the fan noise.

Can these bulbs be easily replaced?
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Old March 13th, 2003, 08:30 PM   #9
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Wayne would have to confirm, but I don't think the Everlight has fans.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Will Fastie : Wayne would have to confirm, but I don't think the Everlight has fans. -->>>

Indeed, the lights that come in the Everlight Kit do not have fans, which is why they cannot use the 1K bulbs. JTL has a similar light with the fan which will handle the 1K bulb, but the noise of the fan precludes normal sound recording.

These bulbs are very effecient and you will get a lot of bang for your buck from 500 watts. As I indicated from my first post, these lights are a good value for the money, but are not as rugged as gear from Chimera or Photoflex. They are also a bit smaller. They are 24x24, and a similar Chimera is 24x30, I believe.
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Old March 17th, 2003, 04:29 PM   #11
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Mind Made Up

I have decided to buy the Everlight kit. It looks like it will meet my needs and it's a bargain.

Now the problem will be finding one. Adorama had the best price but ran out of stock last Friday. Porter's had one this morning for $550, but I hesitated and missed it. J&K Group has them, but they are backed up with orders and can't ship until Thursday. 15 calls to shops on JTL's dealer list in states close to mine yielded nothing except a few dealers who wanted to know who JTL was.

Looks like J&K is it. They throw in a lighting guide of their own plus a case for the bulbs, so there's at least a little incentive to pay list.

I will return here in a few weeks, after I've had some experience with the lights, to add my report to Wayne's.
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Old March 22nd, 2003, 09:34 PM   #12
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Additional info

I am continuing to test the Everlight Kit and would like to update my report. As mentioned earlier, I have been in contact with the distributor of the JTL product line and had discussions concerning the Everlight Kit and the bulbs that can be used with the lamps. We agree that the lamp will not handle the 1000 watt bulb, much less the 1200 watt bulb as advertised. The company tells me that they have instructed the manufacturer to change the label to indicate no bulb higher than 750 watt. David Dicanio told me he had a problem with the 750 bulb also tripping the thermostat in the lamp. I have just fininshed my own testing of the 750 watt bulb, and find it is on the edge in this regard. Without the softbox attached, there is no problem and the lamp burned for an hour. But when the sortbox was attached, it did indeed shut down after a period of time (less than twenty minutes). However, when I turned back part of the soft box material closest to the mounting ring to allow more heat to escape, the lamp seems to operate properly, at least in a forty minute test.

Additionally it should be noted that I have not been able to locate any lower wattage bulbs than the five hundred watt bulbs that ship with the kit. No 350 watt as indicated on the label and the promo material exists in this G9.5 base.

What does all this mean to the end user? Thanks to today's light sensitive cameras, the 500 watt bulbs will be perfectly fine for most interview situations with the 24x24" supplied softboxes. As for no lower wattage bulbs, this can be remedied simply by adding additional layers of diffusion, such as Roscoe 216, over the supplied diffusion material, if lower light output is desired.

At the other end, things get a bit trickier. The reason I wanted to use the 1K bulbs with the kit was primarily for the use of correction gels, especially CTB which converts tungsten light to daylight, so as to use the softbox in a situation where sunlight is present, either as a key source or fill. The full CTB knocks down a lot of the light output, and a 1K light in place of a 500 watt light without the color correction would not be unusual. But it ain't gonna happen, so we will have to make do with 750 watts. Is this a deal breaker? I don't believe so, but certainly you have a right to know what the limitations are in this kit.

The other caveat I have with the kit is durability. I have always said that the soft boxes that ship with the Everlight kit are not the same rugged quality of the Chimera or Photoflex style boxes. But when you consider you are getting three lights, good stands, softboxes, bulbs and a carry case for the whole works for under $500.00, and ONE Photoflex, lamp, speed ring, bulb, and stand will cost you well over $300.00, then maybe a step down in quality level will allow the novice on a limited budget to get more "bang for his buck."

I would also like to ammend my comments regarding the louvres. Although they are not the handiest gadgets, again, they are considerably less expensive than similar items from other manufacturers, and they do work, although not as well as the fabric egg crate design, which costs hundreds of dollars. Pay attention to the shape of the louvres when you install them, as they are cut on a bevel to go into the softbox in one direction. It'll make sense when you see them.

But I still say "pass" on the "gobo" cutouts. You can make them yourself with heavy stock black art paper. And you know what? You really can't shape light through a soft box. You need a harder light to be able to create a serious gobo effect. Save your money on this.
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Old March 22nd, 2003, 10:13 PM   #13
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I just went through some lighting catalogs to see if there was an adapter base that would allow the use of lower wattages. No such luck.

Ushio does show a G9.5 400 watt
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Old March 24th, 2003, 10:49 AM   #14
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First Impressions

My Everlight Kit arrived this morning. Here are a few comments.

Wayne is right about the stands -- they are very good. I paid $35 each for two Bosh air-cushioned stands from the used department at B&H. I like the Bosh stands, but I think the JTL compact stand is better. The only problem is the mounting stud. When a head is mounted and the screw is tightened, the head rocks on the mount. The head mounts firmly on the Bosh stands. This is a very minor complaint; it probably means the mounting studs are not quite standard.

When the kit is loaded in the carrying case, it makes a very nice, compact package, about 38 pounds. This is an important factor for me.

However, packing the kit back in the case requires a bit of patience. The case I got does not match the one shown in the photo at JTL's Web site, so I will be inquiring about that. Mine does not have a side pocket and the contents are not stored as shown in the photo.

Wayne pointed out that the plastic head covers don't fit if the bulb is mounted in the head. Upon inspection, I'm guessing that there was some re-engineering after the covers were molded. The cover has a small hole in its top, making it clear that the intent was to secure the lamp in place by having the hole in the cover nest over the tip of the lamp. That strikes me as a great idea for storage; too bad it doesn't work. My vendor includes a bulb case with the kit as part of their package, meaning that they see the problem.

The JTL instructions for assembling the softboxes are terrible. Wayne sent me much better ones and I have some additions. I'm going to ask Wayne to post his instructions here. My vendor includes its own set of instructions, again recognizing a deficiency in the stock kit, but I haven't gotten them yet (my vendor had the kit drop shipped from JTL and sends the bulb case and instructions under separate cover).

The bulbs in the kit were Ushio EHD.

Using just a quick visual, I'm confident this kit will deliver adequate light for my situation. More later after I've set up and taped.
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Old March 25th, 2003, 02:56 PM   #15
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Everlight Bulbs

Just a quick note on the bulbs for this kit.

Bryan Beasleigh was kind enough to drop me a private note pointing out that the Ushio EHD bulb is 3000K, a bit shy of 3200K. The trade-off here is that the EHD has a 2000 hour life, vs. 300 for a G9.5 575W 3200K bulb such as the GE or Ushio FLK.

As it turns out, I can't find a 500W, 3200K bulb, only 400 and 575. 750 and up are all 3200K, at least from Ushio.

ON the back of the JTL Everlight is a list called "Optional JTL Bulbs." Here's JTL's model number and the wattage for everything on that list:

2816 250W (not shown on JTL Web Site)
2821 400W (not shown on JTL Web Site)
2815 500W
2811 600W (not shown on JTL Web Site)
2814 750W
2813 1000W

The 2819 1200W bulb is shown on the JTL Web site but is not mentioned on the back of the light head itself. JTL does not offer any specs on these bulbs at its site.

Thanks also to Wayne Orr for his private note suggesting that, while the 3000K lamp will provide a slightly warmer light, it's not enough of a difference to cause a problem.
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