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Old June 7th, 2013, 09:44 AM   #1
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What portable lights do you use?

I need to invest in some portable lights. Are the Z96 still good or do you guys use something else? One further note, I'm talking portable as in on camera light, not one where you have to use a stand.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #2
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Nguyen View Post
I need to invest in some portable lights. Are the Z96 still good or do you guys use something else? One further note, I'm talking portable as in on camera light, not one where you have to use a stand.
Any on-camera/hotshoe LED light panel will suffice as a 'face filler'.

If you want to light more than 2-3 people at once, you need lights on stands. It's the only way.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 10:40 AM   #3
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
Any on-camera/hotshoe LED light panel will suffice as a 'face filler'.

If you want to light more than 2-3 people at once, you need lights on stands. It's the only way.
I understand that... I'm actually looking for a particular brand of on camera LED such as Z96 or Switronix Bolt. I'm trying to find what is the best. I'm a second shooter. The main shooters already have lights on stand and I want something for myself.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

There are a LOT of LED lights available... here are the criterion I would keep in mind:

1 how is it powered - some use batteries that might (or might not) also be the oes your camera uses, many are just powered by AA or AAA batteries. Batteries are one more thing you have to have with you, and have backups...

2. make SURE it has a dimmer - allowing you to control the amount of light so you don't blind the "talent"

3. size and weight - IMO you don't need a LOT of "fill", just enough so the camera isn't struggling. Big LED arrays are probably counterproductive (at least as "on camera lights") as they again can put off the "talent" bigger means more power drain/bigger batteries, meaning more to lug.

That said, "CN" brand seems to be a decent "bang/buck" option, available VERY cheap on eBay, under $20 for te 36/48/56 LED options with dimmers, powered by AAA/AA/AA batteries respectively, and modular (36/48 versions) with decent mounts (model #'s CN360, CH480, CN560). I slightly prefer the 48 LED version, but any of these provide a cheap on camera fill light option that you can also easily hold in your other hand to change the angle so it's not shining straight on the talent.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 12:00 PM   #5
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

I have a couple of the CN160s and the Fotodiox 312AS. I actually use the CN160 on camera but I use the "diffusion" filter with an additional piece of Tough Spun on it to further diffuse the beam a bit more and it's on a magic arm on top of the camera so I can lift it up off the lens a little as well. I like the lighting the 312AS gives me but it's a full stop less light than the CN160 so that's why I use the 160 on camera. I use a Sony type 970 to power both of my 160's with, and can use either the Sony type batteries or a Bescor 50w Nimh to power the 312 which is what I usually do when using it since it's on a stand as a fill. I use the 160 on a stand as a key light when doing 1 or even 2 person interviews for a quick down and dirty lighting setup. It works and it's versatile.
I vote for the CN160s plus they're cheap.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 01:51 PM   #6
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

There are newer lights than the Z96 but I still prefer its versatility - as I'm sure you know they can be clipped together to form larger light sources if needs be and they come with two removable magnetic diffusion panels; a softener and a tungsten. You can get barn doors on newr lights but I cannot see myself using them. I have 6 x Z96's and I often use them in groups of 2 for fill light in stills photography.

I use the Sony F970 compatibles with all of mine. 5 x AA batteries can be fiddly plus occasionally the rear door has sprung open spilling the AA's on the floor. The weight of a 970 is only slightly more than the weight of 5 x AA's. It gives you several hours even at full power, which can be great if you have bookings following each other and not much time to download charge sleep etc between jobs :- )

You can buy from a DV member the lights batteries and chargers. LA Color Online. I bought my batteries from him, shipped to the UK no problem so Texas will be easy :- )

HDV-Z96 LED Photo/Video Light Kit | L.A. Color Online

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Old June 7th, 2013, 05:39 PM   #7
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

When I have to use one, it's usually a rotolight, so I can mount a microphone on the hotshoe as well without any additional rig. But the last six months I haven't used on-camera at all, preferring to have lightstand+light handy instead.

One trick with the sort of dimmable LED light that people are suggesting is that you can actually hang it off your shirt if there's nowhere else to attach it to -- can be very useful for steadicamming into the darkness.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 07:09 PM   #8
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

Hi Guys

Both mine are PowerLED lights rather than a huge bank of tiny 3mm LEDS ..They are a lot more powerful and way more efficient ....The CN160 light is easily replaced with a much neater and more powerful 6 PowerLED light and it will run all night on a Sony FP camcorder battery too.

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Old June 7th, 2013, 10:22 PM   #9
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

Chris reminded me that I also have a Power LED light. 8 power bulbs which can be powered by the Sony type battery or off the D tap on my HM700. I used it once for a wedding and did not like the look. I felt the light was too harsh even dimmed however for an outside fill, it works great. Powerful fill at up to about 8 feet.
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Old June 8th, 2013, 12:11 AM   #10
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

Hi Don

I have both the 8 x LED and the 6 x LED and I must admit I prefer the 6!! It does need the diffuse filter clipped down at all times too. I found also that you need to adjust exposure for night-time shots and what I do is lock my camera at 21db so my backgrounds are noise free and look really good and then use the light to expose for the subject just using zebras only and it works really well that way. The EA-50 at 21db gain provides a magically image so all I'm really doing is just using the light as a fill only ...I might also try your extra diffuser idea!! LED's do give off quite a harsh light and need to be softened significantly.

My problem with multi-led lights was that after a while some leds started to flicker which was annoying and I got tired of ripping lights apart to replace LED banks ... I also still have the CN-160 which also works well but the coldshoe mount is terrible!! Wobbles all over the show so mine has been removed and I bolted on a mini ball head that has a cold shoe mount under it and it's nice and sturdy!!

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Old June 8th, 2013, 12:24 AM   #11
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

As a step up in power from the Z96, I've been recently using the Comer 1800 and I'm pleased with the output and the color of the light. L.A. Color Online | Photo/Video Gear Products

For close-up work it has a variable output so it can be dialed down but in the event you want to reach out it has a "spotlight filter" that can be flipped down to concentrate the beam. There are some good videos at LA Color about this aspect.

Since I recently got it I have not got around to getting or making a diffuser for it yet.

It is recommended not to turn it on with the power setting set at Full.

Anyway, it may be something else to consider.
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Old June 8th, 2013, 05:59 AM   #12
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

LED 5080 - I have 2 of these 8 LED lights

LED 5080 Video Light + NP-F570 Battery + Charger For DV: Amazon.co.uk: Camera & Photo

Only 50 and the use Sony NP batteries - the same as my main camera so I have lots of them. They run for hours and are very bright indeed - the only drawback is the barndoors are super cheap and break off easily - not that I really use them.
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Old June 8th, 2013, 06:38 AM   #13
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

The 5080 is the one I have which I feel is too harsh for my liking. All of my lights use the diffusion screen that comes with them and I use a piece of Tough Spun over that to help them out. Again, it's just my taste that doesn't like the 5080 because it's harsh but as I said, outside for a filler, WOW! It works great. Most times though I'm indoors and just need something a bit less so I use the 160s and I agree about the shoe mount. It sucks! :-O
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Old June 8th, 2013, 06:46 AM   #14
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

Hi Guys

Yep I have one 5080 and then my older one with 6 LEDS is the 5010A ..same shape and size as the 5080.

I think another diffuser over the front might be a good idea ... Pete? I have broken one barn door and the others do fall off quite easily I must admit ...the coldshoe mount on my newer 5080 actually stripped a thread so I pulled it to pieces and put a new nut in it's place and it seems to work fine now.

Also can the EA-50 charger charge the generic batteries for these lights?? The charger that comes with them is really, really slow ! I was just worried that my genuine Sony batteries are InfoLithium and the generics are not marked as such so I haven't run them in the EA-50 charger ... have you charged them in that or not??

Chris
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Old June 8th, 2013, 07:08 AM   #15
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Re: What portable lights do you use?

I also have a SWIT 4 X LED light that also runs on NP Batteries (a separate holder with a clamp) - very well made and cost 300 but not nearly as bright as the 5080 - I find the 5080 lights great for first dance/dancing shots and i use extra diffuser

Chris I've charged generic batteries in the supplied charger that came with the EA50 with no problems but mainly I use the charger that came with my Z1 as it has a status readout and seems to charge quicker

For my on-camera light i use this Wallimex

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Walimex-Pro-.../dp/B007TV3CNA

It's slightly less harsh than the 5080 which is good for closer up filming plus you can adjust the colour temperature on the fly - nice

Last edited by Peter Rush; June 8th, 2013 at 09:36 AM.
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