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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 11th, 2014, 08:32 PM   #1
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LED Lights?

A few years ago I bought a Comer 1800 light. I love it. The problem is the batteries. They are the most fragile things. I dropped one onto a carpeted floor from about two feet once and it stopped working. A similar thing happened a second time with a replacement battery.

It wouldn't be so bad except the replacement batteries are like $100 a pop. I tried some of the knockoff brands, but they were junk and didn't even work.

Is it worth buying another battery (or knowing my luck a few batteries), or is there a better LED options out there. I just need something to give me a little bit of light at the reception.
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Old May 11th, 2014, 09:15 PM   #2
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Re: LED Lights?

I picked up two of these Switronix Bolt 220W lights to use at receptions. They are very bright in my opinion.
Bonus is, they use Sony style batteries which are relatively cost effective.


Switronix TorchLED Bolt 220W On-Camera Light TL-BT220 B&H Photo

My initial review:
Switronix TorchLED Bolt Review | KR Productions Blog
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Old May 11th, 2014, 10:27 PM   #3
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Re: LED Lights?

My LED light on the camera is the eBay 5080 one with 8 x PowerLEDs and very neat and no flicker and fully dimmable too! Again they also use Sony FP batteries and last all night too!! Very cost effective too (I paid $60 without batteries as I had plenty spare batteries) If you search for 5080 video light on eBay they are easy to find. They also have a decent shoe mount that doesn't wobble either!

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Old May 12th, 2014, 03:16 AM   #4
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Re: LED Lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy White View Post
A few years ago I bought a Comer 1800 light. I love it. The problem is the batteries. They are the most fragile things. I dropped one onto a carpeted floor from about two feet once and it stopped working. A similar thing happened a second time with a replacement battery.

It wouldn't be so bad except the replacement batteries are like $100 a pop. I tried some of the knockoff brands, but they were junk and didn't even work.

Is it worth buying another battery (or knowing my luck a few batteries), or is there a better LED options out there. I just need something to give me a little bit of light at the reception.
Jeremy, I have two Comer 1800 lights + others with 18 NP-F970 batteries and not a single genuine Sony battery! I bought mine from ebay fro about $15 each and they work great.

If you're looking for other lights then almost all the good battery powered lights use the same battery type anyway.

The Comer 1800 is good in so far as it's compact, and for it's time it was great, but I did some tests with the other lights I had and found it wasn't nearly as bright over all.

Below is a graph I did showing the fstop required for correct exposure (as measured by a Sekonic L358 light meter) at 8 feet, ISO 800 1/50. The two brightest lights don't have shoe mounts and are way too big for hand held work, though on light stands they work well. The reason the YN-300 II is split in to half and full is that it can have variable light temperature and mixes between two banks (3200K and 5500K), so all one colour is half and both banks on full would give you about 4400K.

For reference the NP-F970 batteries got almost 3 hours on the YN-300.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 04:21 AM   #5
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Re: LED Lights?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
My LED light on the camera is the eBay 5080 one with 8 x PowerLEDs and very neat and no flicker and fully dimmable too! Again they also use Sony FP batteries and last all night too!! Very cost effective too (I paid $60 without batteries as I had plenty spare batteries) If you search for 5080 video light on eBay they are easy to find. They also have a decent shoe mount that doesn't wobble either!

Chris
Same here - I have 2 of these and they're great - the barn doors are flimsy though and break off in no time but I never use them anyway!
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Old May 12th, 2014, 06:00 AM   #6
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Re: LED Lights?

Ditto Pete

Both mine were actually stolen last month with my one still camera bag so I replaced them again with 5080's ..the barn doors are still intact but yes the little clip breaks very easily. The 5080 is a 22W light so most of the time I only need just a tad up from minimum on the dimmer wheel, just to use as a fill more than anything else .. The YN300's for me are just too big and the more compact 8 LED lights are not as "deer in the headlights as the multi led ones. The same guys actually make a "copy" Comer 1800 with 10 leds but for me 8 is more than enough! My only "complaint" is my Sony InfoLithium charger charges the generic batteries but the charger never turns off so you basically need to charge them for a couple of hours and then measure the voltage. What I really need is an older Sony charger like the ones that came with the SD cameras.

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Old May 12th, 2014, 12:39 PM   #7
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Re: LED Lights?

Dave - Hey, that was a great test job!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Partington View Post
The Comer 1800 is good in so far as it's compact, and for it's time it was great, but I did some tests with the other lights I had and found it wasn't nearly as bright over all.

Below is a graph I did showing the fstop required for correct exposure (as measured by a Sekonic L358 light meter) at 8 feet, ISO 800 1/50. The two brightest lights don't have shoe mounts and are way too big for hand held work, though on light stands they work well. The reason the YN-300 II is split in to half and full is that it can have variable light temperature and mixes between two banks (3200K and 5500K), so all one colour is half and both banks on full would give you about 4400K.
For something as simple as a light you'd think there would be more "test reports" like this out there but they're really hard to come by.

For the record, I got my Comer 1800 in February of 2013 and I'm a light, er, lite, user. Haven't dropped a battery yet and the barn doors haven't given any problem but I'll be more careful. Being forewarned is being forearmed.

As for brightness, this lil' sucker is really bright! In fact, almost blinding. Frankly, I'm surprised it was that low on your totem pole so those other lights must really put out. There are several things I like about the 1800, one of which is the color, another is it's compactness, and another is the "spot filter". In fact, the spot filter can be adjusted with a very slight movement, say, a couple millimeters, to increase the spot effect even more.

Batteries: Got the light from LA Color and at the time there were two choices for battery mount - Canon and Sony. I happened to have a Sony battery already so I went with the Sony mount option and added a couple after-market 4800mAh and 6600mAh batteries to the order.

Charger: got the Kapaxen battery charger with the order too and it has a charge light. It's an inexpensive charger but so far has performed just fine. If one needs a light to indicate when the charge is complete this one would be a good option.
Amazon.com: kapaxen charger sony: Electronics

I'm not a fan of aftermarket stuff because of a bad history of using knockoffs, but this battery package has been a very good.

Jeremy - for a replacement battery I'd recommend checking the prices at LA Color as they are less than what you said you paid (if they were Sony).

Last edited by John Nantz; May 12th, 2014 at 03:51 PM. Reason: 4800mAh vice 480mAh
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Old May 12th, 2014, 05:50 PM   #8
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Re: LED Lights?

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
As for brightness, this lil' sucker is really bright! In fact, almost blinding. Frankly, I'm surprised it was that low on your totem pole so those other lights must really put out. There are several things I like about the 1800, one of which is the color, another is it's compactness, and another is the "spot filter". In fact, the spot filter can be adjusted with a very slight movement, say, a couple millimeters, to increase the spot effect even more.
I agree that the Comer 1800 seems really bright, you really don't want to look directly at it, but then the Yongnuo YN-600 could totally blind you even quicker! I've had dots for several minutes from that thing!

I do agree that the spot is nice on the Comer 1800, but I've been in a few situations where a pair of them still hasn't provided enough illumination (think large marquee) and wished I'd had just a little bit more. For now I still carry the Comer 1800s to weddings due to the small size, but I've also starting taking the YN-600 (with stand and angle bracket) because it really can light up a room to give that ambient fill while the Comer 1800s give you that more localised light on the subject.
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Old May 15th, 2014, 11:11 AM   #9
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Re: LED Lights?

Does anyone find that the light from LED lights is a little flat and lacks contrast?
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Old May 15th, 2014, 11:17 AM   #10
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Re: LED Lights?

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Does anyone find that the light from LED lights is a little flat and lacks contrast?
Yes, absolutely, LED lighting is nasty at the best of times and you really need some sort of diffuser if you want to make it any better, but of course that robs you of valuable light.
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Old May 15th, 2014, 12:04 PM   #11
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Re: LED Lights?

Don't forget that you can bracket several lights together such as the Z96. I have three sets of two permanently attached to T-brackets and powered by Sony 970 type batteries which I can deploy onto light stands in seconds. I often use a couple of these instead of off-camera flashguns for fill when shooting indoor group stills.

I think you can attach up to 9 x Z96's together. I don't think you'd be able to bracket together the type of LED light that has its own barndoors attached, not sure.

Usually i use the supplied magnetic clip-on diffusers but I've had less success using them with theatrical gels as the gels absorb so much light.

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Old May 16th, 2014, 12:24 AM   #12
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Re: LED Lights?

Hi Harry

I only use on camera LED's as a fill only and only when absolutely necessary! I tried a 21 x 3W Power LED light for lighting speech makers ..it was worse than terrible ..it's a very cold harsh light and the end result usually sucks big time ... I'm not sure if the warmer multiLED panels give a softer light but so far I find that 4 x CFL's on a stand bounced back into a brolly work really well and look natural!

I'd love to use an LED panel on batteries ..much easier to set up and no taping down power cables on the venue floor. One day they might start to look better

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Old May 16th, 2014, 05:42 AM   #13
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Re: LED Lights?

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I'm not sure if the warmer multiLED panels give a softer light ....
I can assure you they don't! I have a multi colour LED and the tungsten bank are no softer than the daylight bank - just a different colour!
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Old May 16th, 2014, 07:20 AM   #14
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Re: LED Lights?

Thanks Dave

I guess technology has some way to go yet to get LED's to produce the same sort of soft light as CFL's
I sold my LED panel after doing just one wedding and went back to just 4 CFL's and the light is pretty much perfect.

At receptions I still use the on cam light but use the fastest lens in my kit so I can minimise the LED use. Normally I only need a tiny bit of fill during the first dance when the venue decide that the B&G need to do their dance in complete darkness!!

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Old July 6th, 2014, 07:11 PM   #15
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Re: LED Lights?

Lighting 101

Softness or hardness of light has nothing to do with the type of light bulb. The only thing that influences soft or hard light is the relative size of the light source - period.

Defusers don't soften light.

The goofy photographers that point their flash guns up at 45 degree angles are doing nothing to soften light.

Pointing a flash or light source up - Bouncing light off the ceiling makes a large light source which does soften light.

The sun is large - but far away - so relative to the subject, it's a point (harsh) light source.

Cloudy days where light comes from 180 degrees is the ultimate softlight.
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