LED Tag

An aside: There is a chap in Canada -  a gentleman from Quebec - who has made a practice lately of looking carefully at all the printed signs and official literature to see that it conforms with the two-languages policy that has been law there for many years. When finds a breach - like the failure to put the French word for " press " on the button of a public water fountain - he institutes a lawsuit and frequently makes a nice little earner from a suitably sympathetic Quebec judge. In this fine public spirit I set out to see if the advertised specification on the side of a set of IKEA lightbulbs was accurate. I did not have time to wait the 15,000 hours they promise as burning time, but I could measure the colour temperature. Or rather, Adobe Lightroom could. The experiment was simple - a dark room, illumination by two IKEA articulating-arm lamps and two of the RYET LED lamps. They were marked as delivering  a colour temperature of 2700º K. I set up Neuschwanstein and the...

My colleagues at Camera Electronic called my attention to an LED ring light the other day that is fitted with a mount for your mobile phone and an adjustable slider to change the white balance of the diodes from blue to orange. Not completely, mind, but enough so that they influence the colour temperature of the ring light's white light. I think it is designed to make the selfie more attractive in odd lighting. This can only be good. I hope that there will be further development in this idea - and the next stage should be a light that analyses the ambient colour temperature and matches it with those adjustable LEDs. This would either involve a sensor that looked toward the subject and made the decision, or a light that could take instructions from the processor inside the phone ( or small camera ) as to what judgement it was making about the AWB setting. Then a quick electronic handshake and secret lodge nod between the various machines and the picture would be taken. This rather fetchingly-packaged light from Manfrotto would also be...

Steel yourselves. More Joby products - more Gorillas. I can't help myself - they are just so appealing there on the accessory rack. And the fact that they are well-made and work just adds to it. In this case, we can speak to the videographer and macro workers in the readership. Remember the Manfrotto Micro-Friction accessory arm you saw a little while ago? Articulated with a locking lever - fits on the side of Manfrotto tripods - holds video and audio accessories? Well here is a similar thing from Joby: the GorillaPod Arm Kit PRO. It's the same idea - posable support for LED panels, audio mixers, microphones, and anything that you could attach with a cold shoe mount. It's all-aluminium construction and holds .5 of a kilo in any position you can set it. Best news - that screw mount and anti-rotation channel that was on the Manfrotto Micro-Friction arm is the same thing on this Joby Gorilla Arm. Just screw it into your modern Manfrotto tripod and shoot away! Macro workers will also recognise the benefit of this sort of thing for close...

I am a little restricted this week in my typing, being reduced to the right hand and two fingers of the left one - there has been a slight accident in the Little Workshop* and it will be several weeks before the bandages come off. There may be some typographical errors in the meantime. I shall therefore use the facilities of Science and Industry and the spare time of convalescence to answer some questions that have arisen recently. To start with - how good are the portable LED light banks that have been flooding the market? How much light do they actually put out in comparison to other sources? What is the colour temperature of it? What is the spread of the light? Are they a viable alternative to flash? To determine the answers I have brought four different product off the shelf and tried them against a standard studio monolight and a speed light flash. The trials were done at night in the same studio environment that normally sees dancers or toy airplanes - in this case it is the slightly more...

Not that I am suspicious of every lighting accessory that I come across but it pays to be wary in the studio. A little time taken setting up means a lot less time sitting at the computer moving sliders. The Phottix Nuada panels were new in the store room so I bagged one and brought it home in the latest test batch. They are intended for portable video lighting but the temptation to turn one onto a model car was irresistable. Students of geometry on the tabletop will calculate that this panel is roughtly like having a giant softbox in a portrait studio.  It pumps out far more light than the standard IKEA planet lamps.                 The battery is the familiar Sony-style NP-F550 with a battery charger that plugs into a USB port. I only gave it about 10 minutes juice but had enough in it by then to go up to full power for the table shoot. The specs say that you could get 100 minutes on a full charge at 100% power, so that is pretty impressive. The panel has a...