Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Toolbox: Lighting Is The Difference
From light modifiers to complete studio setups, there are lights that will make your photography more radiant than ever before
Continuous lights are beneficial in that you can see the light on the set or out in the field without the need for test shots or modeling lights. Continuous lights also provide illumination for both video and stills, plus there has been a resurgence in the popularity of continuous lighting since video capability has been added to modern digital still cameras.
The Spiderlite TD5 from F.J. Westcott is a configurable system with daylight-balanced fluorescent lamps, tungsten halogen lamps and studio strobe capabilities in one system. The Spiderlite series is available in a variety of kits optimized for portraiture, location shooting and pro systems. List Price: Begins at $592.
JTL offers its Everlight tungsten continuous-light source in a variety of kits, starting with just a stand, reflector and white umbrella in the minimal 500W, 3200K SL-500 kit. The Everlight Kit series extends all the way up to the pro-level TL-3000 Everlight Boom Kit with everything you need for a high-profile shoot, including three Everlight lights, bright high-wattage 1000W H.Q. bulbs, two softboxes and more. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $109.
Chimera’s TL Lightbank Kit includes a 24x32-inch Lightbank softbox with a Triolet light fixture and a speed ring that allows fast setup and teardown. The series is available with 500W or 1000W bulbs, and comes with a nine-foot light stand and duffle bag for transport. The kits come in two versions, with or without a fabric grid. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $459.
Some of the biggest advancements in lighting over the last few years have been in LED panels. New lightweight and compact units now generate levels of light output that meet the needs of still photographers in many situations. LED lights are able to give off a lot of light while producing minimal heat, and unlike with flash, you can see the exact effect while you’re composing, as opposed to having to review the shot after you take it. LED lights also are comparatively flicker-free and exhibit minimal color shift.
For balancing daylight and tungsten light sources when shooting on location, the Lowel Blender includes two sets of LED lights that have dimmer controls for each color temperature, which allows you to mix and match the output to the ambient and artificial light sources in a shooting situation. Ideal for working with studio lights and natural light, the Blender is compact enough at 4x3x3 inches for easily mounting to compact light stands or a pistol grip. It also comes with a set of diffusers for softening and diffusing blended output. Estimated Street Price: $535.
The Litepanels MicroPro Hybrid is an all-in-one lighting solution for still photography and video with both continuous and strobe lighting in a single unit. The MicroPro Hybrid’s Continuous Mode provides constant soft directional lighting that’s dimmable from 100% to 0, while the Flash Mode offers a 400% brighter burst for freezing action and achieving higher shutter speeds or larger depth of field in still photos. There are three color/diffusion gels included, as well. List Price: $525.
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