Continuous lighting solutions have seen a lot more attention over the last few years thanks to the need for a constant light source that will provide illumination for both stills and video. Traditionally based on tungsten, halogen and fluorescent bulbs, the advantage of continuous lights for still shooting is that the effects can be seen in the real world as you make changes to lighting positions and add or subtract lights or lighting-modification tools. On the other hand, they produce a lot of heat and consume far more power than strobes, though LED technology is making large steps toward mitigating that downside. Traditional sources of continuous lighting are much more affordable than the relatively new technology of LEDs, however, and you still get more bang for your buck in terms of light output with a traditional lamp.
LED: PROS & CONS
• Low heat output
• Low power consumption
• Adjustable color temp
• Long-life bulbs
That being said, LED lighting technology has made leaps and bounds over previous-generation bulbs, offering very minimal color shift during dimming and LED modules that better cover spectral gaps in the light output for more true colors. The efficient bulbs are able to produce a comparable amount of illumination to traditional fixtures, although they have far less power draw, which makes them a power- and dollar-saving boon over the long term, especially useful for studio use where the minimal heat output also helps to keep closed-off environments far cooler.
More compact LED fixtures also can be used as an on-camera light source because they can feed from typical AA or AAA batteries. LED technology is very promising in terms of the technology, as well. Unlike traditional bulbs that have to be swapped out, many LED models allow you to dial in color temperatures in a general range from tungsten to daylight and often a mix between the two, with the promise of even more versatility to come.