Allen's Blog

Posts tagged ‘portable’:

Lordy… What a Light!

Thanks to James Comey for legitimizing my use of ‘Lordy,’ but a product I’ve been using recently has been just astonishing in what it can do in a package so small it belongs in every shooter’s gear bag.

Aladdin Eye-Light BiIt’s called the Aladdin Eye-Lite Bi. Distributed in the U.S. by Zylight, it’s a bicolor LED light that fits in your hand and is rated to run continuously for two hours (or far longer, if you don’t mind plugging in via micro USB). Color temperature is adjustable from 2900–6400K; a second dial controls dimming from 5–100%. Unlike many of the cheap “me too” LEDs we’ve complained about over the years, the Eye-Lite Bi’s color rendering is excellent – 95 CRI/TLCI.

Its 3.5” x 1.5”aluminum housing is sturdy and weighs a mere 2 ounces. The micro USB port is along the top side, and the ¼-20 tripod thread along the bottom can certainly come in handy when shoe-mounting to your camera or a mini tripod. There’s even a small loop built into one corner, about zip-tie size, if that’s how you like to keep things organized. It’s not cheap—it’ll run you about $160 at your local camera store—but it is worth it! (If you can get by on a non-bicolor version, you may still be able to find Aladdin’s previous models for a few bucks less; I first saw them at NAB a few years ago, and was impressed, but I feel that the bicolor version is a truly outstanding product.)

Aladdin Eye-Lite used as fill light

For its size, it puts out a lot of light, and you can easily tape any diffusion or color gels over the LED array. It is a terrific tool for close-up work, and I can see wide use in forensics. Anyone shooting with a macro lens, whether nature close-ups, food, jewelry, or scientific imaging, will see its usefulness. When you have a light source this small (and therefore this maneuverable), adjustments are incredibly easy.

I used it recently while photographing a necklace made by Martha’s Vineyard artist Kate Taylor. The materials are wampum, sea glass, and gold beads. While the image with no supplemental lighting is fine (if a bit flat), adding the Eye-Lite made a real difference in depth and dimensionality.

Product shot - before and after

As many of you know, I’m always looking for new products that extend our creativity, and this is one of several that I’ll be writing about in the next few weeks.

LitePad Axiom

LitePad AxiomHow Do You Improve on an Amazing Product Like the LitePad? Give it Twice as Many LEDs, Add a Steel Frame, Universal Mounting System, and a Gel Slot!

Our longtime readers already know we’ve always been huge fans of Rosco’s LitePad product. How can you not love a light source that fits almost anywhere, runs for hours on almost any power source, and weighs next to nothing? By the same token… how could you improve on something that was already so good? The wizards at Rosco Labs have managed to do just that, and now we’d like to introduce you to LitePad Axiom.

LitePad Axiom back mounting bracket

LitePad Axiom is a whole new class of LitePad. Designed specifically for the film and TV market, this more rugged and versatile product is a LitePad HO+ in a metal housing. LitePad Axiom has LEDs on all four sides and a “sunk” internal power connector. The extra LEDs mean your LitePad is now even brighter, while the slim-profile metal housing means your LitePad is now much more durable. The housing also enables you to quickly and easily mount the LitePad using one of the new Axiom brackets or by conventional LitePad mounting methods – even Velcro or rubber bands!

LitePad Axiom on a still photo camera

All LitePad Axiom units are available in either daylight or tungsten color temperature, and are built in various square and rectangular sizes from 3″x6″ to 24″x24″ (non-reinforced 3″ and 12″ circular LitePads are still available in the LitePad HO+ line.) The LitePad Axiom housing has a gel slot for color correction or other filters and is deep enough to hold more than one filter. On the back of the unit, there is a universal LitePad Axiom mounting system, allowing different Axiom brackets to be slid into the mounting system for various applications. For example, a 1/4-20 bracket could slide on for use with one of the new accessories or a Baby Pin could be used for attachment to a C-Stand. The new Axiom brackets will work with any size LitePad Axiom.

LitePad Axiom is meant to be a stand-alone unit; the housing was not designed for the LitePad to come out nor be taken apart. However, current LitePad owners can purchase LitePad Axiom conversion kits to upgrade their current LitePads to a tough new steel frame.

Interested? Call or email us for help finding out where to buy LitePad Axiom.

Food Photography at Dawn, Using LitePad

When your assignment calls for a subject to be photographed at dawn or sunset — possibly in a remote location — LitePad is an excellent way to fill your lighting needs without using a ton of gear (or bringing along assistants to carry it all!) LitePad can be powered by AC power, or run for hours on AA batteries or your car’s cigarette lighter. It’s dimmable, generates no heat, and can be gelled to any color temperature you need.

In this video, Allen explains how to photograph food (or any other small subject your assignment requires) at first light with a minimal amount of gear and fuss; a situation made possible by our friends at Rosco Labs. Interested? Reach out to us if you’d like to try one!

Flexfill: The Original Collapsible Reflectors

Get Total Lighting Control, Whether On Location or In Studio

We’ve all seen it: when the contrast between your light and shadows is too extreme, the sensors in your camera will “crush” the highlights or shadows, ruining your exposure and washing out all your detail. Using a reflector to “fill” the shadows or soften direct light brings your subject within the range your camera can capture reliably.

  • Controls natural or artificial lighting contrast and quality
  • Sets up and collapses in about one second
  • Collapses to one-third its size for easy transportation & storage
  • Zippered nylon pouch included
  • High-quality materials; made in the USA

In 1982, Visual Departures introduced the first collapsible reflector: Flexfill. Today, Flexfill is used by thousands of top studio and location photographers. Available in four sizes and nine surfaces, it’s a highly portable and efficient lighting solution.

Flexfill is fast. The riveted spring-steel rim allows any Flexfill to open up or fold down to one-third its working size, instantly, with the flick of a wrist. And you can hold Flexfill reflectors flat, concave, or convex, depending on whether you want neutral, spot, or diffuse light.

There have been many copycat products, but none compare well to Flexfill. Flexfill reflectors have always been made in the USA; built to last from tough, non-fading materials. Cheap knockoffs often come apart at the seams, and the manufacturers often include the rim fabric in their measurements. Rest assured: when you buy a genuine 48″ Flexfill, you’ll get the full 48″ of usable area you paid for.

The circular Flexfill is available in 20-, 38-, 48-, and 60-inch diameters. Each Flexfill comes with its own zippered nylon carrying pouch, is fully guaranteed by Visual Departures, and is made in America. It can be mounted on lightstands with the Flexfill Adjustable Holder FH-1, which is compatible with any size Flexfill (and frees up your assistant for other tasks. If you don’t have an assistant, you’ll appreciate the FH-1 even more.)

Types of Flexfill Surfaces

White: The standard reflector surface, a white Flexfill bounces light back into the subject to lower contrast without affecting the light’s character.

Silver: Similar to a white reflector, but produces a more specular fill. Use it for brightening shadows–especially important when moving a white Flexfill closer would cause it to intrude into the frame. Metallic Flexfills are made with a high-grade aluminized nylon.

Gold: Similar reflecting power to silver, but also adds warmth to the subject. On a sunny day, it can eliminate the blue cast open sky contributes to shadows; indoors, it can warm up cool window light. Minimizes the need for a warming filter that would otherwise rob light.

Black Absorber: Produces an effect just the reverse of a reflector, reducing the amount of light reaching the shadows–and creating higher lighting contrast. Especially good for adding snap when soft ambient light makes a subject appear flat. Made from a dead-matte velvet-like fabric, it’s also useful for “flagging” — keeping unwanted stray light off your lens and/or subject.

Translucent: Designed for placement between the light source and subject, a translucent Flexfill softens hard light to improves modeling. It reduces light by 1.2 stops.

Silk: Similar in its diffusing effect to our translucent surface, but transmits twice as much light. Its less heavy ripstop nylon reduces light by only .7 stop. Use it when you need more light and want somewhat harder shadows.

Black Net: Also placed between source and subject, but only to reduce the strength of the light, not its quality. Use it the way you would a neutral density filter on the camera; less light allows you to shoot at wider apertures, for example. Ideal for controlling lighting ratios, it is available in single net (.8-stop density) and double net (1.5 stops).

LEDZilla: A Game-Changing On-Board LED Light Head

Dedolight LEDZilla on-board LED head

Lightweight, Dimmable, Zoomable, Precise… It’s Everything We’ve Been Waiting For

First annouced at NAB 2009, the Dedolight LEDZilla uses a single, high-power LED to give you amazing output levels in combination with the trademark Dedolight double aspheric optics. Unlike most LED lights, the LEDZilla is focusable from 4° to 56°, with smooth light distribution in all focusing positions.

Click to read the full Dedolight LEDZILLA spec sheet (PDF).

The unit includes a wide angle flip-up diffuser for 70° angle, smoothly covering the widest zoom and widening the beam more horizontally than vertically (1:1.66) — after all, we don’t shoot round pictures! The diffuser lets you achieve a clean, sharp, single-edge barn door shadow or a very gentle light and shadow transition.

An adjustable support arm allows it to be positioned above and forward. Color quality is maintained across the entire dimming range, from full blast down to zero. The dichroic flip-down filter converts from daylight to tungsten quickly. A front-end bayonet allows future attachments and light modifiers.

LEDZilla’s power requirements are impressive, as well. Despite its amazing brightness, it requires only 8 watts, and can be run from any 6V to 18V DC source. Adapters are available for Anton/Bauer or PAG systems, XLR, Swit battery, or your car’s cigarette lighter. The optional battery shoe accessory is compatible with Sony and Panasonic mini-DV batteries, potentially giving you a full day’s use from just one or two camcorder batteries.

LEDZilla accessories are listed on page 3 of the spec sheet.

LEDZilla Accessories

Dedolight believes in the LEDZilla design so thoroughly, they have created an ecosystem of high-quality matched accessories around it. Highlights include adapters for all manner of shoe and stud mounts, international and DC power adapters in various lengths, a self-contained AA battery pack, suction and rail mounts, and a soft pouch.

LitePad: A Daylight-Balanced Flat-Panel LED You Can Use Anywhere

This Daylight-Balanced, Low Power, Portable Flat-Panel LED Light Source Unleashes New Lighting Possibilities

The engineers at Rosco have really outdone themselves this time.

Less than ½” thick, generating virtually no heat, weighing next to nothing, and able to run off AC or 12-volt DC sources (battery or car cigarette lighter), LitePad is a truly revolutionary product.

    LitePad sizes

  • 3″x6″
  • 3″x12″
  • 6″x6″
  • 6″x12″
  • 12″x12″
  • 24″x24″
  • 3″ circle
  • 12″ circle
  • Custom sizes up to 48″x96″

You can fit LitePad anywhere. You can put it as close to your subject as you like — use it to light up a glass of white wine, and the wine will still be cool when you’re done shooting. You can use it for 3-point studio lighting. You can dim it. You can run it for hours off AA batteries. You can hang it around your neck, if you’re so inclined (or if it’s Halloween.)

We did some tests using LitePad as a shooting surface; have a look at these sample pictures that show what you can do with small still-life subjects and a low-heat light source.

Vegetables and leaves are easy to photograph with LitePad to get great, daylight-balanced color with no heat.


LitePad gives you tons of new photographic possibilities by itself, but for even more options and control, take a look at the accessories. The following video examines the single-fader dimmer and the AA battery pack:

    LitePad specifications

  • Color temperature: 6000° K
  • Thickness: 0.3″
  • Operating temperature: -22° F to 185° F
  • Lamp life: 60,000 hours
  • Power: 12V DC

A 2-channel DMX dimmer is also available; both the single and 2-channel dimmer fade smoothly from 0-100% without color temperature change. Other accessories include a car cigarette lighter adapter, 4-pin XLR and Anton/Bauer adapters, “Y” splitters and 4-way spider splitters, egg crates to fit any size LitePad, and 3″, 6″, and 12″ mounting brackets.

Want a free product brochure? Just get in touch!