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!