Posted on 4/24/2010 2:37:00 PM
Light Review: Comer LED Video Lightby Kurt Vinion on April 12, 2010 - 19:26
Looking for something different in your lighting arsenal? Have you been burned by using hot video lights in the past? Perhaps it is time to look at LED lighting.
Lets face it, flash when used appropriately is beautiful, but when you are trying to capture something a bit more intimate the last thing you want is for the couple to be aware of the flash firing as it can dampen the mood.
With the latest changes in technology I decided to try out the new generation of LED lights. I have used tungsten lighting in the past but never felt comfortable lugging them around as they were not practical in my fast paced shooting style.
Though there are several models on the market the light I chose is the Comer CM_LBPS1800 from L.A. Color Pros.
The set up for us was quite easy, as I do all of my portrait work using off camera flash it was no problem for us to mount it on a monopod to get started. The build is quite sturdy and attached quite nicely to the monopod.
With a built in flash diffuser, barn doors and a switchable color temperature filter (4500K or 3200K) I was really looking forward to trying it out with Andrea & Ryan who traveled from Canada to have an Engagement Portrait Session here in Prague.
So how did the Comer do? The following images are straight out of camera (some levels adjustments were made). As you can see the quality of the light is quite nice and the battery life was excellent.
With this image I really wanted to use the warm colors eminating from the windows and by setting the Comer to 3200 the light was a nice balance. The exposure was set to 1/50 @ 1.6 and 500 ISO using a Canon EOS 5D.
If you have ever taken night shots in Prague you will learn quite quickly that the city uses sodium bulbs that burn at around 2700 3200K which can be a bit of a nightmare when color correcting with flashes. In this picture I wanted to capture not only the street lamps but also the twinkling lights below. Normally with this kind of motif we would use a flash that has been color corrected to 2800K and then a rim light (flash fired with the pocketwizards) to create a very strong effect. At other times we would simply use the street lamps to provide the main light source and color correct to rid overselves of the terrible Orange color shifts.
With the Comer set to 3200K and a bit of a wide diffusion we were able to create this very simple yet beautiful image. The exposure was set to 1/125 @1.2 at 500 ISO.
For another image we basically used the same set up this time under an arch that was providing shelter from us from a heavy rain storm that interrupted our session. Though we were completely soaked the Comer held up fine and gave us a very nice light that balanced nicely with the ambient light that was provided by the very strong sodim light on St. Vitus.
With the rain becoming worse we went indoors to the Hotel Mandarin Oriental to shoot our last series of images.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Monastary Lounge of the Mandarin, let me say this it is one of the most difficult places you can shoot in. Dark, with recessed lighting behind yellow plastic covers that create a very dim, yellowish & red (especially with the candles) interior. I was very keen to see what we can do. With the Comer providing a very clean & direct light source we merely opened up to capture the ambient lighting with our couple that really matches the atmosphere and mood of the moment. Exposure 1/250 @ F2 at 1000 ISO.
After shooting and experimenting with the Comer I can honestly say that this is a product that every shooter should have in his arsenal. With a solid build, decent battery life and the ability to change color temperatures as well as control the diffusion (though it could be a bit improved) I was very impressed. And for a street price of around 400 USD it is a great tool. As for me, though I am still a huge fan of using flash, I can see myself reaching for the Comer when I want something that is a bit different from our typical lighting situations.
Additional notes on our testing: The Comer we tested was used for about an 60 minutes (though we turned it off when we were not shooting) in nearly freezing temperatures and it held up fine especially after it was subjected to lots of rain.
FeaturesProfessional grade 10-LED light
Energy saving and environmental friendly design with maximum powre consumption at approximately 18W.
Wide range of irradiation with homogeneous light distribution (90 degree for brand light and 45 degree for spotlight)
High luminous efficiency maximum at 1800 lux in 1 meter distance
Adjustable dimmer to control different intensity of brightness
420g Light weight (excluding battery)
Switchable color temperature at 4500K or 3200K using the built-in filter
High beam/spotlight setup using the built-in condense lens
Long life LED lightbulb abotu 10,000 hours usage
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