LED Panels?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by SandyPhimester, May 20, 2011.

  1. SandyPhimester

    SandyPhimester Member

    May 18, 2011
    Edmonton, Al
    Medium Format
    I use studio lights a lot with digital, and have tried with some film shooting on my RB67, but I'm looking to do more controlled indoor shooting soon with my 645 Pro TL.

    Recently at a Fashion Show we were working, we started shooting without the studio lights back stage and started running and gunning with iPads as fill lights for the ambient. It worked well. It gave me the idea that I should start looking into LED panels for continuous lighting on some more work with models.

    Has anyone tried this with their film shooting?
  2. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Apr 3, 2004
    Aurora, Il
    Multi Format
    I've seen some small panels used, but not the results.
    Maybe it's the angle I was viewing from but they didn't seem all that bright.Might be interesting to find information on output for comparison.
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Sep 7, 2002
    Honolulu, Ha
    Large Format
    I'd wonder if those panels put out enough light for typical medium format use. Generally, the smaller the format, the larger the aperture you're working at, so digital shooters can get away with a lot less light, plus they have the option of dialing up the ISO relatively easily without too much of a penalty in terms of image quality within limits, and they can adjust white balance to deal with light sources that might not be entirely consistent like CF bulbs.

    If long exposures aren't a concern (considering factors like subject/camera movement and reciprocity), lower power lighting can work. If you are shooting color, you can test and filter for white balance or use a color meter to determine filtration.

    That said, strobes are more versatile. They stop motion, put out lots of light efficiently without a lot of heat, are fairly consistent for color, and can be dialed down or ND filtered as needed, or you can use multiple pops for static subjects when you need more power.
  4. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

    Nov 1, 2009
    Rome, Italy
    I researched a bit of continuous light devices recently as I am planning to do some product shots within a year or two.

    The first thing I learned is that taking pictures of people is quite different from taking pictures of objects. Objects don't move, people either move or is more authentic-spontaneous if they actually move.

    Flash lighting is better for people because it freezes movement. Flash lighting requires experience or more "proofs" to understand how the shadows fall, what the final effect will be.

    Continuous light allows to have a better immediate perception of how shadows fall. Human eye "sees" differently than camera, but you get a closer and more immediate understanding of the final effect with continuous light as you can "see" the light "as it happens".

    There basically are three cathegories of continuous lighting: incandescent (variant: halogen), fluorescent, and LEDs.

    From what I gather: incandescent are what they say, incandescent, as in "bloody hot". They can even explode. You risk some fire as well if you are not careful. They require a lot of electricity, which doesn't come cheap those days. But you can have any sort of light including "hard" light.

    Fluorescent have two problems: one is that normally the spectrum does not at all resemble sunlight. This can be overcome by using lamps with a CRI > 90 (the higher the better, and the more expensive).
    The other problem is that you cannot use, in colour work, fluorescent light with fast shutter speeds even if you had power enough, as explained by this text by Curtis Newport:


    So you are stuck with relatively slow times and again this is not the best for people, although it is no problem for objects. They are not hot and this is a great relief, and they don't require a massive amount of energy.

    LEDs are the last arrived to the party. For what I saw, the products are still expensive and not powerful.

    So for the time being I would stick to flash for people, and I would seriously consider fluorescent light for still life. It seems that you never really get a "hard" light with fluorescent in any case. If you want power, you end up having a "soft" light source.

    That's what I gathered, somebody else might know better.