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Portable, continuous LED lighting on a budget


TPF Noob!
Nov 5, 2015
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South, UK
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I have been looking for portable, continuous lighting to use in an outside shoot (abandoned warehouse) . As I am at the absolute beginning of the learning curve of photography any advice would be appreciated on using the following type of items:

AE0183 Rechargeable LED Work Light 10W 12 / 240V
Defender E709180 LED Work Light 2.4W 230V

Much like the £15 tripod I brought first to learn whether it is an item I need to spend more/further money on and actually get valued use from, I aim to do the same with lighting.

I lean towards using continuous lighting as it will give me the opportunity to see the direction of lighting rather than having to visualize it and play around with plenty of guess work. I would naturally diffuse the light with filters/softboxes.

Purchasing lighting which has to be plugged in is of no use to me at this time, I do not have an inside location to shoot and I am usually by myself when at outside locations so getting a second person to lug equipment is certainly not going to happen.

My true question is, will using these LED lights hinder me more than help me slowly edge my way forward?

Currently I am using a Sony A58 DSLR with a 18-55 & a 55-300

I appreciate any help or advice you may have.
To be honest, I can't see these being on any use whatsoeve unless perhaps for macro/close-up work. I can appreciate the apparen advantages of their being self-contained and using little power, but I suspect that they will send out so little light as to be useless. For probably £150 - 200 you can get a basic monoight w/ battery. I realize that's a lot more than the £30 of the light you've linked to, but trust me, it will be worth it.
Thank you for your reply @tirediron . My aim is to try and not have a pile of redundant equipment as I travel down the path of learning and experimenting. Have you or anyone got any particualar monolights or brands that I should start looking at? My local camera shops are the London Camera Exchange in both Southampton and Salisbury and I do like getting my hands on products rather than just reading specification sheets!
A LOT depends on what you're going to do, and what sort of treatment the equipment will have to put up with. Unfortunately, I can't offer any insight into specifics for the UK, but we have a number of knowledgable members from the UK who will doubtless stop by to offer some more useful advice.
Thank you, I shall continue the investigation in the monolight direction and hopefully some others will chime in!
Made in Taiwan stuff from the Neewer company might be the best bang-for-pound in portable lighting. The issue with mains powered monolight flash units is...the need for either wall current OR a pure sine wave inverter + battery unit to replace mains current...

Monolight flash units will never be redundant, nor will speedlight flashes and simple "grip gear" like light stands, clamps with mounting threads, pipe-type clamps with mounting threads, and so on. The thing is that a flash STORES energy and discharges it in 1/1000 or a second or less, so the POWER is actually quite substantial, even on a 24-ounce speedlight that sells for $50-$75 US from a Made in China maker like Yongnuo or Neewer...
Jason Lanier seems to get pretty good results using portable continuous LED lighting.
Thank you @Derrel for the nod towards Neewer, I have spent a fair amount of time before writing this post researching products and had not come across this company. @Fox_Racing_Guy , yes Jason Lanier there does use the continuous lighting, I do not think this is what @tirediron was advising against exactly, the concern is the power of the items I linked to in my original post. What Jason Lanier is using there is a £250 light, a quantity of money at this time (until I have proved to myself that it is an area I will truly benefit from investing in) I do not wish to lay out with no experience.
Consider renting your lighting gear at first. While more expensive in the very long run if you only ever rent, it will be much less expensive in the short term. You have the ability to try components before you buy which, in the logic of not wasting money, is ideal.
Fox_Racing_Guy said:
Jason Lanier seems to get pretty good results using portable continuous LED lighting.

Really good video showing dramatic Rembrandt pattern lighting (see the 'inverted cheek triangle' on the shadow side of the face) achieved with the Rotolight NEO Rotolight NEO which is retail priced from Adorama for $399 as of Nov 6, 2015.

Since it is designed as a light for photography, it's worth looking at its specifications from the ad copy: "1077 Lux at 3 feet whilst providing a gorgeous soft light source and Rotolight's signature 'Ring-Light' Effect. Bi Color (6300K-3200K), Soft Light output - 50 degree beam angle, AccuColour technology for Best in Class CRI >95, Skin Tone >99, TLCI > 91,Power via 6 x AA batteries (3 hours), AC (included) or optional D-Tap cable,Hot Shoe Mount and 1/4" 20 female thread for lighting stand / accessory mounting.

Those are pretty good specifications, from a photographer's point of view, like the hotshoe mounting option, PLUS the 1/4"x20 female thread so it can be mounted to 1/4x20 tripods or light stand spigots, plus KNOWN color accuracy and known color temperature options, and a 50-degree beam spread, which is pretty handy for a photo light that will be used at 3 to 12 feet distance much of the time. THESE are the kinds of specifications that the 20- and 28-Pound light units are not delivering on; worklights are often meant to be simply set down on the ground or on a bench...photography lights are designed to be MOUNTED using shoe-mounts, or threaded mounts based on standard lighting fixture sizes, like 1/4x 20, or 3/8", or 5/8 inch "spigot"...

The issue though is that 1077 LUX is not all that much light output...I'd put it around the brightness of that light at around the same output as a 75-Watt incandescent bulb over the roughly 1 meter by 1.5 meter area they lit with that lamp...the light was NOT that far from the model, and the area actually lighted was small...mostly her face and arms...from a fairly close distance. (Converting LUX to Lumens and using average incandescent bulb lumerns per Watt figures from two differing web pages).

Again....this is a $399 US dollar LED light, used from less than five feet, and lighting a small area...a $50 Chinese flash unit used directly, as was the Rotalight, would probably deliver three times the brightness...again, showing why continuous lighting is not a really good value for dollar spent for still photography use. Imagine needing to diffuse this light with one or two thicknesses of diffusion material for a softer lighting effect...
I would naturally diffuse the light with filters/softboxes.
Your modifier of opportunity could be a simple flat white panel of some size. Around here we can get "foamcore" for not much money, and being all white, they naturally reflect light quite well. The advantage is, of course, low cost, and if you get large ones they will soften the light nicely.
For what you're talking about you have to have enough lumens(light) and it needs to be the correct temperature (measured in Kelvin). Hence, for continuous light the cost is high. You can get what you need with flash units for a lot less money.
I understand you'd prefer continuous but the cost seems beyond the budget of a person just starting out..

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