LED lighting for portraits etc


Link Posted 18/09/2013 - 10:22
Hi All
Does anyone have experience of the LED portable lights that seem to be ever cheaper now? I'm looking at 160 led model that claims 1480 lumens at 1 metre.

Is there any relation between the lumen power and the type of guide numbers we understand with manual flash guns?

I feel I should know the answers from way back....mental block has struck!

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Link Posted 18/09/2013 - 14:47
try before you buy..
not all led's are equal.
like CFLs some have a very narrow color spectrum and this will be noticeable in the photos... broad spectrum leds cost more.
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Link Posted 18/09/2013 - 18:27
As Don rightly says, many LEDs have an incomplete spectrum. They are the bane of my life in theatre shoots. You cant compare GNs with other lamps including studio flash because the output is affected by whatever reflector or modifier you use. Remember that at two metres it will be half. You cant put a light one metre from someone and how will you control an LED lamp anyway?
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Link Posted 18/09/2013 - 19:38
I think you'll find that ALL LEDs will have discontinuous (incomplete) spectra. Just some will be significantly worse than others. Good ones will be balanced so the they look acceptable to both camera sensors and the human eye. (It may even be that the filters in cameras Bayer sensors might vary sufficiently that a LED will seen acceptable to one camera model but not to another manufacturers.) Don's 'Try before you buy' advise is good if you can, if not be prepared to return/resell and take a loss.

It may be that the 160 LED model Geoff is referring to allows different numbers of LEDs to be turned on to give control over light output, but I think this is a relatively uncommon feature.

I now use LED bulbs in the light fitting in my dining room - they come on instantly (unlike the older energy saving lamps) and are very efficient. On the occasions I've taken photos there since I've found I'd been lucky as the white balance is reasonable even on AWB.

In mixed lighting situations things will become MUCH more difficult.

Ken is right that you can't compare LED lumins to flash GN, but I think his reason is wrong. LEDS are a continuous light source, so shutter speeds effect the exposure whilst flash is a single short burst eliminating the shutter speed from exposure calculations. Reflectors & modifiers affect the lighting from flash pretty much as they will from LEDs.
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Link Posted 19/09/2013 - 23:15
Thanks for the comments and experiences. The points about the spectrum of the light emitted really gets to the heart of colour and why we see colours and then how the camera can interpret and balance what its sensor sees.

We just have to scroll through the white balance settings to be reminded about the quality of light and how it changes to colours of the scene.

If someone was using such a led light array it would be interesting to know what sort of exposures they have to use.

I've read in earlier threads that videographers use led lights. I guess I'll try one unless I hear of any known problems with the 160 led (affordable) model

Thanks all
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Link Posted 19/09/2013 - 23:32
I have tried portrsits with the 160 led and didnt like the flesh tones it produced, for still life snd products shots they are fantastic.
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Link Posted 23/09/2013 - 00:18
Thanks Cabstar. Thats saves me trying. Best to continue with off camera flash by the sounds of things.

I imagine normal tungsten studio lights give out a wider spectrum of light as well as it being warmer.
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