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Thread: Portable Compact Light Source for outdoor shooting

  1. #1

    Default Portable Compact Light Source for outdoor shooting

    Hi all.


    was wondering if any of you have advice or recommendations on light sources for night use.

    I will be using it to take photos of skaters at night.
    hoping for something portable and battery operated.


    an example of what i'm looking for.

    http://www.es-sk8.gr.jp/trick/2003Nov7-ShinTTsoul.htm

    thanks and pelase feel free to comment!

  2. #2
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    From the pic, I think its just a remotely triggered hotshoe flash unit.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_lan
    Hi all.


    was wondering if any of you have advice or recommendations on light sources for night use.

    I will be using it to take photos of skaters at night.
    hoping for something portable and battery operated.


    an example of what i'm looking for.

    http://www.es-sk8.gr.jp/trick/2003Nov7-ShinTTsoul.htm

    thanks and pelase feel free to comment!
    The earlier poster is quite right. You can do it with a hotshoe flash but I'd add the following:

    First, you'd want to use a very fast recycling battery strobe. I like Nikon SB25 hotshoe flashes for this kind of thing - I am sure there are other similarly fast recycling alternatives as well. With the SB25 for example, recycling at full power manual is about 2.5s with NIMH batteries and much less if you're using it at half power.


    SB-25 and a Venca radio slave

    If you're after a cheap strobe that pumps out quite a bit of light for it's small size with a great recycling rate, you can't do much better than with a National PE-201M (GN20, recycles in 2 secs with 4 NIMH batteries, and costs about $20! You can still buy them at shops that export to India - quite a few of them are situated at High St). A small secret is that you can plug in Wein peanut slaves into the strobe's sync cord socket since it uses the same socket as the Vivitar 283/285 that the Peanuts have been designed for - more about the Wein slave cells further down.


    National PE-201M with Wein Peanut XL on mini-pod


    Wein peanut slaves plug directly into the PE-201M sync cable socket


    Second, there's the issue of triggering the strobe. I usually use radio slaves and I often velcro one on top of the SB unit (as shown in the first picture). This way, you can place the strobe almost anywhere and trigger it as you please. You can of course hook up a few hotshoe flash units so that you can combine lighting in different ways.

    Radio slave kits are unfortunately not cheap. An alternative to this would be to use an IR slave with an IR trigger. Typically, the slave end is the one that gives the most problems since, in my experience with a lot of brands, many are simply not sensitive enough at distance esp. in the open (those compact strobes with built in slave eyes are never sensitive enough).

    I'd suggest you use Wein slave cells (http://www.weinproducts.com/batteryfree.htm). A Wein High Performance Peanut slave PN-XL would be excellent - it's good to 300 feet and is really pretty sensitive. Even better are their Ultra Slaves which are rated to supposedly 3000 feet but I'd take that with a pinch of salt. A cheap Peanut XL with a cheap IR trigger would cost you about S$130-190 together. If you're shooting with other people who are also using flash at the same time, you'd be better off either with a radio slave kit set to your own exclusive frequency or a coded IR slave/transmitter kit.

    You can get your Wein photo slave cells, IR triggers and radio slaves from Cathay Photo (http://www.cathayphoto.com.sg}.

    This, thankfully, is one of my more useful posts. Hope this helps

    ps. if you want to save money on the IR trigger, you can make your own by taking a small fast recycling strobe, and filter the flash output using unexposed (but processed) E6 film. 2 to 3 layers of film will effective cut out most of the available light, letting only IR pass through. That or just use a low powered flash to trigger the slaved flashes - might even be good to add some fill from the camera direction too.
    Last edited by kahheng; 27th April 2005 at 04:51 PM.

  4. #4

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    thanks very much for the detailed reply!

    i will definitely consider that.

    Only problem would be that i fear the flash will actually distract the person and cause him momentary blindness. It's more a fear actually.


    was talking to a photographer over in NUS earlier, he actually suggested i try using multiple high intensity LED light sources. (something like our traffic lights, but brighter and white)

    I did some research a found that they have been implemented into photography already

    http://www.srelectronics.com/


    Any comments on this? was thinking of ordering an LED flashlight, mount it on a minipod and just try it out. like this one.

    http://kenarservices.com/1008041200.htm

    the prob i face is mainly with NOISE. i increase ISO, i get nosie. I reduce shutter speed, i get motion blur.

    eg: http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthrea...7&page=1&pp=20

    any comments on this problem?
    Last edited by big_lan; 27th April 2005 at 05:38 AM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_lan
    the prob i face is mainly with NOISE. i increase ISO, i get nosie. I reduce shutter speed, i get motion blur.

    eg: http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthrea...7&page=1&pp=20

    any comments on this problem?
    Yeah, use flash for action. LEDs are for still life.

    (Your NUS photographer friend can't be serious.................)
    Last edited by kahheng; 27th April 2005 at 10:35 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahheng
    ............................
    First, you'd want to use a very fast recycling battery strobe. I like Nikon SB25 hotshoe flashes for this kind of thing - I am sure there are other similarly fast recycling alternatives as well. With the SB25 for example, recycling at full power manual is about 2.5s with NIMH batteries and much less if you're using it at half power. ..........................


    Geart. I should consider use radio slaves triggering all my metz.

    Thanks

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_lan
    the prob i face is mainly with NOISE. i increase ISO, i get nosie. I reduce shutter speed, i get motion blur.

    eg: http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthrea...7&page=1&pp=20

    any comments on this problem?
    Then make sure you use a really powerful torchlight... Something like the Surefire M6 which can cast a beam over 0.5KM would be good.. Heck... Everything within 100m radius looked like it was bright daylight...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefox
    Then make sure you use a really powerful torchlight... Something like the Surefire M6 which can cast a beam over 0.5KM would be good.. Heck... Everything within 100m radius looked like it was bright daylight...
    Hell if we're going on this route, Mustafa sells a ridiculously powerful lantern torch with a humungous reflector that would put the M6 to shame. Lot's cheaper too. I can't remember the make or model but how hard can it be to find it. It runs on a rechargeable lead-acid

    To stop action, flash is best.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kahheng
    Hell if we're going on this route, Mustafa sells a ridiculously powerful lantern torch with a humungous reflector that would put the M6 to shame. Lot's cheaper too. I can't remember the make or model but how hard can it be to find it. It runs on a rechargeable lead-acid

    To stop action, flash is best.

    Hey kah heng,

    that actually sounds feasible.

    Do you have any more details about this torch?

    With regards to the LED, i did some checking up and apparently it does have a track record BUT the the rating of LED temperature being 8500K actually gives it a blue tinge.






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