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Thread: Is there a difference in quality between a continuous light source and a strobe?

  1. #1

    Default Is there a difference in quality between a continuous light source and a strobe?

    A noob question here, so please bear with me....

    A sudden thot came to my mind after I realize there are affordable 3rd party macro ring lights which does not work like a regular flash in that they emit continuous white light. As compared to the very much more expensive proprietary brands which functions just like other normal camera flashes -- A short burst of light will be emitted only when the shutter button is pressed.

    Is there a difference in quality between light that is emitted continuously and one that is produced in a short burst?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is there a difference in quality between a continuous light source and a strobe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Priscilia View Post
    A noob question here, so please bear with me....

    A sudden thot came to my mind after I realize there are affordable 3rd party macro ring lights which does not work like a regular flash in that they emit continuous white light. As compared to the very much more expensive proprietary brands which functions just like other normal camera flashes -- A short burst of light will be emitted only when the shutter button is pressed.

    Is there a difference in quality between light that is emitted continuously and one that is produced in a short burst?
    continuous light is of much lower intensity so you may not get the short shutter speeds or aperture you like, if it is intense enough then you blind your subject... LED lights seems to be more constant in their colour temperature but a proper flash will usually give you a cleaner light. if you something else than LED for continuous light then you produce also a lot of heat which will be very uncomfortable very quick... in the end there is really not much option than a propper flash
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  3. #3
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there a difference in quality between a continuous light source and a strobe?

    not forgetting the number of hotspots created on reflective subjects

  4. #4

    Default Re: Is there a difference in quality between a continuous light source and a strobe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    LED lights seems to be more constant in their colour temperature but a proper flash will usually give you a cleaner light. if you something else than LED for continuous light then you produce also a lot of heat which will be very uncomfortable very quick... in the end there is really not much option than a propper flash
    Could you define what you mean by 'cleaner light'? Regarding the heat issue, there are also CCFL lights available that don't produce much heat, certainly much lower than tungsten lights. They are still lower intensity than flash though.

    Quote Originally Posted by ortega View Post
    not forgetting the number of hotspots created on reflective subjects
    Not sure why continuous lighting would produce more hotspots than flash, unless you need more of them? Actually I thought that it would be easier to control hotspots with continuous lights than flash (without modelling lights). Perhaps a moot point for ring flash though.

    To the TS, AFAIK the main difference between continuous and flash light are light intensity (flash more intense), duration (flash very short) and colour temperature. There are some vendors of continuous lighting systems that claim the same colour temperature as flash. You can always test the colour of you specific light system and adjust White Balance accordingly. Usability will depend on what you're shooting. In this case, freezing the wings of a hovering dragonfly is probably out of the question. Shooting static subjects should be okay, assuming the light is properly designed and constructed

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is there a difference in quality between a continuous light source and a strobe?

    just to add a few more points, you're not limited to sync-speeds when you're using continous lights ie. 1/250th for most dSLRs, but you might run into the flickering issue if you're using CCFLs and high shutter speeds..

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