Nikon Macro Cool-Light SL1


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roygoh

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Nikon announced this new product. Ring light for macro photography that can be directly screwed on to the 28mm filter thread of the CP9XX series camera. Can also be used on cameras with larger lens size through a step down adapter.

This is not a strobe light like a flash, but a flood light. The light comes from 8 pieces of white LEDs. Power source is 2 X CR2-type Lithium batteries, and the estimated battery life is 6 hours. Using flood is good because it helps the camera's auto-focusing.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0205/02052901coollightsl1.asp

The price has not been announced yet, but my DIY nerves are already twitching.

In US, super bright white LEDs retail for US$3 a piece. Can anyone tell me what's the price in Singapore?

If I manage to make one, I will definitely post the details here.
 

ckiang

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Originally posted by roygoh
Nikon announced this new product. Ring light for macro photography that can be directly screwed on to the 28mm filter thread of the CP9XX series camera. Can also be used on cameras with larger lens size through a step down adapter.

This is not a strobe light like a flash, but a flood light. The light comes from 8 pieces of white LEDs. Power source is 2 X CR2-type Lithium batteries, and the estimated battery life is 6 hours. Using flood is good because it helps the camera's auto-focusing.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0205/02052901coollightsl1.asp

The price has not been announced yet, but my DIY nerves are already twitching.

In US, super bright white LEDs retail for US$3 a piece. Can anyone tell me what's the price in Singapore?

If I manage to make one, I will definitely post the details here.
YS reminded me of them "copying" someone's DIY project, so that triggered the EE in me as well. Think it's around S$3 a piece here. I am more concerned about how to get the 28mm thread though. Power is not much of a problem.

Regards
CK
 

roygoh

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Originally posted by ckiang


YS reminded me of them "copying" someone's DIY project, so that triggered the EE in me as well. Think it's around S$3 a piece here. I am more concerned about how to get the 28mm thread though. Power is not much of a problem.

Regards
CK
You don't really need to mount the assembly onto the lens thread. You can attach it to the camera body instead.

If you use a skylight filter, then you can drill a hole on the assembly to fit it snuggly over the outer diameter of the skylight filter.

Aluminum foil can be used as an effective reflector.

S$3 a piece from Sim Lim Tower? That means the whole thing can be built below $50.

Maybe I should ask Tweek to bring some LEDs from Singapore when he visits US.

My ideas are flowing!
 

Tweek

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Originally posted by roygoh

Maybe I should ask Tweek to bring some LEDs from Singapore when he visits US.
you want? better do it soon cuz I'm leaving this Sunday! Sure I can get some white LEDs from Sim Lim Tower for you. :)
 

roygoh

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Tweek, I am just joking. It is not worth the trouble for you to bring it over, even at S$3 a piece. You will have a lot of preparation and packing to do for your trip. I have other sources for the LEDs, for example, my company's LED sales reps.....hee hee... Have a safe trip here!

Streetshooter, thanks for the link. A lot of good ideas. Are you planning to do such a project yourself?
 

YSLee

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Streetshooter's site is the one I was referring to, but somehow the original 8 LED design isn't there anymore.
 

Kho King

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Hmm...how about using a torch light instead of those LED?

If Nikon SL-1 is cheap, then still worth buying and save the trouble of doing own one.
 

ckiang

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Originally posted by Kho King
Hmm...how about using a torch light instead of those LED?

If Nikon SL-1 is cheap, then still worth buying and save the trouble of doing own one.
As you know, Nikon stuffs are never cheap. Torchlight's light is yellowish - though you can probably white balance it, it is probably not going to be as even as a ring light. And not to mention a torch is going to be even more difficult to mount compared to the 8 or so LEDs.

Regards
CK
 

Kho King

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Originally posted by ckiang


As you know, Nikon stuffs are never cheap. Torchlight's light is yellowish - though you can probably white balance it, it is probably not going to be as even as a ring light. And not to mention a torch is going to be even more difficult to mount compared to the 8 or so LEDs.

Regards
CK
Yes, you are right.

Seriously, if someone or a group on the list can come out with a design or product giving similar effect as the SL-1, then can mass production it and sell to digital users on the list. I am sure there are many who will be interested if the price is like...say S$20? Haha...of course the design must be nice and flexible...and use rechargeable batteries.;)
 

ckiang

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Originally posted by Kho King


Yes, you are right.

Seriously, if someone or a group on the list can come out with a design or product giving similar effect as the SL-1, then can mass production it and sell to digital users on the list. I am sure there are many who will be interested if the price is like...say S$20? Haha...of course the design must be nice and flexible...and use rechargeable batteries.;)
I think $50 might be more like it. ;p

Regards
CK
 

Kho King

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Originally posted by ckiang


I think $50 might be more like it. ;p

Regards
CK
Haha...ok, S$50 also sounds good. Anyone want to take the project? Should be a simple electronic task...right?
 

roygoh

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Originally posted by Kho King


Haha...ok, S$50 also sounds good. Anyone want to take the project? Should be a simple electronic task...right?
I can provide the schematic diagram!:p
 

roygoh

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Originally posted by ckiang


Time to dig out that old soldering iron and all..... :) can post the schematic diagram? I too lazy to go design my own. ;p

Regards
CK
Let's discuss the features we want first:

- Variable or fixed brightness?
- Simple on/off control or timer controlled auto off for power saving?
- Number of LEDs? (the more the merrier, right?)
- "All-on, all-off" or selectable 4-section on-off control?

Any other suggestions?

By the way, this might work as a focus assist illuminator also, that will help to minimise the low-light focusing problems the CoolPic cameras are plague with.
 

Kho King

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Originally posted by roygoh


Let's discuss the features we want first:

- Variable or fixed brightness?
- Simple on/off control or timer controlled auto off for power saving?
- Number of LEDs? (the more the merrier, right?)
- "All-on, all-off" or selectable 4-section on-off control?

Any other suggestions?

By the way, this might work as a focus assist illuminator also, that will help to minimise the low-light focusing problems the CoolPic cameras are plague with.
Wah RoyGoh...you make it sounds very interesting! I wonder if the Nikon SL-1 has this many features. All your suggestions are nice...and I add in my 2 cents...

1. Two circle of rings (inner and outer). Can be selected to switch on/off independently. Inner 8 Leds (22.5 degree each), Outter 16 16 Leds (12.5 degree each).

2. Switching on/off independently left/right side would be great, but must have a button to switch on/off all Leds in once (including inner and outer Leds).

4. What diameter should the ring be? hmm...I think is better to choose a larger one...then use step up rings to use on different diameter lenses. Can be used for film SLR too.

5. What battery to use? AA or the rectangular shape type? Battery consumption is important too. Nikon SL-1 can last 6 hours. Maybe using 2 pieces of NiMh AA (1.2v) is better...since many has this battery available.
 

roygoh

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I hope the moderator don't kick us out for this.

Your idea of 2 rings is to have different range of coverage, right?

OK, about power source and current consumption. White LEDs has a forward voltage in the range of 3.4~3.8V, so we need at least 4 AA NiMH batteries in series to get enough voltage (4.8V).

Each LED can be driven at 20mA, so 16 LEDs will draw 320mA. That makes the battery life roughly 5 hours using 1600mAH batteries. I am tempted to use a PIC microcontroller to control the switching. That will consume some more power. Let's say 4 hours of battery life then. With auto-power off, that would help to prolong the usage per charge. Also, if only the inner 8 LED ring is used, then the battery life will be roughly doubled.

If a microcontroller is used, then it would be easy to divide the LEDs into different groups that can be switched either independently or as a whole.

As for the diameter of the ring, I am thinking more about using it on my CP995 only. However, the power and microcontroller portion can be separated from the ring (that contains the LEDs only) such that each of us can design our own rings to suit individual needs.
 

Kho King

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Hi roygoh,
You yourself is a moderator, right? So...don't worry...;)

I think the earliest we carry out the "project" the better. We might lost mood...if we delay it...If possible...the cost at S$30 will be more attractive to others. Do you think is possible?

When can you come out with the circuit diagram? It is fun to design something like that...although I currently own no digicam...
 

chaotic

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sounds like an absolutely cool idea. I am interested in that new product for my coolpix too. but of coz, at prices Nikon usually charges, I have to think more than just twice. ;) to DIY it, I think a major problem is to design the battery compartment so that it doesn't interfere with the shooting process.
 

roygoh

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Hehe...I am not the moderator for this sub-forum. Darren and Ian are.

Anyway we do not have to continue with the technical discussions here. We can communicate on email or PM.

I will start working on the circuit diagram as well as the microcontroller code. Since the LED ring and the power/switch are separate modules, hopefully I can come up with 3 schematics:

- LED Ring
- power/switch circuit with micro-controller
- power/switch circuit without micro-controller

Those who just want simple switching can fabricate the circuit without the micro-controller. The same LED Ring circuit can be used with either one of the power/switch circuits.

The microcontroller I intend to use is Microchip's PIC16F84A.
 

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