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Inon LE500W Video Light Initial Report


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#1 Guamrider

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 07:36 PM

I've been looking to replace my Niterider HID lights for about 6 months. I travel quite a bit and due to weight restrictions, etc., I've been trying to find a more portable system. Of course, like everyone else, I also wanted to get the most "punch" for my dollars as possible but at the same time keep it somewhat reasonable. My primary requirements were no cables, as little weight as possible, and easy to use.

I noticed a post somewhere on Wetpixel on the new Inon 500 lights but after a quick search found out that the U.S. Inon distributor in "no mo". I finally found out more info on them through Sea-Optics in Australia. Although they have a great write up (of course) on their web site, I'm a bit of a skeptic. I called them and then ordered them

They came in about 3 days ago, and after adapting them to my loc-link arms, I took them our for a dive. The location was Guam's Blue Hole which has both low light, great vis and bright sunshine on the upper reef.

The lights are about 8" long and 1 1/2 " diameter. They take 3 AA rechargeable batteries and I kept them on to see how long they'd last. They were still working after 45 min when we went back to my boat.

They mount with an Inon bracket and you can mount 2,3, or 4 on each arm. Each has over 500 lumens and cost less than $300. I bought 5 of em, mounted 2 on each arm, and the model was using one in the videos. Each has a coverage of 75 degrees and are balanced to 6000k. I use a Gates 85 degree lens and the lights easily covered the width once I adjusted them. They could certainly cover a much wider lens.

I initially was concerned about the buoyancy effect of 2 lights on each side and if they'd 'bend' the loc-link arms when I didn't want them to. They didn't and they were very easy to quickly adjust.

What I REALLY like about the lights is that you can turn them off individually by a simple turn of the know on the end of the light. Great for macro. It also doesn't unscrew and come off and theres a definite stop to it. You change the batteries by unscrewing the double o-ringed light head.

I've got some pix of the lights and put up 3 short videos on Vimeo to show a little of what they can do. I haven't done any correction on the videos but they'll give you an idea ofg the coverage. All in all, I'm very happy with them and saved quite a bit at the same time. I don't have any connection to Inon of any of it's dealers.

Hope this helps someone. Since I don't have a clue jhow to post pictures here you can see them below.

The videos are here: Vimeo

The pictures are here: avpguam.com-Inon pix

Edited by Guamrider, 30 March 2010 - 07:36 PM.


#2 photovan

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 08:13 PM

Thanks Pete, appreciate the tests.

I have a 220 as a focus light, and I've been considering 2+2 of the 550s and the under strobe mount for my 5dmkii/aquatica/z240 rig.

I kinda like the idea that the vid lights will act as modelling lights for the strobes too, might even bring back memories of shooting in the studio...

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#3 Guamrider

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:02 PM

I kinda like the idea that the vid lights will act as modelling lights for the strobes too, might even bring back memories of shooting in the studio...


A single light would also make a great backup (or primary) wreck or deep diving light. Fits in a bc pocket very well. Sure wish there was a dealer here on Guam. They'd probably sell a bunch of em.

#4 Long John Silver

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 01:45 AM

From their site I see they emit 550 Lumen, so a couple of them per side will produce about 110 Lumen.
I think the old Darkbuster 24W should be better with theyr 1700 Lumen.
Maybe the Darkbuster are a little bit bulkier but when you mount a couple of INON with their adapter I think they have quite the same shape.
Of course you have he chargers so for travels 3 AA batteries are far better...

Darkbuster are depth rated for 60m (200ft) and factory tested at 100m. I brought them several times at 80m and they are still alive :)

#5 HDVdiver

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 02:43 PM

If you are impressed by the Inons (...I'm not) you should have a look at the Intova Super Nova (I think they are a company based in Hawaii).

They are superbly machined, quite compact, produce a nice even beam of a true 500 Lumens ...and are selling for around $260.

No, HDVSEATEK doesn't sell them...but I was so impressed by their quality I bought a couple in the US and use them myself for macro.

#6 photovan

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 03:15 PM

I found the Inova Super Nova you mentioned...

I can't find any reference to angle/coverage of their beam... what's your experience with that, good for macro only?

Might be helpful to explain why you're not impressed by the Inons too.

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#7 Long John Silver

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 03:36 PM

I found the Inova Super Nova you mentioned...

I can't find any reference to angle/coverage of their beam... what's your experience with that, good for macro only?


From the link you posted: about 33 degrees

bye

#8 photovan

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 03:55 PM

From the link you posted: about 33 degrees
bye

Oops thanks for that... so the Inova is 33 degrees
The Inon LE550 specs state 75 degrees straight from the head, while the less powerful model the LE250 needs an optional diffuser to get 50 degrees.

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#9 Long John Silver

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:28 PM

Oops thanks for that... so the Inova is 33 degrees
The Inon LE550 specs state 75 degrees straight from the head, while the less powerful model the LE250 needs an optional diffuser to get 50 degrees.


Yes,
the strange thing is that if you look at the Nova datasheet it states that beam angle is 42-degrees from center to side.
I don't know if the same consideration apply to Super Nova pushing the overall angle to 66 degrees.

Maybe HDVdiver could clarify it.

Bye

#10 Guamrider

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:52 PM

Gotta add more info here on the Intova. I have a friend shooting with a canon hf100 with this light and although its very bright, it's beam angle in several limited. We just came back from the PI and I was still using the Niterider lights and he was using the Intova. It's good for macro, but it also could overpower (overlight) the subject. He's now trying to sell it and will get the Inon's.

#11 HDVdiver

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:27 PM

The beam angle on the Intova is more like 50 or 60 degrees...and more importantly the disc of light is a very even, true 500 Lumens intensity. The Inon's output is pathetic by comparison...no matter what the specs say on paper. I've seen them side by side and that's what's relevant for me.

When I get some time I'm going to look into Inon's claim of 550 Lumens from a single LED emitter. I'd like to know exactly how they've achieved this. The very best CREE XPG driven @ 1500 mA will only produce 455 Lumens (from CREE's data sheets). This current would drain AA batteries in no time...And it doesn't help that the Vf (Forward Voltage) of the emitter is pretty close to the Vmax of the AA batteries being used.

I've been in this game long enough to be skeptical about claimed specifications until I evaluate them personally. It's rare, but Intova are understating the capability of their product. The 33 degrees refers to the angle of the optic in front of each LED...the three combined do a very good job of distributing the light evenly.

I make high powered LED underwater video lights for a living so there's not much out there that particularly impresses me. For what they can do (macro), the Intovas are very good. Using one on each side of the camera produces a very compact system with a decent light output (also switchable to low power).

Oh...and as far as the idea of multiple banks of low powered LEDs...I've got better things to do during a dive than switching four or eight lights on and off between video takes...





OK...since posting the above, I've made a few calculations using an industry standard formula which calculates various LED parameters and CREE's XP-G data sheet:

http://www.cree.com/...f/XLampXP-G.pdf

To cut a long story short, to get a 550 Lumen output puts the required input current WAY OFF the scale (see the Graph Relative Luminus Flux vs Current).

It would require a current of about 3.5 Amps...do you seriously think 3 AA batteries can handle this?

Also, CREE clearly state that MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE CURRENT for the XP-Gs is 1500mA (ie 1.5 Amps). Even if the LED in the Inon LE500W is being driven at this maximum current...which I doubt...the Lumen output will be 455 Lumens.

So how do they get the claimed 550 Lumens...? They don't.

Attached Images

  • supernova.jpg

Edited by HDVdiver, 01 April 2010 - 04:26 PM.


#12 Guamrider

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 01:24 PM

hdvdiver,
Thanks for all the info and the comparison. I also didn't realize that you are also in Adelaide, where I bought my Inon lights from. If you know John Bent say hello to him for me.

I looked at and dove on 25 dives (at Truk Lagoon) with a friend that has the Intova light, and yes, it's beam pattern is uniformly bright across the beam and it's got a great price. Both of us were taking video so we teamed up together. But, once I saw the limitations of the beam pattern, which really is narrow, I decided to look at other lights based upon my requrements.

I shoot mainly for a tv production that primarily uses 3-8 sec clips, not long extended same subject (gorgonians, general reef layout, etc.) shots that tend to require full light across the entire width. I'm pretty sure I'd have to switch to much brighter and heavier lights to get this accomplished. Don't want to do that ever again. The pattern and intensity that I'm getting is much better than my Nitrerider HID lights which admittedly are getting old now.

I'm a firm believer of loc-line arms cause they can be adjusted so quickly without having to unscrew and re tighten a knob. What I've made works extremely well with the Inons and that was a consideration when I bought them.

I'm sure there's other lights that will compare directly against the Inon lights, but I'm very happy with their performance and adaptability. As far as time turning them on or off, it takes about a second longer to turn off one addl light on each side. However, I don't think I'd want 4 of em on each side.

All in all, I think anyone looking for video light should certainly consider them.
Pete

#13 HDVdiver

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 04:40 PM

Guamrider


I run into John now and then...I'll say hello for you when I next see him!

Gear choice and the way it's used is a very personal thing. I'm a firm believer in "each to their own"...

What does aggravate me, however, is deceptive marketing. Buyers rely on accurate specifications to make an informed purchasing choice. Particularly when buying online, without the benefit of actually seeing the item's actual performance.

The point I was making is that Inon's claimed 550 Lumens is not possible from a single CREE emitter. The same argument applies if they're using the MCE quads...which are actually much less efficient (92.5 Lumens/watt) than XPGs (140 Lumens/watt) @ 350 mA.

Apart from that, the Inon's are well made...and I even use a couple of their 240z strobes.

If they do what you expected them to do that's all that counts...

As far as the Intovas go...I forgot to mention that I use a clear "prismed" type of diffuser on the front. This increases the beam angle significantly and softens the light nicely, without much loss of intensity. The 3 hour burn time is also sometimes a big advantage.

Edited by HDVdiver, 03 April 2010 - 05:19 PM.


#14 photovan

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 05:52 PM

HDVdiver: maybe you're able to do a mini review of the Intovas and supply some sample clips?
I'm sure everyone would be appreciative of the effort.

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#15 mrivken

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 08:16 AM

Guamrider
As far as the Intovas go...I forgot to mention that I use a clear "prismed" type of diffuser on the front. This increases the beam angle significantly and softens the light nicely, without much loss of intensity.


Can you, please, tell more about diffuser and where it can be found.

Thank you,

MR

#16 Lasse

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 10:43 AM

If you are looking at Intova, you should also look at the new Darkbuster 12 Led. More than 700 lumens delivered with a difuser, and possible to buy mounts that fit most camera/video arms.

Better specs than the Intova. 4 hour burn time, Li-ion batteries and recharging without opening the light

Lasse

Posted Image Posted Image

#17 Long John Silver

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 10:39 AM

Can you, please, tell more about diffuser and where it can be found.


I'm interested into this "prismed" diffuser too.

Bye

#18 HDVdiver

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 04:31 PM

I'm interested into this "prismed" diffuser too.

Bye



I'm sorry that I can't post a photo of my Intova/Diffuser setup at the moment. I've loaned it to a friend for an extended Easter dive trip.

However, it is essentially identical to the push-on diffuser we supply with our HID video lights...just a smaller diameter.

I've found that the clear "prismed" type of diffuser material distributes the light very evenly without losing too much of the intensity (unlike a simple translucent diffuser).

As far as the Darkbuster LED is concerned...haven't seen one yet. I'm a bit concerned, however, that they seem to be all plastic with no metal heatsink going out to the water (I might be wrong on this...but I can't see one in any photos).

Plastic is a good thermal insulator...the opposite of what LEDs need. On our LED cases we have a very substantial heatsink which channels the heat right through the ABS/polymer case and out into the water. We've measured internal temperatures (ie Junction Temp), with the lights in the water. Without the heatsink, internal temperature builds up alarmingly...not good for the life expectancy of emitters!

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  • Diffuser.JPG

Edited by HDVdiver, 05 April 2010 - 07:18 PM.


#19 Lasse

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 05:02 PM

I'm sorry that I can't post a photo of my Intova/Diffuser setup at the moment. I've loaned it to a friend for an extended Easter dive trip.

However, it is essentially identical to the push-on diffuser we supply with our HID video lights...just a smaller diameter.

I've found that the clear "prismed" type of diffuser material distributes the light very evenly without losing too much of the intensity (unlike a simple translucent diffuser).

As far as the Darkbuster LED is concerned...haven't seen one yet. I'm a bit concerned, however, that they seem to be all plastic with no metal heatsink going out to the water (I might be wrong on this...but I can't see one in any photos).

Plastic is a good thermal insulator...the opposite of what LEDs need. On our LED cases we have a very substantial heatsink which channels the heat right through the ABS/polymer case and out into the water. We've measured internal temperatures (ie Junction Temp), with the lights in the water. Without the heatsink, internal temperature builds up alarmingly...not good for the life expectancy of emitters!

Oh, and for "recharging without opening the light"...do they use gas catalytic converters? How do they get rid of potentially explosive gas build-up? I've seen the consequences of a powerful DIY halogen light that took off most of the fingers on the diver's hand when the Hydrogen gas exploded (this incident was also graphically reported in the German "Underwater Photographer" magazine about 10 years ago. This memory has always influenced my light designs.



Here are their tec info. Very good light and value for money

http://www.brightsta...o_e.php?UID=860

#20 HDVdiver

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 05:38 PM

Here are their tec info. Very good light and value for money

http://www.brightsta...o_e.php?UID=860



I just had a look at the Dark Buster tech site. They mention "There have been more and more accidents about (sic) lithium-ion battery explosions recently". Good for them...at least they are bringing the potential dangers of LiPo battery technology (vs NiMH reliability) to the readers attention.

Edited by HDVdiver, 05 April 2010 - 05:42 PM.