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L&M Sola 600 - User reviews & opinions?


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#21 Chum

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 09:07 PM

I did a dive shooting video with two sola video 1200 on a Nauticam NEX-5 system Friday night and really enjoyed the rig. The small size and near neutral buoyancy really helped with stability and setup on a small gorillapod, and the 18-55 lens covered a lot of the subjects we see at Blue Heron on a night dive. I couldn't believe how well the af tracked moving subjects, even hand held.

By accident I shot a demonstration of why red lights are useful..


The part that was of most interest to me was to watch the pupil. It did not dilate until the white light came on.

#22 cor

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 09:57 PM

I get the excitement about this new light, but i do have some points. I think the failure rate is quite high, I think the dimmest white setting is still too bright, and the red light is way way too bright (as a focus light). Julie could not get dragonets to mate with either the lowest bright light, or the red light. They were obviously annoyed by the light. Other lights we've used did not have this issue, and she was able to take shots the next day with another focus light.

It would be really nice if the white light modes were further apart in brightness, and if the red had multiple settings as well. Also, I hope they can get their failure rates down. I could easily see us switch to this light if they'd incorporate such changes as it seems like a very nice light.

ps: these issues only came up using it as a focus light. As a main light the sola would be very cool.
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#23 Drew

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 04:27 AM

Cor,
How many failures did you have on the trip?

The FIX lights have that red filter which works pretty well, especially since you have almost full control over power. But it floats around underwater and is dangly topside.

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#24 echeng

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:10 AM

Quick update (which we somehow missed at DEMA). I (and probably, others) had mentioned the red light being too bright long before this trip, and Light & Motion has responded. The new Sola Photo 600 features 3 different power levels of red light, which should solve the red-light-too-bright issue. They are still unsure whether they will offer a refit for older Sola 600 lights.

There seems to be some confusion about the various models in the Sola line, so I threw a Sola light roundup on the front page:

http://wetpixel.com/...d-power-levels/

Drew: we had 2 chargers fail and 2 lights flood. A 3rd guest also had a light flood, but it may not have been on our trip. Light & Motion asked me for contact information for all of the users who experienced problems on our trip, and is planning on contacting them to replace their lights/chargers (although one already had his replaced by David @ Scubacam).
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#25 uwxplorer

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 07:38 PM

1. I need some new lights for a dive trip in January - 4000 not available until later in 2011
Peter


Looking forward for an in-depth review of the combination lights + housing + camera!

#26 Drew

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 10:25 PM

4 failures out of how many (14?) lights is high for a high priced product. The electricity in MER is generator run so I can imagine there'll be spikes all the time. How was the power supply at Maluku? Anything else fry or was it only the SOLA chargers?

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#27 RedSeaDiver

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:16 AM

Does any of the red light show up in your images and need correcting in Lightroom/Photoshop or is it totally overpowered by your strobes?
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#28 cor

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:19 AM

I dont recall any other fried electronics.

RSD, at least 1 person complained about the red showing up in their images.
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#29 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:26 AM

If you have to use a slow shutter speed (and high ISO) then yes any torch will show up. But with a fast shutter speed then you will not see any torch light in a photo.

I kept this photo as a demonstration - the red colour at the back of the fish is from the Sola red mode - aimed at the fish. But I needed to be at 1/15th @ ISO 800 (f16) to get this much red coming through in my shot - these settings pretty much produce a correct exposure for the torch:

lumpy.jpg

So if, like most people you use the torch for macro - shooting say at F16 @ 1/250th ISO 200 - then the torch light should be at least 6 stops under exposed - and therefore hard to see.

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#30 cor

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:32 AM

What about shooting at say F5.6 @ 1/250th? I think thats where the 1 person complained.
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#31 RedSeaDiver

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:34 AM

Quick update (which we somehow missed at DEMA). I (and probably, others) had mentioned the red light being too bright long before this trip, and Light & Motion has responded. The new Sola Photo 600 features 3 different power levels of red light, which should solve the red-light-too-bright issue. They are still unsure whether they will offer a refit for older Sola 600 lights.

Seems like there a number of people that are pretty pissed off with L&M for not putting this information on their website having ordered the normal Sola 600 in the last few weeks not knowing that there was a new version available that is more suited to U/W photo.
Red Sea Dreaming....

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#32 antacid

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 12:38 AM

Seems like there a number of people that are pretty pissed off with L&M for not putting this information on their website having ordered the normal Sola 600 in the last few weeks not knowing that there was a new version available that is more suited to U/W photo.


yes count me as one of them. hard to imagine that there would be an explosion of different product lines so soon after the initial product launch. it's not something we see very often in the underwater imaging world!

do you think they will accept trade-ins?
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#33 RedSeaDiver

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 02:18 PM

yes count me as one of them. hard to imagine that there would be an explosion of different product lines so soon after the initial product launch. it's not something we see very often in the underwater imaging world!

do you think they will accept trade-ins?

Have you emailed them to complain? I saw last night that they still haven't updated their website to show the new photo lights so people are probably still buying the video light instead of the photo light.
Red Sea Dreaming....

Canon 7D, Tokina 10-17, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 17-70, Canon 100mm macro, Kenko 1.4x Teleconverter, Nauticam housing when it arrives, 2x Inon Z240 strobes, Lowepro Vertex 300 AW backpack.

#34 focker

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:28 PM

Seems like there a number of people that are pretty pissed off with L&M for not putting this information on their website having ordered the normal Sola 600 in the last few weeks not knowing that there was a new version available that is more suited to U/W photo.

I kind of lucked out in this situation. I ordered a Sola 600 two weeks ago with all the other goodies you see in my sig line but when the package with everything arrived last week the vendor forgot to send the light. The package arrived Thursday and luckily for me that was the same day I read here about the new adjustable red light. I called to ask where the Sola was and they said it was a mistake they didn't send it but they would get one right out however it wouldn't be the new style. I cancelled that order and will be getting the adjustable red light this week from another vendor that has them in stock.
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#35 focker

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:41 PM

Update: Light just arrived via UPS and it is VERY nice!
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#36 Drew

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 09:34 PM

I dont recall any other fried electronics.

Well then L&M have some QC problems with their chargers. As an aside, I always carry a surge protector for chargers. Any generator supplied power will have variations in power, I insist on boats having voltage regulators, plus I use my surge protector as an additional measure.

If you have to use a slow shutter speed (and high ISO) then yes any torch will show up. But with a fast shutter speed then you will not see any torch light in a photo.
So if, like most people you use the torch for macro - shooting say at F16 @ 1/250th ISO 200 - then the torch light should be at least 6 stops under exposed - and therefore hard to see.

Alex, is the laymen's interpretation of what you're saying is that the closer you expose to ambient light, the higher chance of the light showing? Apparently the Sola red (the older version) is powerful enough where even underexposing by several stops, it shows up. I had a similar problem with the FIX 500 and red filter but I could turn the power down after I saw the results.

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#37 cor

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 10:08 PM

oh that reminds me, we did have 1 more thing break, a surge protector :) but that was a 110/220V mishap.

yes, the closer you expose to ambient light, the more the red light shows up, especially cause it's so bright. It's good to see L&M already having a version with a red light dimmer. That should help a lot.
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#38 Drew

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 10:40 PM

oh that reminds me, we did have 1 more thing break, a surge protector :) but that was a 110/220V mishap.

yes, the closer you expose to ambient light, the more the red light shows up, especially cause it's so bright. It's good to see L&M already having a version with a red light dimmer. That should help a lot.


Well when you get human's involved, there's always going to be a problem! :)

It's great L&M can change the design that quickly but sux for the people who bought the older design which isn't a dated model. Makes you wish that they'd field test more before making them.

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#39 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 10:49 PM

Alex, is the laymen's interpretation of what you're saying is that the closer you expose to ambient light, the higher chance of the light showing? Apparently the Sola red (the older version) is powerful enough where even underexposing by several stops, it shows up. I had a similar problem with the FIX 500 and red filter but I could turn the power down after I saw the results.



It all depends on the strength of the ambient light light really. When the ambient light is low (such as it was in my shot from Norway) and we are exposing for it, then the red light will be most visible. And of course, it is the times, depths, places when the ambient light is low - that is when we most need a focus light!

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#40 peterbkk

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 10:57 PM

As an aside, I always carry a surge protector for chargers. Any generator supplied power will have variations in power, I insist on boats having voltage regulators, plus I use my surge protector as an additional measure.


How "industrial" is your surge protector? What model do you use?

Some powerboards, usually the ones from computer shops, claim to have in-built surge protection. Not sure how much of a spike it would stop. A full surge protector usually contains a big capacitor that would be too heavy for travel baggage allowances.

A lot of dive resorts in Southeast Asia suffer from power problems. Next month I'll be in Lembeh. Power supply is OK when they run their own generator but choppy when they use the government power. I'll be taking 3 of the new Sola chargers. The new chargers are quite a lot smaller and lighter than the old L&M chargers so I am concerned how well they'll deal with the choppy power supply. I might take a surge protector but I'm wondering how big it'll need to be to be effective.

Regards
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