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Sola 4000 problems


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#1 Oceanshutter

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:13 PM

Took the 2 Sola 4000's to Lembeh last week. For the first 3 days they worked great. Then I started to have trouble with one of them.

Problem 1: The ball broke off of the light. There is a pin on the inside of the ball that prevents it from spinning. That broke. Not a huge issue, as I could just tighten the screw tighter and it would work till I could find a permanent solution.

Problem 2: Hindsight, this might not have been the best idea. but right after a dive, I went to plug the lights in to charge them. Blew out the contacts on the light and dried. Plugged in. I then touched the metal that screws on and off for the light and and got a little voltage through me. That was weird. So what do I do again.....touch it again. Zap...same thing. My hands were not totally dry, and started to think, that it probably wasn't a good idea to touch it again. So for the rest of the trip I avoided touching the metal. Not sure if it was because my hands were still wet......Do you guys think this is a problem I should worry about? Or just avoid touching it?

Problem 3: One of my lights stopped working. During the last dive before it died, the light was not switching levels or powering off. It took several tries to finally turn off during the dive. So back at the rinse tank, I was moving the slider up and down numerous times to try to clear out any crap that had gotten in there. It was here that it turn on for the last time. I couldn't get it to turn off. So I turned it to Airplane mode. This turned it off. Try to turn it back on and nothing. Fyi, I did have it fully charged.

I happened to remember that Backscatter (the place I bought it from) was in Lembeh the same time as I was, so we took it over to the resort they were at. Berkley White was kind enough to look at it. They even had a Light and Motion rep with them. They opened it up and couldn't find anything wrong that they could fix. So he told me to return it when I got home and it will covered under the warranty (just bought it in february).

It is nice that it is under warranty. But it still stinks that it happened on the first trip using the lights.

As far as burn times. For the morning 2 dives it was hard without charging in between, as I felt I had to conserve battery. But still could do the 2 dives out of them. Needed to turn them off in between shots, in order for it to work. And only used the power necessary. Is this the norm with other Lights of this intensity?

Aside from the problems. Light is easy to use, and give off a good beam. This was the first time I shot macro and used Lights, so I don't have anything to compare it to. But the footage I got was pretty decent I thought.

Dustin

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#2 liquidguru

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:52 PM

I have two 4000s here in Lembeh too. Generally I'm very happy with them. Charging seems good, but we'll wait to see what happens over time.

On your comments about burn time, at least in Lembeh shooting macro, I use the lights about 95% of the time on the lowest setting. I can get days of use out of them, it's fantastic. I'm not sure what power setting you had them on, but full power on macro is a huge overkill. I leave my lights on all the time during the dive.

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#3 Oceanshutter

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 04:54 PM

I have two 4000s here in Lembeh too. Generally I'm very happy with them. Charging seems good, but we'll wait to see what happens over time.

On your comments about burn time, at least in Lembeh shooting macro, I use the lights about 95% of the time on the lowest setting. I can get days of use out of them, it's fantastic. I'm not sure what power setting you had them on, but full power on macro is a huge overkill. I leave my lights on all the time during the dive.



Not sure what camera you are using, but to do that on my camera would not have worked. I was using a canon 5d mark ii. And to keep the ISo at 640 and below and f stop at f11 or higher I needed them on 5 or 6. Especially on the first 2 dives. Heck, maybe I am doing something wrong as this was my first time trying macro and first time with lights.

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#4 liquidguru

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:59 PM

I was using a canon 5d mark ii.


Fair enough. I use a video camera, Sony XR500, and there is no need for super bright lights when filming. I usually have them on the lowest light setting and then turn my exposure down on the camera so the whites don't flare out. It's a very different experience, I think, camcorder v. DSLR for filming video.

Edited by liquidguru, 02 May 2012 - 06:59 PM.

Sony XR500 - LMI Stingray+ G2 - 2x LMI Sola 4000 LEDs
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#5 Oceanshutter

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 07:23 PM

Fair enough. I use a video camera, Sony XR500, and there is no need for super bright lights when filming. I usually have them on the lowest light setting and then turn my exposure down on the camera so the whites don't flare out. It's a very different experience, I think, camcorder v. DSLR for filming video.


I have only used the dslr, so I can't compare them either. :). I have seen your videos and they all look great. So if that is on the lowest setting, then that looks perfect.

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#6 Pete L

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 03:25 AM

So you are saying that you have your lights on 2000 & 3000 lumens for macro work? That seems alot. For macro work, i shoot on either 125 or 250 lumens with my sola 4000s & on the rare occasions i shoot on 500 lumens.
For wide angle, i shoot them on 500 or 1000 lumens in sydney.
2000 or 3000 lumens is alot of light on a close subject.
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#7 Oceanshutter

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:53 AM

So you are saying that you have your lights on 2000 & 3000 lumens for macro work? That seems alot. For macro work, i shoot on either 125 or 250 lumens with my sola 4000s & on the rare occasions i shoot on 500 lumens.
For wide angle, i shoot them on 500 or 1000 lumens in sydney.
2000 or 3000 lumens is alot of light on a close subject.
Cheers Pete.



Pete,

Being the first time with lights, I am not sure what I am doing!!! :). But I am starting to question myself, based on yours and Liquid guru's comments. From other forums here on Wetpixel, I was under the impression you could never have too much light. While I was shooting the majority on level 5 and 6. (2000,3000). I was trying to keep my ISO low (below 640, mostly at 500 to 320). And my F stop high. (F16 to F11). This was using a canon 5d mark ii and a 100mm macro lens. I would be interested to hear from others that are shooting a DSLR with bright lights, what they use???? I don't know how different it is from a Traditional video camera.

Before buying the 4000's, I read a lot and talked to a few people, as I wanted to make the best decision. I was considering the 1200, 2000's and 4000's. There was a lot of people that have the opinion that the 1200's aren't even worth having and a waste of money. while others think they are sufficient. Some people say that if there was 15,000 lumen lights, they would be shooting with them, as there is never too much light. Whether that is true for macro, I don't know.

Based on the levels you are saying you use your 4000's at, why did you buy them? The lumens you are saying you use them at, it seems that the 1200's would be fine for you.

Looking at my footage, there are some shots that are overexposed, while others, I know I had the lights cranking on, and they are just right. I wanted to try to keep the F stop high, so I could have more in focus. Focusing was tough. What I thought was in focus, ended up not being as in focus as I thought!! It was maddening!

Dustin

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#8 Pete L

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:36 AM

Hi Dustin,
My main reason was flexibility. Having 7 power settings is SOOOO much better than 3. I have a set of sola 1200s that i havn't touched since my 4000's arrived.
The sola 1200's drop down to 300 lumens from memory & for night dives, shooting real close stuff, 300 lumens was just blowing out everything. On night dives when i am shooting very close i shoot on 125 lumens & sometimes 250 lumens. Daytime i shoot 500 or 1000 lumens but having the bigger lights gives me plenty of battery power for several dives.
The flexibility is the biggest advantage for me & i couldn't imagine life without them now.

I have never shot with an SLR but with 2000 or 3000 lumens i am surprised that you can't get your iso down lower than that.
Have you tried slowing down the shutter speed?
Cheers Pete.

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#9 HDVdiver

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 06:38 AM

So you are saying that you have your lights on 2000 & 3000 lumens for macro work? That seems alot. For macro work, i shoot on either 125 or 250 lumens with my sola 4000s & on the rare occasions i shoot on 500 lumens.
For wide angle, i shoot them on 500 or 1000 lumens in sydney.
2000 or 3000 lumens is alot of light on a close subject.
Cheers Pete.



I generally use two x 4000 lumen LED video lights for both WA and for macro work. For night macro I sometimes drop the lumen output to half power on both lights.

This might seem excessive to some but it works very well for the way I shoot...i.e lowest ISO and small aperture (f16-f22) to maximize DOF, which is quite limited as you approach 1:1 macro.

Also, I'm starting to use a technique/optical system which gives a result comparable to the Inon Bug-eye lens...here need quite a bit of lumen output to balance with the ambient light and maximize DOF (in this case almost "infinite" at smaller apertures...).

Of course there are other macro situations where as less light as possible is desirable....mating Mandarin fish don't like bright lights!

But I don't think it's valid to simply think in terms of macro = low lumens for all situations.

Edited by HDVdiver, 04 May 2012 - 05:35 PM.


#10 Oceanshutter

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:29 AM

Hi Dustin,
My main reason was flexibility. Having 7 power settings is SOOOO much better than 3. I have a set of sola 1200s that i havn't touched since my 4000's arrived.
The sola 1200's drop down to 300 lumens from memory & for night dives, shooting real close stuff, 300 lumens was just blowing out everything. On night dives when i am shooting very close i shoot on 125 lumens & sometimes 250 lumens. Daytime i shoot 500 or 1000 lumens but having the bigger lights gives me plenty of battery power for several dives.
The flexibility is the biggest advantage for me & i couldn't imagine life without them now.

I have never shot with an SLR but with 2000 or 3000 lumens i am surprised that you can't get your iso down lower than that.
Have you tried slowing down the shutter speed?
Cheers Pete.


Pete,
I wasn't always at that ISo. Sometimes 320 and also 160. Especially during night dives.
As for shutter speed, for the dslr's, in general, it should be the multiple of the frame rate. So for me shooting at 30 fps, I use a 1/60 shutter. Which seems to be the overwhelming recommendation in most situations.
Dustin

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#11 Pete L

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:17 AM

I wasn't saying that all macro needs low light, that is just what works for me. Obviously every setup is different so sorry for any confusion on that.
At the end of the day, if you are getting good results with using higher power then continue to do so. That is obviously what is working for you.
Do you have any footage that we can see Dustin?
Cheers Pete

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#12 Oceanshutter

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 11:24 AM

I wasn't saying that all macro needs low light, that is just what works for me. Obviously every setup is different so sorry for any confusion on that.
At the end of the day, if you are getting good results with using higher power then continue to do so. That is obviously what is working for you.
Do you have any footage that we can see Dustin?
Cheers Pete



No worries Pete. I was just telling you what I was using....not saying I am right! LOL!! In fact, I am starting to wonder if I am doing something wrong! I look at others footage from Wetpixel, and compare mine, and mine isn't nearly as good! So I am trying to figure it all out, on limited vacation time. This is my first time shooting macro, and first time with Lights. So I am just trying to find my way.

As far as footage is concerned, I haven't started editing yet. I imagine I will have something out there in a month or so. I will definitely post it when I do get it up.

Dustin

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