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need Help/info with Focus Lights (with or without Auto off ? ) and best placement


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#1 globalmark

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:01 AM

HI

I am looking at getting a new Focus light as have cheap Fisheye fix and not always good enough- have read loads but cannot seem to find specific info up to date 2012
I like the Idea of the Auto off feature as I have read alot that those without can change shadows and not give you so much control over the light also can over expose your pictures .

So can anyone let me know the Pro's and Cons with the Auto off lights or non auto off lights .

Does anyone know or can list what Auto off lights there are in the market (i know Big blue, fisheye fix / fantasia 44) ARE there any other good ones available ?? let me know so i can have a look would be great (google auto off focus lights didn't really help)

I like the sound of the La Luz 800 light - does anyone know if thats auto off - as does not mention anywhere.

Last is where is the Best location for a Focus light , I make my own mounts from thin sheet Aluminium (- point being can locate anywhere pretty much next to strobe/hotshoe or somewhere else,
But where is the Best/optimal place for a Focus light and if on the hotshot mount how high above should it be ?

Thanks All
Mark

#2 JimSwims

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:18 AM

Hi Mark,

when I first looked at Focus lights I used to get hung up on the auto cut-off feature thinking it was a must as I was
concerned about possible backscatter. My first light was a Fisheye Fix mini which for the money was, pardon the
pun, a temporary Fix. Almost immediately I wanted a stronger light and the only brighter light I could find with the
Auto Off was the Big Blue. Fortunately a friend had one so I could check it out first hand and I knew it wasn't the
light for me. Just too big/long and what were they thinking designing it with that shape? They have since released
a different shaped unit still with the AFO feature.

Around that time the Light & Motion Sola 600 hit the market and after reading Alex Mustards review of it I had to
have one. Love the size and form of it, plus the red light is a boon for night dives and light sensitive critters. Have
had no issues with it causing backscatter or any exposure issues. The only thing I've found that can show up in my
images is a red cast when I use the red leds and shoot at too low a speed.

Since the Solas hit the market a number of other manufacturers have since introduced lights that take advantage
of the newer LED tech. You mentioned La Luz and amongst others there's also the I-Torch Video Pro.

As for positioning, mount somewhere on top of your housing. Could be on a hotshoe mount, on the housing handle,
or use a neck ball adapter; bottom line is whatever works for you, plus you need a short arm to change position
according to subject. I like to be able to move the light forward and cast downwards on subject.

Hope some of my thoughts are helpful.

Cheers,
Jim.

PS- what camera and housing are you using?

My photostream on Flickr My gallery on Redbubble

D90 in Nexus; 60mm, Woody's Diopter, 105mm, SubSee +5 & +10 magnifiers, 10-17mm, Kenko 1.4 TC, 10-24mm, 18-55mm & Inon Z240 strobes.


#3 globalmark

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 04:19 AM

Hi Jim

Wow thats great - thanks for the Info yes your thoughts are spot on and have looked at most stuff you suggested already .
interesting about Big blue - say somewhere were very big - and different model..

I actually have a Olympus E-620 in Olympus Housing with 2 Inon s-2000 strobes - I love Olympus Underwater (had before Olympus c-765 before upgrading couple years ago) but find the E-620 takes a while to focus and really does not like low light (whatever lens I have).
tried using the Fisheye Fix next to the strobes but that didn't work and recently made mounts for Hot shoe mount with bit of loc-line (DIY everything) - but think those just not bright enough. - just wondering if was Angle/position or not bright enough for me ? (think answer was both)

I have read alot about the Sola's but seen many people have a Problem with the red showing through and as no auto shut off sometimes over exposed and shadows in wrong place . I also to be honest not a fan of Light and Motion stuff , to many electronics and seen many Customers (I am Instructor) have a problem with there electronics and cannot get serviced quickly or easily - I like Basic things , if a torch floods, i like that I can clean new batteries, maybe new bulb and fix again. - and to be honest they are too Expensive, just basically a aluminium tube battery and led's. Would not mindpaying $400/$500 for a focus light/torch if would use it for other stuff But being a Instructor for years I have so many torches and even old HID niterider video lights don't really want to spend so much again..

Anyone know of a DIY project/plans to make a Focus light with auto shut off ?
maybe can make one with few white , red and blue LEDS and cut out and shove in old torch ??

Thanks for Info Jim

#4 billmackbarnes

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:01 PM

I really love the Sola 600 photo (now the Sola 800 photo). I went with the cheaper $130 big blue with AFO and used it for about 6 months. I made my own red filter and it sorta worked.

I finally broke down and spent the $$$ for the Sola. All my dive buddies promptly bought one too, some even bought two.
They have Red built right in. Three levels of red and three levels of white.
Small, compact, long battery life with decent low battery warning. I mount it on my hot shoe with a ball and a clamp.
Battery comparment is sealed so no flooding.
Works great!

I just bought a second as a spare for by GF.
Bill

#5 JackConnick

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 06:04 PM

If you shoot at around 100th-125th of a sec you'll never see a focus light in your photo. But I keep my Sola 800 turned down when I use it as a focus light as well. the red light isn't seen by Octos or Crabs, etc. Seems to vary with fish. But I love using the red light on night dives as then you don't get the Sea Lice/Krill in your lights and in front of the camera.

Jack

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#6 globalmark

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 06:34 PM

Thanks for all the advice so far Bill and Jack
Sounds like the Sola is a great light and one of the best ones to go for I would love to Splash on one , but don't think i can justify such a expensive light at the moment, But will go on the list when i can.
mark

#7 billmackbarnes

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 04:51 AM

It all comes down to this, how many night dives do you do a year?
Two? Four? Its not worth it.
If you do 10 or more a year, or a going on a dive trip and dive every night, it is worth it.

The Sola 600 is powerful enough for close video work, say blennies?
For good video, you two and longer arms,
Bill

#8 JackConnick

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:25 AM

The Sola 600 isn't sold anymore, it was upgraded a year ago to the Sola 800 for less money. There is the Sola 500 without the red for $200 less, and it's just fine as a focus light, but marginal for video in terms of power.

I would also check out the iTorch ProMini for the same price as the Sola 500; it does have an external red filter included.

Jack

Jack Connick
Optical Ocean Sales.com Sea & Sea, Olympus, Ikelite, Athena, Zen, Fix, Nauticam, Aquatica, Seacam, Gates, 10Bar, Light & Motion, iTorch/I-DAS & Fantasea Line - Cameras, Housings, Strobes, Arms, Trays & Accessories
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#9 jbdiver

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 12:02 PM

+1 for the Sola 800 recommendation. I bought this light two months ago before a long summer trip to Palau. It was such a pleasure to use compared to my previous focus lights -- strong illumination, nice wide beam, easy controls, both white/red LEDs... There's so much to like about this light.

I didn't just use it on night dives. It was mounted to my rig -- on a hotshoe mount or an arm tri-clamp mount -- anytime I was using a macro or mid-level zoom lens. I used it in the blue holes, caverns, and along the walls. You never know when you might need a little extra light. And as Jack pointed out, the light from the focus light is practically imperceptible compared to the light from your strobes. I believe the AFO feature should not be a factor when making a buying decision for a focus light.

#10 globalmark

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:07 PM

HI All

Thanks for the Input so Far - however seem to be getting off Topic , as seems to be a Sola's recommendation topic now (i am sure thats the best light there)
But the Sola's does not have the Auto - Off feature ? Does it ?

I was asking about the differences and pro's and Cons about the Auto off feature on Focus lights ?
and does anyone know of which makes and models have them (apart from the small Fix and big blue) ?
And what is the best Mounting Place and why - just trying to understand why I do these things as well as just doing them .??

Bill - thanks for input , can do up to 100 night dives a year (but when as a working ! I am instructor I almost never take a camera just students) so normally carrying my Hartenberger umbilical and several back ups for myself and everyone) - And as i have Video lights already , will not use for video and Olympus e620 does not have video function also, so will be really only mainly for day dives.

Anyway Thanks for all suggestions guys all useful.