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Video Lights, One 4000 lumen or 2 2000 lunens?


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#1 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 08:02 AM

I am in the marked for a video light.  My rig is an olympus OMD in the Nauticam housing.

 

My question is, are two video lights better than one?

 

I looked at the Keldan Luna 4 and really liked its warm color.  The beam was very wide and soft, the size is very moderate and interchangeable battery is a good feature.  That would be mounted on my housing on a short arm to hold it up a bit, pointing forward and down.

 

I also looked at the new Fisheye Neo 2000s.  They are downright tiny and would easily fit on my strobe arms next to the strobes using a triple clamp and so would be off to the sides.  Also interchangeable battery (that is why the Solas are not an option, I need interchangeable batteries for multiple dives).  Their beam is also wide (not quite as wide as the Keldan) with soft edges, but a much more blue color.  Together, they would be as bright as the Keldan.  I see also that there is another light out called AOBlue that has a warmer tone, like the Keldan.

 

Would the two light rig give me better control over shadows by filling them in or offering ratio lighting for contrast?  Is this the recommended configuration?  Can I correct for the bluish color of the lights by adjusting my white balance to Auto, or underwater, or some other way?

 

Or, would the single Keldan meet my needs and offer better color quality?

 

Thanks in advance!



#2 CheungyDiver

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:13 PM

I really like my two Keldans Luna 4. Always used them in a pair if possible for even spread of light especially for superwide. Maybe the Luna 8 Flux with a diffuser could do the job with one by mounting it directly on top with extended arms over the housing. A little odd looking. I suggest two. You never have enough lighting for UW video as saying goes. The key is in the controls. 

 

I have used the RG Blue lights. Battery power is not so great so have to conserve the lighting during the dive. These have interchangeable batteries. The best thing about these lights is the colour temperatures and it has a hight CRI (colour rendring index) a least to that of Keldans. Hence its power drain. Making the light small means less burn time. I have spoken to the manufacturer and they may have a larger battery module later. The led on this light is quite special as it is not an array but single large spot. This means no multiple shadows. I could put a condenser lens in front and it could produce a concentrated beam with higher lumen. Great for murky water or macro stuff.

 

The Fix (fisheye) neo lights are great for controls with the led level indicator. I like the fact that the fibre optic controls up to four lights.

 

I only have experience with one M4/3 camera. The GH2 (hacked) and using a 8mm FE. Boy did I have fun trying to not get light into frame around the sides. To prepare I shoot ambient light video first. Review it. I find it best to shoot with a grey card, my palm or brown coral and then see what the camera WB suggest. Take notes for various depths. After that I just dial in the color temperature. With lights I let the camera decide. Having a well exposed, composed and in focus footage is more important to me. Make sure you pick a flat style finish to the footage. Use least amount of satuation, smooth setting and no in camera enhancement. Colour correction afterwards will bring out the best details. Hope this helps.

 

regards

David


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#3 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:13 PM

Thanks David

 

Can't afford 2 of the keldan Luna 4s right now.  I think two of them would be too big for my om-d system.  One mounted on the housing would be fine.

 

My main interest is whether the one bright light would be better for lighting quality on the subject, or would the two lights be best.  I don't think there would be too much difference on wide angle, but on macro do shadows become more of a concern?

 

If I want 2 lights, looks like the fisheye 2000s are the way to go with good battery life and their interchangeable batteries being very reasonably priced at $110, and they include a full set of mounting options.

 

The AOBlue would have been my first choice due to their color, but the battery life concerns me as I do lots of repetitive dives and would need to swap batteries, and the replacement battery unit is unbelievably expensive (well over $300).  I think they need to do some additional engineering work to get their battery life up and the battery cost down.



#4 CheungyDiver

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:45 PM

If the set up is good I don't care about looks. The quality of the image and functionality of the setup is more important. Okay, I do like a better and proportionally balanced system too. Can't have the cake and eat it sometimes.

 

If you have to go for only one Keldan. One trick is to bring a small reflector. No joke. Makes a big difference to the shadow. One single light will make a more defined shadow. If there is sunlight and shallow enough one Keldan is okay to fill the shadows. Even at 4000 lumen these light will be overwhelmed by the Sun's light.

 

Good luck with what ever you choose. These are all great lights. Just how to used them to their full potential.

 

I personally like the Keldans. Never give me a single problem in two years and over 100 dives. Its my favorite at the moment.


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#5 peterbkk

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:47 PM

I second David's vote for the pair of Keldan's. I've been using them for a few months and they are great.

Unless you plan to shoot only macro, you need the horizontal coverage of two lights. A pair of 2000s might do it, depending on what you shoot and the water conditions.

But, before you invest in lights, make sure that you will be happy with the video that the OM5 produces. Borrow some lights and try it out first. Some DSLRs don't do good video - more of a "me too" feature from the manufacturer.

Regards
Peter

#6 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 03:17 AM

Video on the OM-D is "decent" not great.  Not up to a pro-level DSLR perhaps.  But, I want to make the most out of it.  All of my dives are 80% photo and 20% video but I find myself enjoying the video and wanting to do more.  Thus, every dive would be with strobes AND video lights.

 

My lighting budget is $1500 to $1800 for lights plus one set of spare batteries.  Believe me, if I could afford two Keldans, I would!



#7 peterbkk

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 04:19 AM

All of my dives are 80% photo and 20% video but I find myself enjoying the video and wanting to do more.  Thus, every dive would be with strobes AND video lights.

 

What do you intend to shoot?  When do you decide to use video and when do you shoot stills?  What subjects are you likely to want to light with the video lights?

 

We had a discussion about shooting both stills and video somewhere earlier on this forum. Most of the experienced guys felt that switching between the two formats during a dive might be suboptimal, especially in the video format.  Unless you are very disciplined in preparation and mindset changes.  Video is not just "moving pictures".  It is story-telling.  You need to have some story in mind, however short the story.  Then, in addition to the "attention-grabbing hot footage" of the amazing creature, you need to put it in context.  Even more so if you have non-divers in your audience.  Even if the story is only, "I went on this dive trip and saw this creature".  You need all the establishing footage, (e.g. the boat, the place, descending).  A lot of video guys work out the story before they get in the water.  

 

Then there are all the technical differences.  Focusing is not the same.  One requires an instant of complete stillness.  The other requires seconds of movement. The way you hold the camera is different.  The way you position the moving subject in the frame.  I even hear the music track in my head when I'm shooting video...

 

Not trying to put you off the double-purpose setup but you might want to concentrate on one format and make a conscious shift from one to the other.

 

Personally, I dedicate a whole event (e.g. a dive trip) on one format or the other.  If I want to tell a story (local fisherman feeding whale sharks), then I write a rough script, make a shot list and have a good idea what footage I need.  Of course, I'll change it on the fly if different things occur.  But at least I'll have the core pieces to tell a story when I am back in editing mode.  

 

If I'm looking for interesting images, I leave the video gear at home and go hunting for "instant in time" moments.  Different mindset.  Different equipment.

 

Maybe some people can flip between both formats but, IMHO, it'd be challenging to do both well on the same dive.



#8 SimonSpear

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:22 AM

Maybe another way of looking at this is if budgets are tight then maybe just buy 1 good light rather than 2 average ones.  You can then save up for a second light if you want to, but you definitely don't always need 2 lights for an underwater system, or even any at all for that matter, so don't get bogged down with "I must have lights" thinking because you really don't.  If you know how to get the most out of lighting then they can really enhance your filming, but more often than not you can get better results by turning them off. :)

 

Cheers, Simon (who only rarely uses lights).



#9 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 11:52 AM

Thanks to the incredible folks at Reef Photo, who let me rent two of their SOLA 2000 videos (they don't usually rent) to take on a night coral spawning dive.  I mounted them on a cold shoe ball, with a triple clamp to the two strobes (no arms, they had ball mounts)  Thus, I could put them together to act as "one" or spead them and angle them out to widen the area of coverage.  I was very happy with this set-up.  In the store, pointing them together, they were was just as bright as the single Keldan, but having the two lights offers more versatility.  On the dive, I used them both ways.  They worked great.

 

When I returned from the dive, I also tried out using the triple clamp at the end of my strobe arms to hold both the strobe (YS-D1) and the video light together.  It works perfectly.  The light is so small and light that moving the two together is seamless and easy.  The controls are easy to reach on both so no conflict there.  It is almost like one single unit with the video and strobe combined together.  I could not try this during the dive because I only had one triple clamp and so had to use the cold shoe.

 

Given that I can get the same brightness as the Keldan when I want, or have the option of a wider coverage and ability to fill in shadows for macro video, I think I am going to go with this set-up.

 

Two Keldans are not in my future.  My budget is fixed at $1500-1800 range and that is it.

 

I am wondering, though, if Sola is going to offer the 2000 with a red focus light option like some of their other models.  Might try to find out because I woiuld want that in one of the lights when I am in stills mode and want a night focus light that does not spook the critters.

 

As for what I shoot, it is everything from macro to wide angle.  Thanks to everyone for their advice, but there is no substitute for trying things out and I hope my experience might be useful for others.



#10 SimonSpear

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 01:36 PM


As for what I shoot, it is everything from macro to wide angle.  Thanks to everyone for their advice, but there is no substitute for trying things out and I hope my experience might be useful for others.

 

:goodpost:



#11 peterbkk

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:38 PM

 

 

Given that I can get the same brightness as the Keldan when I want, or have the option of a wider coverage and ability to fill in shadows for macro video, I think I am going to go with this set-up.

 

 

 

Since 2005, I was a huge fan of Light and Motion.  Bought all the housings and all their lighting systems.  And even a t-shirt.  L&M fanboy.  :notworthy:

 

Then, about 3 years back, I had a battery problem with the Sunray system.  L&M swapped the batteries.  But it re-occurred.  And again.  So, I wrote it off as a one-off design issue and bought a set of 3 of the new Solas.  Six months later a couple of the batteries failed.  Then, along came the Sola 4000 which looked to me like the greatest thing since sliced bread.  So, I bought a pair of them.  A few months later, one stopped charging.  L&M swapped it.  Then the other failed.  Final straw.

 

Some points of qualification: 

  1. L&M have always been very reasonable (maybe a bit slow) in swapping out a faulty light or battery.
  2. I have not yet heard of any battery problems in the Sola 2000.
  3. I am super caring of my batteries, always ensuring the optimal storage and recharge cycle for that type of battery.

In the end, I decided "no more L&M" until I start hearing that they've resolved the battery issues.

 

The reason that I chose the Keldan (despite the fugly pink colour   :wacko:  ) are:

  1. User replaceable battery
  2. Each battery includes some electronics that nurture its health
  3. Even, soft light coverage
  4. Intuitive controls

Regards

Peter



#12 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 08:34 AM

Peter

 

I appreciate the insight into SOLA batteries, but Reef said they have had almost no returns and that it is their best-selling light.  So, looks good.

 

Af for the Keldan's better color and swappable battery, your comments are right on.  However the cost of two Keldans is  out of range.  Also, two of them would be quite large on my OM-D rig.

 

However, I just saw that there is a light called AOI RGBlue that has the same color temp as the Keldan, the same wide spread, is about 2200 lumen, and costs about as much as the Solas and is about the same size, and also has an interchangeable battery.  It has the option for a red lens, and also for a condenser to reduce the spread from 100 degrees to 60 degrees, for even better intensity on macro or semi-wide angle dives. Two of these, held together with the strobes with the triple clamp, sounds like a real contender for me.  I am going to see if I can get one with a return policy and test it against the sola



#13 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 04:57 AM

Got a great deal on 2 SOLA 4000s.  Surprisingly, although a little big, they do not weigh any more than the 2000s underwater.  Way brighter (obviously) but many more power levels and huge battery life.  Having both of them on "low" still gives 500 lumens each, and more than 8 hours of burn time!!  Very easy to use with my triple clamp set-up.  I had them on a dive last night and I am a very happy camper, I can tell you.



#14 peterbkk

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 05:02 AM

Good luck with the batteries on those 4000s.



#15 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 08:23 AM

I did not mean to say I disregarded your advice.  But, I bought them from Reef Photo who are close to my house, and I know they will stand behind what they sell.  I have also heard many stories of problem-free use from other users of SOLA's, and of Light and Motion's excellent customer service.  Plus, Reef is pretty good about having demo or loaners if you have to send something in for repair that you bought from them.  I am comfortable that I won't be without a light if something goes wrong.  Time will tell, I guess. 

 

I liked the Keldans, a lot.  But, the SOLA's were far less money with the deal that I got, which also was a factor.  Getting the 4000s at just over my lighting budget for 2000s was a very nice surprise.



#16 ScubaBob

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:36 PM

I've had the 4000s for over a year now and could not be happier with them. I've noticed that the charger connection can be a bit quirky, but as long as I keep an eye on them for the first few minutes of charging them, reconnecting them if the charging process stops, the lights charge fine and give long consistent burns (I usually operate between level 3 and 4 for a majority of my filming). Having interchangeable batteries would be a nice feature for the 4000s, but even with a 3 dive (average 60+ minutes per dive) day I'm able to leave them on for the entire dive with about 20-30 minutes charge time between each dive (which is really only necessary when I use levels 5+ which definitely drain the battery faster).

561124_4567623981561_1648230904_n.jpg


Edited by ScubaBob, 05 September 2013 - 03:42 PM.

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