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New LED Lights from L&M

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Plus they are very bright, and will need the multiple power settings.

 

Thanks for the pictures. I am really interested in these lights.

 

Do they have multiple power settings? If so, what percentage do they set to?

Edited by Mini Dive

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I'm interested to know how the filter fits in. It would be cool if it could be a flip filter of some sort so we wouldn't have to find a place to store them and risk dropping them. Looks to me like a Cokin filter holder on that pic. Maybe it's just a prototype.

 

Also did they have any new pods and switches on show?

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Mini Dive - They both should (nothing official yet) have multiple power settings, but the specifics are not final yet.

 

Nick - Currently the Sunray 1000 had a screw on filter, and the Sunray 2000 had the Cokin filter holder as you saw. Nothing is final yet, and I agree that a flip filter would be nice. The easier everything is underwater, the better. The new pods and LiIon batteries for the Sunray 2000 won't be available till April, and the new pod parts and electronics to use the Sunray 1000 with our existing battery pods are not finalized yet. The Sunray 1000 is supposed to be shipping in December.

 

Shawn - Saw your's and Wagsy's video's playing at the show and both were very good. I also see Wagsy's stuff playing at the Florida Dive Show, and so does mine. BTW, missed you by a day at the show. The new Sunray LED's certainly are some very nice underwater video lights.

 

Dan

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Hi All,

 

The plan is for the SunRay 1000 to have 3 power levels, like the current LMI halogen lights, and for the SunRay 2000 to have 2 power levels.

 

Both light heads will have a 52mm filter thread so you can attach any common filter out there. The demo units at DEMA just happened to have the Hoya filter on the 1000 and the Cokin system on the 2000, but they could've been easily swiched around since they have the same threds. But let's talk about this for a little bit.

 

I got to test these lights out last month and the sample footage playing in the DEMA booth was mine. The lights worked perfectly so there was little "testing" to be done as far as the light was concerned. It was working out the filter system that was most challenging. Not only is the attachment system and issue, but which filters do you choose? Will off the shelf filters do the job? Well, what exactly is the "job"?

 

I guess that's the question. Why filter your lights? What is the desired effect? Once you know that, then you can pick the proper filter. If no filter exists in the land photo world to fit our needs, then custom UW filters will have to be created.

 

I'm going to leave the question at that for now and see where this takes us. I have my own ideas but I'd really like to know what you guys hope to accomplish by filtering lights. Then, let's make sure we get the filters we need in a system that works for us.

 

Dan B.

LED field tester

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Well Dan it would be interesting to be able to project a blue/green light that allows us to use a blue-water CC filter on the camera and still use the lights without the illuminated foreground turning red.

 

I tried exactly this with a 50W dichroic halogen light a few years ago. I had a 3CCD camera but my blue water CC filter could not be removed and the housing didn't allow manual white balance.

 

I was basically experimenting with a mixture of blue and green marker pen on clear plastic to create the right complimentary of the red. In the end the required colour was so dark and cut out so much light that I didn't use the filters.

 

But if you have such a strong light as you say you do with these new LED lights, and a good white colour to begin with, then perhaps it might work to some degree. My feeling is that you'd need a significantly deeper shade of blue/green than shown in the filter on the pictures.

 

A "warm" filter might be useful for night dives.

 

I can imagine a little "flip" arrangement with an over-centre hinge so that we didn't have to keep track of the filters or unscrew them during a dive.

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OK Dan B., I'll take a wild guess at this. Since the cc filter on the camera is a subtractive filter that blocks some of the blues and greens but passes reds and yellows, I would think we would need the exact opposite on the lights to shoot through cc filter with ambient light ahd artificial fill light. Does this filter exist? I don't know. I would think we would need a filter for the lights that blocks some of the reds and yellows, but passes the blues and greens. Whatever the specs are on the URPro filter, get the exact opposite for the lights. Like I said, this was a wild guess.

Dan

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Videodan, you're right. Does it exist? More than likely not. The good news is it doesn't need to.

 

Underwater filters are roughly a mixture of 2 filters; a strong warming filter and a green removal filter. The warming filter doesn't need to be compensated for on your lights (although you could do so if you desired). The green removal does.

 

This article contains tables that describe the green removal component of a number of suitable underwater filters, including the UR Pro ones. Simply matching the magenta component of the lens filter with an equal strength green filter on the light would be a good start.

 

I use this technique presently with all my wide angle still shooting. Generally, my lens filter is a flourescent rather than a simple magenta. Results are just fine.

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Took a good look at them at Dema and they are impressive. Nice wide beam, no hotspots and the different pods will be able to be adapted to older housings.

Steve B)

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Nick- Yes, it would be interesting. In fact, I’d say that’s what interests me the most out these lights. Being able to filter the artificial light so that it matches the color of ambient light underwater would be great. That way, the on camera filter and manual white balance would correct both sources equally and you’d get even color throughout the scene. Wow! How cool is that!?

 

Videodan- You jumped the gun on me, man. I was wondering if there are any other filtering desires out there besides this? Wanna go warmer?? For what? Cooler? Why? I must confess that I can’t think of any other reason to filter the lights. But maybe that’s because I’ve got such a one track mind right now and all I can think about is correcting mixed lighting.

 

So, if anyone has had any other desire to filter lights, I’d like to know why.

 

But back to Wide Angle Mixed Lighting (as this is all I seem to think about lately). I dove 2 SunRay 2000s with a slew of filters trying to see what would happen. These lights were amazing because they were twice as bright at my HIDs, even filtered. The deepest filter I used only took out about 1 stop of light (and that one was clearly wrong from the start). Most were less than a stop, and the ones I ultimately settled on took out less than a 1/2 stop. I was now able to light up a subject in a shallow, high ambient light situation. My light was bright enough, now I just needed to make it white enough.

 

Like you said Nick, mixed lighting has always been a challenge because it turns your foreground red. Why? It’s being over corrected by the camera’s CC filter, right? So maybe what I said above is not really what you want. Maybe you don’t want to make your artificial light match ambient after all. Instead I think you want to put a filter on your video lights that that will make it appear white after it has passed through your camera’s color correction filter. Take water out of the equation. Make a lighting filter that will neutralize your camera’s CC filter.

 

This is not a wild guess, Dan, this is exactly the conversation you and I had at DEMA. I tested many different “blue†filters with these LED lights and got pretty poor results. Trying to match ambient was impossible. But when I tried to neutralize the UR Pro in my housing with some Cyan, it started looking good. I stacked up about 8 layers of a Cyan gel filters on the light heads before I got the density I needed. Now, when I turned on my Cyan(ish) light it was properly converted back to white by my UR pro.

 

I dove this system for days and got some pretty encouraging results. I found the best thing to do was manually white balance with ambient light with the camera’s CC filter on. This gave me a proper ambient setting. Then, whenever I turned on my lights they were perfectly balanced. Very cool. I suppose I should post some video soon to back this up, eh? :-)

 

All this being said, there is still a lot to learn here. I’ve just scratched the surface and by no means have perfected the process. It is going to take a lot more work to dial this in. But I think it’ll be worth it.

 

DanB

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Hey hey Mr Baldocchio

One more reason for filtered lights is to make the light red. Some marine life are less tuned to that bandwidth so they tend to be less reactive. Note the spotting lights for mandarin fish etc.

I've recently done some experiments with red cellophane covering my 100W halogens and found a reduction in squirmy scriggly things swarming around the light and the marine life don't react as they do with normal light. It does kill off 3 stops of light easily so it's not without cons.

In daylight, if your fill lights are redder and you MWB to that, your background automatically becomes bluer, which is a desirable effect.

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Hey hey Drew

 

So if you make the light red, it won't bother your subject as much. Ok. Cool. Do you then try and correct it back to natural color somehow or does it stay red like that? Like the military green night vision scopes. Is that watchable?

 

"In daylight, if your fill lights are redder and you MWB to that, your background automatically becomes bluer, which is a desirable effect."

 

You know that's what I thought, but really the opposite on the color wheel of red is cyan, not blue. So it doesn't make your water bluer, it make it more cyan. (And that's what I think water color is really, cyan.) But therein lies the rub. It's making your ambient even more cyan (or blue) so you get this icky, reef lit by ambient next to colorful reef lit with lights. The mix is harsh, not smooth. If you make sure the reef looks good with white balance then it will blend with a lit foreground as well as trail off into the distance. (or am i dreaming here?)

 

db

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Dan B, do you know what was the code number of the cyan gel filters you used? Those Rosco or Lee swatch books are really helpful in picking out colours to try before getting hold of samples.

 

I was watching Howard Hall's Coral Reef Adventure the other day and I noticed a lot of the foreground corals and fish were very red. I don't know if this was something to do with the down-conversion from IMAX to DVD but it really looked like they'd white balanced with ambient light at depth and then turned their artificial lights on. But they may well have used a technique similar to what we're talking about here but not used much cyan filtering on the lights. Great footage nontheless.

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craig - Excellent article, glad you're here to help us. All that has been said to this point, what else can you add? We need a solution that will work with most conditions in both blue water and green water. I think the majority of us are using URPro "CY" or "GR" filters and won't be changing them, now we need to match the lights. Do we want neutral, warmer, or cooler output from the lights, and what would be their various effects? These are questions for anyone to answer.

 

DanB. - "all I can think about is correcting mixed lighting". I think that's what we all want. I'm thinking neutral is the way to go, as you have been trying to do. Maybe have some slight variations for those who want a different effect, but basically neutral. Definitely post your video results for those who couldn't attend. It shows some very good results. You also mentioned (I believe) that you had a lot less "squirmy scriggly things" when using the cyan filters. Seems to me I've had worse problems with the scriggly things when using Halogen's (redder) and less with the HID's, but it could be totally unrelated to the lights. BTW, I didn't realize cyan was the opposite of the URPro CY. Have you tried a flourescent filter as Craig mentioned? You're the man who is going to make this all work for us, so we want to help you succeed.

 

Dan

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Mr DB

Cyan is the direct opposite of red. Basically at 1000-1500°K or so will force MWB to shift to the cyan/blue. It's obviously a look and works for certain shots. I'll try to get around to downloading those tests sometime this year. Am travelling too much these days.

The other look you mentioned of white balancing with ambient light is only effective up to 30 ft for most cameras, afterwhich the red-blue WB shift of the camera can't compensate.

My personal use of lights is to create creative lighting situations in the daytime for either macro or fill for WA shots, and of course night dives. The redder the light the less reactive the marine life in my short experimentation with my video lights. The red spotting light for stills works very well which is why I migrated the idea to video. Obviously you'd have to MWB to a gray card, which is why I think 1000-1500 is probably the max any video camera can MWB.

 

URPro's Kirk does have a video filter designed for use with halogen 3200°K in daylight use. I don't remember what my findings where with that but obviously I didn't like it enough to stay with it. It does work for a few types of shots but overall the esthetic of shooting with lights in daytime use never appealed to me for general use.

Hey hey Drew

 

So if you make the light red, it won't bother your subject as much. Ok. Cool. Do you then try and correct it back to natural color somehow or does it stay red like that? Like the military green night vision scopes. Is that watchable?

 

"In daylight, if your fill lights are redder and you MWB to that, your background automatically becomes bluer, which is a desirable effect."

 

You know that's what I thought, but really the opposite on the color wheel of red is cyan, not blue. So it doesn't make your water bluer, it make it more cyan. (And that's what I think water color is really, cyan.) But therein lies the rub. It's making your ambient even more cyan (or blue) so you get this icky, reef lit by ambient next to colorful reef lit with lights. The mix is harsh, not smooth. If you make sure the reef looks good with white balance then it will blend with a lit foreground as well as trail off into the distance. (or am i dreaming here?)

 

db

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craig - Excellent article, glad you're here to help us. All that has been said to this point, what else can you add? We need a solution that will work with most conditions in both blue water and green water. I think the majority of us are using URPro "CY" or "GR" filters and won't be changing them, now we need to match the lights. Do we want neutral, warmer, or cooler output from the lights, and what would be their various effects? These are questions for anyone to answer.

There are three UR Pro filters listed in the table of that article: the CY, GR, and VLF. That article was written in 2003 so I don't know how much as changed since then. In my experience, the CY and VLF filters looked, measured, and worked very much the same even though UR Pro advertised them for different applications.

 

The main difference between the CY and GR filters is the strength of the warming effect. The CY filter also included twice as much green removal which I found counterintuitive. I measured these filters with a Gossen color meter which should be reasonably accurate. A spectrometer would give a little more insight to how the filters work though.

 

Let's say we work with the CY or VLF filter and place a CC60G filter on the light. The light filter counteracts the magenta filteration on the lens and leaves only the 140 mireds of warming. That amount of warming will cause the camera to white balance to the LED light somewhere around 3200K. The background will be cold but the foreground will be white. If you don't like the background that blue then you should use a cooling filter on the lights as well. I don't think anyone will be motivated to do that, though.

 

If you work with the UR Pro GR filter instead, you add a CC30G filter to the light and are left with only 30 mireds or so of warming---about the equivalent of an 81C. That amount of warming is of little consequence to the camera.

 

As long as the foreground white balance is comfortably within range of your camera's capability you should be OK. With still cameras it is also important to know the native white balance of the sensor, but still cameras and video cameras are different in that respect. Since video cameras can tolerate a lot of green and still white balance successfully, you don't need an exact match for things to work. A CC60G filter has a 2 stop light penalty whereas a CC30G only has one.

 

On my last trip, I shot a combination of a Lee FL-B 3600K (a bit stronger than a UR Pro GR) with a CC30G on my strobes. The results were very good and I shot colorchecker charts beforehand to demonstrate that no colors were ruined in the process.

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Think also a plus point the LED's stays coler (temperature) above water compared with Hid and Halogene.

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Shawn just brought a prototype unit down to the Bahamas for some shark work, and I have to say, the lights were really cool. Instant on, super bright, etc. etc. We used a filter that L&M provided, and when white balanced in the blue water of the Bahamas. It matched well enough to be close enough for easy post (if that makes sense).

 

The prototype battery required an additional bulkhead in the housing connected to a metal box attached to the top of the housing, but this obviously won't be in the final version.

 

I'd try to get Shawn to post some sample footage, but he hasn't slept much in the last few weeks and is headed out to Indo in two days.

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This L&M New Product Spotlight just released today explains about their Sunray LED lights. Good article dispelling some of the myths about LED's, and presenting facts. Also has a comparison chart with specs for all of their lights.

Dan

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"In addition LEDs, if properly selected, have better CRI (color rendering index)and more stable output compared to HIDs and Halogens. "

 

I wonder how LED selection allows them to have better CRI than halogen?

 

I'm curious why LMI didn't state what the CRI is in that article. They've done the "proper selection"; they know what it is.

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Yeah be interesting to see how CRI can be better than 100 of halogens, unless they are referring to voltage variations.

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In the attached chart, they list the Sunray 1000 and 2000 LED's CRI as 80, the Sunray HID as 65-80, and the Sunray Elite Halogen as 85. Now IMHO only, I believe color temperature is the most important factor for underwater videographers, and we want the color temp to closely approximate the sun. Halogen lights with their lower color temp, give everything a warmer reddish hue, while high color temp sources (HID, Hi-Performance LED) give a more natural look, regardless of a slightly lower CRI. We also want the CRI to be in a high range also. "Any CRI rating of 80 or above is normally considered high and indicates that the source has good color" is quoted from Sylvania Light Color Characteristics. I own Sunray Elite Halogen lights which are very good lights, but when I bought the Sunray HID's, it was a night and day difference in light quality. When my Sunray 2000 LED's finally arrive, I'm sure I'll never look back. The future is LED's.

Dan

 

2007_UWlightcomparisonFULL.gif

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Some observations:

 

According to this chart, LMI's claim that LED CRI can surpass halogen if properly selected means that they didn't properly select their LEDs.

 

Any company that is getting only an 85 CRI out of halogen is doing it wrong. A halogen that is being run in the halogen cycle will have a CRI of 100. LMI's halogen is spec'ed at 23 lumens/watt. There are halogens that produce 40 lumens/watt though they're always higher wattage bulbs. LMI's halogen isn't running hot enough.

 

Notice that LMI's HID product is only 43 lumens/watt IGNORING ballast efficiency and probably 36-39 overall. That's not enough of an advantage over a good 50W, 32 l/w halogen to justify all the downsides i.e. ballasts, warm-up, poor CRI, expense and costly replacement bulbs IMO. A properly done 50W halogen outpowers the LMI HID and renders color better.

 

Why didn't LMI include wattage in their LED lights in this table? They did for the others.

 

Photographic "high CRI" is 90 or greater. Light sources that do not possess "high CRI" should not have their CCTs compared. You cannot say with any assurance which light will be a better match to anything based on CCTs alone unless they are sufficiently full-spectrum.

 

The article linked to is not written from a photographic perspective and their claim that high CRI is above 80 may be true of general purpose lighting but it is not true for the interests of people on this board. When HMI lighting was created, and all it is is HID modified to solve the CRI problem, every HMI lamp had a CRI over 90. There's a reason for that. The Sylvania article did say this:

 

"However, since CRI figures are calculated for light sources of a specific color temperature, it is not valid to compare a 2700K, 82 CRI light source to one of 3500K, 85 CRI."

 

You should never compare CCTs of light sources that don't have high CRI. Sadly, the typical manufacturer of underwater lighting is ignorant of that.

 

I don't believe that CCT is "the most important factor". Good color rendering, a smooth beam, good coverage, and adequate power are all important and arguably more important than CCT. Good CCT means that the light is a better match for ambient in mixed lighting situations. That's irrelevant if the lighting hasn't met other requirements first.

 

The LMI LED lights look much more appealing than their HID light. I'd like to see better CRI but since the standard has sank so low with HID most people will be pleased.

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I agree with Craig on the specs for the LMI halogen either being erroneous or they implemented it wrong. Halogen bulbs like the HLX have 100 CRI unless they are running below efficiency. There is no way halogen, esp tungsten, can be at 65CRI. The chart must be in error.

Now the real issue is whether the new HD cameras can actually use the 100CRI beam anyhow. Which would make for a good experiment for shooting a color chart with HMI, HID, LED and halogen lighting (WB to a 18% grey card) and use a vector scope to see the effectiveness of each on video. Any volunteers? :)

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I think it would be very interesting to see color charts under various lights. It would be nice to use a chart that contains the actual colors used in the CRI calculation.

 

I do that for my strobes using the color checker chart, but strobes have very good CRI and the colors on that chart are accurate.

 

I'm sure all cameras are sensitive to the full visible spectrum so 100 CRI should be of benefit. It's not clear how different the results would be though.

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It seems I should be able to test a color chart with HID, halogen and possibly HMI if I feel like carrying the darn thing. Will let you all know the results if I manage to do it.

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