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Longimanus1975

Focus Lights

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I am trying to determine whether I need to invest in a focus light but am unsure if I should.

 

What do people think, better to have one or can you survive without one?

 

I assume that they are more aimed at macro photography

Edited by Longimanus1975

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I shot for about three years without one - having to constantly adjust the position of the strobe's modeling light in order to provide my 100mm macro lens with enough light to focus on the subject. It was, at times, very frustrating. Then I bought a focus light (iTorch) and now wouldn't shoot macro without it! It has a broad beam (with no hotspot - although the shutter speeds typically associated with macro are usually fast enough to avoid recording a hotspot), several power settings and a red beam setting. All I have to do now is cover the intended subject with the beam, which usually requires no adjustment in the angle/position of the light, and the 100 has enought light for it to find what I want it to find! A really handy bit of kit!

 

Hope that helps.

 

Lee

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If you dive only at noon above 30 feet in clear tropical waters, you will not need focus lights.

 

If you dive at night, you need focus light, no matter what FOV you are shooting. Same if you dive down deep enough to where it gets dark.

 

How about telling us a bit about your gear and diving you like to do, so we can don't have to guess!.!.

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I never used a dedicated focus light, not in 100ft viz and not in 10 ft viz between 10 and 140 ft deep.

During night dives i use the built in focus light in my Z240 strobes.

They can be pointed in the right direction and switch off when you push the trigger.

Some cameras need a focus light, some cameras not, but having one can make macro photos more easy to take.

Chris

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Diving in California waters I consider a focus light essential for macro. Without one my lens takes way to long to focus, and sometimes can't when the light is really poor which is often.

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Thanks for all the comments, its very much appreciated.

 

In response to derway I have a D7000 in nauticam housing, with 2 s2000 strobes, 60mm macro and tokina fisheye.

 

This will be my first outing with my housing so just want to make sure I have essential pieces of kit for it.

 

Previously I shot with a point and shoot for about 5 years, mainly shooting wide angles. I think predominatly I will be shooting with the Tokina as I will be in the Red Sea for the intial outing

 

hope this helps

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I see you are UK based. If you intend to dive the UK where macro is a must a lot of the time, a focus light is essential in my view. I just use a Q40LEd which works a treat. A wide spread and not too bright but enough for my needs. Bear in mind many subjects can be spooked if the spotting light is too bright. They are out of production now I think and I picked a spare up on Ebay recently for 40 quid - new not used. However, it is not a lot of good in the tropics except on night dives.

Good luck with your new set-up

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Jim, thanks for the response, I totally agree with the UK advice and it was something that I slightly overlooked as I am really planning for my upcoming trip, looks like I need to get one eventually, so now its on to which one do I get?

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Today focus lights can provide 3 functions. First they are, of course, a focus light for your still camera. Second if you have a camera that shoots HD video they can help in giving you that clean, bright HD look we have all come to expect. Third if you are like many and the camera goes on every dive it can be your Night dive light. Lights that do a decent job at all three IMHO should be a minimum of 500 lumens. For fair medium and macro video 1200 lumens or more is better yet. Yes "Focus/Video" lights have a dispersed beam and may not be perfect for more tech diving applications but for general diving they work fine. Many options out there Light & Motion and i-Torch are two good ones.

Edited by NWDiver

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Many thanks for this

 

I have been looking at the light and motion ones for a while now, debating on whether to get one, maybe its time to bite the bullet and get it then.

 

Anyone use the Inon ones at all?

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I ordered the light and motion one yesterday. Can't wait to get it in the water .

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Still trying to get my head around this, not sure which one to get.

 

A quick question, am I correct in thinking that I will not need a focus light for wide angle shots? I don't think I would, but just want to check.

 

Just asking as I can then use a clamp from my arms to mount the light as I won't need the double arm for wide angle.

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If you are shooting wide angle, at night, or even down 100 feet or more deep during the day, you will need a focus light, for wide angle.

 

For me, with clear tropical water, the cheapest smallest focus light works great:

 

http://reefphoto.com/shop/index.php?main_p...roducts_id=5242

 

http://reefphoto.com/shop/index.php?main_p...roducts_id=5243

 

It is much easier to have a separate focus light, than trying to use strobe modeling lights. The strobes typically will not be pointed directly at the subject anyway.

 

You want a way to clamp it to your housing, and need only minimal adjustment, to point it closer or further...

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I've recently started to use i-Torch video pro 3s as stills focus lamps. Much of my wide angle photography is deep and dark in UK waters so I mount two lamps with the edge of the illumination just overlapping at the focus point. I can dial the illumination so as not to cause a hotspot and the wide coverage of the two lamps really does assist composition. As video lamps, they are more or less useless...

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