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Thread: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

  1. #1

    Default Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Hi guys,

    I'm a photographer who uses torches as a form of lighting in my work, I'm in need of some help and I figured if theres any place that can give me the answers it would be candlepowerforums

    I use high powered torches for light painting my subjects (cars) but I'm very specific about the kind of light I need, here are some examples where i've used light painting before.














    Because I rely on my torches so much I'm willing to spend more on the torch I need. However i'm sick of wasting my money experimenting with different torches, I want to know what would suit me best and than just go ahead and buy it.

    My requirements are:
    - As powerful light as possible, equilvalent to over 1500W incandescent lighting preferred. The more the merrier. 1000W even will be sufficient if it will be easier
    - SOFT LIGHT ONLY, so absolutely NO focusing beams.
    - PORTABLE POWER, must run off rechargables and PREFERABLY off rechargable AA's, AAA's or D's etc (so in an emergency I can buy some at a nearby store)
    - Colour cast (yellow tint or blue) does NOT matter. Colour can easily be corrected in Photoshop.
    - If the lighting is NOT soft I DO have the option of placing diffusion material over the light to soften it enough, but this effectively cuts the light that goes through by half. *Definition of "Soft" is when I point it at the wall, I do NOT want to see a visible circular focusing spot.


    Currently i've been using a basic $50, 10 million candle powered torch which uses a sealed lead acid battery. Because the light beam is so crap I have to diffuse it with material twice before the light is soft enough to use. Effectively i'm only getting about 2 million candle power through the torch.

    I have just recently purchased the 128 LED light from DealExtreme for about $28 and finding it better than my other torch. The reason is because the light is SOFT, so therefore I don't need to diffuse the light anymore, making it effectively more powerful than the 10 million candle powered torch. I also LOVE the fact that it uses 6 AA's so I can use rechargables in the unit. Plus it's a lot smaller physically than the 10 million candle powered beast.

    I've been looking at kaidomain and dealextreme at their CREE lights and I have absolutely no idea what the heck they mean, i've been considering to buy their latest CREEx5 torch and than placing diffusion material in front again till it's soft enough to use. Will this be powerful enough? How much more powerful would this be than the 128LED light I currently have? *The other option is to buy ANOTHER 128LED light and just use them simultaneously together!

    Re: HID
    I do have a 250W HID light but it is NOT portable and used only in the studio. It's equivalent to over 2000W incandescent and is bright as hell, but incredibly clumsy to use as I have to let it cool down before switching it back on again. Also, because it requires a nearby power source I hardly ever use it. Because of my experience with this, I'm a little hesitant to buy the HID torches without your advice first.

    I would GREATLY appreciate any suggestions as to what would be the "ultimate" torch for my photographic needs
    Last edited by Easton; 05-07-2008 at 11:26 PM.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Hello Easton --


    Welcome to CandlePowerForums !





    First, let me tell you that your photographs are absolutely Beautiful !



    As for diffusion material, we had (that's past tense) a member
    here on CPF who had invested a Great Deal of time and effort and $ in searching
    for the "Ultimate Diffusing Film" for flashlights.

    The fellow's "user name" on this forum is/was FASTCAR.

    He located some WONDERFUL stuff, and was selling it (in much more manageable sizes) to our members.

    I myself bought a quantity of this diffuser material,
    and can give it a BIG THUMBS UP !

    And, here's the kicker . . . .

    In all my measurements, it reduced light output by well UNDER half-an f/stop.


    It also had a Very Good rating for heat.


    Here is ONE of the threads on this subject:

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=167886


    Now, you hafta' understand something . . . .

    This gentleman is no longer on our Forum.

    But i understand that he Does visit other forums,
    and can be contacted there.


    Perhaps another user here has better "contact info" for him.


    Hope that this is helpful.


    Others will have LOTS of additional suggestions for you.


    Good Luck in your quest for the Perfect Light.



    _

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Glen C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Welcome Easton, is it your work I have seen in Wheels and Motor? It looks like the last image was taken at Imax at Darling Harbour, but I could be easily wrong. Very nice images. I am a photographer and understand what you are doing.

    I should state now I am a Wolf Eyes Dealer in Sydney. If you work in Sydney I am more than happy to meet you with a full range of torches so you can see the difference. I have just taken a large number of beamshots against a static target which I could email to you if you wanted to compare. Shoot me a PM or email with your email address. I agree with Burgess suggestion of diffusion material and would use it in a filter like this (http://wolfeyes.com.au/wolf-eyes-red...d35r-p-83.html) but with diffusion material. Some units now take screw in filters, the same as your lenses. A HID may suit, they are much smaller now and can be diffused. You are a pro, you should look at pro gear.

    Good luck in your choices.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* EV_007's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Excellent photography. I've always wanted to try my hand at painting with light with some of my lights.
    TWO is ONE and ONE is NONE, but THREE is more FUN.
    My beamshot gallery


  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?



    First off, I know this is pretty irrelevant, the "XX Million" candlepower lights struggle to hit a quarter million candlepower. Candlepower is mainly used to measure throw.

    Cree is one of a few companies that make the current generation of LEDs. 1-2 Cree XR-E LEDs should equal or be brighter then the 128 LED thing you have now.

    Only a guess but the 128 LED thing should be in the 300 lumen range. Two top bin(R2 bin) XR-E LEDs driven at max recommended current can hit 500 lumen total.

    Most of the current gen LED lights will have a visible hotspot due to them using
    a reflector. But you can always remove the reflector and just have a really floody beam.

    The 5 Cree thing is probably around 500 lumen(a normal 2D light has around 15 lumen).

    Do you have a maglite? If you do, check out the bottom drop-in on this page. Should be enough light for your tasks. Also check this one out. They are a bit pricey though. Those are a few examples, there are many other lights that might work too.

    You can also build your own light.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* woodrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    1st, great photos. I would recomend the UK Lightcannon 10 watt hid. It will run 2 hours on its battery pack or on 8 c alks or nimh batts. It comes with 2 overlapping diffuser lenses and is much more of a flood than spot light to begin with. Brightguy sells them (a great place to buy from) for $279 with battery pack. It is made to work as a video light.
    "I only smile in the dark...my only comfort is the night gone black..."lyrics from Garbage

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* 2xTrinity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    My requirements are:
    - As powerful light as possible, equilvalent to over 1500W incandescent lighting preferred. The more the merrier. 1000W even will be sufficient if it will be easier
    - SOFT LIGHT ONLY, so absolutely NO focusing beams.
    - PORTABLE POWER, must run off rechargables and PREFERABLY off rechargable AA's, AAA's or D's etc (so in an emergency I can buy some at a nearby store)
    I can tell you right now forget about trying to use disposable cells as a fallback -- while NiMH and NiCd rechargeables might be able to produce the kind of power you want (ie, BRIGHT LIGHT), -- alkaline D cells can really only put out about a watt of power each before they start to suffer from excesive voltage drop (high internal resistance). With the most efficient LEDs on the market in a 4D Mag, you might get 200 lumens, which is far less than 1000w incan equivalent (15000 lumens minimum).

    IMO for your needs, your best bet is a mag hotwire with a highly textured reflector. That will give you momentary off/on and no warmup issues like HID. It will also give you more overall output than you can get from LEDs at the current time. And if you'r not wandering far from the shop and running rechargeables, and not running this continually, super long runtime shoudln't really be a concern.

    Something like the Philips 5761, or Mag85 producing ~1200 torch lumens, with a orange peel reflector that is slightly de-focused will give you a beam that both has neither a sharp "hotspot", nor a lot of spill (with LEDs you get a lot of spill, which I don't think you want for your purpose). You could build your own or probably find one in the B/S/T forum.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* yaesumofo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Sounds like a P7 in a maglite with no reflector might give you at least some of what you need,

    You sound like you are tired of experimenting.
    IMHO that is the best way to create.

    I would say that you need to go out and buy a bunch of LED flashlights get some surefire's and some fenix lights and experiment to see what works. The LED may give you some challenges in terms of their color temperatures.

    I would also experiment with LED light panels (available for rent at many camera houses).
    Have you tried Balloon lighting? There are so many options coming up all the time.

    Also get a hold of the color kinetics (now Philips) technology. They have High power LED lighting with many colors and DMX control...
    Good luck.
    Yaesumofo
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  9. #9
    Flashaholic Mike V's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    It's not a flashlight, but I'd recommend a LTM Minipar if you want Daylight:

    http://www.ltmlighting.com/en/projec...minipar-2.html


    or a 100W Dedo if you want Tungsten:

    http://www.dedolight.com/www/dedolig...DLH4&section=0


    Both of these can be run off a 12 volt block battery.
    Last edited by Mike V; 08-13-2008 at 04:47 AM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic Tachikoma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    OMG you've actually shoot the Civic Type R catalog, great job
    Btw

  11. #11

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    WOW! Those are the most amazing car photographs I've ever seen, and I say that without a hint of sarcasm.

    Do you want LED? Incan? What color would you like? White? Soft white? Cold white? Red-white?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Easton View Post
    I would GREATLY appreciate any suggestions as to what would be the "ultimate" torch for my photographic needs
    http://elektrolumens.com/Wall-Of-Fire/Wall-Of-Fire.html

    http://www.ledlenserusa.com/product_...?modelNum=8437

    http://elektrolumens.com/ShadeSlayer/ShadeSlayer-7.html

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Echo63's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    if you are the Easton who does photos for Motor and Wheels, - i love your work, i really like that R35 GTR shot above, i assume it was taken with a rig ?


    As for lights, there isnt many "off the shelf" lights that will do what you want, but given that you shoot with a $10k 1dsmk2 (looked at the EXIF) having a custom light made by one of CPF's custom makers will give you the flashlight equivalent of Canons finest
    something like Data's "Databank" without its collimating optics sounds like what you need - http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=178130

    for an off the shelf light the Underwater Kinetics Light cannon produces around 500 lumens and comes with diffusion filters for underwater photography, its a Hid, and it runs on 8 C cells, and is about $500 australian
    you can probably have a look at one in a dive shop near you - http://www.uwkinetics.com/product/5

    hope this helps
    Echo63
    (struggling motorsport photographer)
    Last edited by Echo63; 05-12-2008 at 04:35 AM.
    flashlight collector by day
    flashlight user by night

  14. #14

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    hi guys!

    Yeah it's Easton the shooter for Wheels etc. your replies are really helpful and i'll have to look into them all individually. Though it does sound like there's no possible off the shelf solutions for my needs. I don't want to experiment with all these solutions, i'm going to have to just pick the best one and go with that.

    I have to take back what I said about my 128LED light, it does need some diffusion, although not so much of it. My current "diffusion" material by the way, is a dirty old rag. It's not even white anymore

    yes, I do have pro camera gear, but not pro lighting

    all the solutions i'm reading here seem to have their own advantages and disadvantages, i.e cost versus power, diffusion and work to be done to make it usable for me. I didn't realize though that the reflector on the front of the torch is what causes the focusing beam, maybe that'll improve my 128LED?

    My internet has died at home so pardon me if i'm replying to my own thread so slowly!

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Would something like the Zebralight except more powerful be good?

    Or do you need something with a bit more hotspot.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?



    That lenser doesn't put out "1068" lumens for 125 hours on just 4 D batteries. It's not available for purchase either.

    The elektrolumens wall of fire http://elektrolumens.com/Wall-Of-Fire/Wall-Of-Fire.html however is a good choice for him. It's complete flood with a "soft" beam. However he'd need to contact elektrolumens so they can make it for him. He'd probably need to get some rechargeable Ni-MH batteries and a smart charger for the setup. But, judging from the photos, he looks like he means business and a one-time investment like that would totally be worth it.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic smopoim86's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    The Wall of Fire is what came to mind while i was reading the requirements as well. Should be just what he needs.

    BTW, some excellent pictures. Photography is one of my preferred hobbies, flashlights are a tangent for me. I love them and want more, but would generally feel better about spending money on photography equipment.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Stillphoto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Beautiful work. Check out Igor Panitz, his car work is (from what I remember reading) lit with a huge led rig that he can program...allowing him to add/subtract specular highlights as necessary.

    That's neither here nor there. You need a light that is soft, like a kl4 head from surefire. That would be for a broad wash of light. I've used it before for such. The thing is, sometimes with using leds for painting, you need a soft light with a hard edge (or at least an edge that can be controlled). I've cut off the bottom of a black film canister and slid that over the front of the light as a snoot.

    Also I've used the blackhawk gladius, because it can be dialed up or down so easily. Of course being a bright light that throws a long distance, that was solved using some 216 or similar diffusion.
    Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    I am familiar with Igor's work, he's a big commercial player! And unfortunately, i'm doing my light painting hand held, so my results are more dodgy - but the advantage for me is that I have the flexibility of doing it outdoors.

    I have to admit, the abundance and variety of responses are starting to confuzzle me a bit.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner12 View Post
    Would something like the Zebralight except more powerful be good?

    Or do you need something with a bit more hotspot.
    That light output DOES look perfect for my needs. No hot spots and flooded soft light. But it dosn't seem anywhere near as powerful as I need it to be. It has to be brighter than my current 128LED to justify a purchase. Especially considering the 128LED was just $28. I'm sure there are better ones out there - I just don't want to experiment with another 10 torches to find the right one.

    Just trying to get my terminology right here... am I looking for a "flood" light? "Flood" means no hotspots and very widely spread lighting?

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* adamlau's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    A Polarion PH50 w/ Diffusion Filter is what you are looking for. Go ahead and buy it .
    强光手电是我最爱得

  22. #22

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamlau View Post
    A Polarion PH50 w/ Diffusion Filter is what you are looking for. Go ahead and buy it .
    A diffusion filter is what he used before and he didn't like that it ate up a lot of lumens. It needs to use non-exotic batteries too.



    He needs a flood-only light that comes stock with FLOOD, ONLY. This doesn't mean that he can use any flashlight and just slip some diffusion film on it.

    The elektrolumens wall of fire utilizing 4 P7 LEDs in one maglite is optimal in my opinion. It is made to be full flood and flood only.

    I don't know much about the Wall of Fire mag though. I did take some interest in the 5 Cree mag that elektrolumens also makes. It is also pretty much full flood and costs $150. I don't know about their wall of fire p7 version.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic smopoim86's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    I think the wall of fire (4x p7) is supposed to be around $300

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Thujone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    another vote for the electrolumens wall of fire...
    01001100011010010111011001100101001000000110100101 10111000100000011101000110100001100101001000000110 0100011000010111001001101011
    00101100000011010000101001100001011011100110010000 10000001110100011010000110010100100000011101110110 1111011100100110110001100100
    00100000011010010111001100100000011101000110100001 11001001100101011000010111010001100101011011100110 1001011011100110011100101110


  25. #25
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    These lights with diffuser lens might be too powerful(and they cost quite a bit).

    Something like this, this, or this without a reflector, with a diffuser, or with the right optic should work.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner12 View Post
    These lights with diffuser lens might be too powerful(and they cost quite a bit).

    Something like this, this, or this without a reflector, with a diffuser, or with the right optic should work.
    Though alkalines aren't the best choice for high powered flashlights, he still did mention that he wants the light to accept readily available batteries that he could fetch from a nearby store. Those dx lights are nice flood lights but only work on lithiums.

  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Good point.

    Maybe a good modded mag that runs on normal batteries?

  28. #28

    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner12 View Post
    Good point.

    Maybe a good modded mag that runs on normal batteries?
    Yeah, the previously mentioned Elektrolumens Wall of Fire is a mag with 4 SSC P7's modded into it. Obviously it should be run on ni-mh's but, it is a mag, and a mag does take alkies.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Just wondering what did you end up getting?
    Two MTE P7 and removed the hood?
    How did that go?

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Best Torch for Light Painting Photography?

    Looking over some old threads at DX via Google. Looks like he bought two of the MTE P7 models available at the time and presumably was satisfied (considering that he was using a 128-LED torch prior to this).

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