I am new here so I apologize for what is likely an old question, but I could use some advice and didn't see quite what I was looking for in a quick search.
I am a photographer who is heavy into macro work. The longer the lens, and the smaller the aperture, the more light you need. Unfortunately good dedicated macro flash lighting rigs tend to be quite expensive. They also are usually setup in a fixed configuration, which doesn't allow for much - if any - flexibility in lighting direction. Some do not provide the option of always being on either, which can make it hard to setup the shot in the first place. The next problem is that if I use a flash then I'm limited to the 1/200th flash sync speed of my camera, but I'd prefer to shoot faster when possible.
To counter these problems, I've decided to try mounting small flashlights to the legs of my Gorillapod tripod (SLR Zoom version) - but still shoot hand-held. This could allow me to use the tripod legs to point the flashlights wherever I need the light, leave them on so I can see what I'm doing when setting up the shots, and shoot much faster than 1/200th of a second.
I recently got two very cheap Niko 21 led flashlights, just to test the idea, and it seems like the concept has promise. However, along with their cheap price, these flashlights are also cheap in construction. Based on the reviews at Amazon, it seems this model is infamous for flickering/cutting out, and sure enough one of mine is doing that. Also, I want to have a whole lot more light than these two can deliver. They were just for the experiment though, to test whether or not the idea was worth pursuing with better lights.
So this brings me to why I signed up here at Candle Power...I could use some advice on good, relatively inexpensive, flashlights to replace the cheap Nikos with. Here is my best case scenario:
- White LEDs, with relatively neutral color (not too blue or purple). Yes, color can be corrected after the fact, but the less editing I have to do later, the better.
- Very small and lightweight. Each needs to be able to be strapped to the last joint on a Gorillapod leg, and not make the leg drop anytime too soon.
- Super bright. If the light is available I can always shoot faster to tone it down, but there's not much I can do if I don't have enough light to start with.
- Somewhat adjustable strength. While not a "must have" feature, I can foresee situations where it might be nice. (Lighting one side stronger than the other, or only throwing a little light into the background.)
- Does not get hot. At times, the lights will be almost touching the subjects, so I don't want to toast any bugs or cause them to run, and I don't want to risk igniting dried flowers.
- Decent power usage and/or can use rechargeable batteries. If it works out, I'll be using this rig quite often so I don't want to be eating up batteries too quickly. If the light does burn through them fast, I'd like to at least be able to recharge them when I get home.
- Reasonably well made. They don't need to survive a war, just hold together during daily usage.
- Preferably $50 or less, each. I realize I might be asking for a Ferrari for the price of a Smart but since I'm new to this I figured I'd ask.
If this isn't achievable, how close can I get within that price range, and how close outside of it?
Thanks in advance for the advice.