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Thread: anything comparable to the protomachine?

  1. #1

    Default anything comparable to the protomachine?

    So i've been shooting with a friend that uses a protomachines 2. He gets them for free cause he's a bad ass. I am not as bad ass.


    Its out of stock and stupid expensive. I want something similar. It is a color changing led, with variable intensity. Anybody know of anything similar?

    I've used the coast 4 color recon torch before , but it didnt touch this things endless variation, and i wore out the buttons on two of them.....

  2. #2
    Flashaholic jaycyu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Vancouver BC Canada

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Laptop screen with a colorful video playing? Dunno.
    You'll get better response at the "Recommend Me a Light For..." forum:

  3. #3

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Thanks! Ill try that.....

  4. #4

    Party Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Any chance a mod would move this for me to aforementioned thread?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Let's keep it here for awhile. I'll monitor and move, if few or no more posts.


  6. #6

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Sorry to play thread-necromancer, but I too have been searching for something comparable to the protomachines for a more amenable price. I see they've just released their RADIUM light, at roughly half the price of the LED2. This looks great, and I may very well purchase one, but I'm also looking for something with more throw than the RADIUM, which seems to be more of a floody light panel.

    Am I going to spend at least the $549USD trying to build something custom? I have a background in manufacturing / industrial design, so I understand completely why the LED2 costs as much as it does, but I've always been curious if anything else similar exists. Any info or suggestions would be much appreciated!


  7. #7

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Unless you are shooting on chrome I don't see why such precision is necessary. If the color is off a bit it is easy enough to fix in post.

    I have a friend who brought some 110v led flood lights camping last year. I don't remember the brand, but he got them from Amazon for not too much. The remote control let you dial in the color.

  8. #8

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    I'm not concerned about color accuracy, more the variety of colors in a single package. Right now I use flashlights with multiple gels, and they're always getting lost and are a bit of a pain to manage. I've been doing it for years and it's not too much of a burden, but the protomachines style light is certainly an evolution of my current setup in a nice singular package. I don't necessarily require a slick UI either, and would be perfectly content with a dial that could be turned to cycle through the full RGB spectrum of colors. I don't need to reproduce the EXACT color over and over again.
    I do a lot of photography inside of drains, sewers, on tower cranes and everywhere in between - my lights need to be small and powerful. 110v floodlights wouldnt work as I'm not working in a studio and need a battery-powered solution. I've been searching for something similar for years and have stumbled across this thread more than once, and figured I'd revisit the topic to see if anyone else had come up with a solution. If nothing exists perhaps I'll just bite the bullet and pick up one of the protomachines units, as they do look quite nice.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Palm Springs, CA, Beverly Hills, CA, Washington, DC, New York City Manhattan

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Fix it in post.
    Check my Web Site: www.Redwayphoto.com

  10. #10

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLED View Post
    Fix it in post.
    Fix what? Im asking about a recommendation for a similar light to the protomachines LED...

  11. #11

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    2 years later, figured I'd ask again and see if anything new had come along. Still waffling on the fence re: the protomachines....been getting by with gelled flashes but would still love something comparable. Any suggestions??

  12. #12

    Default Re: anything comparable to the protomachine?

    Looks like it's been months since you asked. But you came back after a few years to ask again...

    If you're willing to do some work, on amazon and the auction site, as well as the chinese sites, there are some RGBW lights in a hexagonal housing with a bracket meant to be used by DJs or whatever. There are millions of varieties, but what we got were the ones with 7 "10 watt" RGBW LEDs on the front(the optics are clear). If you search for "rgbw 70watt" there are some about $37 that strongly resemble what we got.

    On the back you can choose the colors, or there's a remote and DMX input to be controlled remotely.

    They have some throw, but they're not technically spotlights. The optic geometry resembles what I see on multi-emitter flashlights nowadays. There's a texture on the front, though.

    The emitters themselves resemble the 8-pin RGBW LEDs you can get on the auction site for about a buck. As we now know, there are a few varieties of those and the pinouts are sometimes different. We found this out because we ordered some random ones for repair. They are, of course, not the correct ones. One of the lights, over the course of several days of leaving it on all day, lost one after another white dies until only one is still white. The light output of each white-less emitter is significantly reduced because when the white dies burned out, they left soot on the inside of the dome that encloses the 4 dies.

    This is all because of wildly inadequate cooling. There are two 40mm fans, one pushing, one pulling, and a 5 or 6mm heatsink. Just a guess. It's thin. I measured 140F on the outside of the case, even after several white dies had gone to the giant flashlight in the sky.

    I will add that where we were testing these the ambient temps were reaching as high as 90F or even higher near the ceiling. In an air-conditioned environment, these might hold out longer with what's included. Still wanting to add a couple 80mm fans, or a single 120mm. There may be a 3D printer in our future just for this project.

    I have seen some 30-watt units, and it's possible the cooling setup in ours was designed for that wattage and they just cranked up the driver while making no other changes.

    Pros: cheap, relatively bright. We didn't see much with the brightness or level of control for less than several hundred dollars.
    Cons: needs additional cooling in hot environs, color blending leaves some to be desired, so using them without a diffuser might not be not the best idea.

    I guess if there's interest I could dig one out and do beamshots.

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