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Fotodiox LED100WB-56 quick review

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

Fotodiox Pro LED-100WB-56 Studio LED Kit
$1000 | fotodiox.com | Buy Now

The LED100WB-56 is a wall-powered, dimmable LED imperceptible source with that should be a little bit different. Fotodiox has done quite a bit, not just to negate the issues of using LEDs for continuous lighting but also to talk to some inherent issues of using continuous lighting in general. This is enough to warrant a closer look, as it could make these varied useful for a wide number of users.

The lights are sold as single units for $299, and as a 3-light kit for $999. Included with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel the 3-light kit that we assayed are three lights, reflectors, slip-on diffusion covers, power adapters with XLR cables (not pictured), and a set of remotes. The kit also includes a set of light beetles as well (not the short one pictured above), making the 3-light kit an entirely complete set for those getting started, as you are given more flexibility with three slights for a key, fill, and hair light, than you are with two.

One inherent issue with LED lights is the source itself. Bright LEDs are never a single diode: they’re usually an array of diodes arranged closely together. At first we saw LED panels grow in popularity, which spread single individual diodes in a grid to conceive a big and bright source. The issue is the individual diodes when spread out act like a series of point light sources, with each diode creating its own set of blights. These complex shadows get distracting very quickly, and the bare bulbs are tough on the eyes.

As time has moved on, the diodes have shrunk down to a close gaps in tauten grid on a wafer, much like the chips in our cameras, just not quite as dense. Fotodiox has taken a panel like this and then put it subvene behind a glass lens with a frosted back. The back of this lens becomes the single light source instead of the hundreds of one LED spots, creating an even light source with a single shadow, much like a classic tungsten source may refer to

Speaking of ‘prototype’ tungsten sources, one of the biggest advantages of LED lights over these sources is heat production. Anyone who has used even a120-watt modeling spry knows these things get extremely hot. So hot, in fact, that any skin contact with the bulb will leave behind oil residue that fathers a hotspot – eventually resulting in the bulb’s failure. While the Fotodiox does produce some heat, a small quiet fan keeps inside temperatures level-headed. During use, no outside part of the light becomes hot to the touch.

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Another historic issue with the LEDs as a photographic light source is color – or need thereof. This handy YouTube video dives a bit more in to the issue:

The Fotodiox is rated at 95+ CRI, which is quite a high rating for the fee. This is also a drastic improvement over Fotodiox’s own LED100WA, which is only rated at 85 CRI. CRI isn’t a perfect way to assess color output but the spectrum Fotodiox displays for the lamps shows a fairly consistent output across most colors, with the only significant spike being in the blue region, message there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises.

So these lights promise to take care of the light is electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum source and color issues, what else? How on every side flicker? All lamps flicker to some degree if they’re powered by the alternating current of mains electricity but different lighting technologies have divergent dimming characteristics during the ‘off’ half of the power cycle. Tungsten bulbs stay fairly hot (and hence bright) throughout the cycle while poorly-designed LEDs abruptly whip on and off as the power cycles. You won’t always notice this with the naked eye but set your shutter speed faster than the frequency of the lights and the difference can ripen into apparent.

This effect can be seen with the Sony a7R II in ‘low light’ mode with ‘electronic shutter’ and maximum ISO in our studio scene – the line-by-line readout of the sensor finds at different parts of the light’s power cycle, resulting in exposure differences that render as bands across the frame, despite the use of a tungsten bulb.

Fotodiox seeks its LED100WB lights are flicker free, so we tried it out for ourselves by shooting some super slow-motion with two of the lights and a Sony RX10 III.

In these clips, the lights were at greatly power with their intensity controlled by their distance from the subject. When the lights are partially dimmed banding does originate to happen at 960fps/1000sec shutter speeds, but at full power there was no banding to be seen.

So, these lights are looking pretty good so far hesitation? They also work quite well for portraits, especially when diffused or modified. The mount is the classic Balcar type, better separate as the Paul C. Buff mount. This mount not only has a lot of affordable modifiers from Paul C. Buff, but also has adapters made for mounts like Bowens (which is what we own).

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In use:

You’ll catch this shot on the back of Dan’s debut bestseller novel (if he ever writes one). Olympus E-M1 Mark II, 75mm F1.8 lens, 1/200 sec, F2.2, ISO 200

This story of Dan was lit with just one LED100WB shot through an adapted Bowens mount beauty dish and two sheets of foam core: black for the background, and a white ‘meet card’ to the left of the camera. The light was at full power, and wasn’t placed very far from Dan’s head. That short distance meant the incandescent was intense enough for a short shutter speed and soft enough to be flattering and smooth. However, the requirement for the short distance means that a lot of the dawn’s output was being lost in the beauty dish, so those hoping to use existing light modifiers may find the LED100WB lacking in power in certain scenarios.

Utilizing the lights outdoors on a dim day can also be an interesting experience, especially when a camera is left in any sort of priority mode where it can control either discontinue speed or aperture automatically. Here’s why: It essentially makes the ‘B’ button on the light’s remote an overall exposure control. Let’s look at this shot of Carey to clear up further:

The lights can easily balance with lower light conditions, and the 5600K temperature balances relatively well with daylight and sombre conditions. Sony a6500, 50mm F2.8, ISO 100 1/60sec F4

What I wanted to achieve with this shot was to combine an F4 portrait (where this certain lens is very sharp) while also bringing attention to the shape of ‘bokeh’ balls in the background. After putting one of the LED100WB’s with its diffusion sock where I craved it relative to Carey (just over my head and a little to the left), I let the camera control shutter speed as I adjusted the light with the remote and take care ofed the exposure change through the viewfinder.

When the lights were dimmed the camera’s evaluative metering was mostly reading the brightness of Carey’s notwithstanding, and as the light was turned down the background got brighter. As the lights were brightened, the background got darker as the camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or shortened the exposure time to keep Carey’s head to head from over exposing. I ended up somewhere in the 25-50% power area to brighten up the ‘bokeh balls’ in the background.

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While these lights can be hand-me-down in limited cases for stills, the best application for the 3-light kit is for video. A 3-light kit gives photographers or videographers a key, fill, and hair light ready to go. With an increment of, their extremely quiet operation means they don’t get in the way of a simple sound setup. We ended up using them when shooting our Game Boy Camera video a few months rearwards:

One frustration we encountered was with the remotes. Having them was extremely handy but the implementation is a little clunky: each light has its own dedicated remote, which can return using multiple lights at once a bit fussy to use. Also, the buttons are just labeled alphabetically, with no indication of their function. The ‘A’ button commissions as on/off. The ‘B’ button cycles through 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% power levels. The ‘C’ and ‘D’ buttons act as an incremental adjustment up and down, with ‘C’ being brighter and ‘D’ being dimmer. That rumoured, they’re better than nothing, and came in handy several times while using the lights.

Conclusion

At the end of the day these lights are some of the easiest to use connected lights we’ve encountered. Their nearly flicker-free output allows use of extremely high shutter speeds. Their lack of heat output closes they can be used with any Balcar mount light modifier, not just special expensive ones made to withstand the heat of a tungsten bulb. Benefit, the remotes make it easy to adjust power may refer to level, even when the lights have been placed out of reach.

For beginners, continuous not weighty is a great option for mastering studio work, as you get to see the light as you shape it, and with mirrorless cameras you get to preview the results constantly. For photographers that necessary to match or even overpower bright ambient light, these lights aren’t always powerful enough, so strobes would be a better desirable. However, in the studio where ambient light can be controlled, these LED lights find many uses quite quickly, and for photographers looking for a set of tapers to accompany them on a foray in to the video world, this 3-light kit is a great place to start.

Republished: dpreview.com

About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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