LEDs in the Round

The trend of using continuous light sources, such as LED, plays well with photographers integrating video into the services they offer clients. But there’s also a convenience factor. A continuous source lets you see the how light falls on a portrait subject exactly as it will appear in the final image and can use your in-camera meter to arrive at an exposure, if only approximate, before checking against a histogram. I’ve tested Flashpoint rectangular LED light panels in the past and looked forward to putting these new circular models though their paces.

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The Flashpoint CL-500R LED ($200) is round producing circular catch lights, mimicking natural outdoor highlights. While bright, the 500 LEDs in the housing stay cool, keeping your subjects comfortable, even when shooting with the light close to them. Light output is variable from 10-100%. Color output is 5600K and consistent even when dimming to 10%. The included cloth diffusion sock producing a softer look. If you want to soften light further, an umbrella channel is built into its front face.

colorful.LEDFlashpoint’s CL-1144R LED ($400) has a V-Mount 12-volt battery option. Both Flashpoint CL-500R and CL-1144R include AC power supply, cloth diffuser and a case. Both have a port that accepts the Flashpoint Remote Dimmer ($29.95) and this is a useful accessory, especially for the price.

Setting up the Flashpoint lights is simple. The mounting hardware is sturdy and not the in-line AC transformer is small and light but rather than drag it around the floor I gaffer taped it to a lightstand. Each light accepts a 7-8mm diameter umbrella shaft with an insertion point in the light’s face but the CL-1144R has it dead center.

In the setup shown above the CL-1444R is at camera right with a white Flashpoint 60-inch white parabolic umbrella mounted in shoot-through mode. A CL-500R is at camera left (with sock) and aimed to skim the subject’s (camera) left side. Background is Lastolite’s Urban Collection, which is reversible, so I flipped it from what’s shown to the Graffiti side to create a more colorful photograph. Sarah’s wearing a colorful outfit, while being photographed with an Olympus EM-10- with Olympus’ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II lens (at 42mm) with an exposure of 1/50 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 800.

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For more on studio lighting techniques, please buy up a copy of my book, “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as including Amazon.com.

Author: Joe Farace

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