Continuous light sources are popular with new and aspiring pros because they let you see in real time the lighting effect produced. LED-based studio lights do that without creating lots of heat, especially when compared to other continuous light sources. At the WPPI show one industry insider told me, “When LED delivers a form factor that looks like a monolight, studio flash is dead.” While I’m not so sure that I believe that statement but are a few LED systems that met that criteria.
Fotodiox’s Pro High Intensity Studio LED studio light is available in two versions including a Tungsten or Daylight. Both produce output of 7600 Lux/m or 600 foot-candles and have a CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 85. Fotodiox claims it produces the equivalent to a 600-Watt incandescent source and the output is dimmable from 0-100%, If these specifications don’t mean much to you in photographic terms, I used a Gossen Luna-Star F2 meter set at ISO 100 to measure the Daylight model’s maximum output at ten-feet producing an exposure of 1/15 sec at f/2.8.9. This compares favorably to other LED studio lights I tested costing many times more than the Fotodiox’s $199.95 price tag. I used a pocket spectrascope to analyze the quality of Fotodiox LED’s and found a smoothly reproduced spectrum with no spikes or missing color bands.
I photographed Danielle Nicole, giving me her best young Barbara Streisand look, with a Canon EOS 60D and EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens at 70mm) with an exposure of 1/40 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 640.
Fotodiox’s Pro High-Intensity Studio LED light looks and (sorta) acts like a studio monolight and there’s no doubt you can treat it that way. I’m guessing that most portrait photographers will prefer the Daylight model, while video shooters might like the Tungsten model. The two models have one major feature in common: They are both “bang for the buck” LED lighting systems producing lots of light for their cost. Yes, there is a pesky transformer to deal with but their basic form factor means you should be able to put them to work in your studio with just a short learning curve.
If you’re interested in shooting portraits and how I use lighting, please pick up a copy of “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as Amazon.com, where your purchase helps this blog. If you bring this book, or any of my other books, to the workshop I will be pleased to sign your copy.