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Video Light for Photography?

Discussion in 'Strobes & Lighting' started by Grajan, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. Grajan

    Grajan Contributor

    I currently use an Olympus TG6 in the stock Olympus housing and I'm interested in a minimal lighting upgrade to improve macro photography and do a little night/low light diving. The focus light/strobe combo seems overly complicated for my needs so I was wondering about just using a video light. So, questions:
    1. Will this work?
    2. What are the pros and cons?
    3. Can anyone recommend a totally reliable video light ("great customer service" is not very useful in the middle of the South Pacific)?

  2. seaseadee

    seaseadee Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Boca Raton, Florida, United States
    I've used the Sola Video Pro 3800 light along with my YS-01 strobe with my TG-5 to mixed success. It does seem to allow the camera to focus better. I am still having issues with the shutter speed dropping too low, but I do not believe it is related to the light as I am still new to this. A common complaint folks seem to have about the Sola lights is the contacts on the charging port get corroded. I prevent that by being scrupulous with my rinsing. I know they made good quality lights, but I doubt anyone can guarantee total reliability.
    -- Edit: I use the light on the cold shoe of the housing. Sola has an adaptor for it.
  3. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
    The problem with video lights is ones that are bright enough to use for photography tend to make creatures that can move leave as you approach. Fine for nudis and other semi fixed critters but certianly not so good for fish. The output from a video light is amny stops less than a strobe for example a 14,000 lumen Gates video light is about 6 stops less bright than a S&S YS-D2 strobe. For wider work you can shoot the TG-6 at f2.8 which is about 4 stops or so brighter than a macro lens on a interchangeable lens camera. With the TG-6 you are shooting at f6.3 when zoomed in for macro, but you are very close so you can generally make it work - you still need the light on a shortish arm system to place it properly nice and close in. Your other main issue is going to slow shutter speeds. Using a small strobe like the S2000 will give you a lot more flexibility and it is quite compact.

    If you are looking for reliability in any sort of video light look at the INON range - they are not super bright and powerful but are quite rugged. They run on AA NiMH batteries which you take out to charge, the waterproofing is simple o-rings and these have a sand guard type of external o-ring which means they are perfectly clean any time you open the torch to change batteries. They also have simple on-off switches rather than pushing combinations of buttons to get them going. Here is the range: INON LED flashlight [Lineup] The 3100 model has 12 steps of light output control with a 100° beam. They have optional YS- mounts to attach them to your arm system and also an option to mount them coaxially with a strobe. See this page:INON LED flashlight [Options]
    dhaas and seaseadee like this.
  4. rmorgan

    rmorgan ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ohio, USA
    Trajan, you might consider the reasonably-priced ($395 w/o battery) Backscatter mini Flash 1. My partner is using one with a TG-6 in the Oly housing and getting nice images. It’s very small, TTL-capable, and has a variable focus-maybe-video mode. It really complements the TG’s macro capability, and has good battery life—Kinda the bee’s knees.
  5. dhaas

    dhaas Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Stow OH
    My insights are my own and primarily evolved from my laziness LOL.....

    After years of hauling huge SLR systems around the world I sold it all and converted to a compact Canon G7X II in the Fantasea housing. I too dreamed of using a video light (fixed lighting) versus strobe(s) which I've used a pair of tiny Inon S2000 units for the last 4 years.

    Last month on my Maldives trip I took a single Inon S2000 and video lights including a discontinued Fantasea Radiant 2500 and 1000 lumen models. I switched between the two but mostly used the single Inon S2000 mounted on a short left side arm or mounted directly on top of my Fantasea housing's cold shoe.

    On a night dive with Mantas I shot using ONLY the Radiant 2500 light on the left and Radiant 1000 on the right and got some shots I was very happy with. On the Manta night dives the boat puts down multiple bright lights that attract plankton Mantas come in to feed on.

    I was worried without a strobe I wouldn't get much but the shots I got using just a pair of not huge power video lights convinced me for night diving video lights might work sometimes especially with 1" sensor Canon and Sony compact models.

    I had over an hour to tune in settings with a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the mantas swooping in plus a decent f-stop for depth of field of a large animal.

    I also went with the idea of shooting more ambient light images some converted to B&W especially Silvertone style and was very happy with what I captured.

    Those pics are for another time and I fully realize many divers don't care for B&W / Silvertone images of our colorful underwater world. That's fine too. The only person you have to make happy with your pictures is YOU :)

    For the future I'll travel with a video light(s) and my single tiny Inon S2000 keeping my travel kit small. I only need 8 NiMH batteries and charger for the Inon S2000 strobe and 18650 Lion batteries for my video lights.

    Not everyone's cup of tea but for this long time diver photography enthusiast it makes travel enjoyable while still allowing me to capture some memories with less hassle.

    David Haas
    Haas Photography Inc.

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  6. OTF

    OTF Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: scubaboard
    If you decide to go with strobes on a tight budget get 2x ultramax UXDS-1s (previously called intova iss 2000). They're surprisingly bright and durable for the price. You can make a crappy snoot or diffuser for macro.

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