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Need help choosing an On-camera Light

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Rober't
Need help choosing an On-camera Light
on Sep 21, 2005 at 7:49:28 pm

I have a Panasonic DVX100A and am in need of a small on-camera light. Have looked at the Anton Bauer UltraLight. It seems like a quality product, but I have never used it--any feedback on this light and if it is worth the price?
Are there other brands or models that anyone would recommend? I have found a Smith-Victor set up online for a fraction of the cost of the Anton Bauer--any feedback on Smith-Victor lights? Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. THANKS!


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john sharaf
Re: Need help choosing an On-camera Light
on Sep 21, 2005 at 8:59:38 pm

Robert,

On-camera lights are often a necessary evil; that is that the light coming from the direction of the camera is as un-elegant as possible, with little character or modeling, yet sometimes it;s the only way to provide illumination in a flowing, dynamic scene.

There are many types of on-camera lights, but the best is characterized by being as large, soft and controlable as possible. My current favorite is the "Lite Panel" which is a daylight balanced LCD lite that has precut color correction gels and a dimmer control. Granted it's expensive (about $1000) but it comes with a self-contained battery and will probably last you through several future generations of camcorders.

The AB Ultralite is a well accepted on-board light and can be enhanced with the Chimera accessory that makes it quite soft and useful, and AB even offers an HMI source that attaches to the Ultralite base to accomodate the often required daylight balanced supplemental lighting.

I'd shy away from anything Smith Victor for any rugged use or long term life, its cheap price probably accompanies its limited usefulness.

Whatever light you decide on, look at the Isreali Arm mount as a way to get the unit further away from the lens to enable some modeling or directionality to the light source.

JS


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Rober't
Re: Need help choosing an On-camera Light
on Sep 22, 2005 at 2:21:49 pm

Thanks for the help, JS. It's truly appreciated.


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Evolution
Re: Need help choosing an On-camera Light
on Oct 5, 2005 at 12:19:58 pm

When it's the necessary evil, I use my AB Ultralight2 along with the Chimera on my SDX900 and find that the Chimera makes all the difference. I also have a full accessories kit with a second cage/head for quick bulb wattage changes and a dicroic and various glass diffusions. The one nice thing about having the Chimera is that rather than it threading onto the camera it mounts on a post which can allow it to be removed quickly and either mounted or held of axis for a little sculpting. I was shooting chickens in an egg production facility recently and had my sound man play human tripod for some quick cover shots.
Everything I've heard about the LED on cameras is great, just the $$$ part.
I don't know how any of this is affected by the fact that you're looking at it for a small DV camera. I'm guessing that power would be an issue which would make the LED's a great option, but a light that costs 1/3 of the camera cost may be tough to swallow. The AB would require a seperate power source which would run up the cost as well. In fact the Ultralight and Chimera alone becomes expensive on a DV budget.
Good luck.



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