Flashlight for indoor photography

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kda49-budgetlig...
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Flashlight for indoor photography

Hi all, I am new to professional flashlights and this is my first post.
Could you please recommend flashlights for the following use case?

I do urban exploring and need a good flooder to illuminate indoor areas like tunnels, bunkers, rooms, etc.
The current light that I have is not powerful enough to illuminate an area the size of say 3, 4 basketball courts.
The beam is also concentrated in the center so my photos look overexposed in the middle and underexposed at the edges.

I am looking for a flashlight that can provide uniform illumination with tint that allows the color in the photos to turn out as accurate as possible.

I did a search and found the Emisar D18 to be of interest since it also allows customization of the LEDs.
If there are other good flashlight that you know of that can do the job, please do share.

Robin Dobbie
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Welcome to the forum!

You might consider a camera flash. You get about a million or two lumens in an instant, they’re not too large, and run on 4 AA cells. Used ones are pretty cheap and you can double them up pretty easily.

Have you considered removing the optic from your current flashlight and/or moving it around during the exposure?

SYZYGY
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why a flashlight?

the tool for the job is off-camera strobe. you can have several of them sync'd.

Rayoui
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Fireflies NOV-Mu might work for you. It is a 4500K high-CRI mule with a very efficient buck driver.

https://www.ff-light.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=77

darosk
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Dedicated flash units are much better for general still photography use. A flashlight would be better for video use I guess, but even then an LED panel light would serve your purposes better.

Even a cheap unit like a Godox TT600 costs only about $40-50, throw in a few more bucks for a wireless flash trigger and you can do remote triggering/strobist. With a speedlite you won’t get issues of uneven hotspots etc.

My Lights (Updated: Feb 5, 2021)

Robin Dobbie
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I can’t say strobes or flashlights are better, they’re just different tools. Strobes freeze moving objects and can make sharper images if the camera isn’t stable. That’s sometimes key in an abandoned setting where the floor isn’t stable or where setting up a tripod isn’t a great idea.

Flashlights do some things better, though. You get a different look if your light is moved around during the exposure. You’re essentially making a huge diffused light source and you can shape it however you want. Tripod is pretty much mandatory.

I haven’t had mules explained to me, yet, however. Seems like just about any quad or triple emitter light could be a mule with the optics removed, but it’s a bit harder to go the other way and get directional light out of a mule.

Rayoui
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Robin Dobbie wrote:
I haven’t had mules explained to me, yet, however. Seems like just about any quad or triple emitter light could be a mule with the optics removed, but it’s a bit harder to go the other way and get directional light out of a mule.

Technically yes, but you have to be careful because the optic is typically what holds pressure down on the MCPCB to secure it to the shelf. If you just take the optic out you could end up with desoldered power leads or burned up LEDs.

Robin Dobbie
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Thankfully Emisar lights are not made that way. I opened my FW3A that is how that one’s made, however. So Emisar might be an advantage if you’re thinking about that. But I guess if you’re not yanking on the MCPCB, I’m having trouble visualizing how it could really be an issue. edit: I forget on flashlights that the wires may be putting pressure on the MCPCB to push it off the shelf.

But the main issue I did have when walking with the optic out was the foreground was visually too bright to see very far. Usually when I notice something with my eye, it will be accentuated in a photo.

MascaratumB
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Welcome to BLF kda49-budgetlightforum!

Whenever this issue appears here, I tend to recommend the Wuben TO50R.
It is not the most budget flashlight, so perhaps you can get less expensive solutions.

Still, it is a flashlight that gives you 90CRI, through its 4 x Samsung LH351D 5000K.
I took some beamshots in my review a while ago, either at close and large range. You can check them here in case you consider this flashlight:
https://budgetlightforum.com/node/70139

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raccoon city
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kda49-budgetlig...
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Robin Dobbie wrote:
Welcome to the forum!

You might consider a camera flash. You get about a million or two lumens in an instant, they’re not too large, and run on 4 AA cells. Used ones are pretty cheap and you can double them up pretty easily.

Have you considered removing the optic from your current flashlight and/or moving it around during the exposure?

Thanks for the first reply.
Others have also commented on using a dedicated camera flash for the job. I shall reply all in one thread.

When you say optic, which part do you refer to? I attach photos of my current flashlight for reference.

kda49-budgetlig...
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Rayoui wrote:
Fireflies NOV-Mu might work for you. It is a 4500K high-CRI mule with a very efficient buck driver.

https://www.ff-light.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=77

Thanks. Am looking at it now and the price is also similar to Emisar D18.
Do you have first hand experience using it?

kda49-budgetlig...
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Thank you all for the very helpful advise especially on using a dedicated camera flash. I understand it is always better to use the right tool for the right job and hence, at one point of time, I did consider those flash panels. Allow me to explain why I am looking for a flashlight to achieve this instead.

1) Looking to replace current flashlight
I bought the current flashlight few years ago not knowing much about flashlight. I just knew I wanted something more powerful than a pocketable one for night walks. However, this flashlight has become too heavy and bulky by today’s standards. So since I am getting a new one anyway, might as well get one that allows me to use it for taking photos and move around in darkness.

2) Thinking of just using smartphone camera
I am impressed by today’s smartphone camera that are able to take nice photos right out of the box without post processing especially in low light conditions. I am no expert in photography using just a prosumer camera; does not do any post processing; and definitely not familiar with all the camera flash peripherals available in the market.

3) Terrain and conditions
Sometimes, the places I go have tight spaces and wet like a flooded tunnel. It would be difficult to maneuver with so many things without damaging them. Therefore, I am thinking of settling with just a smartphone camera and flashlight.

Dalamar
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D18 wastes a lot of energy on heat due to linear driver, Fireflies doesn’t have a good customer service or qc reputation
D18 also has no magnetic tailcap option afaik

Hank/Emisar is great as a seller but he really needs to switch to efficient buck drivers, it’s worth the extra cost by a long shot. And a mule option centered like fireflies’ is

I only like high CRI. Collection:

Fireflies NOV-MU 21 4500k E21A

Fireflies ROT66 219B SW45 D220

Fireflies E07 Copper 219B SW45k? (odd/higher lumen bin with lower r9 and higher cct?)

Fireflies E07 219B SW45k

Fireflies E07x Pro sst20 FA4 4000k (mail)

 

Varmint removal:

Convoy M21A C8 ver SST20 4000k (5a)

Convoy S2+ SST20 4000k  FB4 (3200ma)

Memes:

BLF GT94

Emisar D18 660nm SST20 (mail)

 

 

CRI test dump https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1kcl_uOhgfpR4RSsa8F4b-UUVP9mkL6Cr...

Robin Dobbie
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The optic I’m referring to is whatever is changing the light pattern of the LEDs. In this case it’s the reflector. As Rayoui pointed out, it’s a good idea to make sure there are screws holding the board the LEDs are on to the part with the threads and spring. If the reflector is the only thing pressing against that board to hold it on, then you don’t want to remove it.

Again, I wouldn’t say a strobe is better, it has advantages over a flashlight. But a flashlight has advantages, too.

If you’re not using a tripod, a strobe is the clear winner. Your images will be far sharper if a strobe is the only thing lighting your photos. If you’re just trying to get in and out and snap some quick shots without a lot of set up, nothing beats even an off-brand strobe.

If you set up a tripod and do long exposures, the light that trickles out of flashlights can then add up and surpass the light coming out of a strobe. And you can make shadows disappear, at at least soften them, with flashlights.

Rayoui
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kda49-budgetlightforum wrote:
Rayoui wrote:
Fireflies NOV-Mu might work for you. It is a 4500K high-CRI mule with a very efficient buck driver.

https://www.ff-light.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=77

Thanks. Am looking at it now and the price is also similar to Emisar D18.
Do you have first hand experience using it?

Yes, I have two. They’re well constructed and have a very nice driver.

Keep in mind, this light has no optic/reflector so it is very floody (almost a 180 degree wall of light). It won’t be able to illuminate things at great distance. However, it works quite well as a photo/video light.

stephenk
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I use Convoy S2+ LH351D in 2700k and 5700k varieties, with diffusers, for urbex photography. Check out my photos on my insta – link in my signature.

kda49-budgetlig...
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stephenk wrote:
I use Convoy S2+ LH351D in 2700k and 5700k varieties, with diffusers, for urbex photography. Check out my photos on my insta – link in my signature.

Very nice photos. Great to know someone doing urbex here.

Lightbringer
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The kind of light you want depends on what you want to light up, obviously.

With a tunnel, a floody light will light up the periphery close-in insanely bright, but farther down might as well be a black hole. If you’re in Der Bunker, you’ll need something floody to light up everything, so you wouldn’t get the spotlight effect on the far wall. Point being, you probably want at least 2 lights, one floody and one throwy, in the same color/tint, and use relative brightneses to light up things the way you want.

The TO46R comes in a reeeeeeeeally nice ~4000K high CRI, and would be a great flooder. The thrower… depends on how throwy you’d want it. Tunnel, you’d probably want a pencil-beam. Big room, a semi-thrower with TIR lens. Carry circles of diffusion-film if anything’s too throwy, to smooth out the beam.

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