Friday, 27 March 2009

Litepanels LP-Micro LED Light Source

For the last couple of weeks I've been testing and evaluating a Litepanels LP-Micro LED light source. If you're looking for a lightweight and compact cool daylight light (5600°K) source for you video or DSLR camera, this is the one for you. The Micro weighs in at around 110 grams and runs on 4 x AA alkaline, Ni-MH or Lithium batteries. The light source is an array of 48 high output LEDs (light emitting diodes) housed in a case 3.3" W x 3.3" H x 1. 5" D (83.8mm x 83.8mm x 38.1mm).

The unit comes with a hot-shoe mount with a pivot that allows a backward/forward tilt but no rotation. A standard 1/4" screw fitting can be used with the thread in the base of the hot shoe.

A good daylight balanced light source.

One of the key advantages of the LP-Micro over a halogen light is the cool running temperature and low power consumption. "Official" figures state that you should get around 1.5 to 2 hours from a fresh set of AA alkaline batteries or up to 8 hours with a set of AA lithium batteries. There are no figures available for Nickle Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries. I've run my own tests which prove a fresh set of AA alkaline batteries will fade just like the Duracell bunny after an hour of continuous use. I've run a continuous test at full power with freshly
charged Ni-MH 2500 mAh batteries which lasted for 1 hour and 42 minutes with no appreciable loss of output from the LP-Micro.

Rechargeable batteries in the long term are certainly a better bet for most applications than alkaline batteries and in my opinion are the better option for use with the LPMicro. A set of 4 x AA Ni-MH 2500 mAh batteries costs in the region of £9.00 and can be recharged up to 1,000 times, whereas a set of 4 x AA costs around £3.50 on the high street. 'Nuf
said!

If you do decide to use an LP-Micro for long periods, be sure to carry plenty of spare batteries – a day's supply AA batteries will weigh a lot less than a dedicated battery for a lamp such as a Paglight C6, which on average will last for 90 minutes at full output and weighs around 1 Kg (2.2 lbs or the same weight as a bag of sugar!) a spare battery for the Pag will set you back a cool £100.00 or more.

LEDs could well be the future of photographic and film lighting, despite their high initial cost. The life of LEDs is close to 100,000 hours and with the LP-Micro the output can be continuously dimmed digitally without any change to the colour temperature, unlike halogen sources the colour temperature gets warmer (more orange) as the current is decreased. And being a daylight source to start with, correcting to tungsten loses less light than if you were correcting tungsten to daylight.

With the supplied CTO gel in place.

I want another one of these! If you need to get a remote light into a tight spot or lift the shadows under someone's eyes and create a catchlight the LP-Micro is ideal. Its uses are many. I'll be posting examples over the coming weeks.

An excellent light source for close-ups and small pack shots.

For more information visit the Bogen Imaging UK website.

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