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General photography questions and answers: Discuss portable light...is there such a thing as a lighting set that will run off battery? for location work instead of having ...
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Old 28-04-2011, 21:26   #1 (permalink)
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portable light

is there such a thing as a lighting set that will run off battery? for location work instead of having to use flash all the time
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Old 28-04-2011, 23:59   #2 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

Yes, but not cheap or compact. There are several systems available, mostly used by the emergency sevies where it is not possible/practical to use a generator. They run from car batteries and the LED type will give a longer life than the fluorescent tube type. They are not designed for photography - they light large areas - but could be used for photogtraphy as most have adjustable outputs and the heads are flat and rectangular so would accept flags or barn doors, but you would have to make them.
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Old 29-04-2011, 00:21   #3 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

see i have the chance of a generator a petrol one, but have no idea if it would run normal lights ...lol im a bit thick in that department know nowt about lectrics etc
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Old 29-04-2011, 11:15   #4 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

There's two ways you can do this.

With a generator, you can run any light that's intended for use on a domestic ring circuit. The assumptions are: the generator is set to produce approx 230-250V AC single phase and the total draw of the lights doesn't exceed the generator's normal output. Typical modern domestic generators seem to be in the 2.6 - 3.2KWh range, so one can run, say, 26 100W bulbs for as long as the petrol holds out. The drawback is that they're noisy, smelly things that you have to pour petrol into and you need to be able to vent the exhaust, unless you actually feel suicidal.

The other route, possible with digital cameras, is to use large LED arrays powered by batteries. Our local lighting shop is selling arrays that are equivalent to 250W incandescant lights (though I haven't asked the price ) that will run off 6V batteries. This has to be both safer and more convenient, especially if you can find an array that will fit into old photographic bulb holders.

There's a third way, that has only just occurred to me: get LED emergency lighting, which contains its own batteries and use several bounced off an umbrella or through a softbox. I've just checked a really cheap one (two for £1.99) and it gives an incident reading of 1/2 second at F2.8 on 400ISO at 3 feet. You could mount a dozen of these on some foamcore and fit a simple tripod attachment point to produce a fairly effective soft light source for around £20.

I think I need to try this myself!
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Old 29-04-2011, 11:16   #5 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

A petrol generator will run lights, but you have to check the output. You often see them providing power to (for instance) market stalls - but I'm pretty sure that there will not be enough power to run lights suitable for photography unless it is a beast of a generator.

Elinchrom and other makers have proper portable battery strobe lighting in their ranges, and you can buy some electrical kit (inverter?) that will allow you to run your mains flash kit from a battery
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Old 29-04-2011, 13:50   #6 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

hm reason i wanted a generator was that i can also run my fog machine which........ im not sure that would run from anything battery powered
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Old 29-04-2011, 13:57   #7 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

Fog machine!! You do discos too????

Sounds to me that inverters might be the answer. I don't know anything about them other than you will be able to run mains kit from a battery with them.
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Old 29-04-2011, 13:59   #8 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

hm looks like some googling is required..... just think of it. atmospheric lighting. graveyard. moonlight.( ok im going OTT here but stick with me)......... and fog swirling round the hem of a beautiful wedding dress worn to perfection by a lovely model?..................
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Old 29-04-2011, 14:09   #9 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

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hm looks like some googling is required..... just think of it. atmospheric lighting. graveyard. moonlight.( ok im going OTT here but stick with me)......... and fog swirling round the hem of a beautiful wedding dress worn to perfection by a lovely model?..................
A Kate middleton look-alike?

I can see where you are going with this. It wont be easy, but has fantastic potential. I'm sure you will get there in the end. Have you thought about hiring the kit?
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Old 29-04-2011, 14:38   #10 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

i dont like spending money!!!!!!!!!!! im scottish for goodness sake!
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Old 29-04-2011, 15:43   #11 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

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i dont like spending money!!!!!!!!!!! im scottish for goodness sake!
OK - low budget version will have to be wedding dress from Oxfam, graveyard courtesey of your local church and smoke instead of fog from a bonfire!!
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Old 29-04-2011, 17:56   #12 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

good but not quite..........
Wedding dress from Strathcarron hospice shop - Got
Graveyard - courtesy of ruined church a few miles away - sorted
Fog - couple of fire extinguishers should do the job me thinks! lol
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:37   #13 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

If you go down the inverter route make sure its a Pure Sinewave Inverter.

I run two 300w studio strobes off an 800watt (normal load-1600watt max) inverter attached to a car 12volt jumpstarter pack. £150 the lot and gives me 100+ flashes from two lights at full power.
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Old 03-05-2011, 13:20   #14 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

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Originally Posted by Canvey Portraits View Post
If you go down the inverter route make sure its a Pure Sinewave Inverter.

I run two 300w studio strobes off an 800watt (normal load-1600watt max) inverter attached to a car 12volt jumpstarter pack. £150 the lot and gives me 100+ flashes from two lights at full power.
Sounds like a good setup - should I ever need portability in my lights I'll bear this in mind
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Old 03-05-2011, 18:42   #15 (permalink)
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Re: portable light

£150.... still too much for me to spend. i want a 580 ex II first! lol
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