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Old 28-01-2008, 22:13   #1 (permalink)
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White LED torches for macro photography ???

I am planning to do some indoor macro photography ( as soon as I have bought a suitable lens ) and I was wondering about the suitability of the relatively small LED torches as a light source. They are small enough to easily fit into laboratory clamps and thus easy to position and emit little heat. The spectrum looks well spread out across the visible region although with a peak in the blue. I assume that a custom white balance will sort that out.

Now the question. Has anyone used these lights and what were the results like.

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Old 28-01-2008, 22:26   #2 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Not used LED torches for photography, but do know that you can get them with up to (and maybe more than) 42 LED heads. When we were evaluating these torches for work, the light was more even with the 21 or 42 heads.

The ones with a single higher-powered LED behave more like ordinary torches and have quite a pronounced hot spot, so may be less suitable for photo use.
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Old 28-01-2008, 23:29   #3 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

I was thinking about the multi LED ones rather than the single ones as the multi LEDs are what I commonly see for sale. I need some UV led torches for work and am thinking how I can play with them as well.
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Old 28-01-2008, 23:33   #4 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

I have one with 6 high-intensity LEDs that has a tilting head and a self-contained tripod. It's very useful but not for photography - the beam pattern isn't wide or even enough.

LED lamps are a great idea but I haven't come across any that beat a couple of 150W halogens and a light tent - as long as the heat doesn't set fire to anything.
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Old 29-01-2008, 09:58   #5 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

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I have one with 6 high-intensity LEDs that has a tilting head and a self-contained tripod. It's very useful but not for photography - the beam pattern isn't wide or even enough.

LED lamps are a great idea but I haven't come across any that beat a couple of 150W halogens and a light tent - as long as the heat doesn't set fire to anything.
Thanks for that. We have just bought a new room light that uses GU 11 halogen bulbs - very hot . B&Q also had some GU 11 LED lamps which may be useful with a difusser. I want to try 1:1 macro so the light distrubition may be OK with these or a torch. It will not cost much to try.
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Old 29-01-2008, 13:21   #6 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

I have used LED torches for macro and they work extremely well for a couple of reasons.

One is that the beam spread need not be large because we are only talking about a small area anyway.

Next is that they are small and directional so you can get light onto the subject even when the lens is very close to the subject, for example if using a set of bellows which typically need the camera to move in very close.

The other thing I have found very good is that tend to give a very even light which makes it easier to meter and also to set the white balance (I do it later in adjusting the RAW file) as it is fairly 'pure' light.

Have a play with it and you'll find it to be a very useful light source. I agree with the comments about multi-LED torches as that does help the light to be more evenly spread but also the fewer head torches can be very good IF they have a decent lens across the front. One torch I use is a hadlamp, attached by a wide band to my forehead. This is excellent and puts a nice clean light onto my subject even though it only has 3 LEDs because it is well spread with the lenses. This is also useful because I can just look at the subject and still have my hands free to take the shot if I so want to. Obviously a steadily positioned light source is the best but this does give you another option.

Experiment with the coloured LEDs as well, there are good effects to be had.

Cheers,
Rob
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Old 29-01-2008, 16:18   #7 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Anthraquinone, this might be of interest

Home-Made Super Macro Photo Equipment
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Old 29-01-2008, 16:41   #8 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Or even this, perhaps it could be reverse engineered to work as you want.

48 LED UFO Camping Light Torch + Battery + Warranty on eBay, also Lanterns, Lights, Lanterns Torches, Camping, Sporting Goods (end time 30-Jan-08 20:30:03 GMT)
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Old 29-01-2008, 17:23   #9 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Sorry Anthraquinone,
I can't help you any because I am so new to using lights for this. I do have the LED's like Rob talked about, small ones and one to go around the head. I was going to crawl around the garden placeing my camera under leaves, I was caught up in clover at the time. There is a lot of good information in this thread for me, I have just started to use reflected halogens off my ceiling,,,and use one small diffuser, oh well

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Old 29-01-2008, 17:45   #10 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

ROFL Emmettle, talk about a Blue Peter 'Here's one I prepared earlier' I bet the guy who made that is famous for never having bought a fully-made item in his life LOL.

Being serious, that looks like one heck of a palava for something so relatively simple but if you're a budding DIY fan who loves building things, LEDs can be bought in packs of 20 very cheaply and they are a doddle to wire up so go for it :o)

Would love to see a pic taken by anyone who does go this route

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Old 29-01-2008, 18:02   #11 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

This may help Anthraq. If you want to experiment. 10off leds ultra bright 6000k colour temperature. This tends to be slightly bluer than daylight!!.from LED1.DE. Just Google this you get 10 for 8 Euro's post free to the uk.from Germany.
LED 5mm white diffuse 1900mcd - 10 pcs. The maximum brightness you can get from these is 3000mcd. The resistor values for a given voltage I have listed below.
If you don't use them for photography you can use them to light the car dashboard up with "very trendy Mercedes look alike"

Technical Data:
Case: 5mm white diffuse
Viewing Angle: 60
Power: 3,3V
Current: 20mA typ., 30mA max.
Color Temperatur: 6000K
Chromaticity Coordinates x/y: 0,30/0,31
Maximum Intensity / Brightness: 6000mcd


Power Recommended Resistors
5V 90 Ohm
9V 330 Ohm
12V 470 Ohm
13,8 V (car) 560 Ohm

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Old 29-01-2008, 18:36   #12 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

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Oh I've just got to have one of those.

Or maybe two. Two sounds good.

EDIT/ Just ordered two.
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Old 31-01-2008, 12:14   #13 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

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Anthraquinone, this might be of interest

Home-Made Super Macro Photo Equipment
Not quite what I was thinking of but interesting to see what some people can do with some inguenuity.

Thanks for the link
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Old 31-01-2008, 12:21   #14 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by emmettleffel View Post
Anthraquinone, this might be of interest

Home-Made Super Macro Photo Equipment
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmettleffel View Post
That looks a bit more professional !!!!!. although the central hole looks a bit small. I had to smile at the lower left picture - I wonder if there is a market for illuminated bath plugs.

Last edited by AQ; 31-01-2008 at 12:27. Reason: spelling
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Old 31-01-2008, 12:26   #15 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Brian

Thanks for the info. I Since no one as said that this idea will not work and with my level of electronic skills I think I will try the simple way first and just buy one or two LED torches. Hope to get the macro lens next week and then I will do some experiments.
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Old 31-01-2008, 15:58   #16 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

I've not used them for lighting macros or photography. It should work though, and I recently saw a similar Macro Light kit being advertised in one of the photo mags made up of LED lights. Similar I guess to the homemade version.

As I recall it was made by a German company.
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Old 09-02-2008, 14:10   #17 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

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Ordered two of these on 29 Jan and they arrived (from HK) today. Quite impressive for the money, and they give out enough light to be useful for (static) macro shots. As for fitting one to a lens, the hole through the middle is only 39mm diameter, so the thing would need modifying heavily to fit an SLR lens. However, with a bit of hacking about, that would be quite possible, and it saves having to fix and solder up all those LEDs!

It's no substitute for a ring-flash though - not really bright enough despite the 48 LEDs.
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Old 10-02-2008, 22:34   #18 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

why all the money spending, go to tesco and buy cheap ass torches for 30p a pop. that's what your WB adjustments capability is for.
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Old 27-02-2008, 16:34   #19 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

I got some of the Jessops tubes over Xmas and had a muck about.



Decided to go really overboard and used the tubes, 100mm macro and a 50mm reverse mounted.

Got this



which was quite a faff.

I used a Maglite AA LED to light the coin which kind of worked, but for the non existent working space.

The whole Heath Robinson arrangement is here



Duck tape and paper shims FTW

Going the other way, I've used my LED bike lights Here to light this Windmill.
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Old 29-02-2008, 10:47   #20 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Oh wow what a set up. Love the duct tape. Good result though. Perhaps the DOF is a but lacking though The lightling is better than I would have expected.

Having perfected your design all you have to do is to get outside and chase a few inscets around

I think I will look at the Raynox lens marcinklysewicz uses for his macro shots.

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Old 29-02-2008, 16:26   #21 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Mike, the spirit level was obviously a vital part of this set up .

Antraquinone, Don't laugh at the duct tape Its a well known fact that all the best science is done with duct tape!

Seriously though, this thread is quite inspirational.
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Old 29-02-2008, 20:43   #22 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

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Antraquinone, Don't laugh at the duct tape Its a well known fact that all the best science is done with duct tape!
Damm. Now you tell me I have been a R&D chemist for most of 40 years and have never used it. If only I had known I could have had a Nobel prize or two by now .
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Old 05-03-2008, 13:13   #23 (permalink)
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Talking Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Well you say that but I did actually try to get everything square.

There was such little dof that even stepping from one foot to another was enough to throw the focus out.

Of course I could have picked a better 'workbench' as ironing boards aren't noted for their stability
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Old 05-03-2008, 14:43   #24 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Good idea with the bike lights Mike, I did the same thing along Bedford embankment the other night. I used Andy's lumicycle light and it worked a treat.
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Old 05-03-2008, 18:26   #25 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthraquinone View Post
Having perfected your design all you have to do is to get outside and chase a few inscets around

AQ
Ah I've played that game with bees and they don't stay still long enough - my bee efforts

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I've since got another LED lamp (niterider minuet ) so will have to do some more
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Old 05-03-2008, 19:37   #26 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

I really want to have a go at something like this. But I am moving our computers out of a bedroom into the study. Then I have to turn the old computer room back to a bedroom and decorate it and after that I have to sort out the spare room so I can set up a table top studio . Maybe by mid summer
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Old 07-03-2008, 00:31   #27 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

Maybe I am going a bit off the thread but I played around reversing a lens but was never very happy about the load placed on the servos when focussing. As it was an old lens I stripped away as much of the body as I could to keep the wieght down. Is anyone aware of any damage been caused to a lens through screwing another one on the front.
Back to the lights bit I wonder if it would be possible to bend the light from the flash using solid plastic covered in silver foil except for the aperture to direct the light out.
Lighting is a big problem unless you want to fork out a lot of cash. My first digital camera, a f717 focussed down to 2cm which was great except for the fact that its f2 lens made it nearly impossible to get any light on the subject as the barrel was close to 5cms across.
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Old 07-03-2008, 19:38   #28 (permalink)
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Re: White LED torches for macro photography ???

I bought a lamp that uses 48 white LEDs on Ebay, cost including postage was about a fiver, and it gives a cracking bit of lovely flat white light. It is so good you could easily use it as a cheap and extremely portable softbox if you wanted to.

I have the Canon MR14 EX macro ringlash so don't need it for that as such but you could use it that way for sure. Its internal diameter is not big enough to fit a lens through but the much-loved duck tape will make it useable for sure

I have found this lamp useful in loads of ways and the amount of light is quite remarkable.

Picture below to show you the torch lit up (quick snap so ignore the lens reflections!)

Cheers,
Rob

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