May 28, 2007
Review - VIDLED DELUXE LED Light
FJORDLAND Entertainment, Ltd
By David A. Saraceno
The market for portable or mobile lighting has changed dramatically in the last few years as new designs and sources of lights have become available. A purchasing decision must take into account several key factors. Among those are the weight and size of light, whether it is dimmable, durable, accepts gels, has sufficient battery life or uses external battery sources, and of course, its price. I usually throw in the availability of a built-in rechargeable battery, although this isn't necessarily a deal breaker.
The final factor is what type of light it is. Many on cam or mobile lights use fluorescent bulbs, although the new kid on the block -- LED lighting -- has enjoyed growing market acceptance, and for good reason. LEDs are characteristically different than fluorescent bulbs. They are highly efficient light sources, generally last longer per battery charge, can produce white light, and are among the most durable of all lighting.
I've been testing the VIDLED deluxe LED light with our HVX200 in impromptu interviews and other low light environments. After running it through its paces, I believe this to be a solid, sturdy product that meets or exceeds most of the needs of a shooter. It also is a good value.
What's In The Box? I evaluated the VIDLED Deluxe dayLED-40 package. It consists of the light, charger, shoe adapter, protective switch caps, filter/gel pack, and a couple of innovative twist tube containers to house the device and accessories. Each packaged item and the packaging shows a demonstrable attention to detail.
The company sells Standard and Deluxe versions of its LED light series in three brightness levels and color temperatures. The Deluxe series includes a built-in rechargeable battery, while the Standard series does not. Various adapter mounts and battery packs are sold for the non-self contained series at the company's web site. One caveat however when recharging the Deluxe series -- use only the packaged recharger. Battery life is good. The Deluxe unit provided up to two hours of continual use in my tests, although I didn't fully power it the whole time. A recharge takes approximately 90 minutes.
The VIDLED "warm" version is the least bright light and the "cool" is the brightest version for both the Standard and Deluxe series. However, the "cool" Deluxe version is less bright than the Standard version due in part to its reliance on the built in battery. All units include a flash shoe adapter and gel package and as stated, the Deluxe unit includes a recharger. Check the web site for further details.
Size and Weight.
These LED units are both lightweight and diminutive. Standard series lights are 5.5 x 2 x 1.6 inches, and weigh about 8.6 ounces. The self-contained Deluxe series weighs 11.5 ounces. A single-turn potentiometer dimmer switch controls brightness from 10% to 100%. The on/off switch is well located, and requires a firm push to turn on and off thus eliminating accidental switching. Individual rubberized black coverings protect the power and dimmer knobs.
Construction and Use.
A biodegradable, paraffin based coating protects the unit when shipping. Just peel it away and dispose of it before using the unit. The VIDLED is solidly constructed of metal. The light's 52 LEDs are arranged in identical separate grids on either side of the housing. No only does it "appear" to be durable; it is in fact, durable -- the company has a short video clip attesting to this at its web site (vidled.com/destruction3.mov). The only caveat the company supplies is to not immerse the VIDLED in water. Occasional rain or moisture isn't going to affect the unit, however.
The dayLED-40 produces a color temperature of 5600K -- well within indoor light requirements. Its beam angle is 40 degrees. Light dispersion in moderately lit room at two to four feet provides a wide and fairly even pattern. The light is bright -- surprisingly bright. A conservative lux rating for the coolLED at two feet is approximately 595, and at four feet it is approximately 163 lux. Up to three VIDLEDs can be bolted together if you need more illumination. Power consumption is rated at 4.0 watts of power, which results, as I stated, in approximately two hours of continuous usage at mostly full brightness.
The rubber covered, dimmer switch is top mounted adjacent to the power switch and operates smoothly from low to full power settings. I experienced no light flickering at either end of the power range. And as I stated, the dimmer operates from approximately 10% to a full 100%.
The company offers ships a full Gel/filter Pack for its lights and also offers the same gel pack as an accessory. The package consists of nine (9) 5"x7", gel/filters: one diffusion Tough Rolux, one diffusion Frost, one Full CTO, one three-quarter CTO, one one-half CTO, one one-quarter CTO, one one-eighth CTO, one one-quarter CTB, and one 388 Gaslight Green. Each can be cut to meet you own shooting requirements.
Gels are attached to the unit using small pieces of gaffers tape. The web site provides a photo instruction how to attach the gels.
A wide range of accessories is available for the VIDLED. They include various battery packs, swivel ball heads and flash shoe adapters, car adapters, suction/vacuum cups for attaching the unit to various surfaces, and a small ultra pod tripod with fold out legs. Details and pricing are available at the company's web site.
It's hard to fault the construction, attention to detail, versatility, brightness, and battery life of the VIDLED Deluxe series. This product is a decidedly excellent value for on camera and mobile lighting. Not only does it provide the user with the advantages of LED technology, but does so in a well designed, durable, and lightweight form factor.
VIDLEDs ship with a six month warranty, although the product is so solidly built, it is difficult to believe that the unit will require repair in normal use. Customer service is first rate, and the developer is prominent at various boards on professional video lighting. In addition, some new LED products are in the offing. One more thing. A black version of the unit is available as a special order for a nominal upgrade price. It looks cool with the HVX200.
David A. Saraceno is a motion graphics artist located in Spokane, Washington. He has written for DV Magazine, AV Video, MacHome Journal, and several state and national legal technology magazines. David also moderates several forums on 2-pop.com.
copyright © David A. Saraceno 2007
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