Review by Steve
Litepanel's newest offering capitalizes on the latest LED technology providing softlight production in an extraordinarily efficient and compact package. Quality light is no longer limited to those who have the deep pockets to afford it.
When I first unpacked the Litepanels
Micro system I was surprised not only by the small size of the
unit but by its' light weight. Coming in at just under four ounces,
at first handling, I was not impressed. Its lightweight plastic
construction initially led me to believe that this was not a
light that would stand up to long usage in and out of production
and over time. That said, it has come through several shooting
situations just fine and without any real problems or difficulties.
I still have my doubts however as to how rugged the Litepanels
will prove to be.
The Litepanels unit fits easily
to your camcorders' hot shoe and did not affect the balance of
the small Sony A1-U upon which I tested it. At 3.3" wide
x 3.3" high x 1.5" deep, the small size did not interfere
with sightlines when using either the camcorders' LCD panel or
viewfinder. Though I did not receive it for testing, there is
an optional base plate for off camera usage or on an extension
The Litepanel was
unobtrusive whenever in use
and did not affect the balance when performing a hand held shot.
It is powered by 4 AA batteries which, when used, lasted at full
brightness for 70 minutes after which the light output began
to drop off slowly. Rechargeable batteries worked just as well.
Heat from the light was just about non-existent, and the unit
remained cool to the touch throughout.
On the top of the Litepanel is a power
control-dimming knob, which turns freely from 0%-100%. There
are no indentations in the knob so exact settings from shoot
to shoot may not always be constant. Full light temperature is
claimed to be 5600ºK and a 3200ºK tungsten conversion
filter. Diffusion and warming filters are included with the Litepanel.
The front of the Litepanels Micro has an attached flip down holder
for the filters. However, the filters would sometimes slip down
and pop out. While the flip down holder is a good idea, it cannot
be relied upon to always keep the filter securely in place.
The most important aspect of the Litepanels
Micro is the very good quality of the light itself. I detected
no flicker in the light output, even after the batteries had
been run for a significant amount of time. An even spread of
light over the subject is how I would characterize it, though
there was a hint of center hot spot when not using any of the
filters or gels. When turning down the dimmer knob I noticed
that all the LEDs did not dim all at the same time. Some came
down quicker than others and I am not sure whether this is by
design or not. At half power, the light spread was still smooth,
constant and balanced. With the optional stand, I would imagine
that the Litepanel would serve well as a small fill light.
The long lasting continuous output and
light weight make the Litepanels Micro package an excellent light
for the on the go shooter who needs to film unencumbered by cables,
and heavy battery belts. The low cost makes it a tempting and
Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro
for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of
the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE
competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition,
and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition,
where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater
Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver
on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed
footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, the History
channel's MegaDisaster show and other networks. Steve is one
of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition
and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris
with upcoming excursions to Indonesia and the Coco Islands, Costa
Rica in 2008, Kenyan safari in Africa and the Red Sea for 2009,
and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia for 2010. Feel free to contact
him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting
copyright © Steve
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