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Review: Adorama Flashpoint LED Lights

With only 250 incandescent or daylight-balanced lights, the Adorama Flashpoint 500C feels like a niche product suitable primarily for producers who need to support both incandescent and daylight-balanced light in single light. Given the improved mounting options and fit and finish, Jan Ozer reports that he'd buy it in a heartbeat if it offered all daylight-balanced bulbs.

The 500C was also an improvement over the 500 in fit and finish. Both offered two dials on the back that control 250 LED bulbs each. On the 500C, the dials could shut off the lights and lighting intensity varied nicely throughout the entire range of the dial. On the 500, one dial didn't offer any adjusting capability and didn't actually turn the bulbs off, so the only way to turn the light completely out was by pulling the power cord. The other dial turned its bulbs on and off but only varied the intensity over the first 25% or so of the dial range. The dial that didn't function properly also wasn't solidly glued, so you could easily pull the cover off the actual dial beneath.

Normally, when I get products with issues like these, I contact the vendor to sort them out. But it turned out that three of the six reviews on the Adorama website reported similar issues; clearly, I didn't get one bad apple. Which is another shame, because the light worked beautifully in my shoots.

Specifically, I used the 500 on three setups: two for a tutorial I recently produced for Streaming Media magazine, and the other for a greenscreen video that my daughter produced for a school project (she got a 97!). The first setup for the tutorial is the product shot shown in Figure 6 (below), where I'm shooting the LiveGear AirStream H.264 encoder/cellular transmitter, with a screen grab from the video on the lower right.

Adorama Flashpoint LED
Figure 6. A project shot using both an older CF light and the Flashpoint.

The AirStream unit has a touchscreen that reflected lights behind the camera so I went for flat lighting with a light on either side. There's a CF softbox not shown in the picture on the Airstream's left, which is on the spacious side of the room, so the light's bulk wasn't an issue. I had very little space on the other side, which the Flashpoint fit into without any problem, and the color temperature matched the CF light perfectly. If I had to do it all again, I'd probably light the background a bit more, but the unit and screen looked great.

The next shot was for the talking head segment of the tutorial and is shown in Figure 7 (below), where you can see the stool I sat on about two feet behind the microphone, mostly hidden by the softbox on the left. Here, I had one older CF light on the background and dual-key flat lighting using the softbox on the left and the Flashpoint on the right. I had even less space on the right for this setup, and again, the LED light fit right in helping to produce well-balanced flat lighting that matched the tutorial content and will look great after compression.

Adorama Flashpoint LED
Figure 7. Dual-key flat lighting

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