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Review: Rosco LitePad Loop Ringlight

Rosco's LitePad Loop, a new ringlight system designed specifically for DLSR producers, projects a soft, even light that's easy on the eyes. Despite some inherent challenges for operators of small DSLRs like my Panasonic GH2, I found it well worth the effort.

Power/Dimmer

Another issue I had—and you may consider this a personal beef—is that the Loop comes with an integrated power switch, but an external dimmer.

Almost all the other LED lights I'm currently using just one one power/dimmer switch. This way, you always have your dimmer built in. Rosco's dimmer is an external item about the size of a small cigarette lighter and, in certain configurations, like mine, it doesn't fit very well into the space available. So I really wanted to see an integrated dimmer where the Loop's power switch was.

Using the Loop

In actual use, once the level is set, the loop produces a beautiful light (Figure 3, below). You light even call it "modelific," as it is most often seen for still photos of models, or music videos (Figure 4, below)—seldom in the corporate world, which makes it quite interesting to see. Unlike typical camera top lights, there is quite nearly no shadow at all. The face just seems to glow brighter than anything further back in the frame.

Rosco LitePad Loop
Figure 3. The Loop's soft beam

Rosco LitePad Loop

Figure 5. Modelific lighting

It illuminates under a hat, around hair that partially covers the face, and more. That's because the light comes from all around the lens instead of just one place. It's also large enough that the specular highlight that appears in the eye is quite noticeable. Even if you turn it all the way down and use traditional lights, the twinkle you'll get in the eye is quite noticeable.

I like it a lot, as it tends to make the corporate stand-ups look more interested and energetic than usual. For older subjects, it does a very nice job hiding wrinkles and lines.

Physical Characteristics and Challenges

That said, the Loop is a bit thick (Figure 5, below), and it doesn't use the 7.2v Sony Infolithium-L batteries that my other LED lights use, but in testing I found the light it gave was well worth the effort to use it. It's not a long-throw light because the LEDs inside it do not point outward, but instead bounce around inside and have a soft reflection out of the loop itself.

Rosco LitePad Loop
Figure 5. Note the thickness of the Loop, here shown in profile

On the front of the loop is a ring with several magnets that you can easily twist off and then use to hold one or several colored or effect filters that come with the loop. Rosco notes that it can appear ever so slightly green because of the LEDs. so they include some "minusgreen" filters, in addition to tungsten correction. These come in varying strengths so after a couple tries, you'll know what works best for you.

Despite the challenges for a small DSLR operator, I found the usefulness of Rosco's LitePad Loop to be well worth the effort. I have to send the review unit back, but I'd like Rosco to put me in line for the next version with the built-in dimmer.