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Outdoor Essentials Camping LED Light Review

Outdoor Essentials Camping LED Light Review - Could a 1 Camping Light from Poundland be used for photography. Peter Bargh blows the dust off his purse to find out...

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Category : Portable Flash and Lighting
Product : Outdoor Essentials Camping LED Light
Price : £1
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Camping LED lightI often look round the gadget areas of places like Poundland because they usually have something useful for us photographers and it's my job to dig out the best bits. Every so often I find what looks like a gem. Today I spotted an LED camping light and thought I'd give it a go.

The idea was to take it apart and make it into an SLR ringlight, but having undone the eight screws inside the battery compartment I soon realised that it would be too much effort to chop bits out and make a useable item, when in fact I had more or less what i needed complete.

Outdoor Essentials Camping LED Light: Features
It's a 14cm diameter case, that houses 12 bright LED lights in a circle. The centre diameter is  36mm and there are two spring clasp (one at each side) that let it grip to an umbrella on a picnic/patio bench to illuminate the table or tent pole for interior lighting.

ringlight battery compartmentIt's powered by four AA batteries. As it's from Poundland it's just £1 but you will need to buy four batteries...you can get them at the same time a pack of eight or more is just £1.   ringlight switched on

Outdoor Essentials Camping LED Light: Handling
The centre hole is too small for SLR lenses but you can position the lens in the centre and if the focal length is long enough you won't get vignetting. I used a 100mm macro on the Pentax SLR and it didn't cause any problems. It will work well with compacts that have a much smaller lens diameter. It was fine on the Olympus EP2 and its 14-42mm lens vignetting disappeared at focal lengths of 20mm and beyond.

Outdoor Essentials Camping LED Light: Performance
The lights are bright but not dramatically. You need to use a support as the resulting shutter speed is still to slow at lower ISO settings. I manage a couple of stops extra light taking pictures at close range when the unit is switched. The main difference is illumination. The ring light gives a more balanced light with less shadows.

ringlight on   ringlight on
A relatively flat subject shot with auto white balance in tungsten light   The ringlight has given it depth and a cleaner tonal range
ringlight on   ringlight on
Notice the deep shadow from the overhead room light   Here the pen nib is brighter with more catchlights and the shadow is softened
ringlight on   ringlight on
Close up of a minature model shadows across the face   Here the shadows are gone and it's neutral but  maybe a little lifeless because of the flash

Camping LED light patternOnce I'd taken a few shots to test the lighting I started to experiment. Placing objects in the centre gives an upright surround light like a floor lights at a disco. I need a Ken or Barbie to go the next step with that photographic experiment. 

I also photographed the unit from a distance and throw the lens right out of focus to give an interesting pattern effect (right). You could only do this once, but it's another abstract dimension to your portfolio.


Outdoor Essentials Camping LED Light: Verdict
This wasn't intended to be a scientific or technical review and I'm sure no one will read this review before deciding whether to buy an LED camplight. I did it just to highlight that you don't always have to spend a lot to get extra creative fun out of photography and Poundland is a place to visit from time to time. For just £1 it's certainly worth a play and then you can use it to light up the patio table when you've done.

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Comments


Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
22 Jan 2011 12:17AM
I read it Pete, but I`ve had a few Smile

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Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
23 Jan 2011 2:42AM
Forgot to add, the hole might be a little small for conventional lenses but I bet its not far off for slipping over a lensbaby.
flash783 8 11 England
28 Jan 2011 1:26PM
Love doing these sort of home creativity topics, gonna try this one soon.

Something else for you all to try: a little tip for your hotshoe flash - if you want to diffuse the light output, cut a hole in the bottom of a chinese/indian takeaway box the size of your flash head, then using some white kitchen/loo roll apply to the top and close the lid sealing the paper across and job done homemade flash diffuser...

Using different colour paper you can also apply colour casts to the light and some tin foil applied to the inside can boost the output!

Give it a go.

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