GoPro needs better lighting

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GoPro needs better lighting

Postby trogman » Jun 14, 2013 8:29 am

So I have a new toy- a GoPro Hero Black, and it takes really great quality HD video. But what I need now is a secondary light source that will light up big pits and domes and such, without breaking the bank. My Sten does fair, but not nearly enough. I know there are a lot of new, very inexpensive biking lights out there, some of which claim to put out 1000 lm or better. Does anyone know of or have any experience with any of these? I need something with at least 1000 lm, as well as a nice, wide flood beam.

Keep in mind I am not looking for something rugged and cave-worthy; I would only use this for video shooting for short periods of time, and then it would go in my pack for protective storage the rest of the time. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a headlamp; a handheld light would work OK.

Thanks in advance for your input!

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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby MUD » Jun 14, 2013 9:22 am

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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby Squirrel Girl » Jun 14, 2013 9:50 am

I use the slightly older 700 lumen model of this, and it's fantastic:

http://www.lightandmotion.com/bike/seca800.html

This is advertised as $370. You can often find coupons at retailers that might carry them.
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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby Mugger » Jun 14, 2013 10:54 am

I use NiteRider lights (www.niterider.com) for my bicycling and have always been impressed by their brightness and durability for the price. REI has a few of them ranging from $90 for 350 lm up to $700 for the 3600 lm. I personally ride with the one they sell for $110 that is 500 lm on high. Most are designed for mounting to the bike, but they make helmet mounts for a few and all work hand held. Your local bike shop might have a better price.
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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby BenS » Jun 14, 2013 11:36 am

There was a post on here either this year or last year about the cheap Chinese bike lights that are sold on ebay. I remember them saying that they worked in caves, but that they wouldn't trust those lights to get very wet and I think cheap/sketchy stereo wires are used in them. I think a few people also questioned the actual lumens, but they said that the lights were definitely very bright. You should do a search on here and try to find that post. I don't have time because I'm going to a Braves game at the last minute :banana:
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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby BenS » Jun 14, 2013 11:39 am

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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby trogman » Jun 15, 2013 6:43 am

BenS wrote:http://forums.caves.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=14294&hilit=chinese+bike+light

Found it.


Thanks. Ben. I did do a couple of searches, but wasn't sure what exactly to search for. I kept getting WAY too many results!
I also appreciate everyone else's suggestions. The cheap Chinese was more along the lines of what I was looking for, just because I don't have much $ to spend, and really don't need something very durable or waterproof. Just need it to throw a heck of a good, wide flood light for a few minutes while I shoot some video.

After reading through the referenced thread, the only mention of the kind of a beam the light in question puts out is this:
Chads93GT wrote:A friend bough three of those. One is the spot lamp version. T lit up suprise pit like crazy. Anywhere you pointed it you could see through the fog. It was nuts.


Unfortunately, the sellers of these lights don't have much to say about this either. I guess they figure if it is 1800 lm, it really doesn't matter how wide the beam is. (Which may be the case)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/4000Lm-3x-CREE-XM-L-T6-LED-Cycling-Head-Front-Bike-Lamp-Bicycle-Light-headLamp/200912925581?rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D261%26meid%3D8392907833133744679%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D1088%26rk%3D5%26sd%3D320934563535%26

This one claims to put out 7500 lm! Wow! That should be PLENTY bright enough! Now I just need one with a wide beam...


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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby BenS » Jun 15, 2013 11:51 pm

Well the original poster said this about that specific light "There was some talk on one of the forums about an aftermarket reflector or diffuser, but I don't have those. It is BRIGHT... and the spot is really a spot with pretty harsh falloff."
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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby trogman » Jun 16, 2013 5:45 am

BenS wrote:Well the original poster said this about that specific light "There was some talk on one of the forums about an aftermarket reflector or diffuser, but I don't have those. It is BRIGHT... and the spot is really a spot with pretty harsh falloff."


Yes, and likely most of those cheap Chinese lights have a similar beam pattern. I think I will go ahead and purchase one of these:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/5x-CREE-LED-XML-XM-L-T6-LED-7000Lm-Bicycle-Light-HeadLight-headLamp-8-4V-6400mah/300885841514?rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D261%26meid%3D8402564039120301521%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D1088%26rk%3D4%26sd%3D290930693548%26

If it needs a diffuser, I will either buy one or make one. According to a thread on Candlepower Forums, there are a lot of cheap and easy ways to make a diffuser. Even if it absorbs a little light, with 7000 lm (supposedly), it should still put out a heck of a light!

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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby BenS » Jun 16, 2013 11:08 pm

Sounds awesome! You should post pictures of the beam before and after a diffuser if you make one. I've thought about buying one of the chinese lights before.
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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby trogman » Jun 17, 2013 6:05 am

I went ahead and bought one like the one I linked above, only got it for $44. Hopefully will get it within a week or two, and will post photos and videos of how it works. I am wanting to use it in Surprise Pit, which will be a great test of how bright it is.

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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby trogman » Jun 29, 2013 10:17 am

I got my light a few days ago, and while it is sold as 7K lumens, I seriously doubt it is actually that bright. That being said, it is incredibly bright, and the beam is not as narrow as I feared it would be, although it does have a couple of artifact rings. I have yet to try it in a cave, but that should be happening soon. I did do a little research on diffusers just to ensure that the beam would be a nice flood beam, and I came across this on Candlepower forums: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?330142-Silica-Aerogel-1-1mm-granules-as-LED-diffuser-material/page2&highlight=diffuser
So I decided to give this aerogel stuff a try. All I can say is Wow! I didn't take any before and after photos, but with the aerogel in it, it puts out an amazing wide beam light that illuminates my entire front yard, way back into the trees for probably at least a couple of hundred feet. I also compared it to my Sten, and it put my Stenlight to shame. If this light was available in a more rugged, cave-worthy version, this would be a great primary light.
Now I just need to figure out how to carry it in the cave. It has a headband, but with a Sten and a GoPro already on my helmet, adding the additional weight of this light (it is a bit heavy), might be a bit too much. For horizontal stuff, I will likely just carry it in my hand, but vertical is a different story.

I will post a link when I make my first in-cave video.

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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby Videocaver » Jul 1, 2013 7:57 pm

I just upgraded to a GoPro Hero 3 Black, since it is shooting 1080 at 60 fps (smoother video) and is supposed to have better low light than the Hero2 (I haven't tried it out yet). I have found the GoPro line does better in low light than the Contour. Also, the Contour does not shoot 1080 at 60 fps. I've been using a Hero 2 with my Magicshine MJ-872. The 872 mfger boasts 1600 lumen, but it is really more mike 900 lumen at Max. I can tell you all companies greatly exaggerate on their product's light output. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, especially Ebay lights from China. The 872 uses (4) LEDs, has a nice diffuser on it (no hot spots or artifacts) and is around 6000k. It's a little too white for video, so I purchased some diffuser material from B&H Photo which brings it down to 4300kish.

If you want to shoot good video, don't buy a light on price and bogus advertisement. Do your research. You want a color in the 4300 kelvin range. Some of the really bright LED lights are over 6500k, which makes the lighting blue (yuk). Also, you want to find a light where the lens is diffused to get rid of the hot spots are rings (artifacts). You can make a diffuser or a light...I've done that before. You're gonna spend over $100 for a decent light in my opinion. If you're spending $300+ on a GoPro and a Contour, you might as well shell out the $ for a good light.

It is also my opinion that helmet cameras are typically only good for capturing video in smaller walking passages or rooms. Once you get into a big room, the darkness sucks up the light and the picture becomes grainy.

The website www.mtbr.com does a nice job evaluating trail lights, which what you should use with a helmet camera due to their need for a bright light source.

Here's a video I shot using a Hero 2 and my 872.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2BcC9Zayjk

My email for questions: stollman@hotmail.com
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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby BenS » Jul 2, 2013 2:10 am

And in other recent news... I really want the armytek wizard pro now. It almost doubles the output of my zebralight h600w and the runtimes are longer. I'll be buying one of the wide beam neutral white versions eventually.
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Re: GoPro needs better lighting

Postby BenS » Jul 15, 2013 10:25 pm

Any updates or videos to share with the setup?
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