Points in Focus Photography

A Brief Update

I’ll try and be brief with this as there’s little in the way of real content here.

Personally, my continuous lighting situation is a bit of a mess. Most of my fixtures are designed for tungsten photo floods. A situation that I quickly realized was largely untenable due to both the heat and power consumption. I’ve tried replacing the lamps with photo grade CFLs, and even LEDs. However, the brightness and control over the light just wasn’t there compared to the tungsten lamps.

After considering the options, LEDs are clearly the optimal solution in terms of color quality and brightness for the power used. However, good quality LED light panels are expensive, and the cheap ones are marginal at best.

The 3rd option, instead of spending a lot for good panels or a little for crap panels for now and then more later for good ones, is to build okay panels from the start.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a YouTube video showing how to build a LED light panel from inexpensive self-adhesive under counter LED light strips and other components readily available on Amazon. The idea intrigued me, and the LED strips are cheap enough that at least mediocre quality lights can be build for less than what it costs to buy many of the cheap panels you can find on Amazon.

Of course, once I started pondering the idea, I realized that there was a lot of room to experiment with how best to control the lights. Sure there’s probably a bit of lazy involved here, but remote control can be handy when the light is somewhere inconvenient to reach. Moreover, since my initial thought was to use a micro controller instead of directly connected potentiometer to control the lights anyway, the door was open to all kinds of control options from ethernet, to WiFi, to Bluetooth, and so on.

That brings me mostly to this post.

Without dragging this out any longer, I wanted to put something up to explain the sudden influx of electronics and engineering content on what’s supposed to be a photography site. So that’s the deal, over the next several months I’m going to be posting a lot of content about the design and construction of a LED controller that can be used for video/still light panels and where the potential problems are. Heck, even if you’re not interested in building one, you might be interested in some of the issues. So stay tuned.

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