FIRST IMPRESSIONS BY ALEX SCHULT, PHOTOGRAPHYTALK PRESIDENT
My first impressions of the Rosco LitePad Loop Ring Light started with the packaging! As soon as I slid open the outer display cardboard shell, I found a sturdy flip open box with the LitePad Loop on one side and all of the accessories on the other. Rosco left no stone unturned with its LitePad Loop. Not only is it packaged in a way that would meet with the approval of Louis Vuitton, but also every A/C receptacle known to man (Well, maybe not all, but there were four different plugs) were included, which means that this light will work anywhere in the world, right from the box.
As soon as I removed the light and bracket from the box, I knew this light was built with some high standards. I’m a car nut, so the first analogy that came to mind is the difference you feel when you close the door on a mass-produced Honda versus a hand-built Ferrari. Now, I’m not sure how the Roscoe LitePad Loop is manufactured other than being designed and assembled in USA; however, I will say the craftsmanship you feel just by touch, weight and the overall look would easily resemble the Ferrari in my earlier example. At this point, I’m sold on this light and I haven’t even flipped it on!
My first impressions continued with its lightweight and versatility. It’s a must-have for professional portrait, fashion and product photographers who are serious about achieving the best results that will exceed their clients’ expectations. It is also an excellent lighting accessory for hobbyists and enthusiasts because it is so easy to use. As a ring light, the Rosco LitePad Loop attaches easily to the base of a camera, encircles the end of the lens (or just in front of the lens) and produces a soft, diffuse and steady LED light.
The idea of lighting around the lens was first discovered in a dentist’s office, where precise macro photos of teeth were necessary and no lighting source could accomplish the task. Portrait and fashion photographers, and then product photographers, immediately recognized the genius behind the ring light—having an on-axis light source means that no distracting shadows are cast on a subject. Because the light is directly in line with a subject and around the lens, light reaches every area seen in the frame. The results are even and shadow-free lighting that improves dramatically the look and feel of images.
Portrait and fashion photographers (and their clients) benefit specifically from the effect the Rosco LitePad Loop Ring Light creates. The softness of the light significantly reduces wrinkles and blemishes. In addition, this type of lighting enhances the look of a subject’s eyes in a most flattering manner. It gives the eyes a quality of life that seems to animate the subject’s face with greater energy and personality.
The experience and comfort of the subject being photographed is also of paramount importance to the photographer. Rosco has developed the LitePad Loop Ring Light with due consideration for the subject, with LEDs that don’t strike the subject directly in the eyes, unlike many other ring light products. This reduces eye fatigue and helps to make the photography session more pleasant and less stressful. Photographers who work in the corporate sector will find that executives or other personnel remain relaxed and more cooperative during portrait shoots or long hours producing corporate videos, when using the Rosco LitePad Loop Ring Light.
In operation, the LitePad Loop functions seamlessly. The diffuser around the light source creates a constant, steady output of quality light, since there are LEDs on both the inside and outside edges of its round shape. Light output is tuned to 5800K—approximately the temperature of natural light, so color is reproduced perfectly in final images. If you are used to looking at poorly lit subjects with normal incandescent or low-quality light sources, then the results produced by the Rosco LitePad Loop will truly surprise you.
The Rosco LitePad Loop is lightweight at 2.4 lbs. (1.1kg) and thin, at 1.3” (33mm). It does not feel bulky on the camera and doesn’t impede camera operations like a flash unit does. Because it attaches to the base of the camera, it is easily removed. The LitePad Loop is just a bit more than 9 inches in diameter with a 4.4-inch center hole. It’s manufactured from durable, shatter-resistant plastic.
The Rosco Light Loop Kit includes a mounting system, which makes it easy to attach the light to any of today’s cameras with a 1/4-20 threaded bolt. The second part of the system consists of an adjustable L-bracket on a sled. Strong magnets on the Loop hold the light securely to the L-bracket. The sled moves backwards and forwards on the standard 15mm rods while the L-bracket moves vertically, so the lens can be positioned in the exact center of the Loop Ring Light.
The LitePad Loop can be battery-powered, so you can take it anywhere. There is an external AA battery holder accessory that requires 8 AA batteries (both sold separately). Rosco also sells additional battery-adapter accessories when you need more power, such as adapters and cheese-plates that allow you to attach Anton Bauer and V-Mount batteries to the LitePad Loop.
Rosco also sells a wide variety of accessories that complement the LitePad Loop Ring Light, providing you with unlimited creativity. Two of these are a set of pre-cut gels and LitePad Loop Light Masks that attach to the light with the use of the magnetic accessory collar. Each mask has a different design that allows the light to cast unique patterns that will creatively enhance portrait subjects and products. The Loop can also be dimmed with either the optional Rosco Single Fader Dimmer or the 2 CH/DMX Dimmer.
You might have noticed other reviews on Rosco’s LitePad Loop from portrait photographers praising this light. Rather than writing another review about how great this LitePad Loop is for portraits, I’ve taken a different direction by testing it with product and macro photography. OK, so we know this light is a must-have for portraits and product photography. I wanted to see how it would perform for macro photography. Now, straight from the box, the light being so close to my subjects and being too bright was quite a challenge for me. The solution? Rosco has thought of everything! Rosco has a Single Fader Dimmer switch that allowed me to regulate the light intensity. If you look at the shots below where the LitePad Loop was used, the colors seem more natural and vibrant.
The sample image below demonstrates how effective the Rosco LitePad Loop can be for product photography.
It’s important to know that the standard kit comes with 4” rods. When you use larger lenses, such as a 24–70mm or 70–200mm, you will want to order the LitePad Loop 8" Rods and the LitePad Loop 4" L-Bracket Kit. If you don’t, then you’ll find focusing your lens to be challenging, since the light would be positioned just over the lens focus ring.
The Rosco LitePad Loop Ring light is an essential part of a product, portrait or fashion photographer’s shooting gear. It is a great tool for beginner shooters or photographers who need good product shots for eBay, for example. The steady output of light means that you can see final results in your viewfinder, as you shoot!
Once you’ve purchased a Loop, Rosco invites you to share your photography in a Flickr Group for images captured using the LitePad Loop: http://www.flickr.com/groups/litepadloop/.
The Rosco LitePad Loop is for sale as an individual unit, including the LitePad Ring Light, Mounting Assembly and International Power Supply for $699. All of the accessories like the Single Fader Dimmer, 8” Rods and 4” Mounting Bracket mentioned in the post, are also for sale a la carte. The Rosco Litepad Loop Pro Kit includes the LitePad Ring Light and almost all of the accessories for $1,099.
For more information about Rosco’s LitePad Loop Ring Light, the wide range of accessories and a list of stocking retailers, visit www.rosco.com/LitePadLoop.
Rosco LitePad Loops are available wherever professional photographic lighting supplies are sold.
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