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Thoughts on continuous lighting for dance floor situations?

I've been more and more curious about the use of continuous light for certain dance floor situations at the reception.
Most specifically I'd like to use a FotoDiox Flapjack type light during moments like the first dance/ parent dances/ cake cutting etc...basically anywhere that I'd like to see a highlight on my subject.
My current set-up for the first dance includes a Quantum Trio (bracketed on camera) and either a second Trio (or speed light) slightly off the dance floor firing as a radio slave. This set-up has served me well with good results over the years but I'm ready to mix things up, find a better way to light those really tough venues & I think seeing 2 flashes fire so many times during a first dance can be overly distracting.

My thought is,
1. This light would be far less distracting than flashing strobes 
2. The light has no visible "hot spot" unlike normal LED's that make you feel like your staring into the sun
3. It's almost like a modeling light so I could easily adjust the power needed for desired results
4. It could provide a very soft added light to large barn-type venues when bounce flash is next to impossible.

I would not be using this light for any other situations on the dance floor...I would go back to my normal set-up after these slow intimate moments.

I'm wondering if anyone has played around with continuous light for these specific situations? 


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited September 2016
    Hi ShutterEyes,

    No one has replied and probably for same reason as I, have not used them, and had not heard of them until you posted, but they do look interesting.

    So, I did a bit of digging around and they look like a good set up, but you would need to have them pretty close, or, have a high ISO, wide Aperture to get them to be fully functional I would think for those shooting conditions you want to use it for.

    LED's are not powerful unless you get a big bank, and from the search, there are different sizes available. I looked at the 200R, the 300RS and the 700RSV Models, latter 2 pretty expensive. Are they worth it? Remains to be seen but keep reading on if not bored already.

    You need to also take into consideration that the LED's do not shine directly onto subjects, (a very good thing), they shine back onto a material which reflects the light back to the subject (a not so good thing, since  fairly substantial loss of power I should think, like bouncing flash you need more power to account for loss of light having to reflect back from wall/ceiling).

    However, having said that, they could be really great for 'static' things, like cake cutting, couple sitting at bridal table, but with dancing, you also have to take into consideration you would need someone to 'follow' them with the reflector head to keep the light shining on them while you shoot (assistant/guest to do that?).

    As stated I think you need to have a pretty high ISO, around f2.8 and a reasonably fast shutter to 'freeze' the movement since flash does that anyway, but I personally would use both, (not at the same time).

    I would start off with the continuous light, grabbing some 'mood' shots, even if they have 'creative movement' in them due to the shooting conditions, or deliberately use a slower shutter speed to get movement, making sure that movement does not look like camera blur or shake, it has to stand out 'creatively' so to speak, then change it up to flash.

    How wide a light they reflect also would need to be taken into consideration, since the following sizes apply to each model.

        200R:    7 inch reflector @ $US199.95
      300RS:  10 inch reflector @ $US329.95
    700RSV:  18 inch reflector @ $US549.95

    So it would be a gamble to try just purely for the reasons you stated, but certainly for the close up static shots you could get unless a lot of ambient is allowed to come into play.

    The color temp seems to be very good on them, but the C200R appears only has a 'static' temp of 5500K (+/- 200K) and the C300RS & C700RSV both have a range from 3200K to 5600K (+/- 200K) so on that front appears to be great.

    If I was to get one, it would have to be either of the 2 larger units, purely for size and Color Temp Range choice you get, I think the smaller C200R one's fixed 5500K and the size would be a factor not suited for wedding receptions, too small and constrained in Kelvin range.

    They do however appear to have a really good battery life:

         C200R: 2.6 hours on 100% power; 6.3 on 50% power
       C300RS: 3 hours 36 mins on 100% power; 8 hours 23 mins on 50% power
    C700RSV: 2 hours 31 mins on 100% power: 4 hours 45 mins on 50% power

    Pretty impressive on power life.

    REVIEWS: There is one review on that C200R I noticed which stated precisely what I first thought, great for product/food shots.

    The C300RS has 5 reviews (at time of posting) and 4 gave it 5 stars, and one 3 stars (I always ignore the top, and look at the lowest) but that 'lowest' is not that bad, he complains it lacks power (which I thought having to be reflected back off the material) and also not easily to control spill light but to me that is a 'perfect' condition for your situation.

    Having some spill on the scenario you want, to me, is a good thing, there would be great gradual fall-off and not 'sharp' so the light would look natural to the image as long as you could factor in a decent ambient setting and getting correct exposure on the couple dancing as the bride/groom; Dad/daughter would be the critical shots, so having a gentle spill/fall-off is perfect in my books.

    The C700RSV has 7 reviews, 3 5-stars, 4 4-stars, a good start.

    I like the last one by Dave Dugdale, says they are great, but he has two set up, video links also in his post.

    Totally up to you SE as to what you want, just giving my opinion sight unseen, no experience with them. :)

    I did watch a video, but it was soooo damn boring that it went a full 3 mins (halfway) until it got to something interesting, not even going to bother to give link, so a general search for reviews may be in order for you SE, good hunting.


  • Hey Trev, 
    Thanks so much for taking the time to not only help answer my questions but to do a little homework/research as well!
    I do think your right....much of the silence on this thread is probably due to the lack of use and unfamiliarity with the specific product.

    I didn't take into consideration the light power as you had mentioned.
    I now wonder if the light would be powerful  enough to even effect the scene on the dance floor since I typically shoot with lower ISO's and rely 
    a bit more on flash power to illuminate my subjects. At ISO 800 (or so) that "flapjack" might just look like a non-illumating white circle if I snapped a picture of it, lol

    The need to color match the scene is a must as well, so I immediately dismissed any of the smaller versions of this light that had a static kelvin....however the thought of an 18in reflector at full-pwer could be a bit much or at least just as distracting as a small strobe firing.

    I would actually like the light-spill....as well, I'm rarely ever worried about having to much light on the dance floor.....especially when I shoot with my beloved 85mm 1.4 which in my opinion is not the fastest or best low light seeker but would probably help to allow some of that light back into the image when shot fairly wide open.

    So if I pull the trigger on this experiment I think I'd be aiming for the 10in reflector.
    I agree that during the toasts/cake cutting etc....I'll probably attain my desired results, but for the money....I'd really like for this to help the dance floor as well.

    Thanks so much for the insightful and educated response....
    Certainly more to think about! & I'll be posting some shots if I end up giving it a try! 

  • Hi ShutterEyes,

    Late to the game here, but I went through the exact same thought process. (I realize maybe a little different lights but on the same topic) I went out and purchased top of the line 1 x 1 bi-color led panels. I figured I could use them for portraits, weddings and commercial work. Guess what? I whipped them out for a commercial portrait shoot for executives the day after I received them. I found the flaws in the system really fast. First thing, is that they are bright! (Sounds good right?) Well not that bright where I can get a fast shutter and acceptable F stop without raising the ISO pretty high.  They are just very bright to the eye. Everyone was very uncomfortable and commenting on how bright they are. Picture this. It was like someone interrogating you:) Hey I love them for still work and products. Awesome for stuff like that. But I can assure you, that at a wedding. It will take away the ambiance and everyone will be focusing on you. Just like the videographers with the bright lights in the old days:) 

  • Hey I just looked at the flapjack. Pretty cool. Looks like they got a pretty cool system going. I like the Studio. Looks like a pretty good value but they would still need to be bright for a decent aperture. Diffused or not diffused output is output and I assume the same issues will arise. 

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