Tag Archives: canon

LED Fresnel test

I have just bought 2 of the CE-1500WS LED Fresnel lights and put them through some basic tests for colour and flicker performance.

Size and Packaging

Each light comes well protected in shaped polystyrene in a cardboard box. The box measures 37 x 31 x 30cm. It comes with a cable to connect to the mains, a cable to connect two or more lights together (so several can be powered from just one mains socket), a remote control (which only turns the lights on/off, so it is of little real use), a tungsten balanced filter, a diffusing filter, a set of barn doors._MG_3204Interestingly, the filters are held in place with small magnets, which makes them very easy to use.

The light itself measures 36 x 30 x 27cm and weighs 5.3kg._MG_3200

The light can be focussed between 40°- 80° beam angle._MG_3202

Colour Temperature

No filter:

The specs claim the light is 5400K +/-200.

Red Epic footage shows a colour temp of 5000K, needing a tint of 17 (green) (in RedCine-X).

Canon 5D Mark II stills show a colour temp of 4500K, needing a tint of -58 (green) (in Adobe Camera Raw).

This means that there is a significant magenta colour cast with these lights.


Dimming the light didn’t affect the colour temp significantly. At lowest power the colour temp was 4300K, measured with the Canon and ACR (as opposed to 4500K at full power)._MG_3198-dimmed

Tungsten filter:

The specs claim the light is 3500K +/-200.

Canon 5D Mark II stills show colour temp of 2850K, needing a tint of -20 (green) (in Adobe Camera Raw)._MG_3199-tungsten


With the light 2m from the subject, the following settings were achieved:
ISO 100

Video Flicker

There was no apparent flicker, even at frame rates of 300fps!

The following video shows Red Epic footage shot at frame rates of 25, 50, 75, 100, 120 and 300 fps.


Fresnel or not?

The first thing I noticed was that despite the product description claiming it is a “Fresnel” light, the lens is not a fresnel lens. I wrote to the supplier pointing this out and they replied:

“[the manufacturer] admitted their lenses are not the same as photo showed on their official website. But they said this new lens performs better than the one with concentric ripples.”

They also said they would send me the fresnel lens, so when it arrives, I will repeat these tests [09 Oct 2014, fresnel lenses arrived in post, so additional tests are shown below]


Not a fresnel lens

How even is the light?

The spread of light remains the same regardless of dimming,

The drop off of light (and colour change) is noted in this photo of the light shining on white background paper. Exposures noted are in stops, relative to the brightness at the centre.

Drop-off of light

Drop-off of light


The product claims “Power variation: 0-100% stepless adjustment”. However my tests show that the difference between max and min power is only 3 stops. So that would be 15-100% !


The supplied diffuser snaps into place with magnets. It succeeds in diffusing the edges, and the drop-off is shown below:

Light drop-off with diffuser

Light drop-off with diffuser

Focus control

The focus knob physically moves the LED within the unit. When all the way in, this halves the diameter of the light beam.

Light drop-off when focussed tightly

Light drop-off when focussed tightly

[Update 09.Oct.2014] With the Fresnel

Today the replacement fresnel lenses arrived in the post.

Now the orange ring around the edge is gone, and there is a much smoother drop-off:

Light drop-off with fresnel lens fitted

Light drop-off with fresnel lens fitted

[Update 28.Jun.2015] photomart

The web-based company photomart have just started selling this light. They market it as the “Hollywood led hybrid CE-1500WS”.

It is worth noting that the model they show in their brochure and online (http://shop.photomart.co.uk/led-soft-focus-hollywood-1500ws.html) does NOT have the fresnel lens.


Their price is currently £396.

If anyone wants one, I can get them sent direct from the makers for £300 (you may need to pay approx £22 import duty), or £520 for 2 of them.

Day trip to Tangier with cameras

Driving along the Costa del Sol in Spain, the roadsides are littered with hundreds of Portacabins offering tickets for the ferries to Ceuta and Tangier. The problem with buying from them is that each one seems to only sell tickets for a specific ferry company, and so they may not travel at the times you want. Instead it is very easy to buy at the port itself.

09:00 We drove striaght to the port in Algeciras and bought our ferry tickets there, from the company which had a 10am departure. We parked in the “secure” car park for €18 for the whole day. Our open return ferry tickets cost €36. We were given our tickets and both a white and a yellow immigration paper.

What no one mentioned to us was what we were supposed to do with these papers. So we assumed we handed them to passport control on arrival. Big mistake!

10:00 We boarded our ferry and set off

11:30 (10:30 local) We arrived at the port, got off the boat, got in the queue  to show our passports to the police… and were detained because we hadn’t already handed in our white immigration paper in exchange for a stamp in our passport. We were then sent back onto the ferry to get the stamp. To do this we had to join a queue at the reception desk. This was such an inefficient process that the queue took 50 minutes.

12:30 (11:30 local) By the time we got off the boat again, the bus from the ferry to the teminal had gone, so we had to wait another 30 minutes for the next one.

At the terminal, we had to put our backpacks through their X-ray machine. They took an unhealthy interest in our cameras, and seemed very concerned that we might be there either “to make a porno, sexy film” or as journalists. We eventually convinced them that we were neither, and were allowed to enter the country. However by this time, the bus to Tangier had also left!

13:10 (12:10 local) We caught a taxi to Tangier which we pre-agreed a price of €20 each way. We arranged for him to bring us back at 4pm. The drive takes about 55 minutes.

14:05 (13:05 local) We arrived at the Medina in Tangier. After a quick look at the English church of St Andrew with graves of many 20 year olds who had died in WW2, we went for lunch, the highlight of which was a spicy chicken pie with icing sugar and cinamon. Bizarre, but the combination was delicious.

We spent a couple of hours walking around the Medina, looking in the little stores.

17:00 (16:00 local) We got into the taxi for the return trip. “Another €20 for the driver”. Err, no. We agreed the price in advance. This went on for a while until we were about to get out and find another taxi!

18:00 (17:00 local) Back at the ferry terminal, we went to the ticket counter for our ferry company and had our open tickets validated for the 6pm sailing. Then went through passport control. Then the X-ray machine again. And once again, a lot of questions as to whether we were journalists or not.

18:30 (17:30 local) We boarded the boat and waited for it to eventually leave, 30 minutes late. The sun soon set.

20:40 We arrived back in Algeciras, Spain and went for a well earned tapas in Estepona (keeping an eye out for any CIA agents taking a break from their local training base)

Using Red Epic and Canon 5D in Iceland

What an amazing country Iceland is. A paradise for photographers.

Here are a few shots of me at work (taken by Tony Morel on his Canon 60D), and some of my shots taken on both the Red Epic and the Canon 5DII.

This is what I was setting up the shot for (the Eyjafjallajokull volcano):

And here is the down-rezzed shot from the Red Epic, shot at 5k widescreen:

And now for Daylight shots

Today the rain let up and so I took the 2 cameras out for a test of their performance in daylight.

First I shot the pier at 1/100 sec and f11.

Epic, Daylight, straight from camera

Epic, Daylight, processed in RedCine-X

5D, Daylight, processed in ACR

The RedCine-X settings used:

RedCine-X settings

Both cameras do a great job with this shot.

The Epic produces fantastic colours in the sky, whilst the 5D2 is somewhat yellowish.

But in the 100% crop, the Canon 5D2 has the edge in terms of  detail.

Epic 100% centre crop

5D 100% centre crop

Still photos from Red Epic and Canon 5D2

Currently my Red Epic is not very portable.

The battery module still hasn’t arrived, so I am having to power it from 240V mains. Luckily I have a 150W inverter in my car, so I can power it from that.

So… how does the Red Epic compare with the Canon 5D2 for stills?

Jim Jannard claims that the Epic looks so good it beats top of the range stills, such as the Phase One, in tests with Peter Lik. But they are not releasing any R3D files or disclosing how they made it look good. Hmm. So I will do my own comparisons.


Max resolution

Epic: 5120 x 2700

5D2: 5616 x 3744

Sensor size

Epic: 27.7 x 14.6 mm CMOS

5D2: 36 × 24 mm CMOS

Shutter speeds

Epic: 1 to 1/8000 s (not usable for long exposures)

5D2: 30 to 1/8000 s

Let’s look at some actual images. For these comparisons, both cameras were set to 800 ISO, 1/50 second shutter.

Firstly shot under tungsten light. This setup was backlit with a 150W Dedo.

Epic image, no processing, resized to 1920 wide.

Epic image, curves applied in RedCine-X, resized to 1920 wide.

5D image, no processing, resized to 1920 wide.


The 100% crop shows the Epic looking much noisier than the 5D2:

100% centre crop from Epic

100% centre crop from the 5D2

Tests in daylight will follow soon…